The best eye cream for wrinkles comes down to using the right ingredients on the right issue. The most common: wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles.
Our top pick for addressing fine lines and best eye cream for wrinkles is Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream. It has the right combination of ingredients: retinyl palmitate (a gentler form of retinol), multiple peptides for boosting collagen production, and hyaluronic acid for keeping skin hydrated. The lightweight cream comes in a 0.5-ounce opaque tube with a tip applicator, which will help keep the active ingredients active — retinoids and peptides are sensitive to light and air. This eye cream left our skin feeling moisturized without being heavy or greasy. It does have a light scent that reminded us of sunscreen, but it wasn’t off-putting and dissipated quickly.
When it comes to battling dark circles, our top pick is Vichy Idealia Eyes. Its ingredient list boasts an effective combo: caffeine to constrict blood vessels, and antioxidants and peptides to help combat the breakdown of collagen. It also includes sunscreen, niacinamide, and mica, which all work to help brighten the skin to make dark circles less noticeable. The cream soaks in quickly and is lightweight enough to layer over your daily makeup and the silicone applicator was one of the favorites we tested — gently massaging in the product without pulling or tugging.
If puffiness is your problem, Honest Beauty’s The Depuffed Eye is our top pick. It features anti-puff ingredients like caffeine (for tightening inflamed skin) and antioxidants green tea and chamomile (for reducing swelling). The opaque tube has a metal paddle applicator head that works to instantly cool the skin around the eye and the massaging action helps displace pooling liquid to immediately address puffiness. Let’s explore about that best eye cream for wrinkles now!
Ingredients that common skin irritants.
First things first. “The skin around the eye is very thin and sensitive and will not always tolerate the same products that your cheeks and forehead can tolerate,” says Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in Beverly Hills and clinical instructor at the University of Southern California.
The most offensive ingredients when it comes to skin sensitivity around the eye: synthetic fragrance, parabens, and mineral oils. “A lot of eye creams have parabens, preservatives, and fragrances. These ingredients should be avoided, especially if you have sensitive skin or notice any skin irritation,” says Dr. Rhonda Klein, a dermatologist based in Connecticut.
Certain natural oils, like avocado or coconut oil, can be really good in eye creams for moisturizing, but “mineral oil can be too occlusive; it blocks the pores,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From A Top New York Dermatologist.
So, we cut all eye creams that included parabens, fragrances, and mineral oils of best eye cream for wrinkles.
After we cut the bad stuff, we wanted to know about the good stuff (aka the most effective ingredients). We reached out to our experts and found that it really depends on what you want your eye cream to do. There are three major issues that eye creams seek to address: wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness. And, what is a good ingredient to target for one issue, shouldn’t be used in combination in the same product for another.
Time of day matters too.
“In general you want to address dark circles and puffiness in the morning,” says Klein. “And, then use a retinoid or other anti-aging products and moisturizers at night.”
Best Ingredients for Fighting Wrinkles
When it comes to fighting best eye cream for wrinkles around the eye area, there are three ingredients that our experts kept repeating: retinoids, peptides, and hyaluronic acid.
Retinoids are a well-documented wrinkle fighter. Derived from vitamin A, they help the skin slough off old cells and encourages production of collagen. But, eye cream with straight-up retinol is usually not a good idea for the sensitive, thin-skinned eye area. Because of that, most eye creams that target wrinkles usually have retinoids in a lower dosage, or a gentler derivative like retinyl palmitate, than anti-aging face creams.
Our experts also emphasized the effectiveness of peptides for a similar reason. “Peptides are small fragments of collagen and proteins that are meant to ‘trick’ the skin into thinking that its collagen is broken, and that it needs to make new collagen to replace it. Over time, it can help thicken skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles,” says Shainhouse.
Both retinoids and peptides can be drying, so a moisturizer is also key. The best: hyaluronic acid. It works by helping draw moisture into individual cells, plumbing them up and keeping them hydrated. We also included sodium hyaluronic acid, a salt derivative of hyaluronic acid, which offers that same benefit and is more easily absorbed by the skin.
We looked for eye creams that had either retinoids or peptides (these do similar things and not everyone can handle retinoids) and hyaluronic acid. We also cut alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). While the combo of AHAs and retinoids is common in wrinkle creams, it’s too much for your eye area.
Best Ingredients for Dark Circles
The first thing to look for in the battle against dark circles is the same thing we use to jumpstart tired brains in the morning: caffeine. “You lose collagen and elastin under your eyes as you age,” says Klein. “Since that skin is thin to begin with, the blood vessels show up more and more. Caffeine shrinks the blood vessels to help make that blue color less noticeable.”
Helping to prevent future breakdown of elastin and collagen is also important. All the dermatologists we talked to said that antioxidants were the way to go. We used this dictionary from skincare expert, Paula Begoun, which ranks different antioxidants on their effectiveness in skincare products. We only considered antioxidants with “good” or “best” rankings.
Sunscreen was another must. Not only does it protect skin from sun damage, but also the right kind can help brighten up dark circles right away. “Morning creams with zinc oxide, natural minerals, or other optical diffusers will help conceal dark circles and provide sun protection, so they have dual purpose,” says Klein. We call that a win-win.
