The Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles and Wrinkles
Unfortunately, most of us have had the experience of being told we “look tired” by a well meaning friend or colleague. Peering in the mirror and seeing pouchy skin under our eyes or those ominous dark circles is a common experience as we age. Though some aging is, alas, inevitable, you can take steps to help counteract tired-looking eyes and dark circles.
A good sun cream, a healthy diet, plenty of sleep and drinking lots of water are all essential components in your skincare routine. But in addition to these defenses against skin damage based on healthy habits, plenty of eye creams are on the market that can help repair and strengthen the delicate skin beneath your eyes.
Read on to discover twelve of the best eye creams for dark circles and under-eye wrinkles.
What are the causes of dark circles or under-eye wrinkles?
Wrinkles are caused by a combination of factors including aging, sun exposure, and genetics. As we age, our skin loses collagen and elastin, two proteins that keep the skin firm and elastic. Sun exposure can also damage the skin and accelerate the aging process. Genetics play a role in determining how quickly and to what extent wrinkles develop. Sometimes the puffy or crepey appearance under our eyes is not just due to aging but can be caused by a combination of factors including lack of sleep, dehydration, sun exposure, rapid weight loss, or hormonal changes. If you notice a dramatic change in skin texture, it’s important to check with a medical professional or dermatologist to make sure nothing serious is going on.
Dark circles under the eyes are generally more reversible than wrinkles. As well as being due to genetics, they can be caused by allergies, eczema, and fatigue. The skin under the eyes is thin and extremely delicate with blood vessels that can be seen through it easily. Allergies and eczema can cause inflammation, which can also contribute to the darkened appearance of the skin under the eyes. Fatigue, on the other hand, causes blood to pool in the area under the eyes, which also makes the area appear dark.
How can eye creams combat wrinkles under the eyes or dark circles?
First, it’s important to determine what’s causing your eye wrinkles or discoloration because different eye creams target different issues. Eye creams specifically formulated to target wrinkles and fine lines under the eyes typically contain ingredients such as retinoids, which can help to boost collagen production and reduce the visibility of wrinkles. Additionally, some eye creams contain antioxidants, which can help to protect the delicate skin under the eyes from damage caused by UV rays, pollution, and other environmental factors.
Eye creams that are formulated to target dark circles under the eyes are more likely to include caffeine, which can help constrict blood vessels and reduce the appearance of dark circles. Vitamin K and arnica are also ingredients found in some brightening eye creams and they have shown promise in reducing the appearance of dark circles.
It’s important to note that no single product will work for everyone, and results may vary depending on your skin type and the severity of your wrinkles or dark circles. Unfortunately, due to the delicacy of the skin under your eyes, this part of the epidermis does register aging more dramatically than other parts of the body. It’s important to accept that some signs of aging are not reversible, although beginning to use an eye cream may reduce further damage down the line. In order to achieve optimal results, it is best to use an eye cream in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and protecting your skin from the sun.
What to look for in an eye cream?
If you’ve decided you need to do something about your dark circles or baggy eyes, it’s time to get smart about the solutions. We all know hundreds of “anti-aging” products are on the market and that not all of them are created equal. However, some tried and true ingredients have been proven to help reduce and prevent signs of aging.
Ingredients to look for in an eye cream for wrinkles:
- Retinoids: These are derivatives of Vitamin A that helps stimulate collagen production and increase cell turnover, which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
- Peptides: These are small chains of amino acids that help stimulate collagen production and improve skin elasticity.
- Antioxidants: These help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to wrinkles. Examples include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and green tea extract.
- Hyaluronic acid: This is a natural substance that helps plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Ingredients to look for in an eye cream for dark circles:
- Vitamin K: This vitamin helps reduce the appearance of dark circles by improving blood circulation and reducing the discoloration of the skin.
- Caffeine: This helps reduce puffiness and dark circles by constricting blood vessels and reducing inflammation.
