Many people use eye cream as part of a daily routine to combat wrinkles and lines under the eyes that come with age.
The best under eye cream will rehydrate and tighten up skin under your eyes, making you look and feel younger, especially when you use it regularly over a long period of time.
Looking for the best under eye cream on the market? Our panel went to work and found the best.
1. Amara Organics Total Repair Eye Gel
Amara Organics aims to rehydrate and restore the elasticity to the collagen in the skin below your eyes with their Total Repair Eye Gel. While the formula includes several very solid moisturizing oils and extracts, like jojoba and aloe, the real defining characteristic of this product is the focus on collagen-building factors like hyaluronic acid and MSM.
These compounds are similar to what you’d see in a joint supplement, but instead of restoring elasticity to cartilage, they are in Amara Organics Total Repair Eye Gel to restore elasticity to your skin. With dozens of additional nutrients, like peptides and amino acids, it’s definitely targeted at people who need serious repair to the skin underneath their eyes.
2. LilyAna Naturals Eye Cream
This potent blend of moisturizers and antioxidants is just what you need if your skin has seen a bit too much sun, wind, and dry air. LilyAna Naturals uses all-natural herbal extracts from aloe, coconut, rosehip, and hibiscus, alongside a whole host of vitamins (A, B, C, E) to moisturize, heal, and nourish your skin.
This eye cream is firmly in the restorative camp, meaning you’ll see the best results after several weeks of use, once your skin has had a chance to absorb the nutrients and start putting them to work.
3. RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream
RoC’s under eye cream uses the powerful anti-aging compound retinol to reverse the natural course of wrinkles in your skin. Retinol is a highly active form of vitamin A, and it’s been shown to have potent anti-aging effects in skin.
The one downside of retinol is that it can sensitize your skin to sunlight, so you either have to apply this eye cream only at night, or put a sunscreen on afterwards–preferably in the form of a non-clogging moisturizer.
As you’d guess, this is one of the best treatments for explicitly aging-related problems around your eyes, like crow’s feet and bagginess.
4. Niara Beauty Eye Cream
Niara Beauty Eye Cream is a great choice if you want to focus on hydrating and nourishing while steering clear of synthetic chemicals and contaminants. It’s 77% organic, and it’s built around an array of high-quality natural oils like coconut, rosehip seed, and neem seed.
It has several vitamins, too, so it will help revitalize your skin. It’s not the answer for serious wrinkle problems, nor is it going to lighten up dark circles under your eyes as effectively as some of the more powerful products out there, but if you are trying to stick to natural ingredients, it’s an excellent way to go.
5. Pure Biology Total Eye
Pure Biology’s under eye cream focuses heavily on moisturizing and directly delivering protein to the skin. However, its protein is literally just a protein isolate, not specific amino acids.
This broad spectrum approach is less popular than a more targeted approach, but Pure Biology cites in-house testing to attest to the efficacy of their formula.
It’s pretty well-reviewed, so it’s a good buy if your main problem is loose, wrinkly skin under your eyes.
6. Forest Heal Eye Gel
Forest Heal is not exactly the all-natural product it seems to be, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Forest Heal Eye Gel is designed primarily as a topical supplement that both lightens and reduces wrinkles in the skin under your eyes. It does this primarily through adenosine and niacinamide, two nutrients that can boost the shade of the skin under your eyes and
7. Baebody Beauty Retinol
Baebody’s under eye cream is focused on retinol’s anti-aging power, but the rest of the ingredients aren’t that impressive. Its main hydrating ingredients are fairly bland sunflower oil and palm oil, not the more potent and nourishing oils you might like to see like coconut or shea butter oil.
Shea butter oil is included, but it’s pretty far down on the ingredients list, meaning that it likely does not contribute much to the efficacy of this under eye cream.
8. Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals Blue Eye Gel
Blue Eye Gel from Majestic Pure Cosmeceuticals gets its name from the blue algae extract that’s included as one of the main active ingredients in this under eye cream.
The real focus of this product is antioxidants from natural sources, hence the blue algae, the spirulina, and the other green plant extracts that are designed to be rich in antioxidant compounds for fighting the damage to skin that happens with age and especially with exposure to sun.
9. L’Oréal Paris Revitalift
L’Oréal Paris’ Revitalift is a fast-acting anti-wrinkle cream. It uses an array of plastics and polymers to tighten and lift up the skin under your eyes, so it’s a fast-acting stopgap that can help you look better, but won’t actually do anything to attack the underlying problem of aging and skin deterioration.
Make no mistake, sometimes you do need a fast-acting stopgap, but it can’t be the only tool when trying to fight back against aging, puffiness, and bagginess under your eyes.
10. Olay Total Effects 7-in-one Anti-Aging Transforming Eye Cream
Olay has a name for offering plain and straightforward cosmetics that accomplish a given task, but they may be overreaching in this case.
