Best eye creams to tackle dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness

Be up to your eyes in nourishing ingredients

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Ellie Davis11 January 2024
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Some among you are unconvinced as to the importance of eye cream - we understand where you're coming from.

We once agreed with the POV. Why can't the periorbital area. But, after experiencing dehydration to the point of flakiness, dark circles and a sunken appearance, we dug deep into the world of eye creams to find a solution.

In our research, we discovered that the skin around the eyes is actually 10x thinner than the rest of the face and the thinnest on the body - and for that reason, the products that you use need to be more gentle, soothing and lighter in texture in order to be fully absorbed and nourish to their utmost. This area is also very prone to moisture loss and other formulas may cause irritation when loaded up.

What does eye cream do?

Skin expert Dr Rita Nandi, founder and medical director of The Bloom Clinic stresses the importance of these specific eye products, “The eyes are the first region of the face to show signs of ageing. As we age, our skin loses collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which help give the skin its firmness, elasticity and plumpness. This contributes to the formation of loose skin, fine lines and eye bags”.

“Fewer oil glands and hairs make it more prone to form fine lines and wrinkles. It is also more susceptible to puffiness. Therefore, this delicate under eye needs a dedicated eye cream to cater to its specific needs”.

When to apply eye cream

It is believed that our skin starts to lose collagen around the age of 25. This is when many of us may begin noticing fine lines, wrinkles, a loss of elasticity and dullness, and this is a good time to get religious about your eye cream application. It is best set directly onto the skin before the rest of your routine.

Dr Nandi confirms this, “Apply eye cream before any serums or creams as it will protect the under eye from the more potent ingredients commonly applied to the face. Eye cream should be used twice a day unless it’s a retinol-based eye product, which is best applied at night due to being broken down by sunlight”.

How to apply eye cream

It is important to pay close attention to the way you put on your eye cream. “Apply a small amount of product to each ring finger and press down gently for a few seconds on the under eye area, starting from the inner corner and working towards the outer corner” says Dr Nandi. “Not only does this avoid stretching the delicate skin of the under eye, but it also helps to clear any fluid build-up which can cause puffiness”. 

Why can’t you put eye cream on eyelids?

She adds, “It’s usually advisable not to apply eye cream on the eyelids as the cream starts to spread as your body temperature warms it up, so it risks getting into your eyes and causing irritation or blurring your vision”.

What are the best ingredients?

“We want to be boosting collagen production, and hydration and strengthen the skin barrier at the same time” explains Dr Nandi. “I always recommend The Rejuvenating Eye Collection by medical-grade skincare brand AlumierMD, which consists of their award-winning AluminEye and Retinol Eye Gel”.

Look out also for hydrating heroes like hyaluronic acid and squalene, brightening supercharged ingredients like vitamin C and soothing and cooling aloe vera and vitamin E. For their anti-ageing benefits, peptides, retinol and bakuchiol should be on your radar.

Shop the best eye creams below

Best eye creams for anti-ageing

Kate Somerville KateCeuticals Lifting Eye Cream

Kate Somerville

Best for: a botox-inspired formula

Said by leading LA facialist Kate to be inspired by the benefits of Botox, this concentrated cream tackles the eye-ageing trio of wrinkles, puffiness and dark circles. It includes a complex that mimics the ability of snake venom to ease muscle contractions and therefore reduces lines and wrinkles exacerbated by facial expressions.

This is combined with another peptide that supports collagen production so the eye area becomes smoother in two ways. Hyaluronic acid also helps plump skin, while vitamin C brightens and algae counteracts dark shadows. It’s a jam-packed anti-ageing formula but still absorbs easily and gives the skin a silky veil feeling.

Buy now£110, Cult Beauty

Peter Thomas Roth Instant FIRMx Eye

Peter Thomas Roth

Best for: temporary but immediate results

For a quick-fix way to give eyes an instant lift and make lines and wrinkles look like they’ve disappeared, think of this as like using putty to fill in the creases and get an impressive anti-ageing effect. Use a fine make-up brush to dot on and lightly fill in lines with the translucent gel, then leave for five minutes to dry, creating a perfectly smooth surface.

