best under eye cream for dark circles

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The appearance of dark under-eye circles is a common skin concern. Whether you’re sleep-deprived, sniffling from seasonal allergies, or simply experiencing signs of aging, dark circles arise for a multitude of reasons. Dark circles, often accompanied by under-eye bags, may make you look more tired.

But pesky dark circles aren’t invincible. Getting a full night’s sleep and drinking enough water can help reduce the appearance of dark circles over time. For more stubborn cases, sometimes caused by genetics or skin aging, an eye cream can soften their appearance.

The skin under the eyes is extremely thin and often shows the first signs of aging. Because the skin is so delicate, you’ll want to use a dedicated product made for the under-eye area.

Eye cream products can target:

  • dark circles
  • puffiness
  • fine lines
  • wrinkles
  • hyperpigmentation

“Treating the delicate eye contour area is all about prevention, so the earlier you start using an eye contour product, the better,” says Dr. Luigi L. Polla, the founder of Forever Institut and Alchimie Forever.

Aging isn’t the only culprit to take into account. Dr. Erum N. Ilyas, the CEO and founder of AmberNoon, finds that many of her patients have noticed dark circles as early as in their teen years.

Read on to learn how to pick the right eye cream for your needs.

What to look for in an eye cream for dark circles

Eye creams are not created equal.

“The key to choosing the right product for under the eyes is understanding what is causing those dark under-eye circles in the first place,” Ilyas explains.

Different formulas can treat the root cause of your eye concerns. Some key ingredients to look for include the following:

Hyaluronic acid

Want plump, hydrated skin? Hyaluronic acid is your new BFF.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan found throughout the body’s connective tissue. It holds water onto the skin to keep it hydrated. Since the under-eye area can often be dry, hydration and support are essential.

Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, the chief medical officer of Ideal Image and co-founder of Modern Dermatology, recommends creams with hyaluronic acid, as well as peptides and ceramides, to keep skin supported and hydrated.


Caffeine isn’t just a cure-all to get through the work-day slump. It turns out that caffeine in your daily latte can be just as effective for the eyes.

“Caffeine is a well-known and beloved ingredient you’ll often find in under-eye products, as it works to constrict the blood vessels under the eyes,” Polla says.

Caffeine can also brighten the under-eye area and leave tired eyes looking more awake.

Vitamin C

Dull skin under the eyes is a common companion of dark circles.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can brighten the under-eye area, strengthen thinning skin, and boost collagen production — aka the protein that keeps your skin plump and supple. Adding an eye cream that’s rich in vitamin C can help perk up your under-eye area.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is a popular ingredient in eye creams due to its healing properties. It’s sometimes used after surgeries to aid in blood clotting and heal incisions.

“Vitamin K promotes cellular metabolism and has anti-inflammatory properties, with known effects to help with blood clotting,” says Dr. Jeannette Graf, a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.

Its ability to aid blood clotting makes it a formidable ingredient to combat dark circles.


As people age, the skin under their eyes can become thinner and create a crepe-like appearance. Fine lines, often called crow’s feet, can begin to form over time.

“If thinning skin is a culprit, find an eye cream with a gentle retinoid that can help thicken the skin over time,” Graf notes.

Retinoids help slow the body’s natural reduction of collagen production by helping with skin cell turnover.

One caveat is that retinoids are incredibly potent, so proceed with caution. Find a formula that’s specially made for the under-eye area. When applying a retinoid cream, a little goes a long way.

How we chose

Stop by any drugstore or beauty retailer, and you may feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of eye creams on the market.

We interviewed dermatologists around the globe for their personal favorites and top recommendations for patients.

Our list of recommended products also includes bestselling products that have a customer rating of at least 4 or 5 stars and include ingredients dermatologists recommend for targeting dark circles.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$90
  • $$$ = over $90

Healthline’s picks of the best eye creams for dark circles

Best for skin care fans who want to try a beauty community favorite

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: vitamin C complex, 8-peptide blend, cucumber, superoxide dismutase, hesperidin methyl chalcone, ubiquinone, and vitamin E
  • Helps: fine lines, wrinkles, dryness, dark circles, and loss of firmness
  • Pros: helps lighten dark circles over time
  • Cons: some reviewers report sensitivity after use

Beauty gurus and skin care aficionados flock to Drunk Elephant’s line of trendy products. While the pretty packaging and hype stand out, the formulas do the heavy lifting needed to target skin conditions.

The C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream includes a complex of five forms of vitamin C to brighten the under-eye area. Rich in hydrating peptides and soothing active ingredients, like cucumber extract, the formula refreshes the under-eye area and brightens the appearance of dark circles.

