Our list of 404 in hand, we reached out to dermatologists and cosmetic chemists for help deciphering the fancy-sounding ingredients and bold claims of our contenders. Our goal: Ditch the hype and focus on ingredients proven to keep skin looking young and healthy.
How do you find the perfect eye cream? First up, you need to decide what you want it to do. Do you want it to smooth out wrinkles? Depuff bags? Minimise circles? Or all of the above plus colour correcting, brightening and tightening too? Eye creams come in very small pots with very big promises – and often even bigger price tags – but the secret is in finding the ones that really deliver on the specific issues you want to address. There are hydrating eye creams designed to refresh and awaken eyes in the morning, powerful formulas targeted at rejuvenating and renewing as you sleep, and products designed for instant effects and much-needed dark-circle minimising after long sleepless nights. Save yourself trawling through the myriad different options with Vogue’s guide to 10 of the best eye creams on the market – and what they’re good for – below.
When your body is dehydrated it desperately tries to retain water, causing your under eye area to swell. Drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day can also help flush toxins out helping to clear up your eye area.
Bromelain, which is an enzyme found in pineapple, has a positive effect on reducing inflammation throughout your body, and can also assist in fighting bloating and puffiness. Another one of our remarkable ingredients is known as quercetin, which is a type of antioxidant that is naturally found in plant foods like leafy greens, tomatoes, berries and broccoli. This has been proven to bring longevity, heart health and better endurance to those who take it, and it has been linked to preventing certain cancers from developing within the body. These are just a few examples of the super-food ingredients our water pills stem from.
Elevating the head while sleeping can prevent the gravitational redistribution of fluid that is associated with eye swelling. A low-carb diet can prevent eye puffiness by preventing water retention. Eating foods rich in vitamins, especially A, C and E, helps to reduce eye puffiness and to maintain clear, moist skin.
All of our consulting dermatologists and cosmetic chemists agreed that there is not currently enough scientific data to conclude whether parabens are actually harmful. That said, they encouraged those wary of parabens to seek out alternatives. The challenge is that there aren’t many. We could only find three paraben-free options, after nixing other potentially harmful ingredients: Both of the glittery Olay eye creams are paraben-free, as is Youth to the People’s medium-weight night cream. There’s also a fourth, if you can find it: Perricone MD Cold Plasma Anti-Aging Eye Treatment. But it’s not widely available from retailers like Amazon, Ulta, or Sephora, and we weren’t able to bring it in for testing.
Artificial sweeteners have also been linked to body bloating, which will have an effect on your eyes as well. Go easy on the diet sodas and other products containing fake sugar substitutes, or give them up completely. You can also try easing the eye puff caused by this fake sugars by consuming more inflammation-fighting foods like berries, tomatoes, and ginger.
“I’ve been fighting dark circles and bagginess under my eyes since basically forever. Over the years, I’ve tried more eye creams than I can count and can say with absolute certainty that this is the best of the bunch. It has visibly faded the darkness under my eyes and has a teeny bit of shimmer that makes me look alert and refreshed. It totally eliminates puffiness, strengthened and hydrated my delicate skin, while also obliterating the fine lines and wrinkles that have been trying to make an appearance there this past year. It’s definitely a splurge, but it lasts a long time.” —Meg Adams, engineering manager
Drink several glasses of water. Eyes tend to get puffy due to water retention, which is caused by a high concentration of salt in the area around the eyes. If you ate a very salty dinner or cried before bed you might notice increased puffiness in the morning. Drinking plenty of water flushes the area and causes the swelling to go down.
Too much salt in your diet can cause your eyes to puff, as excess sodium levels can lead to bloating and fluid retention. If you think too much salt may be the cause of your swollen eyes, simply cut back on foods that contribute to fluid retention, such as pre-packed, frozen and canned foods as sodium is often added as a preservative to these foods.
