Best Hydrating Eye Creams - The Dermatology Review

Best Hydrating Eye Creams

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

05.21.21DISCLAIMER

The eyes may be the window to your soul, but they’re also the first place where age, fatigue, dehydration, and dryness show up. While dry skin can appear anywhere, it can be a bit more challenging to treat around the eye area because it’s the thinnest area of skin on the body, and there are no oil glands to keep it moisturized and protected. To make matters even more complicated, as we get older, collagen and elastin production decreases, and fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet begin to set in. Vital moisture is needed now more than ever to keep the skin plump, supple, and smooth. 

While various causes affect the dryness of the eye, including allergies, hot water, too much time in the sun, or simply not moisturizing), genetics are sometimes to blame. Though you can’t alter your DNA or stop the aging process, you can hydrate the delicate eye area by tweaking your lifestyle habits and using the best eye cream for dry skin — we’ve got 15 of them to choose from. 

The List

Formulyst Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $85

Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $50

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm Eye Cream Sunscreen SPF 15, $58

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Eye Cream, $14

Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme, $105

Neocutis Lumière Riche Extra Moisturizing Illuminating Eye Cream, $108

Olay Deep Hydrating Eye Gel, $18

La Mer The Eye Concentrate, $235

Sunday Riley Autocorrect Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream, $65

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, $32

Clinique Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro Filler Concentrate, $34

L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Cream, $15

Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream, $54

Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Cream-Gel, $13 

Eye Cream Versus Traditional Moisturizer

Eye creams are formulated differently than facial moisturizers because the skin around the eyes is thinner (by approximately 40 percent than the rest of your face) and more delicate. This area is also highly prone to showing the signs of aging first, as the eye area skin tends to be drier. Eye creams are formulated to be milder than face creams since the area around the eye is more sensitive to irritation. 

Some experts feel it’s okay to use your daily moisturizer around your eyes but think about it this way. You wouldn’t use soap or a typical cleanser to remove your eye makeup, so why would you apply your daily or nightly hydrator around your eyes? The best eye cream for moisture typically contains active ingredients in concentrations specifically formulated for the thin, delicate skin around the orbital area. Eye creams, gels, and serums are often ophthalmologist tested, too. 

Additional Ways to Keep Your Under-Eye Area Plumped and Hydrated

Applying the best hydrating under-eye cream isn’t the only way to help keep the skin moist and supple. Tweaking a few lifestyle habits can be advantageous as well. For example: 

 

Drink Plenty of Water

When the skin loses water, wrinkles become more prominent, and while a nourishing eye cream can help, it’s only a temporary quick fix if you’re not hydrating your body from the inside out. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average amount of fluids adults need per day is between 2.7 and 3.7 liters. Keep in mind that around 20 percent comes from food intake, whereas the rest comes from liquids — water being the number one choice. As you may already know, if you’re an avid coffee drinker or recall your last late night out on the town, caffeinated beverages and alcohol make dehydration worse.

 

Avoid Washing With Hot Water 

Hot water can strip the skin, especially around the thin, delicate eye area lacking natural essential oils for lubrication and protection. As a general rule of thumb, cleanse, shower, and bathe in tepid or cool water for optimal skin health. Once you’ve gently patted your skin dry, moisturize (eye cream included, of course) right away. 

 

Always Use Sunscreen

Sun protection should be the anchor of any skincare routine because harmful UV rays are the number one cause of aging, including fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, collagen, and elastin loss. While you may already be wearing an SPF on your face, it’s possible your eyes are being left out. Luckily, there are moisturizing eye creams that contain sun protection that’s safe yet effective for this delicate area. Don’t forget to reapply any type of sunscreen throughout the day — especially after swimming, exercising, or excessive sweating. 

 

Stay Away from Harsh Products and Ingredients

This tip shouldn’t even be an issue if you’re using products formulated specifically for your eyes. However, if your eyes are parched and/or sensitive, you may want to skip ingredients such as essential oils and retinol — even though they have anti-aging benefits. There are plenty of other ingredients to hydrate thirsty under-eyes (more on that in a bit) that won’t cause additional dryness or irritation.

 

Visit a Skincare Professional

If you haven’t seen any real change in your dry under-eyes and lids after trying multiple creams and tweaking your lifestyle, make an appointment with a dermatologist. This skincare professional can assess your condition and make any necessary adjustments to your routine — maybe even prescription-strength products. 