Doing seven things at once is a tall order for an economy cosmetic, and it doesn’t have the high-powered ingredients to tackle all of the challenges it’s trying to overcome with this eye cream. It has the basic vitamins you’d want in an eye cream, but it doesn’t have the advanced cosmetics compounds to boost their power.
Who should buy under eye cream?
The skin under your eyes is particularly delicate, and as you get older, it gets prone to bags, wrinkles, and puffiness. If you are in your 40s, 50s, or older, and you’ve noticed the skin under your eyes starting to sag, an under eye cream could be a great addition to your daily skincare routine.
Because it is fairly thin, the skin under your eyes seems to “give out” quicker than the rest of the skin on your face. Some researchers have attributed this to an increase in skin laxity, or looseness, that becomes increasingly prevalent as you get older.
Under eye creams include ingredients that are specifically chosen to target puffiness, wrinkles, and bags under your eyes.
Each of these problems demands a slightly different solution, so an under eye cream that combines multiple ingredients stands the best chance of improving your under eye skin. With the right product, you can see significant improvements in the skin under your eyes.
How we ranked
When formulating our rankings, we started by aggregating all of the under-eye cosmetics on the market. Then, we started applying criteria for efficacy.
We eliminated products that did not contain at least one ingredient that could combat puffiness, eye bags, or wrinkles under your eye. We were looking specifically for ingredients that have proven scientific evidence supporting their efficacy.
That included compounds that stimulate collagen synthesis, like hyaluronic acid, multi-use compounds like retinol, and ingredients that can reduce swelling and puffiness, like vitamin C and vitamin E.
After eliminating products that did not contain any useful primary ingredients, we started rating the remaining products based on whether they had multiple ingredients that could work together to improve the quality of the skin under your eyes, and whether they had any beneficial extra ingredients, like powerful moisturizing agents.
We also paid attention to the overall quality of the cosmetic, giving extra points to under eye creams that used natural or organic ingredients, and penalizing products that had too many synthetic or petroleum-derived ingredients.
Among the products remaining, we chose the ten best as our overall picks for the year.
Under eye cream is specially formulated to fight back against bagginess, dark circles, and puffiness under your eyes. These can be the result of a lack of sleep, aging, wrinkles, dried out skin, or poor overall skin health.
Under eye creams typically use one or more of a set of strategies for reducing puffiness, darkness, and wrinkles underneath your eyes.
Moisturizers can improve the appearance of under eye skin. The first strategy for tackling under eye skin quality is pretty straightforward, and that’s hydrating skin that has become dried out. By using an eye cream that contains hydrating ingredients (also found in face moisturizers), you can help restore elasticity and health to skin that has become wrinkled and dried out.
However, not all moisturizers are created equal. According to an article by Dr. C.W. Lynde at Toronto Hospital published in the periodical Skin Therapy Letter, proper moisturizing treatments have a four-step process by which they restore hydration to the skin (1).
First, they must repair the skin barrier, then increase the water content of the skin cells. After this, they need to prevent the loss of water across the skin barrier, and finally, they need to restore the ability of something called the lipid barrier to retain water. High quality moisturizers accomplish all four of these steps.
As reported in an edited series on oils in cosmetics, more effective moisturizing oils include coconut oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter oil. These tend to perform better than standard oils like sunflower oil or palm oil (2).
Another method to both heal and hydrate skin under the eyes is by using aloe vera. A 2006 study by researchers in Brazil investigated the hydrating and rejuvenating properties of aloe vera plant extract and tested them on human skin (3).
The researchers concluded that the aloe vera extract effectively rehydrated and re-invigorated the skin of 20 healthy female volunteers over the course of two weeks, indicating that aloe vera extract is a highly desirable ingredient in an under eye cream.
Antioxidants can fight under eye bags and puffiness. Much of the damage that happens to skin comes from reactive oxygen species, which are both generated naturally and occur during exposure to stressors like sunlight.
According to a 2002 article in the journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, oxidative damage plays a central role in many of the pathologies of the skin, including aging (4). However, antioxidants can prevent and even help reverse this damage.
Antioxidants usually come in the form of vitamins like vitamin C or E, and herbal extracts from algae or plant sources like spirulina. Look for these in your under eye cream, especially if your face has seen a lot of sunlight.
An under eye cream that uses retinol is an effective way to repair skin that has been damaged by the sun. Retinol is just a form of vitamin A, but don’t be fooled by its humble origins. Retinol is a powerful compound for repairing aged skin, and there’s a lot of scientific evidence backing its benefits. It’s a highly active form of Vitamin A and can be found in several high quality eye creams.
A 2007 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Dermatology demonstrated the effect of retinol in elderly volunteers at a nursing home, who were an average of 87 years old (5).
