The Very Best Eye Creams That’ll Help You Look Rested (Even If You Aren’t)

Puffiness? Darkness? Wrinkles? There's an eye cream for that.

Linh Ha, Unsplash

by Phoebe Lee |

Eye creams divide the world of beauty. For some, the idea that a pot of cream - which, they'd say, is just a smaller version of your favourite moisturiser - will treat your skin differently, is absurd. Others won't go a day without theirs. What's undeniable though, is that if you're low on your 8 hours, or haven't drunk enough water during the day, your eyes are often the first place to show it.

Why do I need an eye cream?

‘Under the eyes, skin lacks the fatty cushioning you see on the rest of the face, making it far more delicate and susceptible to fine lines, dryness, dark circles and puffiness,’ explains skincare specialist, Debbie Thomas. Because it's so thin and delicate, this area does not require the high dosage of actives found in your average face moisturiser, or the thick, heavy texture. In fact, too much product can cause irritation and increase sensitivity. 'Eye creams tend to be formulated with smaller molecules that will penetrate deeper,' adds aesthetician Joanna Czech.

With this in mind, it might be time (if you haven’t already) to switch out your standard moisturiser for a specifically formulated eye cream instead. Whether it's dark circles, puffiness, wrinkles or dryness you want to target, there are many new-gen formulas that seek to tackle them.

When do I apply an eye cream?

'Always apply eye cream before your final moisturiser, unless you’re applying some form ofvitamin A(aka, retinol)’ says Czech. ‘If this is the case, apply eye cream first and then apply your active, steering clear of the eye area. If you apply eye cream last, as many people do, it will prevent the product from penetrating the skin as it has to work through a layer of moisturiser.'

What should I look for in an eye cream?

Sadly, it's as easy as just grabbing one on offer in Boots (although you can't go wrong with a hydrating formula) but if you're really looking to get the most out of an eye cream you first need to prioritize what results you're after. This totally depends on your concern - from de-puffing to brightening and even wrinkle-reducing, these are the key ingredients you need to look out for and the very best eye creams that tackle every eye concern imaginable.

Best Eye Creams For...Dark Circles

The Cause:

'If dark circles occasionally appear, this usually relates to sleep deprivation,' states Thomas. 'The blood vessels around our eyes dilate when we’re tired, creating that dark tint. More permanent darkness under the eyes is often due to genetics.'

The Cream:

If your dark circles are occasional, your best solution is sleep. But we all know that getting 8 hours isn't always easy. If you're an insomniac, new parent or other, beeline vitamin C (skin's best brightening friend). Dr. Collette Haydon tells us that the wonder stuff boosts collagen, regulates melanin production and scavenges free-radicals, making skin brighter and more evenly toned. Here are all the best eye creams that contain it in abundance:

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SHOP: Vitamin C Eye Creams

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With a bucketload of vitamin C, this eye cream will brighten the skin and even tone overtime. The orange tint perks up the skin instantly, too, for subtle colour correction. The texture is lightweight and gel-like, and sits nicely under make-up.

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StiVectin are frontrunners in skincare innovation, backed by science. You'll find a super concentrated dose of vitamin C here combined with botanicals, that claim to target both warm and cool toned dark circles. The results from the clinical research are promising, too: 93% reported dark circles are improved.

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Powered by a potent blend of vitamin C and peptides to help support the skin's natural collagen production for a firmer, smoother finish. Enriched with caffeine, the treatment also works to de-puff the eyes for a brighter, more alert look.

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A little goes a long way with this balm-like eye cream, formulated with potent antioxidants, replenishing ceramides, plant oils and soothing actives, all utilised to refresh and restore radiance to delicate tissue. The stars of the show are eight peptides, five forms of vitamin C and cucumber extract, which brighten and firm for stronger, more even and more youthful-looking skin.

The Best Eye Creams For...Puffiness

The Cause:

Sadly, there are a whole host of culprits responsible for puffiness in the under eye area: think alcohol, allergies, humidity and water retention. Julianne Moore even pointed the finger at sushi once when speaking to The Cut, and she's half right - the sodium in the soy can, indeed, make the body retain excess water. Genetics and ageing also have a part to play.

The Creams:

To those with puffiness caused by lifestyle factors, cyrotherapy is your friend. Many eye treatments now utilise cooling ceramic applicators in the shape of a rollerball, so you're massaging the area with cold temperature as you apply the cream.

Increasing circulation helps reduce puffiness too, says Thomas. She advocates for lymphatic drainage: massage the under eyes in a sweeping motion to flush out excess water, moving up and outwards.

