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12 Eye Serums That Will Make You Look Like You Just Had Your Best Sleep Ever

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Facial serums have been taking the skincare world by storm—and for good reason. These gel-like products contain a high concentration of active ingredients that offer a potency and level of customization that could make even your skincare-obsessed BFF’s head spin. Considering the extreme popularity and impressive innovation coming out of this skincare category, it makes sense that there are now formulas made specifically for the delicate (and often troublesome) under-eye area.

But where does this leave eye creams, the other eye-care favorite that we know and love? Kendra Joseph, a certified physician’s assistant at Schweiger Dermatology Group, explains that eye serums are formulated to repair the skin around the eye area, while eye creams are usually designed to prevent and protect. She explains that serums are more lightweight and can penetrate more deeply into the upper layers of the skin than creams can. “They are usually focused on ingredients that target repairing fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles.” On the other hand, eye creams typically have a thicker texture to provide a protective barrier between the skin and the environment, Joseph says. “They focus more on retaining moisture and hydration to allow the skin to look and feel more youthful.”

So how do you know when to use one or the other? Joseph puts it simply: “If you’ve noticed signs of aging around your eyes or that you look more tired recently, it may be a good idea to get an eye serum to help repair and restore the skin around your eyes. If you have not yet noticed any glaring signs of aging, but want to be proactive and prevent those signs, you may opt for an eye cream.”

You can also use both products together, as one will help to boost the performance of the other—making them a total dream team. “Applying an eye serum first to repair and then an eye cream on top will improve the texture and appearance of the skin around your eyes,” says Joseph.

When looking for a great eye serum, she recommends keeping an eye out for ingredients like peptides (to lift and smooth), growth factors (to stimulate collagen), antioxidants (to prevent sun damage), humectants (to moisturize), and retinol (to firm). With these key ingredients in mind, let’s dive into a few of our favorite formulas. Below you’ll find 12 of the best eye serums for every skin concern.

About the Expert:

Kendra Joseph is a certified physician assistant at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City.

1. Best Multitasking Eye Serum:

PURLISSE Blue Lotus 4~in~1 Eye Adore Serum

PURLISSE Blue Lotus 4~in~1 Eye Adore Serum

This multitasking eye serum works so hard for your skin that you’ll want to promote it to the top of your skincare lineup. It eases fine lines, crow's feet, dark circles, and puffy eyes, working its magic using four plant-based powerhouses: blue lotus, French marine plants, soy proteins, and vitamin E. The namesake ingredient, blue lotus, is an antioxidant extract that fights free radical damage caused by the sun.

One Ipster writes, “Great formula with peptides! The feel also primes nicely for concealer.”

2. Best Anti-Wrinkle Eye Serum:

MURAD Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum

MURAD Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum

While turning back the hands of time may not be possible outside of the movies, this anti-aging eye gel might be the next best thing. It uses a combination of retinoids and peptides to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and crow's feet, plus red algae and giant kelp to brighten and firm up the skin, and swertia flower extract to further boost firmness and promote elasticity. It's also hypoallergenic, making it an ideal option for those with sensitive skin.

Ipster 5FOOTPIXIE writes, “Absolutely awesome. One of the best brands out there for skincare. This was an amazing eye cream and I was totally bummed when it ran out. I have super dark circles that are hereditary and it seemed to help with them as well as with crow’s feet.”

3. Best Brightening Eye Serum:

SKYN ICELAND Brightening Eye Serum

SKYN ICELAND Brightening Eye Serum

Even if you lost a few hours of zzzzs last night to the latest hot TV show, tired eyes don't stand a chance after a quick application of this eye serum. This formula uses cooling cucumber extract to soothe, moisturize, and revitalize, while a blend of microalgae works to brighten dark circles over time. This serum's secret ingredient is Icelandic glacial water, which hydrates and detoxifies under-eye bags. We’re feeling hydrated already.

"I really enjoyed the help under my eyes," writes redhotbaker. "I have a hard time sleeping at night and tend to get little baggies. This stuff helped so much!"

4. Best Firming Eye Serum:

AKAR SKIN Nutrient Boost Eye Serum

AKAR SKIN Nutrient Boost Eye Serum

This serum uses a blend of natural oils and extracts to firm, tighten, and refresh the under-eye skin. Fatty acid-rich argan oil and almond oil act as natural moisturizers, while antioxidant-rich oils like baobab oil and sea buckthorn oil fight signs of aging. But that’s not all: Shiitake mushroom extract has high levels of kojic acid to brighten up dark circles, and rosehip extract boosts collagen production to combat sagging skin.

After using this product, one Ipster wrote, "I feel like I can see a difference! This makes me feel like I have had a spa treatment."

