Best eye cream: our favorite formulas for every skin concern

Hydrate, brighten, and depuff with the best eye cream, from bargain buys to high-end picks

A grid collage of 8 of the best eye cream products tested by w&h including Murad, Charlotte Tilbury and The Ordinary
(Image credit: Future)

Along with moisturizer, finding the best eye cream is usually a top priority once we start our skincare journeys. For a lot of us, the best eye cream is typically our first line of defense against some potentially unwelcome aspects of time's passage. This comes down to the fact that the skin around the eye area is the first to show signs of change as we get older, with dark circles, undereye puffiness, and fine lines.  

But just as even the most premium products, like the best foundation, can't transform a completely neglected complexion with the wave of a magic makeup brush, it's important to be realistic about what the best eye cream can do. No topical product, even the best eye cream flying off the shelves, can tighten up eyelids or completely eradicate deep lines. But, picking a well-formulated cream that perfectly suits your skin’s needs and using it consistently can help alleviate specific concerns and yes, even reverse some of the visible signs.

It’s for this reason that Murad Vita-C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector ranks as our best eye cream overall: This highly targeted product brings several effective brightening ingredients together, packaged stably and formulated to work in synergy for clinically proven results.

However, if lines and texture are more of a concern, our best budget eye cream, The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream, may be up your alley. If it’s all-out luxury and powerful environmental protection you’re after, 111Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel could be worth the investment.

The best eye creams, as chosen by our beauty experts

best eye cream Murad vita C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector

(Image credit: Murad)

1. Murad Vita-C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector

Best eye cream for most people

Specifications
RRP: $62/£45
Texture: Cream
Targets: Dark circles caused by poor circulation, sun damage, inflammation
Key ingredients: Vitamin C, niacinamide, algae, light-reflecting minerals
Fragranced: No
Reasons to buy
+Powerful brightening ingredients +Stable formulation 
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Primarily focuses on dark circles

First things first: If dark circles aren’t a concern, then Murad Vita-C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector may not be for you. If they are, then we urge you to snap this best eye cream up ASAP (as long as you can afford to, that is) because it is the best eye cream for dark circles we've tried so far, hands down.

The key ingredient is ascorbic acid, the most potent form of vitamin C, kept stable and potent by the inclusion of another antioxidant called glutathione and a vitamin C derivative called tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD). These three work in tandem to stop the dulling, collagen-degrading, pigmentation-causing effects of environmental damage in its tracks. It also contains niacinamide, another tone-brightener, plus plumping hyaluronic acid, two algaes, and zero artificial fragrance. 

The texture is nice, if a little unusual: Firmer than expected with a golden tone that instantly color-corrects and blurs for an added boost of eye brightening. The air- and light-proof packaging is clean and nifty for squeezing out each last drop (important, particularly for a product that retails upwards of $60), and in a clinical trial of 27 women aged 25 to 65, 85% saw a reduction in dark circles after six weeks. 

See our full Murad Vita-C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector review

best eye cream 111 SKIN Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel


(Image credit: 111Skin)

2. 111Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel

Best luxury eye cream

Specifications
RRP: $190/£140
Texture: Gel
Targets: Lines, dark circles, elasticity
Key ingredients: NAC Y2 (antioxidant) formula, peptides, caffeine
Fragranced: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Unique active ingredient +Fresh gel texture
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Contains fragrance

We know what you’re thinking: At that price, there had better be something pretty darn special about 111Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel. And guess what? There is. 

NAC Y2 is a unique complex created by 111Skin founder Dr. Yannis Alexandrides, one of Harley Street’s top plastic surgeons and aesthetic specialists. This combination of powerful antioxidants, amino acids, and a vitamin C derivative was first used by Dr. Yannis to boost post-treatment healing on his patients. 

But you don’t have to have a medical-grade facial peel to enjoy the benefits of this best eye cream: It turns out, accelerated healing is a great thing on any skin, particularly so around the eyes, where environmental damage and collagen degradation take their toll. And so this ultra-powerful serum was born, with a super refreshing gel texture that feels amazing on hot, puffy morning peepers. NAC Y2 aside, the formula also includes anti-inflammatory caffeine and skin-energizing peptides. 

