At the ripe age of 22, I noticed my first whisper of crow’s feet forming around my eyes and promptly flew into a panicked frenzy. This being the early aughts, I was dependent on the kind associates at my local mall’s beauty counter for recommendations. Oh, how times have changed! What a gift to now have a world of information at our fingertips. Instead of wandering the aisles of Sephora with lots of questions, we tapped dermatological nurse and celebrity aesthetician, Natalie Aguilar for her recommendations on the best under-eye creams that target every concern.
If, like me, you’ve also wondered why the eye area even needs its own cream, we asked Aguilar to cover that too. Since the skin around the eyes is very thin, delicate, and prone to dryness (not to mention our eyes are also the most sensitive part of the face) eye creams have been specifically designed to target this area with gentle and hydrating formulations. Using regular facial creams can burn, irritate, cause redness and/or inflammation, and make eyes tear. Ouch, no thanks!
So, whether you’re dealing with quickly deepening crow’s feet or have noticed tissue paper-like, crepey skin forming around your eyes, we’ve got you covered with a list of the most effective eye creams for fine lines at a variety of price points. Plus, Aguilar answers all your burning questions about fine lines and wrinkles, including how to prevent and treat them.
Causes of Crepey Skin and Fine Lines
It’s no surprise that eye wrinkles are typically the first detectable signs of aging on our face. The skin around our eyes is extremely thin. As we get older, we lose collagen and the ability to repair damaged skin cells slows down.
This loss of collagen causes the skin around the eyes to look crepey. On top of that, everything from sun exposure, eye rubbing, allergies, genetics, lack of sleep, diet, lifestyle, and excessive muscle movement, as well as dehydration can affect how quickly the eyes wrinkle. (Add that to the list of why staying hydrated is so important!) Even certain cosmetics like thick, matte foundations, can cause the skin around the eyes to look crepier than usual.
A Dermatologist’s Tips for Preventing Fine Lines and Crepey Skin
- Avoid rubbing, pulling, and cleansing aggressively. Over time, this can irritate and cause inflammation that can discolor the area and create lines.
- Protect your eyes. Wear sunscreen, sunglasses, and hats when in the sun. Sun exposure can actually break down collagen and damage the skin, causing premature aging.
- Rest your eyes. Give you eyes a break by turning off all electronics and lights at least once a day.
- Use an eye mask. This is also an amazing way to rest, treat, and repair the skin around the eyes.
How to Treat Fine Lines and Crepey Skin Around the Eyes
If you’re able, invest in quality products and make sure to always protect the eye area by wearing sunglasses and a hat when outside. Gently cleanse and moisturize the eye area and choose eye creams with active ingredients. But Aguilar says less is always more when it comes to eye creams.
If you prefer to use a rich, heavy eye cream then it’s best to stick to a single morning application so that eyes look fresh, bright, and hydrated. Too much heavy product can actually cause the skin cells around the eyes to work too hard. The area goes into overdrive absorbing and metabolizing ingredients in the cream that then, in turn, causes tired and dehydrated skin. Decidedly not what we want!
Ingredients to Keep an Eye Out For
- Hyaluronic acid
- Antioxidants like CoQ-10
- Gentle retinol
The Best Under-Eye Creams
Every product is curated with care by our editors and we’ll always give an honest opinion, whether gifted or purchased ourselves. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.
Our Managing Editor, Isabelle is a forever fan of Wander Beauty (see more: her love of the brand’s powder foundation). It’s an affordable option that employs targeted formulations and effective ingredients to give your skin the love it deserves. And the Wander Beauty eye cream is no exception.
This eye cream is deeply moisturizing, offering nourishment both day and night. But beyond the formula that garners countless reviews citing brighter eyes and the disappearance of fine lines, this pick truly shines because of its thoughtfully-designed applicator. Not only does it make applying eye cream to this sensitive area of the skin seamless, but it also gently massages the under-eye area for thorough application.
What’s to love: An easy-to-apply design and rich texture ensure the skin around the eyes is nourished and hydrated all throughout the day and while you sleep. For best results, Isabelle recommends using the cream in conjunction with the Baggage Claim Eye Masks (see photo, right) a couple times a week.
