Here's a surprise: not everyone needs an eye cream (click the read more link to find out why). However, we recognize that many consumers want to use an eye cream in addition to their facial moisturizer, so we've listed those that are beautifully formulated. Eye creams/eye-area moisturizers (including eye gels and serums) must:
Although the eye area does tend to be more prone to allergic or sensitizing reactions and often shows fine lines and wrinkles before other areas of the face, it turns out the product formulations for eye creams rarely differ from those for face products. There is no evidence, research, or documentation validating the claim that eye creams have special formulations that set them apart from facial moisturizers. There is also no research indicating what ingredients should be used around the eye but not on the face or vice versa.
That said, the products below are not recommended because they are specially formulated for the eyes; rather, they contain beneficial ingredients and lack irritants, just as the products recommended under Best Moisturizers do.
Ounce for ounce, you’ll spend far less if you purchase a recommended facial moisturizer than one specially designated for the eye. It only takes a quick look at the ingredient labels of any moisturizer or the majority of eye creams to see that they typically do not differ except for the higher price and the tiny containers the eye creams come in. Some eye creams have exceptional formulas, but unless their texture is markedly different than your facial moisturizer and unless your eye area is drier than the rest of your face, there's not much reason to invest in this type of product.
If your face is normal to oily and doesn’t require a moisturizer except occasionally on the cheeks or around the eyes, then an emollient, well-formulated moisturizer of any kind will work beautifully—you do not need to seek out a special eye cream! If you are using a well-formulated face moisturizer (anti-wrinkle cream or whatever the name is on the label), it can and should be used around the eye area, too. But for those who want to hedge their bets and use an eye cream anyway, we're happy to help you find a great one among those we've rated BEST.
Ironically, one of the drawbacks of many eye creams is that they rarely contain sunscreen. For daytime, that makes most eye creams a serious problem for the health of skin. You might believe that you were doing something special for your eyes, but you would actually be putting them at risk of sun damage and wrinkling by using an eye cream without sunscreen. There are some exceptions, and those few well-formulated eye moisturizers with sunscreen are also listed here. So, our general advice for those who wish to use eye creams is to pick one with sunscreen for use during daylight hours and one without sunscreen for use at night. Your nighttime eye cream should have a rich, emollient texture if the skin around your eyes is dry or showing advanced sun damage (as in deep wrinkles).
Finally, shopping for an eye cream to treat dark circles, sagging, and puffiness is a lost cause. There are no eye creams, gels, or serums that can eliminate puffy eyes, tighten sagging skin around the eyes, or get rid of dark circles. Some eye creams contain ingredients that can offer minor improvements (often cosmetic, such as a brightening effect for dark circles) for these concerns, but definitely nothing that adequately replaces cosmetic corrective procedures or surgery, the latter of which is almost always necessary to eliminate undereye "bags" or loose, crepe-y skin around the eyes.
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