Experts Swear By the Ingredient in These Eye Creams to Smooth and Firm the Skin

When I think of high-performing skincare ingredients, there's always one in particular that comes to mind, and that's retinol. According to Anna Harvey, head aesthetician at Thérapie Clinic, not only does retinol have the ability to speed up cell turnover, but it also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, which makes it a great ingredient for those of us wanting to minimise fine lines and tackle dark circles. However, due to its potency, most retinol skincare products come with strict instructions to avoid applying in the eye area.

Luckily for us though, lots of brands have created retinol eye creams that are specifically designed for the more delicate skin around our eyes, and many of them come with lots of other hydrating ingredients to help minimise irritation. Sounds good, right? To help you choose the right retinol eye cream for you, I've spoken to the experts to find out everything there is to know, and rounded up 10 of the very best retinol eye creams to try now, so keep on scrolling.

What Does Retinol Eye Cream Do?

As mentioned above, retinol can help tackle multiple skin concerns. "Retinol is a vitamin A derivative known for its skin benefits when used topically to promote cell turnover and stimulate collagen production," explains Dr Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon and founder of MZ SKIN. "When it comes to eye creams, retinol can be beneficial for addressing signs of ageing around the eyes, such as fine lines and dark circles." Of course, we believe in celebrating ageing, not hiding it, but if you do want to smooth or firm the skin around the eyes, then this might be the product for you.


(Image credit: @thetennillelife_)

Is Retinol Safe to Use Under Your Eyes?

I often get asked if retinol is safe to use under the eyes. Although I wouldn't recommend using a standard retinol skincare product in the eye area, retinol eye creams are safe to use as they have been designed with the delicate eye area in mind. That being said, if you have any skin issues around your eyes, I'd advise checking with your doctor before introducing retinol into your routine. "It’s important to note that the skin around the eyes is more sensitive compared to the rest of the face", says Dr Zamani. "Using a high concentration of retinol in this area may lead to irritation, redness or dryness. Therefore, it's crucial to choose an eye cream with a lower concentration of retinol and to patch-test it on a small area before applying it around the eyes. Once acclimated, retinol eye creams can be used nightly and followed by your skincare regimen."

What Ingredients Should You Look for in a Retinol Eye Cream?

Retinol eye creams often contains lots of other great ingredients. Kalen Leone, R&D manager at RoC Skincare, says that it's best to look for ingredients that complement retinol such as hyaluronic acid and caffeine. Harvey also rates retinol eye products containing hyaluronic acid, along with ceramides and squalene, as these will help to keep the skin around the eyes well hydrated.


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

How Often Should You Apply Retinol Eye Cream?

So, how often should you use a retinol eye cream? Dr Zamani recommends starting with a small amount of a product with a low concentration of retinol two to three times a week. This can then be built up gradually over time. Harvey adds that retinol eye creams should always be applied at night as the sunlight can break down the potency. She also says that it's important to use SPF in the day to help protect the skin.

When it comes to actually applying the cream, Leone advises following the usage directions and gently patting the product around your eyes using your finger so as not to damage the sensitive eye area.

10 of the Best Retinol Eye Creams to Shop Now:

1. La Roche-Posay Redermic [R] Retinol Eye Cream

2. The Inkey List Retinol Eye Cream

3. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum

4. RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream

5. Elizabeth Arden Retinol Ceramide Line Erasing Eye Cream

6. Beauty Pie Super Retinol Anti-wrinkle Eye Cream

7. Olay Retinol24 Night Eye Cream

8. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue

9. Paula's Choice Clinical Ceramide Eye Cream

10. Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Serum

Next Up: 15 Expert-Approved Tips to Help Combat Dry, Damaged and Tired Skin

Junior Beauty Editor

Grace Lindsay is the junior beauty editor at Who What Wear UK. At the age of 18 she decided to train as a makeup artist before going on to study english and media at Goldsmiths University. It was during that time that she explored her love for journalism by interning at a small beauty start-up based in Shoreditch. Since then, she has worked at a number of publications including Marie Claire and Hello!, where her love for all things beauty continued to grow.

As Who What Wear UK's junior beauty editor, she covers everything from the latest hair trends to the stand-out makeup products of the season.