22 of the Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

11.11.21DISCLAIMER
Best bet. The Carrot & Stick skincare bundle worth up to $240 for $88. Details below.

Dark circles under the eyes can be a telltale sign of age, but that’s not the only reason these pesky shadows appear. While cosmetic procedures such as laser treatments and chemical peels can positively impact darkness, they can be costly and must be performed regularly to maintain results. 

With that said, this is why a solid skincare routine should include the best eye cream for dark circles as a go-to treatment. These ring-banishing creams are available at various price points, are easy to use, and there’s a formula to meet all skin types and tones. The best skincare products on the market include the best eye creams to address puffiness, dryness, and of course, dark circles.  

Related: Best Eye Creams

Not sure where to start? No worries. Here at the Derm Review, we’ve reviewed hundreds of products with a scientific lens to ensure you’re creating a skincare regimen that’s safe and effective. Ahead, 22 of the best eye creams for dark circles that will help you fake a good night’s sleep — and then some.

Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles: The List

 

BEST OVERALL
Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $60 

Best bet. The Carrot & Stick skincare bundle worth up to $240 for $88. Select 3 products, including our favorite Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream. Use code DERM25A for 25% off.

Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum, $70

FULL LIST
Formulyst Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream, $59

Plexaderm Rapid Reduction Serum PLUS, $59.95

La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Eye Cream for Dark Circles, $42.99

Zo Skin Health Eye Brightening Cream, $130

No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, $27

Olay Brightening Eye Cream, $33.49

Nu Skin Intensive Eye Complex, $53

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution, $6.70

Clinique All About Eyes Rich Cream, $58

Dermalogica Total Eye Care SPF 15, $54

Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel, $14

Neocutis Illuminating Eye Cream, $97

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment, $24.99

Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream, $65

Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $99

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11

SkinBetter Science InterFuse Eye Cream, $105

SkinMedica TNS Illuminating Eye Cream, $92

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream, $385

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex, $64

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $39

Related: Best Eye Creams

How to Choose the Best Under-Eye Cream for Dark Circles

As with any skincare product, you’re going to want to look for an under-eye cream for dark circles that works with your skin type. Those with oilier skin may want to opt for a gel or gel-cream whereas more mature skin types will see better results with a rich cream. Also, consider whether or not you’re trying to simultaneously address other concerns such as puffiness, fine lines, wrinkles, sensitivity, etc., so you can choose a multi-tasking formula versus one that just targets dark circles.

What to Look for in a Brightening Eye Cream

Along with evidence-based ingredients, a brightening eye cream should address darkness, as well as puffiness, crepiness, fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of discoloration as all six signs typically show up simultaneously at one point or another — which is why prevention is key. Additionally, read product and brand reviews as we write here on the Derm Review. Has the product won any awards? Is it recommended by Dermatologists? What’s the average star rating?

Related: Best Eye Creams for Puffiness

Also, while it’s not always 100 percent possible, try to avoid dark circle creams formulated with harmful ingredients like denatured alcohol, parabens, and fragrance and that test on animals. Look for clean formulas with a mix of synthetic and natural safe results-driven ingredients.

Are Expensive Eye Creams Worth it? 

Not always. We’ve reviewed hundreds of pricy eye creams and have not always been impressed with the results due to a low concentration of ingredients and potentially harmful ingredients like denatured alcohol and fragrance. That’s why it’s so important that you do your homework and check out that ingredient list before opening your wallet. You’ll find that the best eye creams for dark circles on our list are in a variety of price points, so everyone can take advantage of this valuable skincare product. 

What Do the Best Dark Circle Eye Creams Have in Common? 

The best eye creams for dark circles are formulated with a high concentration of active ingredients. You’ll know that an eye cream for rings is results-driven because these activities will be listed towards the top of the ingredient list.

What are the Best Dark Circles Cream Ingredients?

The best eye creams for dark circles obviously help to soften the appearance of shadows, but they also serve as an effective treatment to address other issues like puffiness, crow’s feet, and crepiness — including prevention. But not all dark circle creams are created equal. Some of the best ingredients to address these issues include hyaluronic acid, vitamin K, caffeine, peptides, niacinamide, and ceramides. Why these ingredients? They each play an important role in maintaining skin health but are stronger together.

  • Hyaluronic Acid
    Hydrates, plumps, and brightens the delicate skin under the eye area, which helps to mask darkness under the eyes.