- Niacinamide: This is a form of Vitamin B3 that helps lighten dark circles and improve the overall appearance of the skin.
- Vitamin C: This is an antioxidant that helps brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of an eye cream depends on many factors and that these ingredients are not the only effective ingredients out there, so always consult with a dermatologist and read the label of the product before making a purchase.
1. Blu Atlas Restorative Eye Stick
Our overall pick, the Blu Atlas Restorative Eye Stick, is an excellent all round nourishing and brightening eye cream. Containing vitamin C, rose water, and caffeine, this product helps reduce the appearance of fine lines, plumps crepey skin, and brightens those pesky dark circles all at the same time. Containing 96% natural ingredients, this serum is a triple threat with the soothing, nourishing properties of rose water, the brightening and antioxidant powers of vitamin C, and the stimulating power of caffeine.
Presented in an attractive blue roller ball applicator, the Eye Stick makes application incredibly easy. You have none of the wastage that you might encounter with a pot or a tube as the ball system limits how much product you can apply. Not only does this applicator system mean the product lasts longer, it also means it remains more hygienic as no nasties can get in.
We found that the Blu Atlas Eye Stick performed well in terms of combating both dark circles and under-eye wrinkles, unlike other products which tend to target one issue but not the other. This versatility, as well as the ease of application and the use of sustainable ingredients has earned Blu Atlas’ Eye Stick the top spot on our list.
2. Eminence Organics Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream
Ever heard of snow mushrooms? Well, neither had we until we stumbled on Eminence Organics Snow Mushroom Moisture Cloud Eye Cream. Of all the creams we reviewed, this one definitely got the most points for its texture, which brings to mind fluffy cumulus clouds and whipped cream. This cream makes use of a unique mushroom called Tremella fuciformis, which has the ability to boost skin hydration when ingested. The snow mushroom has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries but has only recently crossed over into mainstream beauty products. Due to the mushroom’s gelatinous structure and the high amounts of polysaccharides it contains, it is an excellent source of hydration and has the ability to plump dehydrated skin.
Best used for improving the appearance of under-eye bags, this cream is less useful when it comes to dark circles. But plumping and rejuvenating effects were visible after a single application. All of Eminence Organics skin care products are made with natural and organic ingredients and they are known for their focus on sourcing high quality active ingredients that produce visible results.
The texture is particularly fluffy and creamy, which adds to the high-end, luxurious feel of the product, which comes packaged in a heavy glass jar. Though at the higher end of the price spectrum, we found that a little goes a long way, although it’s definitely tempting to scoop out more of this delightfully textured cream!
3. Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Cream Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
Our budget pick, Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Cream Serum with Hyaluronic Acid is a hydrating eye cream that’s specifically formulated for the delicate skin around the eyes. It contains hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring substance in the skin that helps to retain moisture, making it an effective ingredient to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps to protect the skin from environmental damage. We really like that this eye cream is formulated without parabens, fragrances, and is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores.
Many of us are familiar with Cetaphil because of their popular moisturizing products. Though this cream isn’t fancy, it is effective, affordable and widely available, which makes it a great option for people who have a more simple approach to their skincare regime, or who don’t want to shell out for more expensive products.
4. Lush Enchanted Eye Cream
We’re obsessed with Lush Enchanted Eye Cream and think you should be, too. The cream has a luxurious and creamy texture that glides on smoothly and absorbs quickly into the skin. The formula is packed with nourishing, natural ingredients like rosehip oil, rose wax, and lavender oil, which work together to hydrate and soothe the skin around the eyes.
One thing we love about this eye cream is the subtle lavender scent. We also appreciate that Lush is a cruelty-free and environmentally conscious brand that uses natural and organic ingredients. Lush Enchanted eye cream definitely scored highest in the sustainability category but it lost points for leaving a slightly greasy feeling on the skin. This is definitely one for people who have naturally dry skin as the oily and waxy ingredients it contains may clog the pores of people with more oily skin.
5. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG is formulated to reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes and it definitely delivers, in particular when it comes to brightening dark circles,
One thing we love about this serum is the high concentration of caffeine and EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside), which is a powerful antioxidant found in green tea. These ingredients work together to reduce puffiness and inflammation as well as to generally brighten and hydrate the eye area.
The Ordinary is known for offering high-performance skincare at an affordable price point. This product has no bells and whistles: the packaging is simple and its ingredient list is short. Like all of The Ordinary’s products, we loved the simplicity and efficiency on display here. The dropper system reduced wastage and made the product go a long way, and it was refreshing to not encounter the usual word salad when it came to the ingredient list.
6. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
This eye cream contains retinol, which speeds up cell turnover, a process that can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which plumps up and moisturizes crepey skin. When using an eye cream with retinol, it’s important to start slowly: retinol is potent and may cause some irritation, especially when used around the sensitive eye area. It’s recommended to start with a low concentration and use it every other night, gradually increasing the frequency as your skin becomes more accustomed to the ingredient.
If you exercise caution, use sunscreen and avoid other exfoliants, we found that the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream was incredibly effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles; however, the potency of this product means it may not suit everyone. If you do wish to use a retinol-containing cream, we encourage you to first seek advice from a dermatologist.
7. Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
We already knew avocados were a superfood, but Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado left us thoroughly impressed. The creamy and hydrating formula is specifically designed to moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes, without spreading into the eye itself and causing irritation. The formula is packed with natural, nourishing ingredients like avocado oil and shea butter, which are both chock full of essential fatty acids and vitamins that help to plump and strengthen the skin.
Our only criticism is that the cream comes in a very small jar, which means that it can be difficult to get the last bit of product out and it’s hard to use only a small dollop at a time. A tube or pump packaging would make for more hygienic use and less waste.
Overall, we highly recommend Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado to anyone looking for a hydrating and nourishing eye cream. Though this didn’t score so well in the dark circle category, it definitely reduced the visibility of fine lines and crepey skin.
8. Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
At first, we were a little alarmed by Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream and we think that’s understandable. The idea of putting snail mucin on our skin struck us as kind of repulsive. However after a few applications and once we got over the initial ick factor the results were dramatic enough to win us over.
The cream has a lightweight and fast-absorbing texture that glides on smoothly and absorbs quickly into the skin. Packed with snail mucin, a unique ingredient that’s known for its ability to repair and regenerate the skin, this cream is also rich in hyaluronic acid, glycoprotein, and other antioxidants that help hydrate and protect your precious under-eye skin.
This product also comes with a tiny spatula for application, a detail that’s not only adorable but useful, too, as it means you don’t end up scooping out more than you need. If you want an eye cream that isn’t afraid to branch out from the usual cosmetics ingredients, then this is the one for you. However, it’s safe to say this isn’t vegan-friendly. Oops, sorry snails!
9. Weleda Organic Hydrating Eye Gel
Weleda’s Organic Hydrating Eye Gel has a lightweight and refreshing formula that’s specifically designed to hydrate and brighten the skin around the eyes. The formula is packed with organic ingredients like prickly pear cactus, aloe vera, chamomile and calendula, which work together to soothe, hydrate and nourish the skin.
One thing that we love about this eye gel is that it’s made with 100% organic ingredients. The gel is also fragrance-free and non-greasy, making it easy to apply and perfect for all skin types. We were a little concerned that the gel formula might feel sticky on application, as opposed to a cream or serum, but we were pleasantly surprised that the gel absorbed quickly and left no residue or stickiness on the skin.
10. Q+A Caffeine Eye Serum
Q+A Caffeine Eye Serum is a lightweight and fast-absorbing formula that’s specifically designed to reduce puffiness and dark circles around the eyes. Targeting circles rather than fine lines, the serum is packed with caffeine, which is known to stimulate blood flow and help to reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles. We also liked the compact tube and cute retro styling of the packaging.
