Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles in 2021 - The Dermatology Review

Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles in 2021

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

01.12.21DISCLAIMER

Dark circles under your 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 eye creams are a go-to treatment. They’re available in various price points, are easy to use, and there’s a formula to meet all skin types and tones.

Even so, the great eye cream debate continues. Can a topical product actually reverse rings? Read on to find out what the best under eye cream for dark circles can — and cannot — do for the delicate skin around your orbital area.

14 Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles, Puffiness and Under Eye Bags

The List:

Formulyst Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream, $59

Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $50

100% Pure Coffee Bean Eye Cream, $29

Biossance Squalane Marine Algae Eye Cream, $54

No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, $27

Boscia Indigo Eye Cream, $38

Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel, $14

Neocutis Illuminating Eye Cream, $97

Dermalogica Total Eye Care, $54

Clinique All About Eyes Rich Cream, $58

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

Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Eye Treatment, $65

Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $99

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11

SkinBetter Science InterFuse Eye Cream $105

La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Eye Cream, $43

SkinMedica TNS Illuminating Eye Cream, $92

Burt’s Bees Brightening Eye Treatment, $12.90

La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream, $400

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex, $64

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème, $39

What Causes Dark Circles? 

Several factors cause infraorbital dark circles, so they are a common challenge in dermatology and aesthetic medicine. 

 

The Natural Aging Process

As we get older, bone volume, collagen, and facial fat all decrease leading to a hollowed-out appearance that worsens the darkness’s appearance. This is what’s known as intrinsic (aka chronological) aging. This genetically determined process is influenced by:

  • Fluctuating hormones.
  • The deteriorating effects of free radicals such as sun exposure and pollution.
  • The body’s inability to repair damaged skin.
  • Lower levels of hyaluronic acids within the skin.
  • The loss of collagen and elastin that gives our skin tone.
  • Thinning skin that reveals the blood vessels underneath the eyes, making circles appear even darker. 

Related: Best Eye Creams

 

Genetics and Ethnicity

While aging skin is a combination of intrinsic (chronological) and extrinsic (sun exposure and lifestyle) factors, genes also play a role. Perhaps you’ve inherited your mom’s fair skin that makes the capillaries under your eyes more prominent. Genetics can be associated with collagen levels and melanin production, which can contribute to dark circles. 

Ethnicity also plays a role. Research suggests dark circles are prevalent in all skin colors and types, but even more so in African-Americans, Southeast Asians, and Southern Italians.

 

Lack of Sleep 

We commonly hear statements such as “you look tired,” “I didn’t sleep well, hence the dark circles under my eyes.” Studies confirmed that sleep-deprived individuals are perceived as more fatigued, less attractive, and even less healthy than when they are rested, confirming the everyday notion of beauty sleep and suggesting a role of sleep history in social interactions. Lack of sleep can also cause dark circles and paler skin, which causes blood vessels beneath the skin to become more apparent, exacerbating the appearance of dark circles. Experts agree that getting seven to eight hours of shuteye each night can help reduce shadowy rings. 

 

Eye Strain

Most of us are guilty of staring at a computer screen or another electronic device for too long, which causes eye strain because the blood vessels are forced to work overtime. As with allergies, when blood vessels become inflamed due to an overproduction of cortisol, it makes the area under the eyes appear darker. 

 

Allergies

Whether you have seasonal allergies or are allergic to dust or mold, either type can prompt a release of histamines, which triggers an inflammatory response. When blood vessels under the eyes become irritated and inflamed, dark circles can ensue. 

 

Poor Diet or a Nutritional Deficiency 

A diet primarily made up of salty, high-processed foods and excessive alcohol can contribute to circles because you’re retaining water. Salt and alcohol are dehydrating, leading to eyelid oedema — an accumulation of fluid that typically appears purplish because of the orbicularis muscle (responsible for the closing of your eyelids) located in the lower eyelid. 

Second, your skin — around your eyes included — has a way of telling you whether or not you’re eating a balanced diet filled with nutritious foods or three courses of junk. Perhaps you have an iron (or another vitamin and/or mineral) deficiency because you’re not consuming enough leafy greens, meat, and legumes. If you’re loading up on caffeinated beverages, adrenal exhaustion could be the root of your dark circles. Another possible cause is eating too little or too much. This behavior causes the body and its internal systems to work overtime. 

