Can we get a big "hell yeah!" for eye creams? Without them we would be lost, wandering around hopelessly, looking just as tired as we feel. Yes, this is hyperbolic, but thanks to these potions, our puffiness, fatigue, and dark circles really are reduced — and for that, we celebrate.
Due to a combination of late nights and poor sleep habits, we've had more than our fair share of opportunities to test out puff-reducing, bag-demolishing eye creams. We've tried the good, the bad — and then we've tried the miracle workers. That's what the eye creams ahead are: cool, creamy miracles.
Now, we're not naive enough to think that a tube of cream alone can fix fatigue. No, it comes down to a combo of an out-of-this-world product and some serious application know-how. So, we went to the woman with all the complexion-perfecting answers to get the scoop on the best way to apply your eye cream in order to make your gaze its most rested.
According to celebrity aesthetician and perfect-skin-whisperer (we've told her she needs to put that on her business cards) Joanna Czech, you can tailor your application to the type of results you want: anti-aging or de-puffing.
For anti-aging, here's what she advises: "Start with your inner eye and apply the cream, but do a little press-and-release motion. Apply your cream in a few points around the eye, and then, using your middle or ring finger, place them in the inner corner of the eye below the brow on the upper lid. Slightly press and release, working outward. Do the same on the bottom, but work from the outer corner to the inner corner."
According to Czech, with this technique you are working against gravity — and against the lines. "When you press your skin, it microscopically stretches, and when you release it grabs the product and draws it into the surface of the skin." She advises that this method is better for the evening and with a richer cream, since the focus is anti-aging and hydration. As a follow-up, she recommends placing two lukewarm chamomile tea bags on your eyes and laying down for 20 minutes. This will provide soothing and anti-redness relief.
For de-puffing, it's all about fluid drainage. Puffiness is caused by a buildup of fluid in your under-eye area, so diminishing it comes down to (gently!) pushing it out of there. Says Czech, "I would do the upper lid the exact same way as the anti-aging method, and then on the under-eye I would go from the inner corner to outer, sliding my finger down to give a form of lymphatic drainage. Very slight pressing motion as you slide." She advises that this is great to do in the morning, and that you can enhance the de-puffing effects by using a cold product, so pop that a.m. eye cream in the fridge for best results.
Now that you know the secrets of eye cream application, read on for our top product picks, including the formulas that dominated our 2019 Beauty Innovator Awards.
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Clinique Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro Filler
Consider this a hydration IV in water-gel form, no needles necessary. A quick tap of the featherlight formula underneath your eyes yields a plump, refreshed effect that lasts for days.
Clinique Clinique Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro Filler, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Darphin Intral De-Puffing Anti Oxidant Eye Cream
You know that "ahhhh" feeling you get after drinking a tall glass of water? That's what this cooling gel-cream is, but for your eyes. You'll also see a decrease in puffiness thanks to ingredients like chamomile and peony.
Darphin Intral De-Puffing Anti Oxidant Eye Cream, $, available at Bluemercury
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Eye Cream
The under-eye area is delicate, so it should be treated as such. This non-comedogenic cream is formulated with niacinamide and thermal spring water to gently reduce dryness, hypersensitivity, and dark circles.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Eye Cream, $, available at DermStore
Vichy Minéral 89 Eyes Serum
Fake eight hours of sleep — even if you've only gotten five — with this gel that's made of 89% mineral-charged thermal water, pure caffeine, and hyaluronic acid. With a power combo like this, it's no wonder it was named a 2019 Beauty Innovator Award winner.
Vichy Minéral 89 Eyes Serum, $, available at Amazon
Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40
Leave it to sunscreen disruptor Supergoop! to create an eye cream with 100% zinc oxide that absorbs instantly with zero white cast. Not only does it blend in seamlessly to visually brighten the area, but it protects from UV rays and blue light, too.
Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40, $, available at Sephora
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream
With a powerful cocktail of vitamins C and E, hyaluronic acid, and caffeine, dark circles and fine lines don't stand a chance against this eye cream.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora
MZ Skin Soothe and Smooth Collagen Activating Eye Complex
This eye cream is not cheap, but it is magic. It's formulated with rare Albazia bark extract, which helps strengthens capillaries (those pesky blue blood vessels), and a mixture of moisture-locking and plumping hyaluronic acid and ceramides. It has a solid beauty-editor stamp of approval — and supermodels are obsessed, too.
MZ Skin Soothe and Smooth Collagen Activating Eye Complex, $, available at Neiman Marcus
Olay Eyes Pro-Retinol Eye Cream Treatment
Tap this potent wrinkle-smoother around your eyes and over crow's feet daily. The retinol is formulated to be non-irritating, so you can use it in the morning, but you'll want to make sure you go over it with SPF.
Olay Eyes Pro-Retinol Eye Cream Treatment, $, available at Amazon
This heavy-duty eye cream is formulated with retinol to reduce the appearance of fine lines — just make sure to only use it at night to avoid irritation from sun exposure.
RoC Eye Cream, $24.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream
Winter dryness? Okay, we can handle it. Rough, irritated dry patches? Bane of our existence. This hydrating eye cream acts like a direct shot of moisture, so you can wake up with soft, smooth under-eyes again.
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream, $, available at Neiman Marcus
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye
This hydrating, skin-strengthening eye cream works as you sleep to reduce fine lines, minimize puffiness, and brighten dark circles, so you look — and feel — like you’ve gotten twice as much beauty sleep.
