In 2021, not a lot of things are certain, but one thing that is? The influence of Korean beauty on our skincare routines can’t be overstated. We have the industry to thank for sheet masks, facial essences, BB cream, and so much more, but one category has been a sleeper hit: eye cream. According to Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily, there are two key factors that make Korean eye products so great.
The first is one of the pillars of Korean skincare. "Hydration is one of those fundamental things that you want to get right for skincare because there can be a domino effect on a lot of other aspects of your skin health,” says Yoon. "Even when I’m applying my skincare products, and I’m doing my serums and essences, I’m treating the eye area as well. You want a really great eye cream to kind of lock in all that hydration.”
The other factor is the focus on preventative skincare. "There is this notion of saving your skin, cherishing your skin,” says Yoon. And while many products can and do address skin damage that’s already occurred, you’ll see many products address overall skin maintenance. "When it comes to eye creams, I think that there is a bit more of a range,” says Yoon, "It’s around how we prevent the eye area from going through the wringer.”
Yoon adds that social media and even the skincare boom during the pandemic have added to the preventative-skincare movement. "We are getting a lot of DMs from people in their 20s being like, ‘I feel like I should start using an eye cream right now,’” she says. Interested in trying out a K-beauty eye cream? Whether you’re looking for hydration, prevention, or something in between, we’ve rounded up 16 great ones you can get stateside.
1. Saturday Skin Wide Awake Brightening Eye Cream
Yoon loves this eye cream, especially for preventative skincare. "I love Saturday Skin as a brand because it is really focused on thinking about innovative ways to preserve skin health,” she says.
2. Shangpree S-Energy Repair Eye Cream
Of course, not all skincare is preventative, and for those routines, Yoon recommends this product, which she says is great for "reversing the visible signs of deeply etched wrinkles.”
3. Peach & Lily Pure Peach Retinoic Eye Cream
"It kind of is a two-in-one,” says Yoon of this eye cream from her own line. "It’s really great for preventative skincare, but it will also help reverse visible skincare signs of damage.” Instead of traditional retinol, it features bakuchiol, rose-hip oil, and beta-carotenes to provide benefits without irritation. "It’s all-around action-packed but also very gentle,” says the founder.
4. AmorePacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel
There’s a reason AmorePacific has been one of the most trusted names in Korean skincare for decades. Squalane, niacinamide, caffeine—this eye gel has just about every ingredient that stressed-out under-eyes love.
5. I'm From Ginseng Eye Cream
The key ingredient—well, ingredients, plural—here are three different types of ginseng, which help to nourish, strengthen, and brighten skin.
6. CosRx Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream
Snail mucin is commonly used in Korean skincare thanks to its nutrient-rich composition, and it’s the star ingredient of this formula from fan-fave brand CosRx. Count on it to not only moisturize without being too heavy but also brighten dark circles with niacinamide and strengthen skin with peptides.
7. AHC Eye Cream for Face
One of these bad boys is sold every three seconds in Korea, and it’s so effective it can be used on the entire face (hence the name).
8. Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Eye Cream
This apricot-hued cream is on the thicker side but still absorbs into skin remarkably well. It contains five ceramides to nourish and moisturize, while niacinamide helps brighten the more you use it.
9. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Intensive Hydrating Eye Cream
Dryness is no match for this formula, which features green tea seed oil and extract harvested from South Korea’s Jeju Island. Plus, at just over an ounce, it’s one of the biggest eye creams on the market stateside or otherwise.
10. Hanskin Real Complexion Hyaluron Eye Serum
Technically it’s an eye serum as opposed to a cream, but we’re making an exception because it’s that refreshing. The hydrating formula has four types of hyaluronic acid to plump up the look of fine lines, and the metal ball applicator instantly cools sleepy under-eyes on contact. (Apply first thing in the morning. Thank us later.)
11. Laneige Water Bank Eye Gel
An eye gel can be a nice alternative to a rich cream, especially if you have oily skin. This gel-cream is super lightweight but still hydrates and plumps fine lines with the best of them thanks to hyaluronic acid and green mineral water.
12. Tonymoly Moisture Boost Cooling Algae Eye Serum
So, yes, it's freakin' adorable—but it's not just bathroom décor. Packed with hyaluronic acid, seawater, and plankton extract (packaging make a little more sense now?), it lends serious hydration as the gel texture cools the skin.
13. Sulwhasoo Essential Refining Eye Cream
Sulwhasoo is a trusted name in Korean beauty, particularly for its use of ginseng. In this eye cream, the ingredient helps fade fine lines while honey acts as a humectant.
14. Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask
Unlike typical eye creams, this mask gets washed off in the morning, but it works so well you won’t mind the extra step. The vitamin-rich avocado nourishes while encapsulated retinol addresses environmental damage and signs of aging without being overly harsh on delicate under-eye skin.
15. Donginbi Red Ginseng Moisture & Firming Eye Cream
Donginbi was first created in 1899, and its products often feature none other than red ginseng to help fade fine lines and wrinkles, as well as reduce puffiness.
16. Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb
Another pick that falls into the "lightweight yet moisturizing" category, this cream feels totally weightless when it's applied, but it keeps skin looking plump and hydrated for up to 26 hours.
Lindy Segal is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. She's originally from Atlanta, but she's sorry to report she doesn't have an accent. However, she does still have her taste for carbohydrates, love of losing sports teams, and fear of driving during rush hour. She's been in editorial for over eight years as a social media manager and writer covering beauty, fashion, and lifestyle at Glamour and People. Most recently, she was the women's editor at Express. These days, in addition to Who What Wear, you can see her byline at places like Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Ipsy, and WeWork. Both a skincare obsessive and a minimalist, she keeps her routine short, sweet, and effective—and she doesn't go a day without sunscreen. She's also deeply passionate about sustainability, and she strives to recommend products she truly believes are worth the investment. When she's not writing about the best and brightest beauty finds, she can usually be found hunting for vintage and secondhand treasures, attempting to find zen at a yoga class, bingeing Bon Appétit YouTube videos, or napping under her weighted blanket.
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