It quickly absorbs into skin without residue and gets to work plumping lines, brightening skin, and protecting against environmental damage, making it one of the best eye creams for wrinkles. The airless pump keeps every ingredient in peak condition and will look glamorous on your skincare shelf too. Sure, the price isn't for everyone and the inclusion of fragrance may be off-putting to some, but otherwise there is very little not to love. 

See our full 111Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel review

best eye cream The INKEY List Retinol Eye Cream

(Image credit: INKEY list )

3. The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream

Best budget eye cream

Specifications
RRP: $9.99/£7
Texture: Cream
Targets: Lines, uneven or rough skin, dullness
Key ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid, shea butter
Fragranced: No
Reasons to buy
+Great value+Powerful skin improver
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks glamor-Could irritate very sensitive skin

When considering The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream, you might be put off by the outdated beauty myth that retinol and the eye area don't play well together. The truth is that, as long as your skin can tolerate it and you use products that are formulated with care, retinol can work wonders on texture, lines, and cell turnover around the eyes.

This best eye cream takes 0.09% pure retinol—a pleasingly gentle dose—and delivers it with lovely nourishing things like shea butter, glycerin, and seed oils. The retinol is also stable and slow-release, meaning it should be tolerated well by most skin types. It spreads on efficiently, sinks in swiftly, and gets right to work. We jumped right in with nightly use and didn’t experience any tingling or redness as you might expect from a retinol cream. Sensitive types might want to begin using it for a couple of nights a week then take it from there. 

This isn’t a best eye cream you buy for glamor, show-off packaging, or an indulgent scent—it’s all about no-frills results. Everything from the simple white tube to the straightforward instructions printed inside the box are designed with high functionality in mind. This is nicely formulated, targeted, and easy-to-navigate modern skincare. Oh, and did we mention it's the best cheap eye cream because it costs less than $10? Can’t argue with that. 

See our full The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream review

best eye cream Ole henriksen banana bright eye creme

(Image credit: ole henriksen)

4. OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème

Best brightening eye cream

Specifications
RRP: $39/£28
Texture: Cream
Targets: Tired-looking eyes, dark circles, dullness, rough texture
Key ingredients: Vitamin C, jojoba seed oil, soft-focus pigments
Fragranced: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Both instant and long-term brightening+Works under makeup
Reasons to avoid
-Fragranced-Jar could destabilize ingredients

The first thing you’ll notice about OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème is its perky yellow color. The fruity hue is based on banana powder, an old makeup artist’s hack for color-correcting undereye shadows. Here, the pigment does pretty much the same job, lightly counteracting dark circles and providing a smooth and even canvas for makeup to sit on top of. 

For long-term skin benefits, this packs in three types of vitamin C, a known brightener and powerful antioxidant (although it would be more stable in airtight packaging, rather than a jar). We also get softening jojoba and tamarind seed oils, and emollients shea butter and coconut alkanes, to trap moisture into the skin. 

The texture is absolutely beautiful—glossy, spreadable, and a joy to apply. This adds a sense of enjoyment so often lacking in skincare, particularly when combined with that sunny hue and a delightfully fruity scent. If you’re very sensitive to fragranced products, that perfume could be an issue, but most should find it unobtrusive enough and quite uplifting too. 

See our full OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème review

best eye cream Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue

(Image credit: Charlotte Tilbury)

5. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue

Best eye cream for dry skin

Specifications
RRP: $60/£44
Texture: Cream
Targets: Fine lines, puffiness, signs of fatigue
Star ingredients: Plant stem cells, algae, peptides
Fragranced: No
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of active ingredients+Glamorous look and feel
Reasons to avoid
-Jar packaging-Rich texture

There are things we expect from Charlotte Tilbury—glossy products with irresistible names and beautiful textures? Yes. Products that look, smell, and feel luscious? Naturally. But serious skincare to rival the clinically-minded big boys? Well, it certainly doesn’t feel like the most on-brand for the queen of color cosmetics, but here we are.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream includes an impressive cocktail of active ingredients—things like cell-energizing peptides, a retinol derivative for texture and lines, brightening vitamin C, moisturizing saccharide isomerate tag-team with Winter Daphne stem cells to boost the skin’s barrier function. All of this comes without compromise on texture either: Think buttery and nourishing. Oily types or younger skin might find it a little bit too rich, but it would suit dryer skin types who would love an emollient feel on their face after applying their product.