 

Shopping for the Best Hydrating Eye Cream: 

Here’s What to Look For

As mentioned, if moisturizing is your primary goal, you may want to consider avoiding retinol if wrinkles accompany your dryness. While there’s no doubt this powerhouse ingredient is the gold standard in wrinkle prevention and treatment, it can have an adverse effect if the skin becomes irritated or even drier than before you started using the product. This is not to say that you should avoid retinol altogether, but slowly introduce it into your routine so you can monitor any changes — for better or for worse. 

The best under-eye hydrating cream will contain a combination of humectants, occlusives, emollients, and barrier ingredients to help repair, protect, and support your skin’s ability to retain moisture. 

 

Humectants

Humectants are an excellent addition to hydrating eye creams because they attract water and moisture. Here’s how it works: When humectants are present on the top layer of the skin (the epidermis), water from the dermis (the deeper layer) is absorbed drawn to the surface. While H20 is also attracted and absorbed from the environment, it’s minimal. Humectant examples: 

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Lactic acid
  • Glycerin
  • Glycerol
  • Shea butter
  • Urea
  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Aloe Vera
  • Honey

 

Occlusives

Occlusives form a barrier on the skin’s surface to prevent water from evaporating into the environment, reducing transepidermal water loss. Examples of occlusives include: 

  • Colloidal Oatmeal
  • Shea butter
  • Dimethicone
  • Beeswax
  • Mineral oil
  • Lanolin
  • Beeswax
  • Olive oil
  • Argan oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Squalene

 

Emollients

Emollients cover the skin with a protective film to trap moisture and lubricate, creating a silky smooth feel. Examples of emollients include: 

  • Coconut oil
  • Shea butter
  • Dimethicone
  • Colloidal oatmeal
  • Plant oils
  • Cocoa butter
  • Petrolatum
  • Fatty acids 

 

Barrier Repair Ingredients

As the name suggests, these workhorses keep the skin’s barrier healthy and intact so that moisture is not lost, which leads to excessive dryness. Examples of barrier repair ingredients include: 

  • Ceramides
  • Lactic acid
  • Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
  • Cholesterol
  • Free fatty acids
  • Panthenol

Best Hydrating Eye Creams

Formulyst Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $85
Formulated with clarifying concentrate and moisture-rich complexes that stimulate, strengthen and hydrate, this lightweight formula is also enriched with hyaluronic acid to help restore your skin’s natural suppleness and elasticity while visibly smoothing away wrinkles. Delivering five anti-aging actions in one, this advanced eye treatment leaves skin feeling smoother and tighter while dramatically reducing the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness.

Carrot & Stick The Eye Cream, $50
This revolutionary treatment uses highly effective botanical extracts to reduce signs of stress and fatigue, including eye bags and dark circles. The Persian silk tree has an anti-glycation effect that helps delicate skin around the lids feel tighter. St. Paul’s wort boosts the appearance of collagen and elastin, restoring vitality.

Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Lift and Firm Eye Cream Sunscreen SPF 15, $58
You’ll love the fact that this nourishing and deeply hydrating eye cream is an excellent option for the daytime due to the addition of SPF 15. While it has a creamy texture, it’s not too thick for makeup enthusiasts. It contains several dry eye superstar ingredients, including cholesterol, ceramides, glycerin, dimethicone, and beeswax.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Eye Cream, $14
You don’t need a heavy eye cream to tackle dryness under the eyes. This gel-like formula features hyaluronic acid — a molecule that absorbs 1,000 times its weight in water to help hydrate and plump the skin — to provide a serious moisture surge while softening the appearance of fine lines. It’s also a good choice for eye cream newbies due to its simple yet effective formula. 

Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme, $105
Daffodil bulb and safflower oleosomes (a source of vitamin E)  and 13 other sources of skin-plumping hydrators replenish the skin’s moisture barrier. This multi-correctional eye cream also depuffs while minimizing the appearance of fine lines and dark circles. 

Neocutis Lumière Riche Extra Moisturizing Illuminating Eye Cream, $108
Neocutis has several excellent eye creams, but this one remains an absolute best-seller time and time again. It’s formulated with skin-plumping hyaluronic acid to hydrate the eye area deeply. Additionally, antioxidants and growth factors protect, repair, and reduce wrinkles, while caffeine reduces puffiness. 