5. Best Moisturizing Eye Serum:

DERMADELI Nourishing Eye Serum

DERMADELI Nourishing Eye Serum

If you have dry skin or you're applying eye serum as a preventative skincare step, opt for this nourishing and ultra-hydrating treatment. This formula puts hydration first, packing the delicate eye area with moisturizing hyaluronic acid. After that, niacinamide helps to lock all that moisture in, while collagen and caffeine extract diminish under-eye puffiness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

"I love this. It hydrates my dry under-eye skin, sinks in quickly and doesn't leave any greasy or sickness," writes Ipster mplouderback.

6. Best Soothing Eye Serum:

TONYMOLY Moisture Boost Cooling Algae Eye Serum

TONYMOLY Moisture Boost Cooling Algae Eye Serum

With a cooling gel-like texture, this eye serum feels like the equivalent of placing two cucumbers over your eyes. Taking a cue from the rejuvenating powers of the ocean, this formula uses soothing seawater and plankton extract to deeply hydrate your skin and tame inflammation. Hyaluronic acid is also used here to provide even more moisture and skin-plumping benefits. Pack all those soothing ingredients in one serum, and you get a product perfect for perking up tired morning eyes—plus a lightweight, fast-absorbing texture that layers beautifully under makeup.

"This feels phenomenal," one Ipster writes. "Really nice cooling eye serum. Not too sticky and sinks in quickly," another adds.

7. Best Depuffing Eye Serum:

PIXI BY PETRA 24k Eye Elixir

PIXI BY PETRA 24k Eye Elixir
Courtesy of PIXI BY PETRA

This peptide serum comes with a rollerball applicator that massages away all signs of puffiness while also promoting circulation around the under-eyes. Two star ingredients in this formula are raspberry fruit extract and gold—yes, actual gold! The former helps to even out dark circles, while the latter further helps to stimulate circulation. To make this product even more soothing, pop this serum in the fridge before use.

8. Best Eye Serum for Dark Circles:

KIEHL'S Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum

KIEHL'S Powerful-Strength Dark Circle Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum
Courtesy of KIEHL'S

When you're looking to brighten up hyperpigmentation around your eyes, it's hard to beat the brightening powers of vitamin C. With every use, this formula gives the skin a potent 10% dose of the ingredient to visibly reduce the appearance of blue- and brown-tinted dark circles in record time. In addition to evening out the skin tone, this formula also uses peptides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump. After just one week of regular use, this serum is proven to deliver fresher, brighter-looking eyes.

9. Best All Natural Eye Serum:

TRUE BOTANICALS Deep Repair Eye Serum

TRUE BOTANICALS Deep Repair Eye Serum

If you love keeping your skincare routine as holistic as possible, you'll love this serum's minimal and natural ingredient list. Cold-pressed carrot seed oil infuses the eye area with antioxidants and vitamins; blackberry seed oil works to repair cell damage; and rose stem cells promote better circulation and cell rejuvenation for tighter skin and brighter-looking eyes. Whether you got eight minutes or eight hours of sleep last night, no one will be able to tell after you apply just a quick dab of this serum to the skin.

10. Best Eye Serum for Sensitive Skin:

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel

BIOSSANCE Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel
Courtesy of BIOSSANCE

The base of this gentle yet powerful serum is plant-derived squalane, a non-comedogenic oil that's suitable for hydrating all skin types (even the most sensitive skin!). Squalane teams up with age-defying niacinamide and apple stem cell extract to fill in wrinkles and fine lines, while peptides reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.

Like all skincare products from BIOSSANCE, this eye treatment is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of irritating ingredients like parabens and drying alcohols. It’s skincare you can feel good about.

11. Best Lifting Eye Serum:

LA MER The Lifting Eye Serum

LA MER The Lifting Eye Serum
Courtesy of LA MER

This is a beauty product that's worth the splurge. If your primary focus is to create lift around the eye area, this ultra-luxe formula delivers powerful results. It visibly lifts, firms, and rejuvenates the skin for a non-invasive "mini eye lift" every time you use it. The magic is all in LA MER's proprietary Stretch Matrix Complex, which uses a blend of sea botanicals to powerfully boost skin's elasticity, bounce, and vibrance.

12. Best Eye Serum for Newbies:

FIRST AID BEAUTY Eye Duty Triple Remedy A.M. Gel Cream

FIRST AID BEAUTY Eye Duty Triple Remedy A.M. Gel Cream

If you're brand new to the world of eye gels, serums, and creams, it's a good idea to start simple. This gentle, fast-absorbing gel tackles everything from dryness to fine lines to dark circles using ingredients like dual peptides, red algae, and plant extracts. Plus, FIRST AID BEAUTY always uses clean ingredients to create formulas that are notoriously gentle–no unexpected irritation here.

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About the author
Cortney Clift
Cortney is a New York-based freelance writer who has written about beauty and wellness for more than six years. She was previously the senior writer and special projects editor at Brit + Co where she covered a wide range of news and lifestyle topics.
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Article Last Updated January 29, 2021 12:00 AM