As with other jar-based creams, it would be remiss not to mention that vitamin C and retinol can be destabilized by light and air, but as part of such a complex cocktail, it's forgivable. And, oh, what a jar she is! Chunky and luxurious with rose-gold details, you certainly wouldn’t hide this away in a drawer. You also probably wouldn’t squeeze it into a gym or holiday bag either, but in today’s world, vanity-table allure trumps portability anyway. 

See our full Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue review

best eye cream The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% ECGC

(Image credit: The Ordinary )

6. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% EGCG

Best eye cream for tired eyes

Specifications
RRP: $6.70/£5
Texture: Serum
Targets: Puffiness, dark circles, fine lines
Key ingredients: Caffeine, epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside, hyaluronic acid
Fragranced: No
Reasons to buy
+Very low price+Fights fatigued appearance
Reasons to avoid
-Could be confusing-Not luxurious 

It’s worth starting by saying that The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% EGCG isn’t actually an eye cream; it’s a serum. 

This will be very good news for anyone who finds rich textures a bit much around the delicate eye area. It also means the smaller molecules sink in efficiently and get to work in the skin. Namely, the work of perking up signs of fatigue: The clue is in the name here, with anti-inflammatory and vasoconstriction-boosting caffeine center stage as the star ingredient. It can reduce puffy eyes and boost microcirculation to bring fresh blood and nutrients to the skin’s surface, helping create a bright, healthy skin tone.  

The EGCG bit of the product name is epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside, a powerful antioxidant with all the pollution-busting and long-term collagen-boosting powers that be. Plus, the formula includes nourishing glycerin and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, although owing to that serum texture, you may not find it quite nourishing enough if you have very dry skin.

So, you get all this for under $7—what’s the catch? Well there’s nothing particularly luxurious about this best eye cream; the texture is light but also a touch sticky until it sinks in, which is common for products containing hyaluronic acid. It also requires a bit of reading up to understand what you’re dealing with (The Ordinary’s website is a helpful resource for this.) If you aren’t that interested in ingredients, the extra studying up might be too much, but it’s an effort worth making for this great-value, effective skincare buy.

See our full The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% EGCG review

best eye cream Clinique Pep-Start Eye cream

(Image credit: Clinique)

7. Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream

Best eye cream for oily skin

Specifications
RRP: $24.23/£18
Texture: Cream
Targets: Dehydration, signs of fatigue, rough skin
Key ingredients: Several peptides, squalane, algae, hyaluronic acid
Fragranced : No
Reasons to buy
+Effective hydration and energising +Light texture
Reasons to avoid
-Applicator can waste product-May not suit very dry skin

A great all-rounder sounds like a wishy-washy accolade, but the brilliance of Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream lies in its “little bit of everything” approach. It instantly hydrates and smoothens skin texture, then offers a whole variety of long-term benefits from peptides, which are cell-communicating ingredients that perform a whole variety of functions to re-energize skin. In fact, you could call them the great all-rounders of the skincare world. It’s a great thing, honestly. 

Pep-Start also includes hyaluronic acid and glycerin to soften and hydrate, plus skin-replenishing ingredient of the moment squalane, and light-reflecting mineral mica for a soft-focus effect. The texture is easy to get along with—light, easily spread and absorbed—so would work particularly well for those with oily skin. It also sits very nicely under foundation and concealer without separating, pilling, or causing either to slide around, and the applicator builds in a nice hands-free massage treat to help with depuffing. 

All this brings us ultimately to the only real issue with this cream: That little massager has to be popped in and out to apply. Annoyingly, once you're done applying and pop it back in, a tiny bit of cream shoots out the end, which feels a bit wasteful. Once you know it’s going to happen, you can ensure you use any spillage, but a tiny rework of this quirky mechanism would make 5-star material of what is otherwise an excellent eye cream. 

