If you experience dark circles under your eyes, you'll know all too well that they are a special sort of beauty gripe that just won't give up. While breakouts come and go, dry skin softens and fine lines plump out with certain hydrating creams, dark under-eye circles are much more stubborn. And trust me, I know all about it.
A couple of years ago, I was so fed up with my persistent dark circles that I actually booked in for a consultation to get tear-trough filler. Experts had told me for years that the injectable procedure was the only way to really combat chronic dark circles (mine are genetic, so sadly can't be rectified by getting more sleep or keeping hydrated). But as I read more first-hand experiences with tear-trough filler and the doctor explained to me what it entails, I wussed out. You see, as someone that isn't typically averse to injectables, I do have a very real phobia of anything getting too close to my eyeballs—needles included.
And so over the past couple of years, I have spent a considerable amount of time looking for topical products that help better the appearance of my dark circles. And as a beauty editor, I am ashamed to admit that, up until recently, eye cream wasn't a mainstay in my skincare routine. My skin is naturally oily and sensitive, and for years I found that adding an eye cream to my daily regimen was worsening congestion and shine.
When I started prescribed treatments to help combat my skin's natural oil production, I figured I'd dig out some of my old eye cream classics and give them a whirl. And although I shouldn't be shocked (I know very well that any sort of moisture can brighten up the eye area), I can't believe just how effective some eye creams are at minimising the appearance of my dark circles and brightening my under-eye area.
Through a lot of trial and error, I have found that tinted creams, those that contain light-reflecting pigments and treatments that contain vitamin C, have proved most effective at brightening. So, if you're at your wit's end with dark circles, keep scrolling for the 12 best brightening eye creams.
I often find that applying eye cream in the morning can shorten the lifespan of my makeup by increasing the risk of slip. This overnight serum, however, gets to work overnight, leaving eyes looking brighter and more awake come morning. With retinoid to tackle fine lines as well as niacinamide and ceramides to help hydrate and minimise the appearance of dark circles, it's a really hardworking gem.
Not only does this under-eye treatment have a cooling gel texture to help liven up the eye area, but it is also formulated with brightening vitamin C, niacinamide and ginseng root extract to treat at a deeper level. It's my go-to for winter mornings when I'm feeling particularly sleepy.
This eye cream is widely regarded to be one of the most brightening around, and I have to agree with the general consensus. With vitamin C and niacinamide, it depuffs and brightens quickly, but the best bit is it also has a slightly tinted, pearly finish to reflect light and create the illusion of more awake eyes. The brand has recently launched different shades of this cream to better suit different skin tones, too.
Texture-wise, this cream is lightweight, but its ingredients are anything but. With caffeine, squalane and niacinamide, it delivers ample hydration and an impressive reduction in the appearance of dark circles.
I'll go ahead and say it: This is hands down the most brightening eye cream around. The apricot tint helps to counteract the purple hue of dark circles and vitamin C helps brighten in the long term. The only glitch as an oily-skinned girl is that it's very rich, making it ideal for those with dry skin.
Unlike other eye creams on this list, this particular product doesn't pride itself on its brightening abilities, however, I have used this stuff on and off for years and can categorically say it is one of the most instantly awakening eye treatments out there. It's lightweight—meaning it doesn't contribute to puffiness—and the metal applicator wand is wonderfully invigorating.
I'll admit that Charlotte Tilbury's cult Magic Cream for face doesn't lend itself to my oily skin, but I find its accompanying eye treatment faultless. It contains time-release retinol to smooth fine lines, a plethora of oils and extracts to nourish, and a botanical eye-contour complex to tackle puffiness and dark circles.
8. Ren Clean Skincare Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream
When this eye cream launched last year with the promise to reduce dark circles in just seven days, I was sceptical. Since using it more religiously over the past few months, I can confirm my dark circles are looking a lot better. They're still there, of course, but they are significantly reduced.
If you hadn't already guessed, vitamin C is one of the most effective ingredients when it comes to brightening dark circles, and this serum is chock-full of the stuff. Along with hyaluronic acid, it helps to brighten up tired eyes and plump out fine lines while it's at it.
Usually, I find that eye creams with a peachy tint tend to counteract dark circles the most efficiently, which is why this stuff took me by surprise. The white cream doesn't look as though it should have any dramatic effect on under-eye circles, but the combination of soy peptide, organic red tea and arnica really do help boost luminosity.
Murad is famed for its glow-boosting vitamin C formulas, and this eye cream really lives up to the hype. Yes the high vitamin C content delivers stellar glow, but it's the rich gold colour that helps counteract dark circles immediately.
12. Dr Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten + Firm Eye Cream
A new addition to my eye cream collection, this stuff impressed me from the get-go. With vitamin C and collagen amino acids, it really tackles the eye area from all angles. Helping to brighten, plump, firm and hydrate all at once, it really is worth the money.