best eye creams and serums

What are the best eye creams? Facial moisturisers you can use on the eye area, too. I’m not kidding. The eye area may be thinner and more delicate, but most brands don’t bother using gentler ingredients for it. And its special needs? Please! Show me a cream that has REALLY reduced your dark circles…

Eye creams are nothing more than face moisturisers in a smaller jar (or tube), so use your fave cream all over and call it a day. But I know this step is too radical for some of you. Some women just love using a separate eye cream. Others may have to because their undereye area is considerably oilier or drier than the rest of their face – the only case when a facial moisturizer all over wouldn’t do. If that’s you, here are the best eye creams and serums you can find in the shops today:

What To Look For In Eye Creams And Serums?

This may surprise you, but your eye area needs exactly what the rest of your skin needs:

  • Hydrators: Look for humectants, like hyaluronic acid and urea, that draw a ton of moisture from the air into your skin, helping to keep it hydrated – without adding a lot of oily grease that could lead to milia seeds. Win win.
  • Antioxidants: Vitamins C and E, green tea, and ferulic acid are just a few of the antioxidants that neutralise free radicals, the nasty molecules that give you wrinkles, before they can wreak their damage. The more antioxidants in your skincare routine, the better.
  • Retinoids: They’re the only thing that can reduce crow’s feet. BUT, they’re irritating. Opt for small concentrations that get the job done without irritating the eye area and use them sparingly. Two or three nights a week is more than enough.
  • SPF: The skin of your eye area is thinner and more delicate, so sun damage wreaks more damage – at a faster rate. Protect it with a good SPF. Don’t forget to reapply it throughout the day!
  • Fragrance-free: Fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients used in skincare. Your eye area is one of the most delicate areas of your body. See where I’m going with this? Opt for fragrance-free formulas whenever possible.

WARNING! Don’t be fooled by special ingredients, like caffeine, that promise to get rid of dark circles. If they really worked, no one would have dark circles anymore!


What can eye creams and serums do?

They do what facial moisturisers do. Depending on the ingredients, they moisturise skin, prevent wrinkles, provide sun protection, and brighten the eye area.

What can’t eye creams and serums do?

They can’t get rid of puffy eyes and dark circles. I know, it’s 2023. You’d think scientists would have found a way to get rid of dark circles by now. And there are many treatments that promise to do the trick. But none delivers. Science is still behind on this one. I mean, if eye creams could really depuff eyes and get rid of dark circles, no one would deal with them anymore, know what I mean? Trust your eyes, not marketing, ladies!

Who needs an eye cream?

I said it before and I’ll say it till my dying day: eye creams are glorified facial moisturisers in smaller jars that sell at a higher price. If you already have a good skincare routine in place, chances are, you don’t need one. The only exceptions? If your skin on the eye area is drier or oilier than the skin on the rest of your face, then it makes sense to use a separate product. Otherwise, save your penny and apply your face creams and serums all over.

How often can you use eye creams and serums?

You can use up to twice a day – unless they contain retinoids. Then, two or three nights a week is more than enough.

How do you apply eye creams and serums?

Pat them on using your ring finger. It’s the gentler. And don’t rub! It just creates wrinkles.

Should you apply eye cream on the eyelids?

You can get away with applying a thin serum on the eyelids, but nothing more. Most products are too thick for this super delicate area.

What Are The Best Eye Creams And Serums?

FaceTheory Ocuwake Eye Cream EYE1 PRO (£31.00)

This hydrating eye creams packs a moisturising punch that keeps even the driest of skin types soft and supple for hours. That alone is an anti-aging trick that makes crow’s feet smaller. Plus, the cream is enriched with its fair share of antioxidants to keep premature aging at bay. Just don’t buy the cool-aid about peptides, they don’t do anything in skincare -an apart from increasing the price tag of your cream. It has a lovely texture that smoothes out the eye are and is a pleasure to use.

Available at: FaceTheory

Active ingredients: Urea, Vitamin E (Tocopherol), and Vitamin C (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate).

Benefits: Hydrates, reduces the appearance of dark circles, and prevents wrinkles.

Cons: Peptides don’t do anything for skin.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum

Want to get rid of crow’s feet? You need retinol. This form of vitamin A is a multitasker: it fights free radicals, boosts collagen production and fades away dark spots. Ferulic acid, the other superstar that gives Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum its name, is another powerful antioxidant that can destroy three types of free radicals (superoxide, hydroxyl radical, and nitric oxide) before they give you wrinkles. Add a dash of licorice extract to lighten dark spots and you’ve got a well-rounded eye cream that moisturises skin, fights wrinkles and makes dark circles less obvious. Just a warning: if you’ve never used retinol before, it can irritate your skin. Use it a couple of nights a week at the beginning and increase frequency from there.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Harrods, Selfridges, Sephora, Skin Store, and SpaceNK

Active ingredients: Retinol and ferulic acid.

Benefits: Treats crow’s feet.

Cons: Retinol can irritate your skin when you first start using it.

Skin type: All skin types bar sensitive.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum Full Review

Mad Hippie Eye Cream ($25.99)

This unassuming eye cream contains literally everything you eye area needs: shea butter and squalene deeply moisturise and plump up skin, making it looks softer and smoother instantly; antioxidants like Vitamins C and E prevent the formation of premature wrinkles; chamomile and other skin soothing agents reduce irritations; caffeine helps with dark circles (but only if they’re caused by leaky blood vessels). Oh, and niacinamide does all of the above on its own too! If you’re looking for an one stop shop for your eye area, look no further.