See our full Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream review

best eye cream Remescar eye bags & dark circles

(Image credit: remescar)

8. Remescar Eye Bags & Dark Circles

Best eye cream for instant effects

Specifications
RRP: $46/£34
Texture: Gel
Targets: Loss of firmness, puffy eyes
Key ingredients: Caffeine, peptides
Fragranced: No
Reasons to buy
+Visible tightening of skin+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Effects are temporary -Only targets specific concerns

Remescar Eye Bags & Dark Circles comes with some pretty hefty claims—namely that it can instantly firm eye bags and reduce under eye shadowing. And guess what: As long as you pay heed to some stipulations, it really does deliver. 

These are, firstly, that an eye cream cannot permanently firm up loose skin; no topical product can. What this can do is form a temporary tightening film over the undereye area that makes a noticeable difference to how it appears. If you follow the instructions, this effect lasts for around eight hours, which if you feel particularly paranoid about eye bags could be a game-changing confidence booster. There are some long term benefits on offer too, from energizing peptides and anti-inflammatory caffeine, but the real selling point of this cream is undoubtedly that instant tightening effect. 

Secondly, we have the method of application, which involves first applying a hydrating cream (not included—your normal moisturizer is fine) then take the perfect tiny amount of the gel, rub it between your fingers, then smooth it under the eye from the inner to outer corner. You then sit expressionless for a couple of minutes while the product firms up over your skin, et voilà: A tighter looking undereye area for the best part of the day. 

We found the directions fairly easy to follow, enjoyed the tightening sensation very much, and noticed a real difference on the one puffy morning undereye area we  applied the Remerscar on. Using the right amount is critical; too much and the product shows as a white film, not enough and it won’t have the strength to hoist the skin up. 

In terms of user experience, this is not luxurious sensorial beauty. It smells of basically nothing and feels slightly odd, albeit pretty satisfying as it does its thing. If you’re looking for long-term effects, you wouldn’t want to use only this eye cream, as despite containing some skincare ingredients it really is more of a quick fix. But as a nice addition to your usual products, for special days, or everyday if it makes you feel better, it more than deserves a place in any must-know-about guide.  

best eye cream Drunk Elephant Shaba Eye Complex

(Image credit: Drunk Elephant)

9. Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

Best 'free-from' eye cream

Specifications
RRP: $60/£44
Texture: Light cream
Targets: Lines, hydration, environmental aging
Key ingredients: Niacinamide, peptides, natural antioxidants
Fragranced: No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent ingredients+Clever packaging
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-More cream than serum in texture

You’ve heard of the Fantastic Four and maybe the Fab Five, but Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum wants to make you aware of the suspicious six. Actually, every product by Drunk Elephant does that, as this brand’s philosophy is formulating without the six ingredients founder Tiffany Masterson believes are the root of all skin evils: Essential oils, drying alcohols, silicones, chemical sunscreens, fragrances/dyes, and SLS. Whether that aligns with your own personal beliefs is up to you, but if the concept of an eye cream without any of the above appeals, then you could do a lot worse than Shaba. 

This brand is as good at creating desirable, well-made skincare as it is at idiosyncratic yet undeniably memorable names. That means this light-textured cream-serum packs in all sorts of good stuff: cell-energizing peptides, niacinamide, a form of hyaluronic acid that’s able to hydrate more deeply than your average HA. Plus, we get a cocktail of natural ferments and botanicals with powerful antioxidant properties. 

The texture is typical of your modern eye cream, which means it's light and easily absorbed with enough ‘slip’ to give yourself a good old massage should you choose. As with all Drunk Elephant products, the packaging is exceptional, not only in terms of appeal but also in the experience of using it. The matte spearmint-tipped cuboid has the pleasing look and feel of a grown-up Duplo block, with a unique twist-up head and airless pump dispenser. This means you get the perfect amount each time, every drop of product is prized out and, crucially, the ingredients are never exposed to air so have no opportunity to oxidize. 

Alas, the downsides: It is pricey, so that’s the first. If you're someone who prefers a very light liquid or gel texture, you may also find this too rich, especially considering it brands itself as a serum. Or maybe the brand’s "suspicious six" spiel holds no truck with you and you’re happy slathering on sensorial essential oils. Those considerations aside, this is a cleverly formulated, highly appealing option from one of the industry’s buzziest skincare brands.

best eye cream Ecooking eye cream

(Image credit: ECooking )

10. Ecooking Eye Cream

Best natural eye cream

Specifications
RRP: $65/£47
Texture: Cream
Targets: Dark circles, dehydration, lines
Key ingredients: Algae, hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, aloe water
Fragranced: No
Reasons to buy
+Natural yet high performance+Informative packaging 
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Traditional cream texture won't suit all skin types

Not long ago, natural products were stereotyped as ineffective, but those days are long gone. We're well into the new guard, with plenty of great brands around that have changed many a skeptic's mind for the better.

