18 Eye Creams That Work Wonders on Dark Circles

Eye creams so good you can quit concealer.

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18 Eye Creams That Work Wonders on Dark Circles
Photo: Charlotte Tilbury/ InStyle

Dealing with dark circles is never fun. While the right concealer can cover them up in a pinch, if you're looking for a more long-lasting treatment, a powerful eye cream is probably your best bet. With thousands of options out there — and most of them targeting fine lines and wrinkles — finding an eye cream that is specially formulated for dark under-eye circles can feel downright daunting.To help you cut through the clutter, we researched formulas, ingredients, and benefits of some of the best eye creams for dark circles on the market. The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream stands out for its rich, retinol-infused formula that brightens, hydrates, and firms the under-eye area.Ahead are the best eye creams to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream
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What We Love: It evens out both skin tone and texture.

What We Don't Love: It is pretty thick.

Celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury developed this eye cream to brighten and hydrate the delicate under-eye area. Since its launch, it has become a firm favorite among Hollywood A-listers. It's easy to see why the eye cream is so popular: It's infused with a winter daphne stem cell extract, which works to improve skin's texture, and a botanical eye contour complex, which helps brighten dark circles and reduces puffiness. It also features time-released retinol to help combat signs of aging. It's free of harmful parabens, sulfates, and synthetic fragrances and will dramatically improve the under-eye area in as little as four weeks.

Active Ingredients: Retinol, winter daphne stem cells extract, botanical complex | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Steal: Organys Spark Rejuvenating Eye Cream

Organys Eye Cream For Dark Circles
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What We Love: It produces results quickly.

What We Don't Love: It can irritate sensitive skin.

This Organys eye cream proves you don't have to spend a ton of money on a high-quality eye cream in order to kick dark circles to the curb. The product works to brighten, tighten, and hydrate the under-eye area thanks to its potent mix of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and caffeine. It also features pro collagen peptides to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, caffeine | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Splurge: La Mer The Eye Concentrate

La Mer The Eye Concentrate
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What We Love: It's ultra-hydrating and feels super luxurious on the skin.

What We Don't Love: It's not a realistic pick for all budgets.

La Mer is known for producing top-of-the-line beauty products, and this eye cream is no different. The formula features the brand's patented Miracle Broth™, a cell-renewing elixir that uses sea kelp and other highly potent nutrients to hydrate, rejuvenate, and brighten the under-eye area. It's also infused with antioxidants to protect skin from irritating environmental stressors. The best part? The cream comes with a silver-tipped applicator that helps you apply the perfect amount of product each time. Although the price is a bit steep, its one-of-a-kind formula makes it definitely worth splurging on.

Active Ingredients: Concentrated Miracle Broth™, clarity ferment, lime tea concentrate | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector

Dark Circle Corrector
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What We Love: It's non-irritating and allergy-tested.

What We Don't Love: It has a slight tint to it.

If you have sensitive skin that is easily irritated by eye creams, consider this option from Clinique. It's formulated with green tea extract and mulberry root extract, which work together to help under-eye circles look brighter and smoother. It's also been allergy- and ophthalmologist-tested and uses no artificial fragrances or parabens.

Active Ingredients: Green tea extract, mulberry root extract | Size: 0.34 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Instant Results: Neutrogena Rapid Dark Circle Repair Eye Cream

Neutrogena Rapid Dark Circle Repair Eye Cream
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What We Love: It works quickly and has a built-in applicator.

What We Don't Love: It's a small size.

Looking for a cream that will start getting rid of under-eye circles fast? Check out this option from Neutrogena. It boasts light reflecting particles and an Accelerated Brightening Complex that is specially formulated to reduce the look of dark circles in just one week. What's more, it's ophthalmologist-tested and comes in a compact pen applicator with an easy-to-use twist bottom.

Active Ingredients: Accelerated Brightening Complex | Size: .13 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Hydrating: Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream

Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream
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What We Love: It's hydrating without feeling too heavy.

What We Don't Love: It can take a while to see results.

If you're looking for an eye cream that targets pesky under-eye circles and works well on dry skin, the Shiseido White Lucent Anti-Dark Circles Eye Cream is your guy. Its formula is packed with humectant-rich ingredients, which keep your skin hydrated and moisturized for hours. It also supports melanin production and contains light diffusing properties to bring even more luminosity and radiance to your under-eye area. The beloved product is both dermatologist- and ophthalmologist tested, so you don't have to worry about it irritating your eyes.

Active Ingredients: Super Hydro-Synergy Complex N | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Tightening: No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Eye Cream

no 7 lift luminate triple action
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What We Love: It offers three different defenses against aging and works fast.

What We Don't Love: It may be irritating for sensitive skin.

If you suffer from sagging, crepey skin — as well as dark under-eye circles — we suggest using this No7 eye cream. Packed with anti-aging ingredients like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and hibiscus, the skincare essential works to smooth wrinkles and tighten your eye area in as little as two weeks. It will also target uneven skin tone and brighten your under-eyes for a younger, refreshed look.

Active Ingredients: Peptides, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, hibiscus | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best with Retinol: RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream

Dark Circle Corrector
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What We Love: Its retinol-infused formula combats signs of aging.

What We Don't Love: It may sting the eyes.