 

Smoking and Alcohol Consumption

Both smoking and drinking can increase dark circles by dehydrating the skin. Alcohol can cause blood vessels to dilate under the eyes, making dark circles appear more prominent. The nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels to constrict in the skin’s outer layers, impairing blood flow. Decreased blood flow means your skin doesn’t get as much oxygen or vital nutrients like vitamin A or C. Both alcohol and cigarettes can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep, which, as noted above, triggers those rings that you see upon waking up. 

Related: Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles

Do Eye Creams Work for Dark Circles?

What is the best eye cream for dark circles? Is there really such a thing? 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.

 

 

Eye cream reviews

Ingredient 101: What to Use for Dark Circles Around Eyes

Some notable treatments can make a moderate improvement. The best eye cream for dark circles is formulated with ingredients such as:

 

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 means it 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. 

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 do not see the results you want, book an appointment with a skincare professional such as a dermatologist or an esthetician.

The Best Under Eye Cream for Dark Circles: Top 21 for 2021

THE BEST PRODUCT

1Formulyst Anti-Dark Circle Eye Cream

High in concentration and lightweight in texture, this powerful formula contains three naturally-derived ingredients — chenopodium quinoa seed extract, caffeine, and butcher’s broom extract — that work together to energize and enhance visibly, leaving the skin around your eyes looking and feeling brighter, smoother and more youthful.

Read Review

Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream

2Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream

This revolutionary treatment uses highly effective botanical extracts to reduce signs of stress and fatigue, including dark circles. The 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.

Read Review

Biossance Squalane Marine Algae Eye Cream

4Biossance Squalane Marine Algae Eye Cream

A rich eye cream is said to revitalize and bring a lifted look to tired eyes associated with dark circles. Astaxanthin, a carotenoid, is a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent oxidative damage to the eye area after exposure to UVA radiation.

Read Review

5 No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector

There are a lot of factors that contribute to dark circles. With that said, no miracle cream’s going to completely eliminate them — especially if you have poor lifestyle habits such as lack of sleep, a high-salt diet, not drinking enough water, etc. However, 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.

Read Review

6 Boscia Indigo Eye Cream

This brightening eye cream contains soft, blurring pigments to illuminate and disguise dull, dark circles temporarily. The wild indigo in this eye cream “wakes up” tired eyes by reducing the look of dark circles, and puffiness for a wide-awake brightened appearance.

Read Review

7 Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel

While you may initially fall in love with the packaging, it’s what’s inside that counts. Peptides, rose hips, and blue tansy work to soothe and brighten while caffeine depuffs and diminishes the shadows under your eyes. The cooling glass rollerball applicator is the perfect delivery system for this affordable, spa-like eye gel.

Read Review

8 Neocutis Illuminating Eye Cream

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, and bisabolol soothes and banishes signs of fatigue, which is good news for those who are always staring at the computer screen.

Read Review

9 Dermalogica Total Eye Care

Not only does this eye cream protect from harmful UV rays, but it also smooths and retexturizer the delicate eye area, thanks to gently alpha hydroxy acids and plant extracts. The addition of optical light diffusers helps conceal dark circles.

Read Review

10 Clinique All About Eyes Rich Cream

This popular over-the-counter eye cream works immediately and over time to reduce under-eye circles, thanks to key ingredients such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (a derivative of vitamin C that’s more stable), shea butter, green tea extract, and caffeine.

Read Review

11 L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment

Pro-retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid visibly brighten dark circles, de-puff, and reduce wrinkles after just 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.

Read Review

12 Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Eye Treatment

While many eye creams target several issues, Shiseido’s intense formula works specifically to target dark circles and dryness. Even better, a proprietary “dark circle diminisher” works overtime to correct circles caused by pigmentation and poor microcirculation.

Read Review

13 Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Eye Cream

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. The secret sauce in this formula is Caudalie’s proprietary blend of resveratrol, viniferine, and grape seeds which work together synergistically 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.

Read Review

14 CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

This CeraVe eye cream is fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, and contains nourishing ingredients suitable for sensitive skin. It’s 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.

Read Review

15 SkinBetter Science InterFuse Eye Cream

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.

Read Review

16 La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Eye Cream

Caffeine constricts blood vessels to reduce the appearance of dark circles while reflective pigments brighten. It may be a bit pricer than your average drugstore eye cream, it has an instantaneous effect. The unique cooling metal applicator also helps depuff and the gentle melt-in texture and is suitable for the sensitive eye area.

