Eye cream is one of those skincare products that’s mystifying, to say the least. We’re intrigued by its many benefits (de-puffing, brightening, fine line reducing, etc.), yet the exhaustive list of high-end (and drugstore) options is enough to confuse anyone into skipping it altogether. Which is why we asked a few of our fave celeb makeup artists and spa estheticians to spill the beans on the ones that are worth the money and the ones that are just as effective – that won’t make you broke.
For Fine Lines: The Anti-Aging All-Stars
The key to improving the appearance of fine lines is hydration to plump, and antioxidants to protect the skin from further damage. If possible the addition of retinol will really help to turn back time. These are the best, according to Global Director at Exhale Spas, Di Medlock.
Splurge: iS Clinical Youth Eye Complex, $98
“It’s a powerhouse of anti-aging, free-radical killing ingredients like Vitamin E, aloe vera, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin A, retinol, green tea, and Vitamin C. And that amazing balance helps me justify the expense – if you’re going to spend more money on one skincare item, it should be your eye cream.”
Steal: Avene Soothing Eye Contour Cream, $27
“This is a lighter form of the same high-impact ingredients: hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E. It’s also a clean cream that avoids fragrances and dyes.”
For Dry Skin: The Under-Makeup Hydrators
If you’ree lacking hydration under the eyes or just want to look as bright-eyed as possible, global executive director of creative artistry for Stila, Sarah Lucero, swears by these.
The Splurge: Natura Bissé The Cure Sheer Eye, $132
“This lightly lifts undereye darkness away and leaves the area underneath well hydrated and protected. Tap on a small amount with your ring finger and if you want to mix a little tint or glow into your eye cream at home, try Stila One Step Illuminate, $36. This acts as a super sheer undereye complexion tint and brightener and it helps the concealer go on smoother and never crease or interfere with the complexion makeup.”
The Steal: Bliss Eye Do All Things Hydrating Eye Gel, $22
“My pro tip for this miracle worker is to pop a metal spoon in the refrigerator for three minutes, then gently massage the eye gel in and give yourself a refreshing (hydrating) wake up call. You will see an immediate difference before you apply makeup.”
For Dark Circles: The Bright Eye Rescuers
According to lead esthetician at Sense Spa at Rosewood Sand Hill, Victoria Molina, if dark circles ar getting you down, these will be your go-to.
The Splurge: Cosmedix Eye Genius Brilliant Eye Complex, $70
“It includes five powerful peptides that reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and it also contains white light-reflecting mica that illuminates your eyes and minimizes the appearance of dark circles for an overall brighter appearance.”
The Steal: Burt’s Bees Brightening Eye Treatment, $20:
“I like that this eye cream gives a natural glowing effect, which makes my eyes have a more rested, bright-eyed look.”
For Puffy Eyes: The Serious De-Puffers
NYC-based celebrity makeup artist, Lindsay Trop, is beautifying women on the daily, and these are her go-to formulas for ensuring her client’s eyes are as depuffed and smooth as possible.
The Splurge: Perricone MD High Potency Classics: Firming Eye Lift, $72
“I first discovered this product when I was working at Sephora in college, and 13 years later, I still carry it in my kit. I love to show clients just how effective it is by applying it underneath one eye, then I wait a few minutes, and have them compare it to the other side. The instant results always blow them away and this eye cream de-puffs bags on the spot!”
The Steal: Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Anti-Puff Eye Roll, $13:
“This roller applicator has the most amazing cooling effect, which not only helps de-puff the eye area but reinvigorates the skin, thanks to brightening Vitamin C and caffeine, to help perk up a delicate undereye even further.”
Remember, applying your eye cream in the right part of your routine is also essential. Apply your eye cream after any toners, essences, and serum, and before your moisturizer and face oil. Find out more about skincare layering here, and if you’re still on the hunt for a budget-friendly eye cream, check out these five eye cream dupes.