Also, avoid rubbing your eyes, which will only cause the swelling to worsen. For persistent eye swelling, seek help from a medical professional. Typically, treating the underlying condition will reduce swelling in the eye.
Common urban myths about how to reduce puffy eyes include putting cold spoons on your eyes to reduce the inflammation. It is claimed that the cold steel soothes the skin and reduces the puffiness and swelling. They even claim it will help tighten up the skin and relax the blood vessels. There is no scientific support for these claims. Another common remedy is to rest wet tea bags on your eyes to draw out the puffiness. You are supposed to soak tea bags in hot water and then let them cool down, and place them on your eyes for 15 minutes. Some blogs claim that tea contains anti-irritant properties. This is not true. Tea leaf does contain antioxidants and caffeine; but certainly not anti-irritants.
The solution here is a no-brainer: turn in earlier, so you can get 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and create a bedroom environment that’s conducive to catching zzz’s, says Dr. Jaliman. That means not eating or watching too much TV in bed, so your mind associates the bedroom with sleeping only. And no gadget-reading in bed either. The blue light from many digital devices is a sneaky culprit that keeps your brain wired.
Fine lines and wrinkles come from both sun damage and your skin making less collagen as you age. Collagen helps maintain skin’s elasticity. Vitamin C, peptides, and retinol have boosted collagen production, studies of skin creams show. Ceramide and hyaluronic acid also help; these are moisturizers that help prevent water loss in the skin and improve elasticity.
I am glad to have stumbled upon this recipe and plan to make a batch ASAP. Do you know of anything that will help with the crepey skin on my eyelids, upper and lower? I’ve searched among commercial products, but haven’t seen any that mention crepiness specifically.
Try elevating your head with extra pillows while you sleep. Using two or more pillows should do the trick. You may even consider purchasing a special wedge pillow. How does this work? Elevating your head helps to prevent the pooling of fluid in your lower eyelids that creates puffiness while you sleep.
“Eye creams can, and often do, show results if they are used appropriately and for a long enough time,” says Beer. The trick is to find the best eye cream for your skin’s needs. If you feel like you’ve been duped by the hundreds of eye creams on the market promising to erase your dark circles, puffiness and fine lines, you probably haven’t tried the ones on this reader-approved list. Our reviewers have tested all the potions, creams, and elixirs for the delicate eye area and boiled it down to these 12 eye creams that actually work. Ready to become an eye cream believer?
You do a lot to protect your body from sunlight. Are you doing the same for your face? Too much sun can make the skin around your eyes sag or wrinkle. Use sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats to protect your face from harmful rays.
The good news: when your period nears its end, the swelling should subside, whether it’s around your eyes or elsewhere. Until it does, you can reduce the eye puffiness by holding a cold compress to the eyes for a few minutes and drinking lots of water (which helps flush out excess fluid your system is holding on to). Dr. Jalimon also suggests looking into eye creams and serums with caffeine, which can reduce the appearance of swelling.
People who consume foods containing MSG can also find themselves dealing with fluid retention. MSG is a flavor enhancer added to some products, and though it doesn’t have as much sodium as table salt, sodium is a main ingredient of MSG that can “increase water retention and puffiness around the eyes,” explains Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City–based dermatologist, in an email to Health.
If puffy eyes are your problem, you should try ice-rolling. You know the old trick of putting cold spoons under your eyes? Well, this is a modernized version of that. Keep it in the freezer, and when you want to use it, let it sit out for a second so that it’s not painfully freezing, then roll it gently over your under-eyes. This also can be used on places other than just your under-eyes — it can actually help with inflammation and redness from breakouts and rashes as well. Also, I’ll just say — this feels incredible on your head when you’re hungover.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1.6 mg for adult males per day; 1.2 mg for adult females per day; 1.5 mg to 1.7 mg for pregnant or lactating women Prevents itchy eyes, which can cause puffiness; helps to maintain good vision Fish; egg yolks; brewer’s yeast; liver; whole grain cereal