The Best Drugstore Eye Creams - The Dermatology Review

The Best Drugstore Eye Creams

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

04.06.21DISCLAIMER

If you think your face moisturizer can double as an eye cream, think again. The skin around the orbital bone is thin and delicate, so it’s one of the first areas signs of aging (think fine lines, crepiness, loss of elasticity) will appear. It’s more prone to allergic reactions than other areas of the face, which can prompt you to rub your eyes and exasperate damage. Additionally, every time you make facial expressions such as smiling, squinting, or looking surprised, you’re activating the muscles around your eyes. If the average American blinks 15 to 20 times per minute, they blink 15,480 to 20,640 while awake. This means they can blink up to 144,480 per week, 577,920 per month, and nearly 7 million times each year.

Related: Best Eye Creams and Best Drugstore Moisturizers

With time, the skin loses moisture, collagen, and elasticity, leading to wrinkles commonly called “crow’s feet” — this is what’s known as intrinsic, or chronological aging. Extrinsic aging factors that also contribute to the aging process include sun exposure, smoking, lack of sleep, eye strain, poor diet, and excessive alcohol consumption. Studies show that four consecutive weeks of using an eye cream can significantly improve crow’s feet. 

Dryness, puffiness, dark circles, and pigmentation are also common concerns, so incorporating an eye cream into your skincare routine is vital. When should you start? The sooner, the better (your 20s), and twice a day for optimal results. Of course, it’s never too late to add one into your regime. The good news is that, as with drugstore moisturizers, you can find a quality, results-driven eye cream at an affordable price. To help you out, here are 12 of the best. 

The List 

Best Overall: RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $17

Best For Extreme Dryness: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Eye Cream, $14

Best for Dark Circles: No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, $27

Best for Brightening: L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment, $24.99

Best for Looking Well-Rested: Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream, $25

Best for Sensitive Eyes: CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11

Best for Lifting: Pond’s Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream, $8

Best for Puffiness: La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Eye Cream, $43

Best for Refreshing: Cetaphil Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum, $15

Best for Crepiness: L’Oreal Paris Age Perfect Eye Renewal Cream, $15

Best for Soothing: Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel, $14

Best for Firming: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream, $12.99

The Difference Between an Eye Cream and a Moisturizer

While eye creams are often formulated with the same active ingredients as moisturizers or serums, the percentage is lower since this delicate skin is more sensitive. Eye creams are also lighter and less greasy, fragrance-free and ophthalmologist tested. The irony is that despite being less potent, it’s not uncommon for luxury eye creams to cost more per ounce than face moisturizers — but you don’t need to apply more than a pea size for both eyes. 

Ingredients to Look for in an Eye Cream

When shopping for the best eye cream from a drugstore, ideally, active additives should be listed towards the top of the ingredient list. Caffeine helps alleviate under-eye bags by constricting blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. Studies suggest that vitamin K fades dark circles because it’s anti-inflammatory and helps with blood clotting. 

As the skin around the eye area has very few oil (sebaceous) glands, peptides, hyaluronic acid, squalane, and ceramides can help stimulate collagen production while drawing in and sealing in moisture. When it comes to anti-aging benefits, retinol (or a retinol derivative) in a moisturizing base (think glycerin, ceramides, dimethicone, oils, etc.) still tops the list — but it will be a safe percentage for the eyes.

The Best Drugstore Eye Creams

Best Overall: RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $17
For under $20, this popular drugstore eye cream addresses every under-eye concern including, fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, puffiness, dark circles, and uneven texture. Slow, time-released retinol provides all of these incredible anti-aging benefits minus the irritation. Even so, if you’re new to retinol, start by using the cream a couple of times a week — and only at night since this active ingredient can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Opt for an eye cream with an SPF during the day, though it can be challenging to find a drugstore version. However, there are formulas at a decent price point. 

Best For Extreme Dryness: 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. 

Best for Dark Circles: No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, $27
There are a lot of factors that contribute to dark circles. With that said, there’s no miracle cream that’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. Hyaluronic visibly plumps while algae extract and a metal rollerball applicator calms and soothes the delicate skin around your eyes. You’ll see an improvement in your dark circles in a few weeks with regular (two times a day) use. 

Best for Brightening: L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment, $24.99
Pro-retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid visibly brighten, 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. 

Best for Looking Well-Rested: Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream, $25
This triple-threat eye cream targets fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles immediately and over time. Olay’s color-correcting technology acts as a subtle concealer that matches all skin tones. The powerful formula hydrates to smooth and brighten the eye area while a peptide and mineral blend minimizes lines as you keep you using it.

Best for Sensitive Eyes: CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11
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 making the eye area hydrated and smooth. 

Best for Lifting: Pond’s Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream, $8
Yet another retinol eye cream — but this one relies on retinyl propionate, a slightly more powerful (and effective) version than the retinoids typically found in drugstore products. According to many consumers, the ultra-hydrating formula improves the elasticity of the eye area, making it look tighter and more lifted — in as little as two weeks, according to many consumers — while niacinamide brightens. Bonus points for Ponds’ Blur System technology instantly improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

Best for Puffiness: La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Eye Cream, $43
Caffeine constricts blood vessels to reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles while reflective pigments brighten. While it’s 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.

Best for Refreshing: Cetaphil Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum, $15
Suitable for sensitive skin, this lightweight, serum-like cream delivers deep hydration for an impressive 48 hours, thanks to hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamins B5 and E, and Cetaphil’s proprietary HydroSensitiv Complex — an innovative blend of soothing blue daisy and active moisturizers. Store it in the fridge for additional refreshing benefits.

Best for Crepiness: 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. 

Best for Soothing:Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel, $14
While you may initially fall in love with the packaging, it’s what’s inside that counts. Peptides, rose hips, and blue tansy worth to soothe and brighten while caffeine depuffs. The cooling glass rollerball applicator is the perfect delivery system for this affordable, spa-like eye gel. 

Best for Firming: Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream, $12.99
Vitamin A and pro-vitamin B5 work together synergistically to tighten, firm, and plump while alpha hydroxy acids brighten and smooth. Melibiose, a natural sugar derivative, works deep within the skin’s surface to maintain firmness. Optical light diffusers help diminish the appearance of dark circles and skin soothers calm the eye area and reduce puffiness.

Eye Creams: The Final Word

The skin around the orbital bone is thin and delicate, so it’s one of the first areas signs of aging (think fine lines, crepiness, loss of elasticity) will appear. It’s more prone to allergic reactions than other areas of the face, which can prompt you to rub your eyes and exasperate damage. Additionally, every time you make facial expressions such as smiling, squinting, or looking surprised, you’re activating the muscles around your eyes.

With time, the skin loses moisture, collagen, and elasticity, leading to wrinkles commonly called “crow’s feet” — this is what’s known as intrinsic, or chronological aging. Extrinsic aging factors that also contribute to the aging process include sun exposure, smoking, lack of sleep, eye strain, poor diet, and excessive alcohol consumption. 

Dryness, puffiness, dark circles, and pigmentation are also common concerns, so incorporating an eye cream into your skincare routine is vital. When should you start? The sooner, the better, and twice a day for optimal results. The good news is that, as with drugstore moisturizers, you can find a quality, results-driven eye cream at an affordable price.

Sources:
“How Many Times a Day Do You Blink?,” Reference.com, May 2020.
“Efficacy of anti-aging products for periorbital wrinkles as measured by 3-D imaging,” National Library of Medicine National Center for Biotechnology Information,” September 2009.
“Evaluation of the clinical efficacy and safety of an eye counter pad containing caffeine and vitamin K in emulsified Emu oil base,” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, January 2015.

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