The formula is also fragrance-free and doesn’t include any scented essential oils. While many reviewers saw dramatic results, some did complain of sensitivity and redness after use.SHOP NOW AT AMAZON

Best for those wanting a vitamin C infused staple

Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Brighten & Firm Eye Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid, GABA, and an energy complex
  • Helps: tired eyes and dark circles
  • Pros: firms under-eye skin, minimizes fine lines, and brightens dark circles
  • Cons: pump dispenser can be difficult to use

Dr. Dennis Gross is a familiar name for many skin care enthusiasts.

This formula includes ​​3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid — a vitamin C complex that tackles the hydro and lipophilic phases of the cell to minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. Vitamin C also brightens the under-eye area, leaving tired eyes looking lively and more awake. The formula’s antioxidants also help aid in the production of collagen.

Reviewers rave about noticeable lighter, brighter under-eyes within the first few weeks of use.

While a few reviewers dislike the product dispenser, others find that it helps deliver the exact amount needed for the application without being wasteful.SHOP NOW AT AMAZON

Best for anyone looking for natural ingredients

Inika Organic Phytofuse Renew Resveratrol Eye Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: resveratrol grape juice extract, squalane, and rose of Jericho
  • Helps: wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, and puffiness
  • Pros: hydrating and depuffing with an easy-to-use applicator
  • Cons: one reviewer shares difficulties with the product clumping in the applicator

Fans of organic beauty may like Inika Organic Phytofuse Renew Resveratrol Eye Cream. The applicator gently glides across the under-eye area to deliver a formula of natural actives.

Grape juice extract carries resveratrol, an antioxidant that helps to neutralize free radicals from the environment and support collagen production. Similarly, squalane is used to fight off skin damage from environmental factors and also helps protect the skin’s barrier. Rose of Jericho works with these ingredients to lock in moisture.

This eye cream is vegan, cruelty-free, and a good option for the socially conscious shopper.SHOP NOW AT INIKA ORGANIC

Best for those looking for a lightweight brightening cream

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: vitamin C, collagen, and banana pigments
  • Helps: dark circles and fine lines
  • Pros: isn’t greasy and it brightens, smooths, and color corrects, according to reviewers
  • Cons: some reviewers report allergic reactions

Australia-based dermatologist Dr. Robert Goldman loves to recommend this Banana Bright Eye Cream to people looking to brighten dark circles. The product features brightening vitamin C and collagen to support skin elasticity.

One special ingredient that sets this powerhouse product apart is the banana powder. The yellow pigments act as a color corrector for the under-eye area to reduce the appearance of dark circles upon application.

Reviewers tout the product’s smooth application and lightweight formula.SHOP NOW AT SEPHORA

Best for anyone who loves face masks

Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches

  • Price: $
  • Size: 30 pairs
  • Key ingredients: caffeine and niacinamide
  • Helps: tired, puffy eyes and dark circles
  • Pros: fragrance-free and soothing
  • Cons: product design may be too slippery and slide off, according to some reviewers

While it’s not exactly an eye cream, dermatologist Dr. Adam Mamelak finds that eye gel patches and under-eye masks have “concentrated ingredients [that] work much faster than the under-eye cream you apply each day or night.”

“If you feel like you always have dark circles, no matter how many hours of sleep you get, find eye masks or patches with ingredients, such as tea extracts, vitamins C and K (to brighten or reduce the appearance of dark circles), water from extra-pure locations, and hyaluronic acid,” he says.

There are many eye gels on the market, but we love the perk that Good Molecule’s caffeine-infused eye gels give after a sleepless night. The soothing, cool-to-the-touch patches can also help reduce puffy and swollen eyes.SHOP NOW AT AMAZON

Best for those on a budget

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 0.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: sodium hyaluronate
  • Helps: dry skin and dark circles
  • Pros: low price point, hydrating, and most reviewers saw reduced dark circles
  • Cons: some reviewers saw little change in the appearance of their dark circles

You don’t need to spend big to see results. Drugstore brands, like Neutrogena, have products that target dark circles and fine lines for a fraction of the price. Ilyas recommends Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Gel-Cream due to its moisturizing hyaluronate.

“With hyaluronate, this product packs in extra hydration around the delicate eyelid skin. [It’s] an effective cream to improve the turgor of the thin eyelid skin,” Ilyas says.

The product has an average of 3.9 out of 5 stars on the Neutrogena website, with a majority of happy shoppers. Many reviewers find that the product left their skin feeling plumper, smoother, and more awake.SHOP NOW AT AMAZON

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