One thing to note is that, though this serum is brightening, it’s not the most moisturizing option. So if you have dry skin or are more interested in plumping and nourishing your under-eye area rather than brightening it, this might not be your eye cream of choice.
11. Hey Bud No Puff Hemp Eye Cream
Hemp has been making a splash in the cosmetics industry due to its incredible healing and soothing properties. Hey Bud’s No Puff Hemp Eye Cream has lived up to the hype and converted us to the cult of cannabis. This cream is specifically designed to hydrate and soothe the skin under your eyes, and it achieves this via a unique formula packed with hemp oil, which is known for its ability to hydrate and nourish the skin. The cream is also infused with other natural ingredients like hyaluronic acid, caffeine, aloe vera and vitamin E, which work together to soothe, brighten, and protect the skin.
Hey Bud has a unique, sustainable ethos, which they channel into all of their products. This means you can be sure you’re buying something that’s not only good for your skin but good for the planet as well. This cream performed well on both wrinkles and dark circles, but we did find that the packaging made it easy to waste the product, an issue a tube or roller applicator might easily solve.
12. Drunk Elephant C-Tango™ Multivitamin Eye Cream
Drunk Elephant C-Tango™ Multivitamin Eye Cream is multitasking eye cream that’s designed to hydrate, brighten, and firm. It contains a potent blend of antioxidants, including vitamin C, to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve the overall appearance of your skin. The cream also contains a mix of eight peptides, five ceramides, and cucumber extract to hydrate, calm and soothe the skin.
The “C” in C-Tango is a reference to the high concentration of vitamin C in the cream, which helps brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps to protect the skin from damage caused by environmental factors such as UV rays and pollution. The trademarked “C-Tango” branding refers to an in-house mix of ceramides and antioxidants that help smooth out under-eye wrinkles and reduce signs of aging.
Be aware that the Drunk Elephant C-Tango™ Multivitamin Eye Cream is relatively expensive compared to other eye creams on the market, so though we found it to be a strong performer, it might not be the cream for you if you like to stick to a small skin care budget.
Tips and tricks for improving your under-eye texture
Once you’re armed with an excellent eye cream, you’re halfway there, but you still have a number of things to do to help nourish and protect your under-eye skin so that your eye cream doesn’t have to do all the work. We guarantee you’ll get better results if you follow a few of these tips.
Dermarolling is a form of microneedling that involves rolling a small device with tiny needles over the skin to create micro-injuries. This process helps to stimulate collagen production and improves the texture of the skin under the eyes. When using a dermaroller, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a clean and sterilized device, and that you’re rolling in a gentle and controlled manner. It’s recommended to use the dermaroller once or twice a week and to use a hydrating and soothing serum after the treatment. It’s also not advisable to use a retinoid in tandem with dermarolling.
The skin under the eyes is thin and delicate, and it’s also one of the first areas to show signs of aging. Using sunscreen on a daily basis helps protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV rays and prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s important to use a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 (preferably 50+) and to apply it every morning, even on cloudy days.
Hydration is key to maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin. Drinking plenty of water can help to plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Dermatologists recommend drinking 8–12 glasses of water a day.
Sleep is essential for maintaining healthy and youthful-looking skin. Not getting enough sleep can cause dark circles and puffiness around the eyes. It’s important to get at least 7–8 hours of sleep per night and to maintain a regular sleep schedule.
Eye masks can soothe and hydrate the skin under the eyes. They help reduce puffiness and dark circles, as well as to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Eye masks can be used once or twice a week, and they can be left on for 15–20 minutes. It’s important to use a hydrating and soothing eye mask, and to use it after cleansing and toning the skin.
Diet plays a significant role in improving the health and appearance of your skin. Eating foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and fiber can all help improve the overall health of the skin.