Read Review

17 SkinMedica TNS Illuminating Eye Cream

A combination of hydroxysuccinimide and chrysin reduces circles’ appearance over time, while boron nitride immediately diffuses darkness. Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 (a synthetic peptide) and hyaluronic help hydrate and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so it’s truly an all-in-one eye cream.

Read Review

18 Burt’s Bees Brightening Eye Treatment

One of the key ingredients in this eye treatment is Bellis perennis (daisy) flower extract, which contains a compound called arbutin. Arbutin is a glycosylated hydroquinone that can inactivate tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. Therefore, by inhibiting tyrosinase, daisy extract may reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.

Read Review

19 La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Eye Cream

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 and dark circles and fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of tone. The delicate skin around the eyes (upper lids included) is immediately smoother, and exceptionally soft.

Read Review

20 Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex

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.

Read Review

21 Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème

This cult favorite and makeup artist must immediately color-correct dark eye circles and brightens 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.

Read Review

 

Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles: The Bottom Line

Dark circles under your eyes can be a telltale sign of age, but that’s not the only reason these pesky shadows appear. There’s also sun exposure, a poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption, and genetics. 

While cosmetic procedures such as laser treatments and chemical peels can have a positive impact, they can be costly and must be performed regularly to maintain results. With that said, this is why eye creams are a go-to treatment. They’re available in a variety of price points, are easy to use, and there’s a formula to meet all skin types and tones. 

What is the best eye cream for dark circles? Is there really such a thing? 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 is going to 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.

References:
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, March 2014.
Cues of Fatigue: Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Facial Appearance,” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, September 2013.
Dark Circles Under Eyes,” Mayo Clinic.
Quit Smoking,” 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.

  • TDR Original review: Aug 13, 2020. Reply

    Haloxyl Review
    Whether you’re looking for a product that reduces the appearance of dark circles or want to formulate your own beauty products, you might consider the use of Haloxyl. This product, which is produced by Making Cosmetics, can either be used alone or in a number of different formulations. Making Cosmetics is based in Washington and has been manufacturing and distributing skin care, cosmetics, and their ingredients, including Haloxyl, since 1997. If you have not been satisfied with the results of typical over-the-counter treatments for dark circles under eyes, then Haloxyl may be a viable option for you. Haloxyl is available in five different sizes as a convenience for those who want to use the product on its own or in their own cosmetic formulations.

    While there are a number of factors that cause dark circles under the eyes, such as genetics, a lack of sleep, and aging, they are one of the most difficult skin issues to treat. However, Haloxyl may help treat this issue, even if you have already tried other over-the-counter products. This topical treatment is formulated to target and absorb the pigment present in the blood that is responsible for color; which, when applied to dark circles, can fade them with repeated use.

    Haloxyl is also designed to increase the firmness in the skin around and under the eye, which may lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well. However, before you decide to purchase Haloxyl to treat your dark under eye circles, you may want to read Haloxyl reviews and discuss this product with your dermatologist, to make sure that this is the best treatment option for your situation.

  • 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.

  • TDR Original review: May 20, 2018. Reply

    Popular over-the-counter brands include Clinique, Shiseido, La Mer, Roc, Olay, Origins, La Prairie, Chanel, Obagi and Estee Lauder, but how do these products stack up against each other and how do drugstore brands compare to clinical products?

    You’ve probably heard about ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin K, retinol, caffeine, teamine, hyaluronic acid and peptides. How effective are these ingredients? What ingredients are effective at tightening and lifting the skin around the eyes?

    What is your favorite eye cream? Which formulations do you prefer?

    Next, write your own review.

  • TDR Original review: May 20, 2018. Reply

    For some, they appear when you don’t get enough sleep. For others, they are always visible and worsen with age. Dark circles are one of the most common skin problems. To make things even worse, you probably have people telling you that you look tired, even though you had more than enough sleep.

    So what actually causes the problem? Truthfully, that depends on the color of the dark circles.

    Purple: Usually genetics. Common with individuals with darker skin tones.
    Red: Broken capillaries due to aging.
    Blueish: Lack of sleep. Too much rubbing. Irritation.
    Dark circles under the eyes can be effectively treated with a good under eye cream. For most individuals, dark circles aren’t the only issue.

    Look for brightening products that not only address pigmentation issues but also strengthen the skin around the eyes. Vitamin K is very effective. Also look for products that contain peptides, specifically peptides that support natural collagen production.

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