Starting to see signs of too much work and too little sleep in the bags and circles under your eyes? Readers say these eye creams are the best way to banish fine lines, puffiness and discoloration for good
Wouldn’t life be so much easier without dark circles? Imagine not having to hear the words “You look so tired!” twenty times a day. You would no longer have to spend about 15 extra minutes on concealing while doing your makeup. In fact, you might even decide to say “Chuck it!” and go au naturale every now and then because, hey, your skin looks pretty damn good.
Other times we get puffy eyes after sleeping. This can be caused by too much sodium in the diet, which causes water retention. Puffy eyes can also be caused by lack of sleep or excessive alcohol intake. Additional causes of puffy eyes include:
Sleep problems, your period, your perfume, your diet soda habit—find out about these and other surprising causes of puffy, swollen eyes, so you can get rid of the puffiness fast and help prevent the blowfish look from returning.
The first and most common remedy is to ensure you are properly hydrated. Drink at least 8 x 8 oz glasses of water a day. It might sound like a lot, but simply leave your glass full and in front of you all day and before you know it you will consume 8 glasses by dinner.
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Eye creams are one of our best bets for keeping up appearances (or transforming our eyes when they seem in despair), but some are better than others to target specific concerns. If lines are your nemesis, you need the best eye cream for wrinkles. Dark shadows under your eyes that even the best concealer can’t cover? Look to the best eye cream for dark circles. When it comes to puffiness and a host of other orbital concerns, you should seek out a multitasking eye treatment. The best eye creams can be great aids in looking well-rested even when you’re not.
We’ve all experienced getting a slight shock when you check your face in the mirror and find your eyes are looking swollen or puffier than usual. However, puffy eyes are extremely common and can be caused by a variety of different things – from environmental factors to underlying health problems.
“I get dry skin on my eyelids—I think because the skin there is so sensitive already and when I’m putting moisturizer on, I tend to forget about my eye area. This fixes that. I especially like that it’s all-natural and I know exactly what’s in it, rather than some sort of ‘amazing vitalizing serum’ that has vague descriptions of what it actually does.” —Emily Geraghty, senior producer
Beyond how you sleep, how much you sleep is also a factor. Although limited sleep may not actually cause under-eye circles, getting little sleep may make your complexion paler. Any shadows or dark circles you have may be more obvious as a result.
There are plenty of eye cream ingredients that claim to improve blood circulation (like caffeine) or blood coagulation (like Vitamin K) which will theoretically reduce puffiness and dark circles. But the outer layer of your skin does such a good job protecting against invaders that it prevents most of these ingredients from penetrating deeply. You may be better off adding a cup of coffee or a spinach soufflée to your diet than waiting and hoping that these ingredients will sink in.
Biotique’s Bio Seaweed Revitalizing Anti Fatigue Eye Gel helps tackle puffiness and dark circles. Biotique claims that a little bit of product goes a long way. The formula contains seaweed extract along with almond extract, Himalayan water, honey, and nutmeg oil. It is rich in lipids, minerals, proteins, vitamins, and other detoxifying elements.
“While technically not an eyes-only cream, I use Sunday Riley Tidal around my eyes and it’s pure gold. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t have a strong scent, which is great. It seriously pumps up the hydration in my face and around my eyes, and makes my skin super soft too.” —Nina Bahadur, branded content editor
If you are already starting to see signs of skin aging like fine lines, dark circles or eye bags then you should start searching for the Top Rated Eye Creams of 2018. These are products that reduce* the appearance of the different aging signs around the eye area.
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
Before you choose, you’ll need to decide when you want to use your cream: Night creams contain retinoids, the most fast-acting and well-researched anti-wrinkle agent on the market — but this class of ingredients quickly breaks down and becomes ineffective when exposed to sunlight. Day creams contain peptides, a more recent addition to the skincare arsenal: Peptides are less sensitive to sunlight and less likely to irritate if you’ve got sensitive skin, but expect to wait longer for results. We’ve found picks in both categories.
Only one of our retinoid-based products had heavy enough coverage to fall into our “heavy coverage” category: SkinMedica Uplifting Eye Serum ($60). Most of our testers weren’t huge fans of this option. It was repeatedly called out for being sticky and “gloopy,” and several testers felt that it didn’t absorb into their skin at all, instead sitting in a thick layer on top of it. That said, if you have extremely dry skin, SkinMedica has the power to provide an extra level of hydration that we didn’t get anywhere else, with one tester describing the cream as “thick and luxurious.” It all comes down to skin type and personal preference: What feels overpowering on oily skin is likely to be a blessed relief to someone constantly battling dryness.
How does retinol help with eye bags? When applied to the skin, this ingredient can improve collagen deficiency. You may find lower concentrations of retinol in different OTC products, but stronger creams require a prescription from your dermatologist.
The flip-side is that retinoids may work more quickly than peptides, although “quickly” is still relative. At high concentrations, you’re likely to see improvements in wrinkles, skin thickness, and skin elasticity within 4 months, but be prepared for a longer wait time with most over-the-counter creams. Just as wrinkles don’t appear overnight, happen overnight, even the best eye cream can’t fix them overnight.
Apply Preparation-H. Hemorrhoid creams such as Preparation-H help constrict blood vessels, which in turn reduces puffiness. Gently dab some on around the eye with your ring finger on days when you notice excessive swelling.
Fragrance sensitivity is nothing new: a March 2017 study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports found that exposure to fragrances can lead to a host of negative reactions, like migraines and difficulty breathing. And 14% of people in the study reported having eye issues when they were within smelling distance of certain scents.
Our two other finalists in this category were Philosophy Miracle Worker Eye Cream and Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Eye Treatment. Both absorbed easily and performed well, but testers weren’t quite as enthusiastic about them, lodging a handful of complaints about residue that felt sticky or overly drying. Still, if you want to explore additional brands, feedback was largely positive and both creams have all the powerhouse ingredients necessary to get the job done. All of our pump-based creams cost about the same — Estee ($66), Philosophy ($68), and Clinique ($50) — while our $14 rollerball surprised us with its performance and price.
You can find neti pots inexpensively at most drug stores or online. If you choose to try this method at home, be sure to use distilled or sterilized water to create your saltwater solution. You may also use boiled tap water that has cooled to a safe temperature.
We also used Paula’s Choice Ingredient Dictionary (a cosmetic ingredients database) to identify products that contain known skin sensitizers: These ingredients include things like lemon or mint — compounds that smell great and are totally fine for occasional use. But if you’re using a skin sensitizer on a daily basis for months at a time, your skin may develop an allergic reaction. We found 44 sensitizing ingredients in our remaining eye creams.
Prescription-strength retinoid creams are another option for stubborn wrinkles, although they should be used with care. They have the potential to cause peeling, flaking, dryness, or acne flare-ups if you have sensitive skin. A dermatologist will be able to work with you to figure out what strength of retinoid is appropriate for your skin, monitor whether your skin is reacting well or poorly, and adjust your prescription accordingly.