Olay Deep Hydrating Eye Gel, $18
Don’t be fooled by the lighter consistency of this eye treatment. Its gel-like formula is packed with hyaluronic acid, provitamin B5, cucumber extract, and peptides to nourish, hydrate, plump, and depuff tired, thirsty skin underneath the eyes.

La Mer The Eye Concentrate, $235
Pricey? You bet — but that doesn’t stop some people from considering this cult eye cream as their favorite. Like all La Mer products, this eye cream harnesses the power of Miracle Broth, a unique blend of algae that is meant to work wonders on all skin ailments. This eye cream helps to improve the appearance of dark circles and fine lines thanks to the mineral hematite while adding a heavy dose of moisture. Eyes are left looking nourished, smoother, and brighter.

Sunday Riley Autocorrect Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream, $65
Ultra-hydrating cocoa and shea butters, sodium PCA, and watermelon rind extract give the eyes an immediate surge of moisture while Brazillian ginseng and caffeine refresh by reducing puffiness and dark circles. You’ll look as though you got a good night’s sleep, even if that’s not entirely the case.

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11
CeraVe’s popular eye cream is chock-full of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide. These ingredients work together to restore and maintain the skin’s natural protective barrier while providing an intense moisture boost to the skin under the fragile eye area.

Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, $32
No wonder this eye treatment is a fan favorite from Kiehl’s. It contains beta carotene as a protective antioxidant along with a host of ultra-hydrating ingredients, including avocado oil (of course), shea butter, sorbitan, dimethicone, jojoba oil, isocetyl stearoyl stearate, and sunflower seed oil — bonus points for providing immediate moisture without being very heavy or thick.

Clinique Moisture Surge Eye 96-Hour Hydro Filler Concentrate, $34
You’ll be surprised how a gel-serum treatment for dry skin such as this one is light, cooling, and absorbs quickly — yet it has the incredible ability to keep the eye area for up to an impressive 96 hours, thanks to soothing aloe butter and glycerine. You have to try it to believe it. 

L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Cream, $15
Backed up by over 20 years of research, this regenerating formula can be used on the lids and below to address crepiness around the entire eye area. Additionally, it reduces the appearance of puffiness, under-eye bags, and crow’s feet. The innovative applicator dispenses the perfect amount of product, taking the guesswork out of how much to use.

Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream, $54
This rich cream relies on the power of squalane to lock in moisture around the delicate eye area. Astaxanthin, one of the most potent antioxidants, helps prevent oxidative damage. Paracress extract helps lift saggy eyelids by reducing muscle tension and tightening collagen fibers by stimulating fibroblasts. Hint: Best eye cream for dry eyelids alert!

Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Cream-Gel, $13
It won’t take you long to figure out why so many consumers believe this hydrating eye cream drugstore buy doesn’t disappoint —  the internet seriously can’t stop talking about it. While it’s small in price, it produces significant results in terms of moisture delivery, thanks to a hefty dose of hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and a vitamin complex and licorice extract to brighten. It’s hypoallergenic and remarkably gentle, making it the best eye cream for dry, sensitive skin, too. 

Best Hydrating Eye Cream: The Bottom Line

While dry skin can appear anywhere, it can be a bit more challenging to treat around the eye area because it’s the thinnest area of skin on the body, and there are no oil glands to keep it moisturized and protected. While various causes affect the dryness of the eye area (think allergies, hot water, too much time in the sun, or simply not moisturizing), genetics are sometimes to blame. 

Though you can’t alter your DNA or stop the aging process, you can hydrate the delicate eye area by tweaking your lifestyle habits and using the best eye cream for dry skin. The best under-eye hydrating cream will contain a combination of humectants, occlusives, emollients, and barrier ingredients to help repair, protect, and support your skin’s ability to retain moisture. However, tweaking a few lifestyle habits can be advantageous as well. Drink plenty of water, wear sun protection, wash your face with tepid or cool water, and consider staying away from potent ingredients such as retinol if your eye area is overly dry — even if it’s a warrior against aging. 

References:
Global Periorbital Skin Rejuvenation by a Topical Eye Cream
,” US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health,” April 2019. 
Water: How Much Should You Drink Every Day,” Mayo Clinic.

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Carrot & Stick

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