Jan 2, 2020

These Eye Creams Are Like Coffee For Your Face

Can we get a big "hell yeah!" for eye creams? Without them we would be lost, wandering around hopelessly, looking just as tired as we feel. Yes, this is hyperbolic, but thanks to these potions, our puffiness, fatigue, and dark circles really are reduced — and for that, we celebrate.

Due to a combination of late nights and poor sleep habits, we've had more than our fair share of opportunities to test out puff-reducing, bag-demolishing eye creams. We've tried the good, the bad — and then we've tried the miracle workers. That's what the eye creams ahead are: cool, creamy miracles.

Now, we're not naive enough to think that a tube of cream alone can fix fatigue. No, it comes down to a combo of an out-of-this-world product and some serious application know-how. So, we went to the woman with all the complexion-perfecting answers to get the scoop on the best way to apply your eye cream in order to make your gaze its most rested.

According to celebrity aesthetician and perfect-skin-whisperer (we've told her she needs to put that on her business cards) Joanna Czech, you can tailor your application to the type of results you want: anti-aging or de-puffing.

For anti-aging, here's what she advises: "Start with your inner eye and apply the cream, but do a little press-and-release motion. Apply your cream in a few points around the eye, and then, using your middle or ring finger, place them in the inner corner of the eye below the brow on the upper lid. Slightly press and release, working outward. Do the same on the bottom, but work from the outer corner to the inner corner."

According to Czech, with this technique you are working against gravity — and against the lines. "When you press your skin, it microscopically stretches, and when you release it grabs the product and draws it into the surface of the skin." She advises that this method is better for the evening and with a richer cream, since the focus is anti-aging and hydration. As a follow-up, she recommends placing two lukewarm chamomile tea bags on your eyes and laying down for 20 minutes. This will provide soothing and anti-redness relief.

For de-puffing, it's all about fluid drainage. Puffiness is caused by a buildup of fluid in your under-eye area, so diminishing it comes down to (gently!) pushing it out of there. Says Czech, "I would do the upper lid the exact same way as the anti-aging method, and then on the under-eye I would go from the inner corner to outer, sliding my finger down to give a form of lymphatic drainage. Very slight pressing motion as you slide." She advises that this is great to do in the morning, and that you can enhance the de-puffing effects by using a cold product, so pop that a.m. eye cream in the fridge for best results.

Now that you know the secrets of eye cream application, read on for our top product picks, including the formulas that dominated our 2019 Beauty Innovator Awards.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Clinique Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro Filler


Consider this a hydration IV in water-gel form, no needles necessary. A quick tap of the featherlight formula underneath your eyes yields a plump, refreshed effect that lasts for days.

Clinique Clinique Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro Filler, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Darphin Intral De-Puffing Anti Oxidant Eye Cream


You know that "ahhhh" feeling you get after drinking a tall glass of water? That's what this cooling gel-cream is, but for your eyes. You'll also see a decrease in puffiness thanks to ingredients like chamomile and peony.

Darphin Intral De-Puffing Anti Oxidant Eye Cream, $, available at Bluemercury

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Eye Cream


The under-eye area is delicate, so it should be treated as such. This non-comedogenic cream is formulated with niacinamide and thermal spring water to gently reduce dryness, hypersensitivity, and dark circles.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Eye Cream, $, available at DermStore

Vichy Minéral 89 Eyes Serum


Fake eight hours of sleep — even if you've only gotten five — with this gel that's made of 89% mineral-charged thermal water, pure caffeine, and hyaluronic acid. With a power combo like this, it's no wonder it was named a 2019 Beauty Innovator Award winner.

Vichy Minéral 89 Eyes Serum, $, available at Amazon

Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40


Leave it to sunscreen disruptor Supergoop! to create an eye cream with 100% zinc oxide that absorbs instantly with zero white cast. Not only does it blend in seamlessly to visually brighten the area, but it protects from UV rays and blue light, too.

Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40, $, available at Sephora

Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream


With a powerful cocktail of vitamins C and E, hyaluronic acid, and caffeine, dark circles and fine lines don't stand a chance against this eye cream.

Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora

MZ Skin Soothe and Smooth Collagen Activating Eye Complex


This eye cream is not cheap, but it is magic. It's formulated with rare Albazia bark extract, which helps strengthens capillaries (those pesky blue blood vessels), and a mixture of moisture-locking and plumping hyaluronic acid and ceramides. It has a solid beauty-editor stamp of approval — and supermodels are obsessed, too.

MZ Skin Soothe and Smooth Collagen Activating Eye Complex, $, available at Neiman Marcus

Olay Eyes Pro-Retinol Eye Cream Treatment


Tap this potent wrinkle-smoother around your eyes and over crow's feet daily. The retinol is formulated to be non-irritating, so you can use it in the morning, but you'll want to make sure you go over it with SPF.

Olay Eyes Pro-Retinol Eye Cream Treatment, $, available at Amazon
This heavy-duty eye cream is formulated with retinol to reduce the appearance of fine lines — just make sure to only use it at night to avoid irritation from sun exposure.

RoC Eye Cream, $24.99, available at Ulta Beauty.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream


Winter dryness? Okay, we can handle it. Rough, irritated dry patches? Bane of our existence. This hydrating eye cream acts like a direct shot of moisture, so you can wake up with soft, smooth under-eyes again.

Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream, $, available at Neiman Marcus

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye


This hydrating, skin-strengthening eye cream works as you sleep to reduce fine lines, minimize puffiness, and brighten dark circles, so you look — and feel — like you’ve gotten twice as much beauty sleep.

Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye, $, available at Sephora

Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum


Tatcha's eye serum is incredibly lightweight, and includes a cooling applicator that does all of the work for you.

Tatcha Luminous Deep Hydration Firming Eye Serum, $, available at Sephora

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream


This eye cream is all about bringing moisture to the under-eye area using hyaluronic acid. Plus, it absorbs quickly, so you can wear it day and night and not worry about your makeup sliding around.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment


Tarte’s Maracuja collection has developed a cult following for good reason — and one of our favorite products of the bunch is the brightening eye cream. The maracuja fruit and vitamin C-enriched formula is firming and brightening. Meaning: It’ll make you look awake with just a few dabs (we suggest dotting it on with your pinky for best results). And it’s so light in consistency, you can apply your concealer right away — if you even feel like you need it, that is.

Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Treatment, $, available at Sephora

No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream


Another firming wonder, this cream moisturizes, plumps, de-puffs, and protects the delicate eye area. We like this one as a night cream, as it's a little too rich for daytime use unless your skin is super dry.

No7 Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Eye Cream, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Dermalogica Age Smart Reversal Eye Complex


This tried-and-true eye cream has been reformulated to include microencapsulated retinol and niacinamide, which help to penetrate deeply to brighten, smooth, and plump.

Dermalogica Age Smart Reversal Eye Complex, $, available at Ulta Beauty

Embryolisse Radiant Eye Stick


They don't call this Secret de Maquilleurs (loosely translated, that's "makeup artists' secret," for you non-Francophones) for nothing. This handy little stick offers a cooling sensation that feels delicious on tired eyes. More importantly, it helps smooth out the contours of the eye and makes your makeup go on (and look) so much better. Add to that a radiance-boosting effect, and it's no wonder makeup artists hoard this beauty in their kits.

Embryolisse Radiant Eye Stick, $, available at Embryolisse

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel


Phloretin, vitamin C, and ferulic acid in a potent serum-in-a-gel formula help this antioxidant-rich potion penetrate the skin and work to correct signs of photodamage, as well as puffiness and dark circles.

SkinCeuticals AOX+ Eye Gel, $, available at DermStore

Arcona Eye Dew


Arcona's cult-classic eye cream has shea butter and hyaluronic acid to provide ultimate hydration, while anti-inflammatory blueberry extract and vitamin E help comfort tired eyes. Apply this before you hit the sheets — it's a little heavy for day — and you'll wake up refreshed and revitalized.

Arcona Eye Dew, $, available at Nordstrom

Philosophy Hope In A Tube


Philosophy’s Hope in a Tube does double duty — the ultra-moisturizing eye and lip cream helps to minimize fine lines around these areas. So, those pesky little crow’s feet? You can get rid of them the same way you get rid of the lines in the corners of your mouth. The blend of vitamins E and C helps to reduce the appearance of these lines and revitalize the skin.

Philosophy Hope In A Tube, $, available at Ulta Beauty

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream


This stuff is the best to use right before putting on concealer, as the cucumber- and hyaluronic acid-fueled formula is smooth enough to be a primer.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème


No bananas were harmed in the making of this brightening eye cream: It was actually inspired by the yellow setting powder that makeup artists love for brightening and color-correcting the eye area. Fittingly, this vitamin C-rich formula does all that and more, targeting fine lines while instantly reducing the look of dark circles.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $, available at Sephora

Vi Derm Revitalizing Eye Cream


Vi Derm's Revitalizing Eye Cream has a medium-weight, creamy texture, but soaks in as fast as a gel, leaving skin plumped up and moisturized. It packs hyaluronic acid to replenish hydration and a blend of different peptides that help to de-puff, firm, and fight dark circles.

VI Derm Revitalizing Eye Cream, $, available at DermStore

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum - Synchronized Complex II


Wake up to instantly brighter eyes thanks to this overnight treatment. Crow's feet, dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness will soon be a thing of the past.

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II, $, available at Estée Lauder

Caudalie VineActiv Vitamin C Energizing Eye Cream

Gentle enough for even the most finicky skin, this lightweight smoothing cream leaves the eye area looking all-around refreshed when used morning and night. Bonus: It’s completely fragrance-free.

Caudalie VineActiv Vitamin C Energizing Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora

Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream


This lightweight eye cream is loaded with antioxidants and hydrating oils which help to smooth out fine lines.

Farmacy Dew It All Total Eye Cream, $, available at Sephora

Perricone MD H2 Elemental Energy De-Puffing Eye Gel


Good things come in small packages, and despite its diminutive size, this soothing eye gel packs an instantly de-puffing punch. With a gentle yet effective formula, this one’s a godsend for anyone who has the double whammy of dark circles and sensitive skin.

Perricone MD H2 Elemental Energy De-Puffing Eye Gel, $, available at Sephora

Nyakio Quinoa De-Puffing & Firming Eye Cream


The cool ceramic tip on this small tube serves as the perfect wake-up call on the dreariest of mornings.

Garnier SkinActive Ultra-LiftAnti-Aging Eye Cream with Pro-Retinol


On your next drugstore run, consider grabbing one of these ruby red potted eye creams. It's the best wrinkle-prevention less than $15 can buy.

Garnier SkinActive Ultra-LiftAnti-Aging Eye Cream with Pro-Reti, $, available at Walgreens

Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel


This squalane-based eye gel was a number-one bestseller at Sephora — and for good reason. It hydrates, is fragrance-free, and is also incredibly light.

Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, $, available at Sephora

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