Formulated with three unique complexes, the immediate results may be temporary, but with regular use, skin stays smoother and more lifted. Unlike similar products launched in the past, this one won’t leave an obvious white residue and helps minimise puffiness too.

Buy now£32, Cult Beauty

Ole Henriksen Wrinkle Blur™ Bakuchiol Eye Gel Crème

Ole Henriksen

This is the eye cream you’ll want in your fine line-fighting arsenal. Ole Henriksen has designed this product to have a blurring effect on wrinkles. Don’t be put off by the purple hue, this is part of its power and is transparent on application. The combination of anti-ageing heroes like bakuchiol - known as a natural alternative to retinol, peptides and orchid stem cells improve the appearance of the complexion to give a firming and elasticity. It has a lovely scent, is creamy and light.

Buy now£36.80, Boots

ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Vitality Eye Cream


The ELEMIS Pro-Collagen collection is a cult buy for a reason. It’s brimming with anti-ageing ingredients that leave your skin soft and smooth in an instant. This is, of course, true of the eye cream too that has a lighter weight formula than the traditional face cream. The featherweight texture allows it to be easily absorbed without feeling heavy on the delicate area. While hydrating, it’s plumping too, minimising the look of fine lines and encouraging all day moisturisation. In independant trials, it was clinically proven to improve dark circles and leave a lifted appearance.

Buy now£57.60, Boots

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Gel-Crème Synchronized Multi-Recovery

Estee Lauder

Best for: fast action

The much-loved anti-ageing eye cream from Lauder’s fêted ANR range has had an upgrade to include new free radical-fighting properties and faster results.

Focusing on the damage that environmental factors from pollution to blue cause to the eye area, including damaging collagen and causing irritation, this new turbo-charged formula not only counteracts free radicals with antioxidant vitamin E, but includes a unique defence technology for super-protection.

Undereyes look brighter in a fortnight and smoother after a week, while fantastic hydrating ingredients keep skin plump and nourished for hours.

Buy now£54, Estee Lauder

Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Eye Cream


Best for: plumping and strengthening

This rich, velvety-textured bestseller aims to treat six types of wrinkles (who knew there were so many?): under eye, crow’s feet, between the brows, lines from puffiness, creases on the lids and crinkling at the outer corners.

The mechanisms, such as facial movements, that encourage those wrinkles to form is targeted with Japanese algae known for its plumping and strengthening properties, plus a unique peptide that softens the skin and the appearance of deep lines. One of the few eye creams that’s suitable for using on the lids too, the finish is illuminating and non-greasy, making it an ideal base for make-up.

Buy now£72, Cult Beauty

Allies of Skin Peptides & Omegas Firming Eye Cream

Allies of Skin

With 37 reformulations in the making, Allies of Skin’s eye product comes after a gruelling testing process that took three years. The formula combines peptides, the natural retinol alternative bakuchiol, glow-getting vitamin C and omega-rich oils to give the area around your peepers the love, care and attention they deserve. Brightening, depuffing and pesky lines be gone with this beauty sleep in a bottle.

Buy now£82, Space NK

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum 15ml


Calling anyone concerned about crow’s feet people… Murad’s serum contains not one, but three potent forms of retinol that will prevent and reverse signs of ageing and leave you with bouncy, supple skin around your eyes.

Designed for daily use on all ages and all skin types, including sensitive skin, it will restore your eyes to their youthful glory - and provide 24 hours of hydration in the process.

Buy now£82, Murad

Best eye creams for dark circles and brightening

SUMMER FRIDAYS Light Aura Vitamin C and Peptide Eye Cream


For the delicate under-eye area, SUMMER FRIDAYS has your peptide hit covered. The gentle formula punches above its weight in terms of the firming, hydrating and depuffing properties that it provides.

While the star ingredient brings much-needed proteins like collagen that depletes as we get older, glow-giving vitamin C brings the radiance. It is also hugely moisturising, has caffeine to encourage blood flow and the soothing cocktail of allantoin and vitamin E act as redness reducers.