This goop-approved brand is popping up more and more as a cult-favorite, clean skincare option. But what really sealed the deal for us on Emma Lewisham’s line was the Eye Crème. It’s the perfect eye cream trifecta of firming, smoothing, and fully nourishing the skin. Formulated with a CoQ10 delivery system, the cream’s hard-working ingredients (including a powerful antioxidant complex and hydrating Saccharide Isomerate) can best work their magic on your skin.
What’s to love: You can feel confident in the clean and innovative, scientist-developed formulation to hydrate, boost collagen production, and improve the look of dark circles and puffiness. The press application also makes it easy to use just the right amount—meaning a single jar can last months.
Tackle all the major visible signs of aging around the eyes with this satiny, nourishing serum. Fine lines and wrinkles? No problem when it comes to this restorative eye cream. It’s enriched with peptides and antioxidants that brighten, smooth, and support the skin’s natural moisture barrier.
Revitalizing is right. Used during the day, this eye cream is a great solution for tired-looking eyes. Apply at night to banish under-eye bags for good.
Naturally powered by peptides, this eye cream uses clean ingredients like Spanish lavender, safflower oleosomes, and buckwheat wax to smooth and fight fine lines and wrinkles, plump the skin, and reduce puffiness and under-eye bags.
In true Tata Harper fashion, this eye cream uses only the best, sustainably-sourced ingredients to deliver an effective, fast-working formulation. Under-eyes and the delicate skin surrounding become visibly smoother and firmed after just a few applications.
Say goodbye to fine lines, swelling, puffiness, and dark shadows. This nourishing formula uses purslane and skullcap to treat the delicate eye area combined with active omega lipids that help the skin retain moisture and give it a youthful, fresh appearance. If you’ve used Dr. Barbara Sturm products in the past, then you know: this is one of the few luxury skincare lines that’s truly worth the splurge.
This eye cream targets aging concerns from all angles, employing soothing and hydrating ingredients to fight wrinkles, smooth the skin, and improve radiance.
This hydrating cream quickly and visibly firms the eye area, reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles in as little as a week! It uses natural, powerful ingredients that seriously work.
Biossance’s eye cream literally melts into your skin, leaving the area around your eyes feeling hydrated—never heavy. It’s probably the closest thing to cosmetic surgery, which is why the price is hard to beat.
Packed with nutrients, this brightening, vitamin C-loaded eye cream brightens, reduces the look of fine lines, and gives seriously age-defying results. It’s rich with collagen and nourishing ingredients that your skin is bound to love.
When the pros (derms and makeup artists alike) swear by it, you know it has to be good. We love infusing our skincare routine with vitamin C as much as possible to protect against free radicals caused by pollution and the sun’s radiation. And because the skin around the eyes is so delicate, we’ll take all the reinforcement we can get—in the form of this hard-working eye cream.
Ceramidin and niacinamide make up this richly hydrating eye cream that moisturizes and smooths skin by adding a serious boost of moisture.
Drench your eye area with potent retinol to transform your skin while you sleep and wake up with smooth, moisturized, plump skin.
This eye serum has just about every ingredient your delicate eye area could possibly want. Retinol, bakuchiol, rambutan, and ferulic acid work together to visibly lift and smooth the area to reduce fine lines, while also deeply hydrating the skin so it stays supple and healthy.
Ceramides, retinol, and vitamin C revitalize the delicate eye area, making it brighter, firmer, and more youthful. It strengthens the skin’s natural barrier, which helps to firm and plump the skin and improves the look of wrinkles and loss of firmness. So long, crow’s feet!
This refreshing eye balm boosts firmness and neutralizes damage caused by free radicals while restoring lipids that help to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
While it’s hard to name favorites when it comes to Sunday Riley, this eye serum is at the top of our list. The retinol-infused eye serum smooths, hydrates, and treats the usual signs of aging overnight, so you wake up with smooth, youthful peepers. Just note that, because of the retinoid formulation, you should proceed with caution as this serum may not suit sensitive skin types.
This post was originally published on September 21, 2021, and has since been updated.