Best Eye Serum: 19 Formulas to Address Every Budget and Concern

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

06.09.21DISCLAIMER

What’s the Best Eye Serum? Our favorite is Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum.

While you may just be getting used to the idea of using an eye cream, an eye serum should be on your radar, too. Just like a face serum and moisturizer go hand-in-hand, so does this dynamic duo. The two products work together synergistically to deeply hydrate and address the signs of aging.

But suppose you were more concerned with dark circles than puffiness or budget is a matter of consideration? Not to worry. While eye serums may be a relatively new concept, there are plenty of options out there to address every budget and skincare concern — here are 18 top picks to get you started.

Related: Best Eye Creams

The List

BEST OVERALL
Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum, $70

FULL LIST
Verso Super Eye Serum, $80

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum, $89

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II, $69

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum, $60

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum, $69

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX 360 Eye Renewal, $53

Lancôme Absolu Revitalizing Eye Serum, $135

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Eye Serum, $70

iS Clinical C Eye Advance+, $60

Lancôme Absolue Revitalizing Eye Serum, $135

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, $6.70

REN CLEAN SKINCARE Keep Young & Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift, $46

StriVectin Peptight 360° Tightening Eye Serum, $69

Stacked Skincare Firming Eye Complex, $78

StriVectin Peptight 360° Tightening Eye Serum, $69

Olay Eye Lifting Serum, $30

Cetaphil Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Gel, $14.97

Garnier Clearly Brighter Anti-Puff Eye Roller, $12.99

Eye Serum Benefits

Eye serums are water-based, lightweight, and more viscous. Serums typically contain more active ingredients that can penetrate more deeply due to their small molecular structure and liquid consistency — just like the serums used on your face — to provide optimum anti-aging and hydration benefits.

Eye Cream Vs. Serum: Should You Be Using Both?

Before you go kicking one to the curb, note that dermatologists recommend both under-eye products because they address different eye area concerns.

Eye creams are thicker and typically consist of more oils and fats. Creams are excellent for retaining and providing moisture on the skin’s surface while improving creepiness and texture. On the other hand, eye serums are often more effective in addressing concerns such as dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Related: Best Retinol Eye Creams

How to Correctly Apply an Eye Serum

As with your face products, an eye serum is applied before your eye cream. Here are a few tips to remember.

  • You only need about a pea-sized amount of serum for both eyes.
  • Using your ring finger, gently dab the product underneath each eye, starting from the inside corner outwards — just be careful not to get too close to the lash line, so the product doesn’t seep into your eyes.
  • Wait approximately one minute before applying your cream.
  • Repeat this process day and night.

Best Eye Serum: What’s Your Under-Eye Concern?

 

Best Eye Serum for Wrinkles

As the skin around our eyes is the thinnest on our entire body (and it doesn’t have sebaceous (oil) glands), it’s one of the first places we notice the early signs of aging — especially if you haven’t been protecting your skin from sun exposure.

Related: Best Eye Cream for Wrinkles

When it comes to an eye serum for wrinkles, you can’t beat a formula with retinol. It’s an ingredient composed of smaller molecules, so it’s able to penetrate the skin deeply. Notable benefits include:

  • Softens and prevents fine lines and wrinkles
  • Encourages collagen production
  • Lessens the appearance of brown spots
  • Increases cell turnover
  • Improves skin’s texture

BEST OVERALL
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
Verso Super Eye Serum, $80
This popular retinol eye serum is formulated with Verso’s unique Retinol 8 complex, which effectively firms, addresses hyperpigmentation, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, hyaluronic acid deeply hydrates and plumps. At the same time, a blend of peptides strengthens delicate under-eye tissue, restricts capillaries, and increases the frequency of lymph vessel contraction, diminishing the look of eye puffiness, dark circles, and lines.

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum, $89
Harnessing the power of Retinol Tri-Active Technology (a fast-acting retinoid, time-released retinol, and a retinol booster), this best-selling serum quickly minimizes lines and deep wrinkles around the eye area in as little as two weeks. Despite being potent, this retinol eye serum is safe for those with sensitive skin.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II, $69
While all of these formulas address wrinkles to some degree, this eye serum from Estee Lauder works overtime while you’re sleeping (the time of the day when the skin repairs itself) to address multiple signs of aging, including dryness, dullness, dark circles, and of course, wrinkles. An exclusive ChronoluxCB Technology harnesses the power of sleep to address adverse changes around the eyes that occur due to environmental stress, fatigue, and chronological age.