This Danish skin and bodycare brand is both naturally-skewed and efficacy focused, and this eye cream is a good example of what a killer combination that can be. It's got  natural extracts including algae, nourishing coconut and other seed oils, plus moisture-binding, anti-irritant rice proteins. It's also filled with skincare hard-hitters that you’d hope for in any formula, natural or not. I'm referring to tocopherol (a form of antioxidant vitamin E), hyaluronic acid for hydration, and peptides to energize cells and stimulate collagen production. This makes for a very well-balanced cocktail that takes a multi-pronged approach to tackling eye concerns, particularly those related to environmental ageing.  

Texture-wise, there's nothing peculiar or surprising here, just the kind of light-ish cream that makes for easy patting into the thin skin around the eye. In terms of packaging, the tinted glass pump ensures ingredients are kept fresh and protected from UV light. And while the information-heavy label may not speak of high glamour or designer sleekness, it does suggest something many will prize above that: transparency. 

Essentially, this eye cream  is more of a crowdpleaser than first impressions may suggest. If you‘re all about naturals, try it out for its efficacy; if you’re not, give it a go for its honesty. Either way, it's definitely worth a shot.

RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing AntiAging Retinol Eye Cream for Dark Circles Puffy Eyes, best eye cream

(Image credit: RoC)

11. RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream

The best anti-aging eye cream

Specifications
RRP: $17.99/£‎24.99
Texture: Lightweight cream
Targets: Crow's feet, fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of firmness
Key ingredients: Retinol and glycerin
Fragranced: Slightly
Reasons to buy
+Award-winning among top-tier media and revered by dermatologists+Incredibly nourishing+Hypoallergenic
Reasons to avoid
-Not fragrance free, which may affect sensitive skin

The RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream touts an award-winning formula that minimizes wrinkles, crow's feet, dark circles, puffiness and loss of firmness. Packed with pure RoC Retinol and a mineral blend, this skincare essential works in overdrive to deliver results in just 12 weeks. It also contains a boat load of hyaluronic acid, which quenches dehydrated areas of the skin in one go.

Albeit affordable, this best eye cream is anything but cheap. Dedicated to product innovation and efficacy, RoC combines retinol with ingredients like Vitamin E to make it safe and gentle for daily use. This unique approach has been tried and true for nearly 25 years; and has helped the brand amass fierce loyalists who won't ever venture elsewhere. To preserve the formula against light and air, all RoC retinol formulas are capsuled in opaque packaging; in other words, they're built to last against environmental aggressors.

That being said, if the thought of retinol near your eyes seems terrifying, you may want to perform a simple patch test beforehand. Regardless, we'd say the risks are virtually non-existent with this best eye cream: It's hypoallergenic, gentle, and readily available without a prescription. 

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, best eye cream

(Image credit: Carave)

12. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

The best eye cream for sensitive skin

Specifications
RRP: $10.26/£12
Texture: Lightweight cream
Targets:
Key ingredients: Niacinamide, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid
Reasons to buy
+Affordable, yet high-grade+Helps reduce existing fine lines and the appearance of future ones+Hydrating
Reasons to avoid
-Could be more effective on deep-set wrinkles

Ideal for sensitive complexions prone to irritation, CeraVe Eye Repair is bare-bones, harnessing a gentle, yet effective formula. From the brand curator of the best Tik Tok beauty products, this best eye cream includes niacinamide, which works in tandem with ceramides- that is, lipids that are also found naturally in the skin – to support the skin’s natural barrier. This best eye cream also contains hyaluronic acid and glycerin for an added boost of moisture, comfort, and glow.

More notably, CeraVe's Eye Repair is free of harsh fragrances and chemicals. (In fact, the product was developed jointly with dermatologists for safety, effectiveness, and integrity). You can even apply this best eye cream underneath makeup—we promise, the combination will not irritate your skin in the slightest.