  • Vitamin K
    Often used to help skin recover from surgery or cosmetic procedures like chemical peels or laser treatments, vitamin K is believed to benefit cuts, wounds, and bruises heal considerably faster than usual. It’s also a star ingredient in many eye creams because it can help brighten dark circles and increase skin elasticity.

  • Caffeine
    When used around the eye area, caffeine can reduce the inflammation associated with dark circles and puffiness by narrowing the blood vessels.

  • Vitamin C
    Vitamin C protects your skin from elements like the sun (though it is not a replacement for sunscreen), pollution, and cigarette smoke. It also discourages melanin production in the skin, which helps hyperpigmentation issues (think brown spots), evens skin tone, and increases radiance. C also has a hydrating effect on the skin.

Related: Best Firming Eye Creams

  • Peptides
    Peptides help keep the eye area firm and smooth by stimulating collagen growth, which helps plump the under-eye area, concealing under-eye circles.
  • Niacinamide
    Vitamin B3, aka nicotinamide (also known as niacinamide), has numerous benefits — which is why it’s an essential ingredient in many skincare formulas. When it comes to the eyes, it enhances the skin’s resilience, hydrates, calms inflammation, guards against free-radical damage, and brightens.

  • Ceramides
    Ceramides mimic the skin’s natural moisturizing systems, so they effectively prevent dehydration, a common cause of dark under-eye circles.

Related: Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles

How to Apply an Eye Cream for Dark Circles

Eye cream should be applied before daytime moisturizer and sunscreen and before your night cream because it’s lighter, and heavier formulas should go on last.  

Try not to use a lot of eye cream — a pea-sized amount for both eyes is enough. Using too much product makes it easier for the cream to enter your eyes, causing irritation, which will only exacerbate dark circles. Here’s how to get the most out of your eye cream for dark circles: 

 

Finger Application

  • Always apply your eye cream with your ring finger. It’s the weakest, so it will naturally have a gentle touch.
  • Use a small spatula to scoop up a pea-sized amount of product.
  • Gently tap small dots under your eyes, starting at the innermost corner and moving outward. Avoid applying cream too close to your bottom eyelashes. 
  • Gently pat the product on your skin. Avoid dragging, rubbing, and pulling.
  • Wait two minutes to let the cream fully absorb before applying the rest of your skincare products and makeup.

 

With an Eye Cream Applicator

More and more eye creams are being formulated with an eye cream applicator, which are metal roller balls attached to the ends of tubes of eye creams that are meant to quickly cool the skin, improve circulation and reduce puffiness around the eyes. 

As with your finger, you’re going to want to use a light touch and you’re still going to want to work the applicator starting at the innermost corner and moving outward. 

How to Get Rid of Dark Circles

Along with using a well-formulated eye cream, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to address shadows around the orbital area. 

  • Get enough shuteye —  experts agree that getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night can help reduce shadowy rings. 
  • Sleep with your head slightly elevated.
  • Ease up on the salt shaker and caffeinated and alcoholic beverages.
  • Ditch the smokes.
  • Wear an eye cream with an SPF during the day. 
  • Take an antihistamine.
  • When on an electronic device, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Repeat this process approximately every 20 minutes. 
  • For added eye hydration, incorporate liquid tears or other drops into your routine to alleviate dryness and irritation. 
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Drink enough water — aim for half your body weight in ounces, but adjust accordingly based on lifestyle and climate. 

What to Expect From an Eye Cream for Dark Circles

Just remember that there’s no such thing as a quick fix. As with any product in your skincare routine, patience is a virtue, so you may need anywhere from four to six weeks to start to see an improvement. If you don’t see the results you want, book an appointment with a skincare professional such as a dermatologist or an esthetician.

Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles

What’s the best under-eye cream for dark circles? We’ve got 22 of them. 

BEST OVERALL
Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream
, $60
This revolutionary treatment uses highly effective botanical extracts to reduce signs of stress and fatigue, including dark circles. Persian silk tree (albizia julibrissin) has an anti-glycation effect that helps delicate skin around the lids feel tighter. St. Paul’s wort (sigesbeckia Orientalis) boosts the appearance of collagen and elastin, restoring vitality.

Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum, $70
A blend of advanced peptides reduces the look of discoloration and rich moisturizers combat dryness. Crow’s feet are smoothed, puffiness is reduced and skin is visibly lifted and brightened with every application.

FULL LIST
Formulyst Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream, $59
A fast-acting formulation that targets dark circles and puffiness around the eyes, Formulyst’s Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream combines a rich blend of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals to visibly brighten and smooth the delicate skin in the eye area. The formula is high in concentration and lightweight in texture. Naturally-derived chenopodium quinoa seed extract, caffeine, and butcher’s broom extract visibly energize and enhance. Over time, eyes look and feel brighter, smoother, and more youthful.