Other nice-to-haves we prioritized: niacinamide, which is known for lightening up dark spots on skin; mica, a natural mineral that reflects light for immediate under-eye brightening; and peptides, which help rebuild collagen to make those blood vessels less noticeable (and, unlike retinoids, are fine to use in the daytime).
We also cut any eye creams that included retinoids. While using retinoids at night to rebuild collagen can help your dark circles be less apparent over time, for an immediate effect, the eye creams without these ingredients are your best bet.
Best Ingredients for Puffy Eyes
Treating puffy eyes has some similarities to treating dark circles: caffeine and antioxidants are must-have ingredients here too. Caffeine’s constricting effect helps tighten up inflamed skin, and certain antioxidants are effective at reducing swelling. According to our experts, namely: green tea, vitamin K, chamomile, copper, licorice, and aloe vera.
We also cut retinoids. Those should be reserved for your nighttime regimen — constricting puffiness is best saved for the morning.
Our Finalists for Best Eye Cream for Puffy Eyes: 4
- Algenist Firming & Lifting Eye Gel
- Honest Beauty The Depuffed Eye
- MDSolarSciences Daily Eye Repair Emulsion
- Origins No Puffery Cooling Roll-On for Puffy Eyes
Ingredients aren’t the only things that matter when it comes to something you’re putting on your skin. We wanted to see which were best when it came to texture, smell, application, and packaging best eye cream for wrinkles.
Packaging is important, in particular. When it comes to the ingredients that make eye cream effective, like antioxidants, retinoids, and peptides, they’re super-sensitive to light and air. So, an airtight, opaque container is best. This will ensure that the product’s active ingredients don’t break down before you can use it up. Tubes and pumps versus tubs are also ideal — these ensure that you’re not introducing bacteria into your product with your fingers, which can lead to bacteria growth in your eye cream. No good.
When it comes to fighting wrinkles around the eyes, the combination of ingredients is the most important. Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream includes retinyl palmitate, a retinoid with a lower level of vitamin A than retinol, so it’s less likely to cause irritation on the thin skin in the eye area. It also has more than one peptide, which provides more opportunity to boost collagen growth and smooth out wrinkles. And, lastly, it has the ultra-moisturizer hyaluronic acid.
Botanics Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream with all the ingredients to fight wrinkles, plus added moisturizers like almond oil and shea butter. Buy it here
The lightweight cream felt more like a serum, and we noticed immediately how moisturized our skin felt. Not surprising thanks to the sweet almond oil, shea butter, and fatty alcohols in addition to the hyaluronic acid. Wrinkle-fighting retinoids and peptides can be drying, so we appreciated these extra moisturizing ingredients. Despite all of these moisturizers, our skin didn’t feel heavy or greasy and the product soaked in quickly. There is a slight scent, reminiscent of sunscreen, but it wasn’t off-putting and dissipated quickly.
The Botanics’ Radiant Youth Hydrating Eye Cream comes in an opaque tube with a tip applicator. Not quite as foolproof as the airtight pump of our runner-up, but for $25, a little oxidization risk may be worth the value. Both Hydroxatone Hydrolyze Intensive Under Eye Treatment ($69) and First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy Overnight Balm ($38) come in jars — a much higher price tag for packaging that’s going to expose the eye cream to air, light, and potential bacteria.
2nd best eye cream for Wrinkles
Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Swirl Gel Cream Includes gentle wrinkle fighting ingredients, plus some to combat dark circles too.
You can see its signature swirl through the bottle — Olay calls it a swirl of cream with a swirl of gel — so, the consistency, unsurprisingly, is a little creamy and a little serum-like. It has a slightly greasier residue than Botanics that lingered longer. Though, once it fully absorbed, our skin felt smooth and moisturized. We’d recommend keeping your usage to nightly, and not layering on makeup. It has no noticeable scent unlike the slight sunscreen smell of Botanics and includes a pump for great portion control. One pump provided the perfect amount for both eyes.
And, while we liked the pump (no way to introduce bacteria inadvertently like with tubs), the transparent bottle isn’t ideal. But a risk of a little oxidation might be worth the price tag ($29) and availability — this well-known brand can be found on most drugstore shelves and through popular online retailers.
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream’
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream, another familiar drugstore name, is also worthy of a look — especially if your focus is fine lines and crow’s feet. It includes retinol, the powerhouse of wrinkle fighters, but keep in mind that not all skin can handle it. The package warns that “you may experience mild redness, a warm, tingling sensation or flaking (skin exfoliation). These are normal, temporary indications that the formula is working.” If the effects persist or cause too much discomfort, though, retinol may not be for you. Try an eye cream with gentler wrinkle fighters like either of our picks from Botanics or Olay.Buy it now!
Eye creams, who needs them? Just about everyone, actually — no matter your age. While it’s beneficial to start using any anti-aging products at age 20, eye creams are often the most forgotten when it comes to skincare.
Best Eye cream for wrinkles are one of our best bets for keeping up appearances (or transforming our eyes when they seem in despair). They help banish wrinkles, dark shadows, puffiness and a host of other orbital concerns. Plus, they’re a great aid in looking well-rested even when we’re not. Here, we’ve tested and ranked a slew of eye formulas to find the best eye creams (and the worst!) to see which are worth the splurge and which should be left on the shelf.