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The best eye creams to brighten and lift the under eyes, recommended by skincare experts

The Recommended spoke to two skincare experts and, with their expertise in mind, waded through the internet, cutting out the noise to find the best eye creams for every need.

The best eye creams

If the eyes are the window to the soul, we had better make the most of them. Eye creams are a step often forgotten from our skincare routines but are an essential step in hydrating and brightening the eyes and minimising signs of ageing.

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The skincare market is a busy one, and there are certainly a fair few products out there that work to nourish and brighten the eyes. Formulas range from firming and anti-ageing products to make-up-friendly formulas that blend seamlessly under foundation. There really is something for every concern and every budget. So, where do you start? Well, luckily for you, we’ve done our homework.

The Recommended spoke to two skincare experts and, with their expertise in mind, waded through the internet, cutting out the noise to find the best eye creams for every need.

Jump to the best eye creams:

Our skincare experts

Rachael Fuss, Dr. Sophie Shotter

Rachael Fuss is a US-based content creator, skincare enthusiast, and founder of Skincare Standard. Rachael has worked with several Iconic brands, including Charlotte Tillbury, Youth To The People, and Summer Fridays and has thousands of followers eagerly awaiting her skincare tips.

Dr Sophie Shotter is an experienced dermatologist and aesthetic doctor who specialises in holistic approaches to wellbeing and anti-ageing treatments. Dr Sophie works from both 10 Harley Street and her own award-winning clinic in Kent and empowers her patients to take control of their health through hormone optimisation and aesthetic treatments.

What should you look for when buying an eye cream?

When asked what to look for when shopping for an eye cream, Rachael told us, “The undereye area is incredibly delicate, so I look for hydrating, firming ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides, and vitamins. I also have dark circles, so I look for brightening ingredients like niacinamide and vitamin C”.

Dr Sophie also gave us her take, telling us to look for:

  • Hydration: the under-eye area is very prone to dryness, and ingredients like Hyaluronic and Ceramides will help lock moisture in and help make up sit better.
  • Protection: antioxidants like vitamin C are useful ingredients in eye creams, as they help to protect from free radical damage throughout the day and help to brighten the undereye skin.
  • Sunscreen: most of us aren’t good at using sunscreen around our eyes, so finding an eye cream containing sunscreen is helpful to ensure we’re giving this delicate area protection.

What should you avoid when looking for an eye cream?

In terms of what to avoid when shopping for an eye cream, Rachael told us, “It’s best to avoid eye creams with synthetic fragrance, as this can potentially irritate the eyes”. Dr Sophie also gave s some advice telling us to avoid “occlusive ingredients which may feel very rich and luxurious, but can contribute towards the formation of milia around the eye.”

She also advised us to “be careful with active ingredients around the eye – retinol is great for many people but can be irritant for others. If you have a very sensitive skin type introduce these products slowly”.

Which is the best eye cream?

Dr Sophie told us she loves the “SkinBetter Science EyeMax Cream for overnight (it contains AlphaRet, which is a powerful retinoid), and the Interfuse Eye Treatment Cream in the morning for hydration and dark circles”. Dr Sophie also gave a shout-out to the “Revision SkinCare DEJ Eye Cream, which works at the demo-epidermal junction to focus on skin health”.

Rachael gave her vote to the Shani Darden Intensive Eye Renewal Cream, telling us how “it has squalene, so it’s hydrating, and it’s packed with peptides to promote firmness”. Rachael also told us how she “love[s] the Summer Fridays Light Aura Vitamin C + Peptide Eye Cream during the day because it has caffeine to visibly depuff, and it helps to brighten up the under eyes”.

The best eye creams

Best fragrance-free eye cream: CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

For all-day hydration 

best fragrance-free eye cream

This nourishing eye cream works to gently nourish the under eyes and deliver up to 24 hours of hydration.

This eye cream is made with a fragrance-free, gentle formula suitable for sensitive skin. This eye cream is made with three essential ceramides that work to protect the skin’s natural barrier from pollutants and environmental aggressors.

Best hydrating eye cream: Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Cream

A moisture boost 

best hydrating eye cream

This gentle eye cream works to hydrate the under eyes for a lifted look.

This hydrating eye cream’s gel-like formula absorbs quickly into the skin while delivering deep hydration. The gentle formula is also safe for sensitive skin and works to nourish without causing irritation.

Best brightening eye cream: Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Brighten Dark Circles Eye Cream

To energise the under eyes

best brightening eye cream

This brightening eye cream works to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful, vibrant look.

This eye cream is innovatively formulated with caffeine, expert-recommended Vitamin C, and a proven anti-dark circle peptide and light diffusers that help to moisturise, nourish and brighten the skin.