Plexaderm Rapid Reduction Serum PLUS, $59.95
Plexaderm temporarily reduces the appearance of under-eye bags, dark circles, and wrinkles for several hours, thanks to two key ingredients — sodium silicate and magnesium aluminum silicate. According to the brand’s clinical study of 40 people, 75% saw a decrease in the appearance of under-eye bags, and 78% saw a reduction in under-eye dark circles. 

La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Eye Cream for Dark Circles, $42.99
This daily eye cream brightens the eye area while visibly reducing the look of blue and brown dark under-eye circles. Key evidence-based ingredients include niacinamide, caffeine, and La Roche-Posay Thermal Spring Water. Lipo-hydroxy acid, a gentle yet effective exfoliant, is suitable for sensitive skin and renews the skin around the orbital area. When looking for the best eye cream for circles and bags, you’ll love the unique cooling metal applicator and gentle melt-in texture. 

Zo Skin Health Eye Brightening Cream, $130
Formulated for the delicate eye area, this results-driven formula helps visibly reduce multiple signs of aging, including dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines. Kojic dipalmitate is a crucial ingredient to help lighten the appearance of dark circles. Saccharomyces lysate extract, carnitine, coenzyme A, and caffeine support natural microcirculation to reduce the appearance of puffiness often associated with rings under the eyes.

No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, $27
The best eye cream for dark circles works on contact and over time. This drugstore formula is slightly tinted and is formulated with light-diffusing particles and color-correcting pigments, so it immediately camouflages and brightens discoloration. Soothing Algae Extract and the brand’s proprietary lightening technology target the three causes of dark circles. Under-eye skin becomes more revitalized for a more wide-awake, bright look. The formula is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of dark circles in 2 weeks for all skin tones from fair to very dark. 

Olay Brightening Eye Cream, $33.49
As Olay states, “your eyes will hide your secrets” with this brightening eye cream — who doesn’t want that? Along with targeting dark circles, this age-fighting formula also addresses fine lines and wrinkles, giving you a well-rested and more youthful appearance. Vitamins B3 and C, caffeine, and optic brighteners protect the delicate skin around the eye area from pollutants while hydrating and delivering a younger look. This formula is enriched with vitamins and a light-reflecting complex to help minimize under-eye circles. 

Nu Skin Intensive Eye Complex, $53
This fragrance-free (our preference) formula boosts the skin’s moisture barrier for a brighter under-eye while forming a light, protective barrier to stop pollution, free radicals, and stress damage. A “Bioadaptive Botanical Blend” of extracts derived from plants that thrive in extreme climates helps delicate under-eye skin bounce back from stressors such as pollution and stress. This unique formula works with ceramides in your skin to improve its natural moisture barrier and illuminate and tone the area under the eyes.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution, $6.70
Thanks to a combination of powerful antioxidants, The Ordinary Caffeine Solution is a good option for those who would like to reduce the look of puffiness and dark circles underneath their eyes. This light-textured formula contains a high 5% concentration of caffeine and an antioxidant that tightens and firms the skin while reducing the amount of blood that accumulates under the eyes — a significant factor contributing to dark circles.

Clinique All About Eyes Rich Cream, $58
This popular over-the-counter eye cream works immediately and over time to reduce under-eye circles, de-puff calm, and deeply hydrate the delicate skin under the eyes. Key ingredients include magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (a derivative of vitamin C that’s more stable), shea butter, green tea extract, and caffeine. The formula is ophthalmologist-tested and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier against common irritants. 

Dermalogica Total Eye Care SPF 15, $54
Not only does this eye cream protect from harmful UV rays, but it also smooths and retexturizes the delicate eye area, thanks to gently alpha hydroxy acids and plant extracts. A chemical-free SPF helps prevent further UV damage, leading to discoloration. The addition of optical light diffusers helps conceal dark circles.

Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel, $14
While you may initially fall in love with the colorful, eye-catching packaging, it’s what’s inside that counts. Peptides, rose hips, and blue tansy soothe and brighten while caffeine depuffs and diminishes the shadows under your eyes. The cooling glass rollerball applicator is the perfect delivery system for an affordable, spa-like eye gel. The formulation is void of parabens, phthalates, SLS, and mineral oil.

