The Best Drugstore Eye Creams

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

04.07.22DISCLAIMER

If you’re looking for ways to lower your skincare routine budget, forgoing an eye cream shouldn’t be where you choose to cut back. That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with the best drugstore eye cream. 

The skin around the orbital bone is thin and delicate, so it’s one of the first signs of aging (think fine lines, crepiness, loss of elasticity) will appear. It’s also more prone to allergic reactions than other areas of the face, which can trigger you to rub your eyes and exasperate damage. 

Related: Best Eye Creams

If that wasn’t enough to get you thinking about drugstore eye creams, extrinsic aging factors also contribute to crow’s feet, dark circles, and puffiness. We’re talking about sun exposure, smoking, lack of sleep, eye strain, poor diet, and excessive alcohol consumption. The good news is that studies suggest four consecutive weeks of using eye cream (even the best over-the-counter eye cream) can significantly improve crow’s feet.

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 of the best cheap eye creams into your regime. Where should you start looking? That’s where we come in. 

Even the best affordable eye cream can make a difference, providing you know what to look for. 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, 12 of the best drugstore eye creams to help you fight the signs of age that plague the delicate eye area — on a budget. 

Related: Best Eye Serums

Best Drugstore Eye Cream: The List 

RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $17

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Eye Cream, $14

No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, $27

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

Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream, $25

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream, $11

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

La Roche Posay Pigmentclar Eye Cream, $43

Cetaphil Deep Hydration Refreshing Eye Serum, $15

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

Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel, $14

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream, $12.99

The Science Behind Drugstore Eye Creams

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.

However, we’re here to talk about drugstore eye creams. More often than not, you can find a formula that’s just as effective, providing you know what to look for — which leads us to our next point. 

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2022?

What to Look for in the Best Affordable Eye Cream

Have you ever wondered whether or not drugstore eye creams are as effective as pricier formulas sold at luxury department stores and individual retailers? After all, how could a product be as effective at such a low price point? Seems too good to be true, right? Here’s the thing: It’s not about price; it’s about ingredients — and a few other vital factors. This is not to say that luxury products aren’t effective and worth the expense. You just need to be educated on what you’re paying for.

 

Ingredients: Type and Concentration

When shopping for a drugstore eye cream, focus on the first five ingredients. A good indicator of its quality is if you see active ingredients towards the top of the list. If they’re at the bottom, you’ll know the formula is not as effective, and the brand is simply touting critical ingredients for marketing purposes. 

  • Caffeine helps alleviate under-eye bags by constricting blood vessels and decreasing inflammation. 
  • Studies suggest vitamin K fades dark circles because it’s anti-inflammatory and helps with blood clotting.
  • 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. Eye creams typically include a safe percentage for the eyes, so don’t be surprised if it’s listed towards the bottom of the ingredient label.

 

Quality

Also, the quality of ingredients is equally important. Unfortunately, some drugstore eye creams rely on synthetic ingredients because they’re cheaper. In contrast, luxury brands tend to use natural, plant-derived extracts, which are more effective and safer for the skin.

 

Brand Integrity

While some luxury formulas rely on fancy packaging or a unique scent to reel you in, those extra bells and whistles don’t necessarily mean the product is better than one of the best over-the-counter eye creams that fit into your budget. When looking through drugstore eye creams online or at the store, ask yourself:

  • Did a reputable industry professional develop the product?
  • What’s the integrity of the ingredients? Are any of them proprietary?
  • Is the brand a trusted name?
  • What do reviews say about the product or the brand?
  • Have the ingredients been proven in clinical trials?

The Best Drugstore Eye Creams

RoC Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $17

For under $20, this popular drugstore eye cream addresses every under-eye concern, including fine lines and 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.

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 severe 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.

No7 Laboratories Dark Circle Corrector, $27

There are a lot of factors that contribute to dark circles. With that said, no miracle cream will 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 drugstore eye cream for dark circles works on contact and over time. 

This affordable 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 rings within a few weeks with regular (two times a day) use.

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 refreshed and revitalized. This derm-approved drugstore eye cream was recently reformulated.

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.

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.

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

This drugstore eye cream relies on retinyl propionate, a slightly more powerful (and practical) 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.

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.

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.

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.

Pacifica Rose Jelly Beauty Sleep Under Eye Gel, $14

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

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream, $12.99

Vitamin A and pro-vitamin B5 work together 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.

Best Affordable Eye Cream: The Final Word

If you’re looking for ways to lower your skincare routine budget, forgoing an eye cream shouldn’t be where you choose to cut back. That’s why you need to familiarize yourself with the best drugstore eye cream. 

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 also more prone to allergic reactions than other areas of the face, which can trigger you to rub your eyes and exasperate damage. The good news is that, as with drugstore moisturizers, you can find a quality, results-driven eye cream at an affordable price.

When shopping for a drugstore eye cream, focus on the first five ingredients. A good indicator of its quality is if you see active ingredients (think caffeine, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid) towards the top of the list. 

What’s the best drugstore eye cream, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!

Try a clinical skincare alternative. We recommend Carrot & Stick’s The Eye Cream.

FAQs
As mentioned, the earlier, the better. While some people wait until their 30s when fine lines become more prominent, you can start as early as your 20s because prevention is the key to the best results.
The skin around the eyes is thinner and more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your face. With that said, this is why it’s essential to use a separate eye cream from your moisturizer because it’s specifically formulated for this delicate area. It doesn’t matter what eye cream you use as long as it’s formulated with evidence-based ingredients at an effective yet safe rate.
Both — but you may want to use a lighter formula in the morning to target dark circles and puffiness (keep it in the fridge for an extra de-puffing punch) while providing antioxidant protection. At night, opt for a heavier drugstore eye cream to address fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging skin.
You bet. As with our list above, the best drugstore eye creams are effective and are typically formulated with the same buzzy, evidence-based ingredients as higher-end (and higher-priced) counterparts.

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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