Available at: iHerb and Ulta

Active ingredients: Niacinamide, shea butter, and antioxidants.

Benefits: Moisturises, soothes, and prevents wrinkles.

Cons: Can’t treat most types of dark circles.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($37.00/£32.00)

If your fave facial cream isn’t moisturizing enough for your uber dry eye area, you need Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream in your stash. Its rich texture is super moisturizing and makes even the driest of skin types soft and smooth again. Plus, it’s loaded with antioxidants and soothing ingredients that fight free radicals and reduce inflammation, the two main causes of premature aging. The only downside? It doesn’t make the best base for makeup. Use it at night only.

Available at: Dermstore, and Paula’s Choice

Active ingredients: Shea butter and antioxidants.

Benefits: Moisturises, soothes, and prevents wrinkles.

Cons: Can’t treat most types of dark circles or crow’s feet.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: How To Care For Dry Skin (Plus Free Skincare Routine Cheatsheet)

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream ($15.99/£11.00)

Niacinamide is an antiaging superstar everyone should include in their skincare routine. It moisturises skin, soothes irritations, fights wrinkles and even fades away dark spots. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream has a huge dollop of niacinamide, plus ceramides to strengthen your skin’s protective barrier and hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin. It’s a great option all year round, but it really shines in winter when your skin needs all the help it can get to stay soft and supple.

Available at: Boots, Dermstore, Ulta and Walmart

Active ingredients: Niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid.

Benefits: Moisturises skin.

Cons: Not anti-aging.

Skin type: Dry skin.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: CeraVe Eye Repair Cream Full Review

Need help creating an anti-aging routine that really works? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).

Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Dew It All Eye Gel ($58.00)

Dr Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Dew It All Eye Gel is cheating. It uses mineral pigments to brighten the undereye area and “hide” dark circles. Think of it as an eye cream with concealer built in. I know, kind of a let down but – let’s be honest here – that’s still the best way to reduce dark circles. Plus, the hydrating formula is enriched with plant-based antioxidants with soothing properties that calm down irritations and prevent new wrinkles. Heck, it may even help with puffiness (I say may because if your puffy eyes are due to shifting fat pads, no eye cream can help).

Active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, caffeine, centella asiatica.

Benefits: Hydrates and calms down irritations.

Cons: Can’t treat dark circles or crows’ feet.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Net-A-Porter,  Selfridges, Sephora, and SpaceNK

Related: Dark Circles Causes & Cures: What Really Works?

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream ($64.00/£54.00)

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream contains 5 different forms of vitamin C! This powerful antioxidant fights free radicals, boosts collagen and even brightens the skin tone. If that’s not enough, this rich cream is loaded with every antioxidant you can think of to make sure those premature wrinkles don’t show up anytime soon. Plus, it moisturises the eye area and soothes irritations. Did I mention it makes a great base for makeup, too?

Available at: Boots, Cult Beauty, Sephora, SpaceNK, Ulta

Active ingredients: Vitamin C.

Benefits: Moisturises skin, brightens the eye area, and prevents wrinkles.

Cons: Can’t reduce the wrinkles you already have.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: All The Types Of Vitamin C Used In Skincare

Supergroup! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40 ($40.00)

Again, you don’t need a separate sunscreen for the eye area. I just pat whatever’s left of my facial sunscreen on the eye area. But if you’re looking for an eye cream with sunscreen built-in, this is the best I’ve found. Zinc Oxide provides broad spectrum protection without irritating the gentle eye area, while mica brightens it up so that your dark circles look smaller to the naked eye (but it doesn’t make them go away completely). Plus, it’s hydrating enough for most skin types.

Available at: Blue Mercury, Goop!, Nordstrom, Supergoop!, and Ulta

Active ingredients: 14% Zinc Oxide and Mica.

Benefits: Provides broad spectrum sun protection and brightens the eye area.

Cons: Can’t reduce wrinkles and only masks dark spots.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum ($89.00)

If you’re serious about reducing crow’s feet, get yourself a bottle of this eye serum. It contains two forms of retinoids, the only skincare family that can reduce wrinkles. Retinol and Retinyl Propionate do the job by boosting collagen production. The more collagen your skin has, the firmer it gets and the smaller your wrinkles get. While they’re at it, retinoids also reduce dark spots. If that’s what causing your dark circles, this eye serum can help. Plus, it’s super hydrating. It needs to be to counteract the drying effects of retinoids. The only thing I could do without is the scent, but if it doesn’t bother you, there’s no reason not to use it.

Available at: Cult Beauty, Harrods, Murad, Selfridges, SpaceNK, and Ulta

Active ingredients: Retinol, Retinyl Propionate, Urea.

Benefits: Reduces crow’s feet and hydrates the eye area.

Cons: Retinoids can be irritating.

Skin type: All skin types bar sensitive.

Fragrance-free: No.

The Bottom Line

You don’t need a separate product for the eye area. But if you want to use one, now you know the best eye creams and serums to moisturise your skin, brighten the delicate eye areas and keep crows’ feet at bay for as long as possible.