Neocutis Illuminating Eye Cream, $97
This multi-award-winning eye cream is formulated with glycyrrhetinic acid to help lighten dark circles’ appearance while caffeine reduces puffiness. Growth factors lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Bisabolol soothes and banishes signs of fatigue, which is good news for those who are always staring at the computer screen.

L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment, $24.99
Pro-retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid visibly brighten dark circles, de-puff, and reduce wrinkles after one week of regular use. Thanks to the cooling metal applicator, eyes instantly appear more refreshed and revitalized. This derm-approved drugstore eye cream was recently reformulated.

Related: Best Retinol Eye Creams

Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream, $65
While many eye creams target several issues, Shiseido’s intense formula explicitly targets dark circles and dryness. A proprietary “dark circle diminisher” works overtime to correct rings caused by pigmentation and poor microcirculation. Blue and brown, dark circles are visibly reduced over time for a youthful look. The formula is dermatologist- and ophthalmologist-tested.

Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $99
This best-seller is nicknamed “photoshop for the eyes” due to its incredible ability to visibly reduce fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles on contact and over time. Caudalie’s proprietary blend of resveratrol, viniferine, and grape seeds work together to lift, firm, brighten and protect against free radical damage. It deeply hydrates yet effortlessly melts into the skin, so it works well with makeup or alone as a natural highlighter to banish under-eye shadows. 

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11
This CeraVe eye cream is chock-full of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide, all of which work to restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier while softening the appearance of under-eye circles. CeraVe developed an MVE Delivery Technology to deliver ceramides to the skin in a time-release manner for a continuous rather than burst effect. The formula is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and contains nourishing ingredients suitable for sensitive skin.

SkinBetter Science InterFuse Eye Cream $105
A potent blend of vitamin C, caffeine, and peptides work synergistically to brighten and hydrate the delicate eye area. This eye cream needs to be ordered through a physician, so it’s an excellent option for those already seeing a dermatologist or planning to visit one soon. The formula contains a decent amount of niacinamide, which is one of the best skincare ingredients, in our opinion.

SkinMedica TNS Illuminating Eye Cream, $92
A combination of hydroxysuccinimide and chrysin reduces circles’ appearance over time, while boron nitride immediately diffuses darkness. Boron Nitride optimizes the optical diffusion effect of light, lessening the visibility of dark circles and discolorations to enhance skin appearance. Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 (a synthetic peptide) and hyaluronic acid help hydrate and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so it’s truly an all-in-one eye cream. 

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream, $385
Due to the high price point, this eye cream isn’t for everyone — but it still makes the cut because it has an incredible cult following. Caviar Premier technology addresses dehydration, dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of tone. Along with addressing dark circles, the skin around the eye appears lifted and firmed, and the look of puffiness is diminished. The delicate skin around the eyes (upper lids included) is immediately smoother and exceptionally soft.  

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex, $64
This cult eye cream is truly all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s formulated with 10X “concentrated repair technology” to restore the adverse effects of a lack of sleep, UV rays, and pollution. It’s been clinically proven to reduce dark circles’ appearance in just three weeks and keeps the eye area hydrated for 24 hours, thanks to a hydration booster. Caffeine reduces puffiness to boot. 

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $39
This cult favorite and makeup artist must immediately color-correct dark eye circles and brighten the eye area. The addition of vitamin collagen supports the skin’s elasticity. While the product can be used alone, this creme serves as a beautiful canvas for a smooth application if you wish to use an actual makeup-type concealer. 

Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles: The Bottom Line

Which eye cream is the best for dark circles?

Overall, the best eye creams for Dark Circles is Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream. We also recommend Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum.

We hope you’ve found the root of your dark circles so that you can choose the best under-eye cream for you — one that’s filled with evidence-based ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, niacinamide, ceramides, and caffeine. 

Remember, dark circles are mainly caused by factors beyond your control (aging, genetics) or lifestyle habits that you can change, providing you’re willing to make an effort. 

What is the best eye cream for dark circles, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding dark under-eye circles and treatment.

 

FAQs
Lack of shuteye isn’t the only reason why shadows appear. Several factors cause infraorbital dark circles, so they are a common challenge in dermatology and aesthetic medicine. Intrinsic aging, sun exposure, genetics, ethnicity, allergies and dark circles around eyes, eye strain, lack of sleep eyes, a poor diet, dehydration, alcohol consumption, and smoking are all leading causes of dark circles.
Typically an iron deficiency, a condition where the blood lacks red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen to tissues in the body. Along with dark circles, an iron deficiency can cause pale skin. Taking a supplement and/or consuming enough leafy greens, meat, and legumes can help.