In a randomized design, the study participants were given one cosmetic to apply to their left arm and one to apply to their right arm. One of these treatments was a retinol based anti-wrinkle cream, while the other was a placebo, but the study participants did not know which was which.
After 24 weeks, the researchers compared skin biopsies to examine the effect of the treatment. They found that the retinol treatment significantly reduced fine wrinkling and improved skin hydration. From this, we can conclude that skin wrinkles can be effectively reduced via a retinol containing product, so if your main under eye problem is wrinkles, look for a retinol containing under eye cream.
Retinol helps restore the strength and elasticity of your skin. A 2016 study published in the journal Cosmetics provides more evidence behind the mechanism of action of retinol, and suggested that the benefits may have something to do with its ability to increase the production of collagen in your skin cells (6).
The study used a group of elderly volunteers who applied either retinol or a placebo to one forearm or the other every day for four weeks.
While the researchers were interested in the changes in fine wrinkles and the appearance of the skin, they were also interested in the biochemical reactions that were taking place at the level of individual skin cells.
They took skin biopsies and analyzed the level of specific chemicals throughout the course of retinol treatment, and found that applying the retinol treatment increased the production of Type I collagen to levels similar to those seen in healthy controls.
Type I collagen is a substance that gives skin its strength and elasticity, so using retinol to increase its levels should help combat loose skin under your eyes, which can cause puffy and baggy eyes and under eye wrinkles.
For those familiar with collagen peptide supplements, the mechanism at work here is quite similar: by increasing the production of collagen in your body, your connective tissue (in this case, your skin) gets stronger, stretchier, and more robust.
Retinol seems to be especially effective when combined with antioxidants. That was the conclusion of a 2004 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology which evaluated the efficacy of a cosmetic preparation that included both retinol and vitamins C and E on under eye darkness and wrinkles (7).
Over the course of the eight week study, the researchers observed a significant reduction in darkness and under eye wrinkling in the subjects given the under eye cream with retinol and the antioxidants.
It’s not precisely known why retinol seems to work well in conjunction with antioxidants, but the efficacy of the combination is hard to argue with, so for best results, seek out an under eye cream that has both antioxidants and wrinkles in it if you are going the anti-aging route.
Skin laxity is one of the biggest contributors to eye bags for older adults. There are many reasons for why bags appear under your eyes, but these reasons were not formally studied until an article published in 2005 by a team of doctors at the UCLA Medical School (8).
The doctors, all of whom were plastic surgery specialists, evaluated a series of 114 patients who came in to their clinic with significant bags under their eyes and assigned scores to a variety of categories representing different causes for under eye bags.
When the researchers analyzed the results, they found that older adults (people over age 50) experienced significantly more bags under their eyes due to increased skin laxity than younger adults.
The importance of skin laxity for older adults suggests that a treatment like a retinol cream could be particularly helpful, because as we just saw, retinol can help increase the strength and elasticity of your skin.
These changes should combat skin laxity and reduce under eye bags, in addition to retinol’s well-known abilities to reduce wrinkling.
The findings from this study also suggest that if you are not seeing benefits from the use of an under eye cream, it might be worth consulting a dermatologist, as there are other causes for eye bags (like fat deposits) that aren’t easily addressed with an under eye cream.
In large part, a well-made under eye cream should be free from negative side effects. There is one exception, however, and that is products that include retinol, which is sometimes referred to as vitamin A1.
This compound can do wonders for reversing aging in your skin, but it does have the tendency to make your skin extra sensitive to sunlight, a condition called photosensitivity.
As a result, people who apply a retinol containing under eye cream to their face, then go out in sunlight, often find themselves getting sunburned or getting red, irritated skin.
This can be avoided one of two ways. First, simply use your retinol containing under eye cream at night only, so it won’t be exposed to sunlight soon after application.
Second, use a sunscreen containing moisturizer that you apply to your skin after applying the retinol containing under eye cream.
For best results, under eye cream should be applied twice per day: once in the morning, and once at night. Under eye cream fits best into the middle of your skincare routine.
You should first wash your face with a good face wash, or with water in the morning if you have sensitive skin. Then, you can apply your under eye cream.
Gently rub the cream into the skin under your eyes, making sure to get some of the product on the skin that makes up your lower eyelid, but avoiding getting the cream in your eye itself.
Wait for at least 30 seconds for the active ingredient in the cream to soak into your skin before you apply any other products.
After applying your under eye cream, in the evening, you’ll want to put on a face moisturizer. In the morning, you’ll want to put on any cosmetics you want to wear, like BB cream or makeup foundation, plus a moisturizer and/or sunscreen.
Wearing sunscreen during the day is particularly important if you are using an under eye cream that includes retinol, as it can increase the sensitivity of your skin to sun damage. Using a sunscreen will protect your skin from sustaining any additional damage from ultraviolet light.
Q: Does under eye cream really work?
