The best eye cream to combat dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles (and make you look more awake)

Time to wave goodbye to tired eyes, banish bags and beat puffiness for good

Trying to find the best eye cream for you can be an overwhelming and, frankly, exhausting experience. How do you know what concern to target? How often should you use one? What’s the right way to apply?

There are so many questions that we thought it best to ask an expert. We grilled Consultant Dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk on all things eye creams, and this is what she had to say…

What’s the best way to apply eye cream?

Put a small amount of product on a clean fingertip and smooth below the eye, over the crow’s feet area and pat onto the brow bone just below your eyebrows. I would tend not to apply any cream with active ingredients directly to the upper eyelid as there is a high risk of causing irritation. Moisturising eye creams are of course absolutely fine.

Why do we need a separate cream for our eyes?

The skin around our eyes is very much thinner than anywhere else on our bodies. This means that products are absorbed much more readily and adaptations may be needed to the products we use elsewhere on our faces or bodies as the risk of irritation is much higher. Certain ingredients may also need to be avoided so close to the eyes. The same goes for other other eye products. I would recommend using a gentle micellar water or dedicated eye makeup remover for taking off makeup and avoiding vigorous rubbing. Protect the eyelid skin with SPF in Spring and Summer and wear sunglasses to avoid squinting. Moisturise the skin twice daily or use a dedicated eye cream tailored to your specific needs. If any redness, itching or flaking occur, stop using the product.

What are dark circles? What causes them? Is there a difference between hereditary dark circles and other bags? 

Some of the more common concerns I hear from patients about the eye area are dark circles and hollowing beneath the eyes. As well as smoothing wrinkles, products containing retinol or peptides can also help minimise dark circles by boosting collagen and plumping skin thickness if they are caused by thin skin exposing underlying vascular structures. This is often a feature of skin ageing, but in some cases translucency of the under eye skin can be hereditary. Retinol-based creams may also help with dark circles due to increased skin pigmentation, which is more common in skin of colour, and Vitamin K oxide can help with purplish discolouration from blood vessels.

What ingredients should you look for in an eye cream?

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.

Eye creams with retinyl palmitate (a vitamin A derivative) stop sugars sticking to and inactivating collagen to reduce dark circles, fine lines and puffiness.

Don’t panic,  we don’t expect you to just go out and find one now; we’ve scoured the beauty halls and trialled an almighty selection of the latest offerings to bring you a select edit of the best out there. So you can rest assured that your hard earned pennies are only spent on the ones that really work.

If you’re dubious about the necessity of an eye cream in your regime, consider what Justine said about the delicacy of the skin around your eyes; it’s 40% thinner than the rest of your face, which is why it’s so important to use a cream tailored to the area. It’s this delicacy that makes your eyes prone to crêpe-ness, creasing and crows feet long before the rest of your face. Not only is skin thinner but research has shown it’s also subjected to ‘repetitive stress from micro-eye movements’ – AKA blinking, which we do on average over 28,000 a day.

Keep scrolling to see our edit of the best eye cream for every concern and, remember: when it comes to application tap in the product using your ring finger (your weakest finger). Don’t rub.

Best eye cream for dark circles

Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream, £60, Cult Beauty

best eye cream for dark circles Sunday Riley Auto Correct

If dark under eye circles are the result of lifestyle factors like lack of sleep or a poor diet (rather than pigmentation or skin structure), then the good news is you can do something about them with the best eye cream for puffiness. Sunday Riley’s first eye cream will help you with this – it’s a good’un. It nourishes the area under the eye, which smooths the skin making it easier for light to bounce of it. Bright eyes ahoy.

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Best eye cream for wrinkles

Murad Renewing Eye Cream, £65, John Lewis

best eye cream for wrinkles Murad Renewing Eye Cream

For a two-pronged attack on fine lines try Murad’s Renewing Eye Cream. The anti-ageing powerhouse retinol (otherwise known as Vitamin A) combines with powerful peptides that help strengthen the paper-thin skin around your peepers so skin looks firmer and wrinkles are noticeably reduced.

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Best anti ageing eye cream

Zelens Triple Action Advanced Eye Cream, £80, Lookfantastic

best eye cream anti-ageing Zelens Triple Action Advanced

Founded by cosmetic surgeon and skin expert Dr Marco Lens, Zelens is the go-to for skin worthy of the red carpet. The smoothing Triple-Action eye cream targets crow’s feet, fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes with a potent, botanical-enriched formula containing marine collagen and hyaluronic acid.

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Best eye cream for puffiness

Clinique Moisture Surge Eye, £27.50 Fabled

best eye cream for puffiness Clinique

If, when you wake up, you get big dark circles and puffy eyes, then you should opt for something lighter, like an eye serum. The molecules are much smaller in these formulas adn therefore will penetrate into the skin easier and won’t sit on top of your eye socket, exacerbating the puffiness.

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If you’re still looking for ‘the one’, keep scrolling for some of our other favourites. We’re certain you won’t leave here empty-handed…

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