The popular skincare ingredient has eye-opening results.

By Erin Lukas
Updated Feb 05, 2020 @ 1:15 pm
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Eye cream is a skincare product that leaves people divided. One side of the debate believes using a cream specially formulated for the delicate eye area is essential, while the other side thinks using a facial moisturizer is sufficient. But no matter which team you're on, if you've started to develop fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes, you might want to think about adding an anti-aging eye cream to your skincare routine — especially one with retinol.

"Retinols are the powerhouse of stimulating collagen, reducing wrinkles, and evening out skin tone," says board-certified dermatologist Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City. "So naturally, when used properly with other ingredients, retinols can be a great part of a maintenance regimen in all aspects of skin care."

Like with other retinol products, it's best to start using an eye cream slowly to avoid any side effects the ingredient can cause. Dr. Farber suggests adding a retinol eye cream to your routine once or twice a week and working your way up. And if you can't tolerate retinol every night, switch out your cream for a hydrating one every other night, or you can layer them.

"Although they can be great for addressing certain skin concerns, it’s incredibly important to start slowly and let your skin get used to ingredients that can be drying like retinols," says Dr. Farber. "Eye creams are often specifically formulated to avoid the irritation on the sensitive skin under the eye, but it’s important to know that everyone responds differently to new products and letting your skin get used to an ingredient will prevent irritation."

That being said, there's an overwhelming amount of options out there. From an affordable drugstore buy to a gentle formula that's safe for sensitive skin. Here, we've broken down the 10 best retinol eye creams.

Best for Sensitive Skin: L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Triple Power Eye Treatment

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While retinol is the gold standard of anti-aging ingredients, but it can be too harsh for extra-sensitive skin. Retinyl Palmitate is a mild retinoid that's gentle enough for easily irritated skin, but minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. That's where this L'Oréal Paris eye treatment comes in. Along with retinol palmitate, it's also formulated with brightening vitamin C and skin-plumping hyaluronic acid. Bonus: A tube of it only sets you back $16.

To buy: $16; Walmart.com.

Best for Dry Skin: First Aid Beauty FAB Skin Lab Retinol Eye Cream with Triple Hyaluronic Acid

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In the case of this eye cream, three is better than one. It includes a trio of hyaluronic acid, a humectant that attracts water to keep skin moisturized. All of the extra moisture will soothe skin and help prevent retinol-related irritation.

To buy: $42; Sephora.com.

Best for Dark Circles: Kiehl's Youth Dose Eye Treatment Cream

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Dark circles? You won't know her once you've added this eye cream into your skincare routine. Along with retinol, there's red grape seed extract and vitamin C to illuminate the dark under eye area. And unlike may eye creams, this one has a velvety texture that melts into skin without leaving any greasy residue.

To buy: $40 Nordstrom.com.

Best for Night: Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion Eye Cream

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As you sleep, this powerful cream releases retinol to the under eye area for eight hours, treating fine lines, improving texture, and minimizing dark circles. Shea butter and antioxidants round out the formula for added hydration.

To buy: $55; Nordstrom.com.

Best Drugstore: RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream

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RoC's retinol eye cream is a drugstore cult-favorite because it's affordable, yet effective. For just $18, this little tube minimizes signs of aging around the eye area including fine lines, wrinkles, crow's feet, puffiness, and dark circles. It's also non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic, meaning it's safe for all skin types.

To buy: $18; Walmart.com.

Best Natural: Kora Organics Noni Radiant Eye Oil

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This natural oil is powered by kahai oil, a superfood with a high concentration of vitamin A that can produce anti-aging results like retinol. This eye treatment also gets points for its application. The rose quartz rollerball increases circulation and makes using the oil free of any mess.

To buy: $38; Sephora.com.

Best for Wrinkles: La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes Retinol Eye Cream

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Adenosine and retinol linoleate are the secret sauce in La Roche-Posay's anti-aging eye cream. Together, the two ingredients minimize the appearance of wrinkles and boost firmness. The formula is rounded out with smoothing hyaluronic acid, while caffeine wakes up the entire eye area.

To buy: $47; Dermstore.com.

Best for De-Puffing: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Cream

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Like the cult-favorite Magic Cream moisturizer, Charlotte Tilbury's eye cream smooths, brightens, and leaves the under eye area dewy and glowy. What sets the eye cream apart from the original is that it contains a mix of botanicals that reduce puffiness and dark circles.

To buy: $60; Nordstrom.com.

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Best for Morning: Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15 PA++

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With vitamin C and SPF 15 protection on top of anti-aging retinol, Murad's eye cream is a welcome addition to any morning skincare routine.

To buy: $70; Sephora.com.

Best for Firming: Paula's Choice CLINICAL Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream

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This skin-repairing, ceramide-rich cream locks hydration in, which will also aids in cutting the irritation that can come with using vitamin A. Retinol and peptides firm and tighten skin, plus vitamin C reduces dark circles.

To buy: $48; Dermstore.com.