Keep these eye creams in the fridge (no: you do not need a dedicated skincare one). They often have ingredients in there too to treat other eye concerns, such as fine lines or dryness.

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SHOP: De-Puffing Eye Creams

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With a ceramic rollerball applicator, Clinique's eye serum makes light work of shifting water retention and therefore banishing puffiness. There are also ingredients there to treat the skin, like caffeine, to also help brighten.

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While Fenty might not necessarily be your go-to for skincare, don't overlook this smart eye treatment. It comes with a seperate massage tool to help with the de-puffing process, and the cooling gel-cream hydrates and soothes delicate skin.

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With ingredients including caffeine, horse chestnut and Brazilian ginseng root extract to smooth and brighten, as well as watermelon extract, shea and cocoa butter to hydrate, calm and rebalance moisture levels, this potent lotion helps brighten and perk-up fatigued eyes.

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Origin's famed GinZing eye cream now has the added benefits of vitamin C and niacinamide, helping to brighten, hydrate and depuff your undereyes.

The Best Eye Creams for... Fine Lines and Wrinkles

The Cause:

Fine lines around the eye area appearing quicker than that of the rest of your face? That's because under the eyes, skin lacks the fatty cushioning you see on the rest of the face, making it far more delicate, according to Thomas. For this, she recommends an eye-specific retinol product to encourage cell renewal, build collagen and therefore diminish them over time.

The Cream:

An eye-specific retinol will have the measured, ideal dosage of retinol to treat the area. If you're a retinol newbie, don't flood the delicate eye area with any old retinol serum. Treat the thin, delicate skin with care. Here are Grazia's recommendations for eye creams for wrinkles.

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SHOP: Eye Cream for Wrinkles

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You can trust Harley Street dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting to take care of your delicate eye area. Her eye serum features Granactive Retinoid, a type of retinol that Dr. Sam says 'gold standard' for reducing fine lines, as well as niacinamide to boost ceramides and reduce the appearance of them. All in all? A pretty hard working little tube, we'd say.

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La Roche-Posay's retinol eye treatment contains a gradual release retinol, so as not to overwhelm the delicate area with too much of the active (which can cause sensitivity). Don't forget to follow both options with SPF.

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This super affordable retinol eye cream from Inkey List is for you if you're looking for a gentle, lightweight introduction to retinol, without the hefty price tag.

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Sunday Riley's 5 star eye serum truly lives up to its name - packing at punch with a 6% retinoid complex, niacinamide and bioactive centella asiatica (to support natural collagen production).

The Best Eye Cream For...Dry, Sensitive Eyes

The Cause:

The skin around our eyes is thin (think five times thinner than that on the rest of our face). It's less able to retain moisture, and so can get dry a lot quicker. If you've got dry skin naturally, it's not uncommon for the eye area to be one of the driest parts of the face.

The Cream:

Opt for a cream that's bursting with ingredients that hydrate and soothe: look out for words and ingredients like hyaluronic acid, lipids and ceramides. These should quench any dry patches. Avoid any matte formulas, though: any cream that is buttery and rich should leave the skin adequately hydrated and plump, and therefore won't exacerbate fine lines.

Looking to upgrade your eye cream with a good all-rounder that truly does what it says on the tin? Consider Kiehl's latest, Uber-gentle offering.

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SHOP: Eye Creams for Dry, Sensitive Eyes

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Kiehl's recognise that the delicate skin around your eyes requires a little extra TLC from your skincare - a swipe of your go-to moisturiser simply won't meet the mark. Their multi-action cream has been developed to deliver multiple eye-specific benefits. It's charged with antioxidant-botanicals like bilberry seed extract, as well as a patented firming and lifting complex called Proxylane. The cream works to smooth, de-puff and brighten the area too.

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People love CeraVe. Everything the brand creates includes their signature ceramide complex, complete with 3 essential ceramides and hyaluronic acid (a dream for drier skin, especially). This cream is more lightweight than its Kiehl's counterpart, but does a stellar job at comforting sensitive, flaky skin.

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Designed to help reduce the appearance of eye bags, dark circles, and fine lines all while remaining super gentle - this revitalising formula is powered by Caffeine, natural origin Hyaluronic Acid, Adenosine and 89% Vichy Thermal Mineralising Water.

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La Roche-Posay are well known for their sensitive-skin-friendly formulas. For a soothing effect, this delivers a brighter, plumper eye area while redefining and tightening the eye contour.

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