I have this really annoying habit that I know I need to work on. Despite the fact that I'm naturally a very early riser (I'm talking wakes up at 6:30 a.m. 365 days a year, even on the weekends kind of early riser), I pretty much refuse to adjust my bedtime a few hours earlier to counteract the impact of my early bird identity. I love to stay up late after a long day and binge-watch my favorite shows on Hulu, I love to read 100-page chunks of a novel, and without fail, I also love to fool around on my phone doing who even knows what. You know that feeling when you look at the clock and it's a perfectly respectable 10 p.m. and then the next time you blink it's verging on 1 a.m.? Well, it happens to me all the time, and while I know I'd be better off shutting down my phone, burning a candle, switching on my diffuser, and being the well-behaved beauty-and-wellness editor I know I should be, I really struggle to do that. And, yes, it definitely shows up on my face the next day.
I have notoriously shady under-eyes naturally (check out our A-list celebrity guide to dark circles here), but my lack of sleep and consequential coffee dependence the following morning has exacerbated the situation. Luckily, my job allows me access to the newest and coolest eye creams and treatments that tout all sorts of under-eye miracles—from banishing dark circles to erasing puff, fine lines, and wrinkles. Spoiler: Most fall flat. As in, that literally did nothing kind of flat. However, during my three years as a beauty editor, I've collected creams, gels, and balms that truly do work wonders on my dark circles. Regardless of whether your dark circles are caused by genetics, allergies, or not-so-stellar sleep habits (me), these shadow-targeting eye creams can lend a helping hand. Keep scrolling! I'm sharing the 15 best eye creams for dark circles I've tried since becoming a beauty editor.
Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb
This eye cream isn't actually touted as an eye cream for dark circles. That said, it's one of the most deeply hydrating formulas I've ever tested, and due to that insane moisture, I notice that my under-eyes look less dried and skeletal and brighter, dewier, and plumper instead. It's a lightweight, very soothing formula that boasts a whopping 26-hour span of hydration endurance. It's one to throw in your basket the next time you find yourself wandering the aisles of Sephora.
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème
If you have dark circles, the yellow tint to this brightening elixir can definitely help with that. It's rich in vitamin C, it's anti-aging, and it even makes your concealer and foundation apply smoother. Wins all-around!
Versed Zero-G Smoothing Eye Cream
My 73-year-old mom and I agree: This affordably priced eye cream from clean skincare brand Versed is seriously spectacular. I immediately noticed how it diminished the severity of my dark circles post-flight when I visited home recently, and my mom agreed that it reduced her puff, wrinkles, so on and so forth.
Tula Glow & Get It Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm
Technically, this circle-eraser is a balm and not a cream, but please bear with me—it works! It's so, so good. You know those mornings when, for whatever reason, you wake up feeling like you've been hit by a freight train? Sweeping this cooling, aloe- and caffeine-infused stick all around your eye area feels almost as good as a deep-tissue massage post–Barry's Bootcamp. (Oh, and there's also a radiance-enhancing Rose Glow version, FYI!)
Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream with Avocado
So, sometimes a quick brush of mascara alone doesn't do the job in looking instantaneously awake when you actually just went to sleep four hours before your morning alarm. That's when this number from Saturday Skin comes in handy. The avocado protein factor acts as a natural moisturizer for your under eye area, and the result is refreshed skin that actually feels alive. Bonus points: This eye cream features date seed extract, which is an illuminating property. Basically, you can kiss the need for under eye concealer goodbye after applying this religiously.
GlamGlow BrightEyes Illuminating Anti-Fatigue Eye Cream
For glowing skin and under-eyes that mirror a full 10 hours of sleep, try GlamGlow's new formula. It features illuminating spheres to brighten up dullness and darkness, caffeine to tighten and lift, hyaluronic acid to plump and moisturize, and last but not least, peptides to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
L'Occitane Immortelle Overnight Reset Eye Serum
This serum has stolen my heart. It's the kid sister to the brand's best-selling Overnight Reset Oil-in-Serum ($59) (one unit is purchased every minute!), and it uses the formula's same coveted moisture magic to do battle against telltale symptoms of fatigue like dark circles, puffiness, and expression lines. Plus, I have to say I love that you can literally see the 1600 golden bubbles of precious Immortelle Essential Oil sitting in the bottle. So stunning, right?