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum, $60
A proprietary “Shaba Complex” composed of copper peptides, edelweiss, black tea ferment, Co-Q10, and niacinamide reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, soothe, and improve under-eye skin tone and texture. This power-packed formula is also rich in sea buckthorn oil, vitamins A and E, and ubiquinone, a potent antioxidant that combats environmental stress responsible for premature aging.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum, $69
This retinol spiked serum works to increase cell turnover and boost collagen production, which collectively helps plump fine lines/wrinkles. It’s designed for use on the entire eye area, including eyelids, to help firm skin, reduce the look of wrinkles, and smooth the appearance of the eyelid.

 

Best Eye Serum for Dark Circles

Dark circles appear when blood pools in the veins under the skin. These shadowy rings can be a telltale sign of age, but that’s not the only reason these pesky shadows appear.

Related: Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles

Genetics, ethnicity, lack of sleep, eye strain, allergies, a poor diet or nutritional deficiency, smoking, and alcohol consumption are also contributors. An eye serum for dark circles should contain ingredients such as:

  • Vitamins K and C
  • Caffeine
  • Peptides
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Niacinamide

Peter Thomas Roth FirmX 360 Eye Renewal, $53
Perfect for daytime use, this under-eye serum also acts as a hydrating primer, leaving a matte finish so that makeup easily glides on over it. It contains light-reflecting diamond powder to minimize the appearance of dark circles — even before your concealer.

Lancôme Absolu Revitalizing Eye Serum, $135
No eye serum can get rid of dark circles overnight, but this one truly does impress. After just one week of using the formula twice a day, dark circles are visibly reduced. Three weeks later, fine lines and wrinkles are diminished while the overall eye contour appears more rejuvenated, thanks to an exclusive blend of luxurious rose extracts.

Dermalogica Biolumin-C Eye Serum, $70
This Dermalogica eye serum was formulated to target the signs of premature aging caused by environmental stress, such as sun exposure. An extremely bioavailable vitamin C complex visibly firms under-eye skin, softens fine lines such as crow’s feet, and dramatically brightens, resulting in healthy, fresh-looking eyes.

iS Clinical C Eye Advance+, $60
Formulated with l-ascorbic acid, the most potent and effective form of vitamin C, this under-eye serum effectively softens the appearance of dark circles. Additionally, copper peptide and hydrating hyaluronic acid plump up fine lines and wrinkles while providing optimal hydration.

Lancôme Absolue Revitalizing Eye Serum, $135
Grand rose and Bifidus and linseed extracts work together synergistically to refresh, brighten, and lift the delicate skin around the eyes. Its velvety texture absorbs quickly and deeply, resulting in a firmer, brighter, and more sculpted appearance in as little as one week.

Related: Best Firming Eye Creams

Best Eye Serum for Dark Circles and Puffiness

Dark circles are often accompanied by puffiness (also known as “bags), which occur when the skin relaxes and sags, creating a pouch-like appearance. Excess fluid can also build up there, which makes the lower lids look even puffier. Other factors include:

  • Age
  • Sleeping position
  • Lack of sleep
  • Fluid retention
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Allergies
  • Crying
  • Genetics
  • Underlying health issues

Are you looking for an eye serum for bags and dark circles? Formulas with caffeine can help. When used around the eye area, caffeine can reduce the inflammation associated with dark circles and puffiness by narrowing the blood vessels.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, $6.70
Fat deposits under the eye contour that have morphed into permanent puffiness cannot be treated with any The Ordinary eye serum. However, independent studies have shown that topical use of caffeine and EGCG (as used in this formula) can help reduce the look of puffiness and dark circles. Light-weight in texture and on your wallet, this potent antioxidant-infused under-eye serum will have you looking more well-rested.