The excellent eye cream debate continues. Can a topical product actually reverse rings? Well, think about it: Dark circles are mainly caused by factors beyond your control (aging, genetics) or lifestyle habits that you can change — if you’re willing to commit.

With that said, no eye cream in the world will cancel out the fact that you’re not getting enough sleep, can’t ditch the cigarettes, or have the same genes as your mother. Make an effort to make the necessary lifestyle changes that you can control to minimize the appearance of dark circles and use one of the best eye creams to help support these efforts.

Are there creams to remove dark circles completely? Remember, there’s no such thing as a quick fix. As with any product in your skincare routine, patience is a virtue. You may need anywhere from four to six weeks to start to see an improvement. If you don’t see the results you want, book an appointment with a skincare professional such as a dermatologist or an esthetician, or a medical professional if you suspect a health issue.
There are several DIY remedies to help reduce — not remove — dark circles naturally. Try turmeric, a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice that minimizes dark circles. Mix some turmeric powder with pineapple juice to create a thick paste. Apply this mixture to your under-eye rings and leave for approximately 10 minutes before gently removing it with a soft, warm, damp cloth.
If you want to remove dark circles under eyes permanently (though you may never be able to get rid of rings completely), cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels, laser treatments, and microneedling can make a significant difference. Keep in mind that they can be costly and have to be conducted regularly to maintain results.
Whether you have a last-minute Zoom meeting or special event, there are a few DIY recipes and tips to help alleviate the look of dark circles in a flash. For example, try a cold compress, steeped (and soaked) tea bags, a sheet under-eye mask (store it in the fridge), or temporarily conceal rings with makeup.
While the internet is filled with bloggers and Youtubers, who claim Vaseline can remove dark circles, don’t waste your time and try one of the best eye creams instead.
A day eye cream frequently contains SPF and is lighter than a night cream, making it easy to apply before makeup. A night eye cream includes ingredients that do their best work while you’re sleeping and away from the sun’s harmful rays.
Never apply eye cream on your eyelids unless the directions say it’s safe to do so.
Realistically, a combination of medical and natural treatments would be necessary to eliminate dark circles. The results are usually not permanent. Appropriate lifestyle modifications, home care, and follow-ups with a physician would be required to maintain results.

Sources:
Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Study of its Prevalence, Common Causative Factors and its Association with Personal Habits and Other Disorders” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance,” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.
Smoking: Does it Cause Wrinkles?,” Mayo Clinic.
Dark Circles Under Eyes Causes,” Mayo Clinic. 

  • Carolyn Frost Original review: Sep 02, 2020. Reply

    I have had the best response for under eye circles with Chanel for eyes. It might be called a lift. I have a tendency to think cold green tea bags might also help. I have a friend with no circles who takes vitamin E. Would that be worth a try?

    I have very dry skin and I have been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. The meds add dryness. What kind of lotions would help with this all over my skin. I use olive oil some and baby oil mixed with lotion. This helps with creping. I have scars from teen acne in the corners of my mouth by my lips. I have tried a lotion with collagen with some success. The scars do not appear as deep with that lotion.

  • User Original review: May 15, 2020. Reply

    The Best Eye Cream for Dark Blood Vessels

    Dark circles under the eyes are also caused by inflamed capillaries under the thin skin of the eye, which makes the skin look darker than it really is. If you’re trying to treat this issue, then the best eye cream in this case will contain anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as chrysin, which is a natural element derived from honey. When the inflammation is eased, the dark circles will appear less prominent. If you have any honey or plant-based allergies, consult your dermatologist before using products that contain chrysin.

  • User Original review: May 15, 2020. Reply

    Choosing the Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles Under Eyes

    If you have dark circles under the eyes that are caused by a lack of sleep, certain foods, allergies, or if you have very light skin, then the best under eye cream to choose is one that contains caffeine as the active ingredient. When applied topically, this ingredient constricts the blood vessels that lie under the thin skin under the eye and reduce the visibility of dark circles. Another ingredient that you should look for in the best eye cream for dark circles is a brightening agent that can help you reduce the appearance of dark circles cosmetically.

  • Laura Original review: May 27, 2019. Reply

    My eyes always have dark circles and look very puff for these problems I always using dermalmd under eye serum and it is lightweight and does reduce the puffiness and dark circles significantly. It goes on smoothly and does not sting or burn. My only quibble with this serum is that the dispenser gives out too much of the product at one time and the excess hardens if it is not cleaned off. I can see using this serum for years to come.

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