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye, $, available at Sephora
Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum
Tatcha's eye serum is incredibly lightweight, and includes a cooling applicator that does all of the work for you.
Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum, $, available at Sephora
Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream
This eye cream is all about bringing moisture to the under-eye area using hyaluronic acid. Plus, it absorbs quickly, so you can wear it day and night and not worry about your makeup sliding around.
Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment
Tarte’s Maracuja collection has developed a cult following for good reason — and one of our favorite products of the bunch is the brightening eye cream. The maracuja fruit and vitamin C-enriched formula is firming and brightening. Meaning: It’ll make you look awake with just a few dabs (we suggest dotting it on with your pinky for best results). And it’s so light in consistency, you can apply your concealer right away — if you even feel like you need it, that is.
Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment, $, available at Sephora
No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream
Another firming wonder, this cream moisturizes, plumps, de-puffs, and protects the delicate eye area. We like this one as a night cream, as it's a little too rich for daytime use unless your skin is super dry.
No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Dermalogica Age Smart Reversal Eye Complex
This tried-and-true eye cream has been reformulated to include microencapsulated retinol and niacinamide, which help to penetrate deeply to brighten, smooth, and plump.
Dermalogica Age Smart Reversal Eye Complex, $, available at Ulta Beauty
Embryolisse Radiant Eye Stick
They don't call this Secret de Maquilleurs (loosely translated, that's "makeup artists' secret," for you non-Francophones) for nothing. This handy little stick offers a cooling sensation that feels delicious on tired eyes. More importantly, it helps smooth out the contours of the eye and makes your makeup go on (and look) so much better. Add to that a radiance-boosting effect, and it's no wonder makeup artists hoard this beauty in their kits.
Embryolisse Radiant Eye Stick, $, available at Embryolisse
SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel
Phloretin, vitamin C, and ferulic acid in a potent serum-in-a-gel formula help this antioxidant-rich potion penetrate the skin and work to correct signs of photodamage, as well as puffiness and dark circles.
SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel, $, available at DermStore
Arcona Eye Dew
Arcona's cult-classic eye cream has shea butter and hyaluronic acid to provide ultimate hydration, while anti-inflammatory blueberry extract and vitamin E help comfort tired eyes. Apply this before you hit the sheets — it's a little heavy for day — and you'll wake up refreshed and revitalized.
Arcona Eye Dew, $, available at Nordstrom
Philosophy Hope In A Tube
Philosophy’s Hope in a Tube does double duty — the ultra-moisturizing eye and lip cream helps to minimize fine lines around these areas. So, those pesky little crow’s feet? You can get rid of them the same way you get rid of the lines in the corners of your mouth. The blend of vitamins E and C helps to reduce the appearance of these lines and revitalize the skin.
Philosophy Hope In A Tube, $, available at Ulta Beauty
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream
This stuff is the best to use right before putting on concealer, as the cucumber- and hyaluronic acid-fueled formula is smooth enough to be a primer.
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème
No bananas were harmed in the making of this brightening eye cream: It was actually inspired by the yellow setting powder that makeup artists love for brightening and color-correcting the eye area. Fittingly, this vitamin C-rich formula does all that and more, targeting fine lines while instantly reducing the look of dark circles.
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $, available at Sephora
Vi Derm Revitalizing Eye Cream
Vi Derm's Revitalizing Eye Cream has a medium-weight, creamy texture, but soaks in as fast as a gel, leaving skin plumped up and moisturized. It packs hyaluronic acid to replenish hydration and a blend of different peptides that help to de-puff, firm, and fight dark circles.
VI Derm Revitalizing Eye Cream, $, available at DermStore
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum – Synchronized Complex II
Wake up to instantly brighter eyes thanks to this overnight treatment. Crow's feet, dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness will soon be a thing of the past.
Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II, $, available at Estée Lauder
Caudalie VineActiv Vitamin C Energizing Eye Cream
Gentle enough for even the most finicky skin, this lightweight smoothing cream leaves the eye area looking all-around refreshed when used morning and night. Bonus: It’s completely fragrance-free.
Caudalie VineActiv Vitamin C Energizing Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora
Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream
This lightweight eye cream is loaded with antioxidants and hydrating oils which help to smooth out fine lines.
Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora
Perricone MD H2 Elemental Energy De-Puffing Eye Gel
Good things come in small packages, and despite its diminutive size, this soothing eye gel packs an instantly de-puffing punch. With a gentle yet effective formula, this one’s a godsend for anyone who has the double whammy of dark circles and sensitive skin.
Perricone MD H2 Elemental Energy De-Puffing Eye Gel, $, available at Sephora
Nyakio Quinoa De-Puffing & Firming Eye Cream
The cool ceramic tip on this small tube serves as the perfect wake-up call on the dreariest of mornings.
Garnier SkinActive Ultra-LiftAnti-Aging Eye Cream with Pro-Retinol
On your next drugstore run, consider grabbing one of these ruby red potted eye creams. It's the best wrinkle-prevention less than $15 can buy.
Garnier SkinActive Ultra-LiftAnti-Aging Eye Cream with Pro-Reti, $, available at Walgreens
Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel
This squalane-based eye gel was a number-one bestseller at Sephora — and for good reason. It hydrates, is fragrance-free, and is also incredibly light.
Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, $, available at Sephora
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