Peter Thomas Roth Vital-E Microbiome Age Defense Eye Cream
Say goodbye to fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, uneven texture, and dark circles thanks to this protective solution designed to improve the delicate skin barrier around the eyes and support the skin's natural microbiome as well.
By Terry Hydra-Éclat Eye Contour
If you have a weakness for anything lovely, French, and downright effective when it comes to your beauty product investments, you should definitely consider eye contour–improving cream from By Terry. Not only does the application feel cooling and luxe thanks to the silver applicator, but it also hosts delicate ingredients like black rose, plant stem cells, and vitamin E to reduce dark circles and de-puff and soften the look of any fine lines and wrinkles. This is another one that, thanks to its lightweight texture, is superb under your foundation or concealer.
Sunday Riley Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream
One of my favorite eye creams of all time, this is probably the one I recommend to friends most often since it's a bit more affordable and so instantaneously effective. One swipe across your under-eyes and the mica-, caffeine-, and antioxidant-rich potion practically blurs away the look of lingering darkness. I honestly think this is Sunday Riley's best product. But that's just me.
SkinMedica Instant Bright Eye Cream
Did you know Hailey Bieber (and a slew of other celebs) is a huge fan of this brand? I don't know if Miss HB has tried this brightening eye cream from SkinMedica, but if not, I personally recommend she get on that. It's brimming with tons of great ingredients like phenylethyl resorcinol (which helps to support melanin balance and correct hyperpigmentation), a hyaluronic acid blend for hydration, marine extracts to support a healthy skin barrier, plus all the other good stuff for blue and purple under-eyes like caffeine, Persian silk tree extract, and St. Paul’s Wort, which aid vascular and lymphatic function for a firmer, more radiant result.
RéVive Intensité Complete Anti-Aging Eye Serum
Not only does the featherlight serum feel great underneath your eyes, but this favorite eye cream also features strategic brightening agents to help diffuse any purple circles that like to lurk. (You'll get what I mean once you see the gorgeous pearly finish.) It also looks amazing under makeup and concealer. It's a 10/10 if you can stomach the splurge.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Eye Lift Serum
I wouldn't include a nearly $500 eye cream if it didn't work true sorcery against dark circles, now would I? The sticker shock might be a bit gut-wrenching, but this is probably the most luxurious option for dark circles on the market. Plus, if you're consistent with use, the combination of La Prairie's iconic encapsulated caviar beads and an innovative gel-cream emulsion is probably just as effective as a pricey in-office treatment. The effect is a visual lift to the eye and brow area, less puffiness, fewer lines and shadows… You get the idea.
111Skin Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel NAC Y2
Once I found out that makeup artists use this formula from 111Skin to prep celebs' skin pre–red carpet, I was 88.5% on board. And after a few applications when I started to notice that my under-eyes looked less shadowy and significantly firmer, tighter, and all-around less fatigued, I leaped to 120%. Categorically, it's an eye cream, but it's formulated as a soothing, lightweight gel anyone who's against heavy, cloying creams will absolutely adore. Plus, there's the whole eye-lifting effect which is pretty dang wonderful in and of itself.
IS Clinical Youth Eye Complex
iS Clinical is one of the top brands chosen by the top estheticians in the industry, and this anti-aging eye cream is one of its choice formulas. Not only is it insanely creamy and hydrating (but not at all sticky or slimy like some eye creams can be), but it's also a huge help in the dark circle department. I'll apply it before bed and then again in the morning to finish off my morning skin routine. My circles are still there (obviously), but they're a lot less glaring. The key is in the mix of hyaluronic acid, peptides, and antioxidants.
Still weighing out your options? You'll definitely want to check out the best drugstore eye creams under $20 next!
This post was published on a previous date, and has since been updated.