In the world of skincare, the basics are mostly considered to be cleanser, moisturiser and SPF. Throw in a toner, exfoliator and the occasional face mask, and you're on your way to a well-thought-out routine. The question is should you also use an eye cream? “The skin around the eyes is thin and delicate compared to the rest of our facial skin,” explains renowned medical and cosmetic consultant dermatologist Anjali Mahto. “The eye area is also extremely active. We blink on average more than 20,000 times a day. Skin at this site is fragile and needs to be looked after appropriately.”
But there has long been a question mark over eye creams and serums, with some saying that they aren't worth investing in. “Many facial moisturisers are suitable to use around the under-eye area, and you do not necessarily need a separate product, contrary to popular belief. Generally speaking, if a product is suitable for the face, it should be fine to use around the eyes,” says Mahto.
However, if your eye area has specific needs you want to address such as dark circles or dryness, Mahto says eye creams shouldn’t be overlooked, as they can be extremely beneficial. She explains, “Products containing retinol or other vitamin A derivatives can help with smoothing wrinkles around the eyes by boosting collagen, as can peptides. These ingredients can also help minimise dark circles by plumping up skin thickness if they are caused by thin, almost translucent skin exposing underlying vascular structures.
"Retinol-based creams may also help with dark circles due to increased skin pigmentation and vitamin K oxide can help with purplish discolouration from blood vessels. For dry, crepey skin around the eyes, products containing humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid can give the skin a smoother, less lined appearance and increase comfort in the shorter term.” It’s important to add that wearing an additional SPF around the eyes is absolutely vital.
How to Apply Eye Cream
I, for one, am an avid user of eye cream thanks to its ability to instantly make me look bright eyed and bushy tailed, so I caught up with holistic skin specialist and facialist Nicole Campbell-Watson on her top tips for application.
“Place three small dots of the product under the inner corner of eye, middle of eye and outer corner of the eye. Gently smooth the product from inner to outer eye and then tap from inner to outer a few more times. This allows the product to penetrate effectively without over-massaging this delicate area and encourages lymphatic drainage,” she said.
Without further ado, here is a selection of eye creams for every skin concern. They’re best sellers for a reason.
Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles
1. Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
Thanks to its potent formula of cucumber extract, five forms of vitamin C and a blend of eight peptides, this powerful eye cream will repair any damage and brighten the skin around the eye area. Little wonder it’s a favourite amongst beauty editors—myself included. Top tip: Leave it in the fridge for a super-cooling experience.
Best Eye Cream for Puffiness
2. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
This is an eye cream that not only combats puffiness but also helps to reduce the appearance of dark circles. “It’s also spreadable, readily absorbed and ensures a constant delivery of ingredients including ceramides, glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which are crucial to repair and maintain an effective skin barrier and good hydration,” explains Christopher Hensby, expert for CeraVe.
Best Eye Cream for Fine Lines
3. RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream
Best Eye Cream for Brightening
4. Ole Henriksen Banana Bright+ Eye Crème
If your eye area is looking dull and dehydrated, I can’t recommend this product enough. Inspired by the awakening effects of banana powder, the yellow mineral pigments instantly work to colour-correct around the eyes and the powerful trio of vitamin C helps to maintain the brightening results.
Best Drugstore Eye Cream
5. E.l.f. Holy Hydration! Eye Cream
E.l.f. regularly makes my edits across all beauty categories thanks to its purse-friendly products that actually do what they say on the tin. I’m a big fan of the fast-absorbing hyaluronic acid–enriched formula, making it a go-to part of my morning skincare routine ahead of putting on makeup.
Best Eye Cream for Very Sensitive Skin
6. Avène Soothing Eye Contour Crean for Very Sensitive Skin
When it comes to caring for sensitive skin, Avène is one of the best to ever do it. The formula decongests, soothes and protects the eye area without causing irritation—all at a very accessible price point.
Best Eye Cream for Mature Skin
7. Kate Somerville Line Release Under Eye Repair
From the skincare aesthetician with an army of A-List fans including Kate Hudson, Olivia Wilde, Paris Hilton and Demi Moore. Using two wrinkle-smoothing powerhouses—vitamin A and peptides—to lift and plump the entire eye area for a more youthful look.
Best Eye Cream for Daytime
8. Medik8 Advanced Day Eye Protect
If you’re currently in the market for a daytime eye cream that sits well under makeup, look no further. This one features SPF 30 and protection against pollution, blue light and infrared. Not to stop there, the added brightening benefits of caffeine and hesperidin (found naturally in citrus fruits) are a godsend for tired eyes.
Best Eye Cream for Nighttime
9. Olay Retinol 24 Max Night Eye Cream
I've been in a long-term relationship with Olay. It's a brand I can put my trust in, and while all its products are powerhouses, I particularly love this eye cream. While you sleep, the formula gets to work on fine lines and wrinkles while also smoothing, brightening and firming. Apply to cleansed skin at night and reap the benefits come morning.
Best Eye Cream With Caffeine
10. The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream
This one is currently sitting at number one on Amazon's list of best-selling eye creams, and TikTok most definitely played a part in its massive spike in popularity. I often see it pop up on my For You page. Like an espresso shot for the under-eye area, the caffeine helps to reduce puffiness and minimise dark circles. The Matrixyl 3000 peptide is also on hand to boost collagen production. A winner all round.