REN CLEAN SKINCARE Keep Young & Beautiful Instant Brightening Beauty Shot Eye Lift, $46
REN’s Eye Lift immediately tightens, firms, and lifts eye bags in a matter of minutes upon application, thanks to a liquid matrix of hyaluronans. Additionally, this lightweight gel-serum contains glycine betaine complex and phycocolloids to maintain moisture levels and strengthen the delicate eye contour. The effects are both immediate and cumulative, meaning you can apply morning, night, and whenever your eyes require a quick pick-me-up — even if you’re wearing makeup.

StriVectin Peptight 360° Tightening Eye Serum, $69
This lightweight under-eye serum visibly tightens and firms the entire eye area while providing instant depuffing effects, thanks to a cooling applicator. StriVectin’s number one selling eye serum has been clinically proven to improve firmness, elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles, under-eye bags, and puffiness, so it’s genuinely an all-encompassing treatment product.

Stacked Skincare Firming Eye Complex, $78
While there’s no such thing as a quick fix, this under-eye serum comes pretty close. Honey lotus extract is the key ingredient that tightens and lifts the delicate skin under the eyes in just five minutes. Additionally, a peptide addresses the loss of elasticity and wrinkles over time. The result? Eyes that look like you got a full eight hours of sleep.

StriVectin Peptight 360° Tightening Eye Serum, $69
This lightweight serum visibly tightens and firms the entire eye area while providing instant depuffing effects, thanks to a cooling applicator. StriVectin’s number one selling eye serum has been clinically proven to improve firmness, elasticity, fine lines, wrinkles, under-eye bags, and puffiness, so it’s genuinely an all-encompassing treatment product.

Related: Best Eye Creams for Puffiness

Best Drugstore Eye Serum

Let’s face it: A skincare regime can be expensive — but it doesn’t have to be. While there’s no doubt that some top-notch products are worth the price tag, you can also purchase an effective over-the-counter “drugstore” treatment that is formulated with the same ingredients. It’s likely that it boasts the same (if not better in some cases) results.

Olay Eye Lifting Serum, $30
This popular peptide- and vitamin-based drugstore eye serum instantly plumps the eye area and reduces the appearance of bags, resulting in a firmer, more lifted appearance. It’s deeply hydrating without being greasy and can even be used on the eyelids. Those with sensitive skin will appreciate the fact that this formula is fragrance-free.

Cetaphil Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Gel, $14.97
Cetaphil is known for its deeply hydrating products, and this eye serum is no exception. It replenishes and nourishes the delicate eye area for an impressive 48 hours, thanks to a proprietary HydroSensitiv Complex. Additionally, it contains hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin B5, and vitamin E to address dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles.

Garnier Clearly Brighter Anti-Puff Eye Roller, $12.99
This roll-on eye serum is an effective under-eye puffiness reducer that will cool, calm and soothe away puffiness. Vitamin C brightens and promotes collagen production, mint soothes irritation, and caffeine constricts blood vessels to help depuff. Vitamin C can also help reduce dark circles, thanks to its skin brightening ability. As a bonus, this product is applied with a metallic roller that also helps to soothe and depuff eyes and give an instant cooling effect.

Related: Best Drugstore Eye Creams

Best Eye Serum: The Bottom Line

What’s the Best Eye Serum? Overall, we suggest Carrot & Stick The Eye Serum.

Eye serums are water-based, lightweight, and more viscous. Serums typically contain more active ingredients that can penetrate more deeply due to their small molecular structure and liquid consistency — just like the serums used on your face — to provide optimum anti-aging and hydration benefits.

Eye creams are thicker and typically consist of more oils and fats. Creams are excellent for retaining and providing moisture on the skin’s surface while improving crepiness and texture.

Eye serums, on the other hand, are often more effective in addressing concerns such as dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles. Before you go kicking one to the curb, note that both under-eye products are recommended by dermatologists because they address different eye area concerns.

There are many different eye serum formulas on the market to address dark circles, puffiness, wrinkles, or a combination thereof. You can even find an effective drugstore formula that provides results without emptying your pocketbook.

OUR TOP SKINCARE PICKS

1

Carrot & Stick

Carrot & Stick takes a tough love approach to skincare. What does this mean? It perfectly balances the power of plants with innovative science, offering the best of both worlds. Read More
2

Formulyst

The philosophy of Formulyst is long-term and effective skincare, rather than covering up any imperfections. The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. While some brands rely on unnecessary fillers and scents, Formulyst focuses on ingredients that help create results, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Read More

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