A: There’s good evidence that certain ingredients in a high quality under eye cream can significantly improve wrinkles, puffiness, and bags under your eyes.
Antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E can help reduce puffiness thanks to their anti-inflammatory action, and they seem to work synergistically with retinol, another powerful ingredient in under eye creams that has proven benefits.
Retinol increases the synthesis of collagen in your skin, increasing strength and elasticity and fighting against baggy under-eye skin. Retinol is also well-known for its anti-wrinkle effects. So, choosing the right wrinkle cream can have substantial benefits for the skin under your eyes.
Q: What is best for under eye wrinkles?
A: If you have wrinkles under your eyes, you definitely want a product that includes retinol. Why? Retinol is one of the most consistently effective treatments for under eye wrinkles, thanks to its ability to increase collagen synthesis, increase the integrity of skin cells, and reduce the appearance of fine wrinkling in the skin.
These benefits have been consistently proven in clinical trials that compare the efficacy of retinol creams to placebo creams that do not include retinol. Retinol is also a proven way to reverse sun damage, which can cause aging in your skin if you have been outside a lot without sunscreen.
Q: How do you get rid of bags under your eyes?
A: Bags under your eyes can be due to a large number of cosmetically-related causes, but one of the biggest is skin laxity: the skin under your eyes is fairly delicate, and as a result of aging or damage from sunlight, this skin can lose its strength and elasticity.
When this skin becomes weak and loose, your eyes “bag out,” particularly if you have swelling or puffiness. That means there are at least two ways you can combat bags under your eyes with a cosmetic product. First, you can reduce puffiness and swelling.
An under eye cream that has antioxidants is a great way to do that. Much like a vitamin C serum can reduce inflammation, an under eye cream with antioxidants like vitamins C and E can reduce this swelling.
Second, you can increase the strength of your under eye skin, with a product that includes retinol, hyaluronic acid, or another compound that increases collagen synthesis.
Q: What is best for dark circles under your eyes?
A: Dark circles under your eyes are from blood vessels becoming visible. This can be because your under-eye skin has thinned, or is loose, or because the underlying tissue is swollen and puffy.
These different causes have different potential solutions. One good place to start is with an under eye cream that has antioxidant ingredients, which can knock down any swelling and puffiness and let you evaluate whether you need to do anything else to reduce dark circles under your eyes.
If so, you might try a product that increases the strength of the skin under your eyes, which could help reduce the appearance of under-eye dark circles.
Q: What is a good anti-aging eye cream for people in their 40s and 50s?
A: As you get older, your skin starts showing the damage it’s accumulated throughout your life. With people in their 40s and 50s, it’s hard to argue against an eye cream that’s based around retinol, due to the enormous amount of scientific research that demonstrates its efficacy.
If you combine a retinol-containing eye cream with sunscreen, it’s very hard to go wrong (though make sure you wait a minute or so after applying your under eye cream before you apply sunscreen).
This combination can reduce skin aging and prevent future damage to your skin. If you take care of your skin as you get older, you can reliably maintain a youthful appearance.
Q: How do you apply under eye cream?
A: You should apply under eye cream right after washing your face (either with water or with a face wash). You’ll want to apply a small amount to all of the skin under your eyes, including your bottom eyelid.
Dermatologists and skincare experts emphasize that it’s important to let under eye cream “soak in” for at least 30 seconds, and perhaps up to a few minutes, before you put on any other cosmetic products.
If you are putting on under eye cream at night, all you need to do afterwards is a face moisturizer. In the morning, you’ll want to moisturize as well, but also include at minimum a sunscreen (or face moisturizer that incorporates sunscreen) if your under eye cream incorporates retinol.
Even if it doesn’t, sunscreen is a fantastic idea—sun damage from ultraviolet light is the number one cause of skin aging. Make sure to apply your under eye cream every day, both in the morning and in the evening, for best results.
Q: Can under eye cream help with puffiness?
A: Yes, under eye cream can be an effective way to treat puffiness under your eyes. If puffiness is the primary problem you’re trying to fix, look for an under eye cream that contains vitamins C and E, as these powerful antioxidants can help reduce swelling and puffiness by fighting inflammation.
Puffiness can also sometimes be attributed to skin that is loose and baggy, so taking time to address the underlying quality of your skin might be worth your while.
Of course, if you are consistently sleep-deprived or have allergies, you’re not going to see significant improvements in puffiness until you address the underlying cause.
Under eye cream, when used correctly, can go a long ways towards reducing bagginess, puffiness, darkness, and wrinkles. For optimal results, you want an eye cream that uses moisturization, antioxidants, and possibly retinol or another anti-wrinkle compound to battle all of the causes that can detract from your appearance under your eyes.
With some patience, you’ll see fewer wrinkles, less loose and baggy skin, and reduced puffiness around your eyes in short order.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 under eye cream recommendation, click here.