Buy now£44, Cult Beauty

Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing & Dark Circle-Diminishing Vitamin C Eye Serum


After a night out on the town where sleep has been eluded, this eye cream from Kiehl’s will be your new best friend. Eight hours in a bottle, it contains a potent blend of vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and tri-peptide that seamlessly blends into the delicate area to revitalise the contours of your eyes. Not ideal for sensitive skin.

Buy now£46, Kiehl’s

Origins GinZing Vitamin C Eye Cream


Dark circles have met their match with Origins’ antioxidant-rich eye cream. The product has vitamin C at its heart that is known for its brightening and radiance boosting properties and it applies like a creamy gel to bring hydration and glow in one. One to fake a good night’s sleep and a little goes a long way.

Buy now£23.20, Boots

Best eye cream for depuffing

Tula Skincare Rose Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm

Tula Skincare

This is one of the bestsellers in the Tula range and will become an instinctual part of your skincare routine. You’ll find yourself reaching for the cooling balm throughout the day to ease tired eyes. It has a lovely rose component that comes from the soothing benefits of rosehip oil, plus there’s an an anti-ageing element too with the enrichment of plant-based retinol alternatives. Caffeine is also included within the ingredient line-up to revitatlise the orbital area and aloe water, apple and watermelon are kind and hydrating to the skin.

Buy now£28, Tula

Typology Eye Serum with 5% Caffeine + 5% Niacinamide


Whether it’s puffiness or dark circles, your eyes are the first giveaway of a heavy night. A formula infused with both caffeine and niacinamide, Typology’s serum will at once de-puff, reduce redness, and brighten the area, solving all of your tired-eye-concerns.

Buy now£16.50, Typology

Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Eye Serum

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury took inspiration from cyrotherapy to create this eye cream. A godsend to puffy eyes, whether that’s caused by a sleepless night or allergies, the product comes complete with a cooling metal applicator that glides over the area and works its massaging magic. Alone it’s a wonder but when paired with the anti-ageing ingredients within, it’s the full package. The hydrating trademarked ingredients include caffeine and an extract from Swiss glacial soil, and they encourage a smoother appearance, tackling crow’s feet, dark circles, dehyration and dullness.

Buy now£47, Charlotte Tilbury

Best eye creams for hydration

La Roche Posay Hyalu B5 Eye Serum 15ml

La Roche Posay

Gliding the cooling rollerball tipped pipette over your orbital area will not only leave behind a highly moisturising lightweight serum, but it’s a meditative practice that will slip easily into your routine and will have you relishing (and not missing out!) the important eye cream step.

While technically speaking, this is a serum in its consistency, we couldn’t not feature due to the incredible hydrating properties. The formula is made up of two weights of hyaluronic acid as well as niacinamide for dark circles, reparative vitamin B5 and caffeine for puffiness that revitalise the area for a bright-eyed look. It is fragrance free and so can be used on sensitive skin

Buy now£32, Boots

Tatcha Silk Peony Eye Cream The Silk Peony


Best for: a bouncy and refreshing texture

Japanese brand Tatcha are renowned for its exquisite textures and this eye cream is no exception. A bouncy-feeling balm that melts into the skin, it leaves a powdery finish that has a subtle blurring effect on wrinkles and imperfections. These lines are then plumped out using a silk protein that attracts moisture while white peony extract rebuilds the skin’s natural barrier to hold hydration in and reduce the ageing effects of dehydration.

It also includes a unique complex of green tea, rice and algae that helps strengthen the skin as well as gently exfoliate it, so the eye area is smoother, more plump and looks fresher instantly and long term.

Buy now£60, Space NK

Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream 15ml


At Biossance, squalane is its signature ingredient and takes a starring role in its hydrating powerhouses - and the same is true for this eye cream. The component is lauded for its ability to mimic the molecule squalene that we find naturally in our skin. When paired alongside marine algae, it makes for a moisturising and fine line-fighting duo that leaves skin smooth and prepped for makeup. The brand is also entirely vegan, cruelty free and uses sustainably-sourced squalane.

Buy now£43, Cult Beauty