Best eye cream for sensitive skin: Burt’s Bees Hydrating Daily Eye Cream

Lightweight and gentle

best for sensitive skin

This eye cream is made from 99% natural ingredients that help to soothe and hydrate the under eyes without irritating delicate skin.

This lightweight eye cream is tested by dermatologists and is suitable for every day due to its gentle formula. This eye cream is fragrance-free and works to decrease puffiness around the eyes for a brighter, invigorated look.

Best cruelty-free eye cream: e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Eye Cream

To hydrate and refresh

best cruelty-free eye cream

This cruelty-free eye cream is kind to both your skin and the planet and is infused with hyaluronic acid for optimal hydration.

This eye cream is made with a lightweight, 100% vegan formula that absorbs quickly into the skin, perfect for use under makeup. This non-greasy formula is infused with hyaluronic acid and peptide complex that work to minimise the appearance of dark circles for brighter under eyes.

Best affordable eye cream: NIVEA Q10 Power Anti-Ageing Eye Cream

Effective and accessible

best affordable eye cream

This anti-ageing eye cream works to deliver quality results without breaking the bank and is widely available for continued use.

This affordable eye cream is dermatologically tested and is formulated with powerful creatine that works to firm and smooths the under eyes. This anti-wrinkle eye cream is fast absorbing and works to supplement creatine levels that drop as we age, delivering a brighter, more youthful-looking complexion.

Best vegan eye cream: Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40

SPF protection

best vegan eye cream

This vegan and cruelty-free eye cream delivers on Dr Sophie’s recommendation of SPF eye creams to help protect from UVA rays.

This mineral eye cream offers a broad-spectrum SPF 40 formula and protects against UVA, UVB and blue-light rays for optimal protection. This eye cream works to improve elasticity and smooth skin texture, while wild butterfly ginger flower & pomegranate help minimise the appearance of dark circles and brighten the under eyes.

Best eye cream for fine lines: SkinBetter Science EyeMax AlphaRet Overnight Cream

Smoothing and soothing

best eye cream for fine lines

Dr Sophie recommended this eye cream for its “powerful retinoid” formula that works to deliver effective anti-ageing results.

This anti-ageing eye cream uses potent AlphaRet technology to improve the texture and tone of the skin, reducing puffiness, fine lines and the appearance of dark circles for a refreshed, lifted and more youthful look.

Best eye cream for dark circles: SkinBetter InterFuse Treatment Cream EYE

For brighter eyes

best eye cream for dark circles

Dr Sophie recommended this product specifically for its dark-circle fighting properties and quality results.

This potent eye cream is formulated with a powerful peptide that promises to smooth the appearance of crow’s feet almost instantly. This product also contains caffeine and a specialised yeast derivative that reduces the look of puffiness and locks in moisture for a hydrated, smoothed look.

Best anti-ageing eye cream: D·E·J Eye Cream

For healthier skin

best anti-aging eye cream

Dr Sophie called out this product for its commitment to improving skin health and effective results.

This anti-ageing eye cream works to rejuvenate the whole eye area, including the eyelids, in as little as four weeks*. This product works to target areas of sagging, wrinkles and redness and reveals a more youthful texture by offering deep hydration and improving moisture retention.

Best firming eye cream: Shani Darden Intensive Eye Renewal Cream

Firms and brightens

best firming eye cream

This product is recommended by our expert Rachael for its squalene-rich, hydrating formula that is “packed with peptides to promote firmness”.

This expert-recommended product is enriched with nine active ingredients that work to refine, firm and lift the under eyes while promoting collagen production for long-lasting results. This vegan formula is also infused with silk-tree extract, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide that work to firm and hydrate the skin while diminishing the appearance of fine lines.

Best eye cream for under makeup: Summer Friday Light Aura Vitamin C and Peptide Eye Cream

Seamless protection

best eye cream for under makeup

This product is recommended by our expert Rachael for its ability to “visibly depuff” and “brighten up the under eyes”.

This eye cream is enriched with several expert-recommended ingredients such as Vitamin C and peptides. This cruelty-free, vegan formula also works to strengthen and illuminate while supporting natural collagen production for firmer-looking under eyes. This formula is also enriched with caffeine and Vitamin E that increase blood flow and depuff the area while soothing and hydrating for a brighter, healthier look.

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Want to read more expert-recommended beauty product round-ups? Check out our Cosmetics page for a full list of recommendations, including our list of the best moisturisers, the best mascaras and the best foundations – all recommended by professionals – and check out our guide to the best value beauty advent calendars of 2022