This retinol-infused eye cream by RoC targets the three major signs of aging: wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. Along with being tested by both dermatologists and ophthalmologists, the hypoallergenic eye cream is clinically proven to reduce the look of dark circles in just four weeks. It is also gentle enough to use daily on the delicate eye areas and it's non-comedogenic.

Active Ingredients: Retinol, vitamin E, antioxidants | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Brightening: Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream

C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream
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What We Love: It boasts tons of vitamin C to help brighten dark circles.

What We Don't Love: It can dry out the skin.

This eye cream from Drunk Elephant features five different types of vitamin C, peptides, and cucumber extract, which all work together to brighten dark circles and make your under-eye area look firmer and more refreshed. Its unique formula also protects skin from harmful UV rays and pollution. It can be used in either the morning or the evening and it is both vegan and cruelty-free.

Active Ingredients: Peptides, vitamin C, cucumber extract| Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Anti-Aging: Tula Revitalizing Eye Cream

Beauty Products
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What We Love: It feels cool and refreshing on the skin.

What We Don't Love: Its thick texture makes it a bit greasy.

Not only do the powerful probiotics and peptides in this rejuvenating eye cream by Tula reduce the appearance of dark circles, but they also diminish fine lines and wrinkles. Meanwhile, its other active ingredients, grape seed oil and olive squalane, nourish and brighten the delicate under-eye area to leave you with a more youthful appearance. If you struggle with sensitive skin or redness, it will help calm the look of irritation and keep the skin feeling cool and hydrated.

Active Ingredients: Probiotics, peptides, grape seed oil, olive squalane | Size: 0.5 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Natural: LilyAna Naturals Eye Cream

eye cream dark circles puffiness
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What We Love: It's made with all-natural, clean ingredients that won't irritate the skin.

What We Don't Love: It has an unpleasant smell.

This LilyAna Naturals eye cream is specially formulated with all-natural ingredients like rosehip seed oil, vitamins C and E, and aloe leaf juice to brighten dark circles, minimize the appearance of fine lines, and moisturize skin. Its clean formula is especially beneficial for those with sensitive skin and it is free from parabens, phthalates, and artificial fragrances. It's also gentle enough to use twice a day, once in the a.m. and again at night.

Active Ingredients:Rosehip seed oil, vitamin C, vitamin E, hibiscus, aloe leaf | Size: 0.5, 1.0, or 1.7 fl oz.| Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Tinted: Tatcha The Pearl Tinted Eye Illuminating Treatment

tatcha pearl tinted eye illuminating treatment
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What We Love: It doubles as a concealer and has a pearl-like luster to it.

What We Don't Love: It does not work as well on light skin tones.

Looking for an eye cream that covers dark circles while also treating them? Check out this popular tinted option from Tatcha. The multitasking product works just like a concealer, but also features ingredients such as Akoya pearl extract and hyaluronic acid to boost collagen production and brighten dark circles over time. It is also infused with silk powder, which will smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Note: This cream works best on medium to tan skin tones when used as a concealer.

Active Ingredients: Akoya pearl extract, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, silk powder | Size: 0.4 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Gel: Baebody Eye Gel

Baebody Eye Gel
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What We Love: It's a lightweight, hypoallergenic formula.

What We Don't Love: The consistency is not ideal for oily skin types.

The best-selling product has been specially formulated to reduce the appearance of dark circles, puffiness, fine lines, and wrinkles. Its formula includes hibiscus, rosehip oil and tons of antioxidants, which leaves skin glowing and hydrated when combined. Along with being cruelty-free, the eye gel is made without any parabens and phthalates and it's gentle enough to use on all skin types. Note: Since it is a gel, oily skin types may prefer a cream with a less watery consistency.

Active Ingredients: Hibiscus, rosehip oil, vitamin A, vitamin D | Size: 1.7 fl oz | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Rejuvenating: Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream

Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream
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What We Love: It comes in two tones and works well as an under-eye primer.

What We Don't Love: It's not very hydrating.

This eye cream from Origins is the key to a well-rested, energized look when you can't clock more sleep hours. It's infused with caffeine, ginseng, vitamin C, and niacinamide to rejuvenate eyes and reduce the appearance of under-eye circles. The top-rated cream is also formulated without ingredients like sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. It even comes in recyclable packaging for the environmentally-conscious folks.

Active Ingredients: Caffeine, vitamin C, niacinamide, ginseng | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Serum: Korres Black Pine 3D Sculpting, Firming & Lifting Eye Serum

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What We Love: It's very lightweight and melts into the skin.

What We Don't Love: It has some shimmer to it that may not be ideal for everyone.

This powerful eye serum from Korres not only targets dark circles, but it also works to firm skin and decrease puffiness. The product is infused with a black tea agent, a patented ElastiLift 3D complex, and black pine extract, which work together to brighten circles and improve skin's elasticity. Since it has a lightweight formula, you can apply it to both the under-eyes and the eyelids.

Active Ingredients: Black pine, mica, dill extract | Size: 0.51 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Firming: Pure Biology Total Eye Cream

Pure Biology Total Eye Cream Serum with Vitamin C
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What We Love: It's infused with baobab oil to boost collagen production.

What We Don't Love: It leaves a greasy residue.

If you are looking to firm crepey under-eye skin while brightening dark circles at the same time, consider this eye cream from Pure Biology. Packed with fast-acting ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamins C and E, and baobab oil, this super-hydrating formula glides on smoothly and noticeably increases skin elasticity. It also protects the delicate under-eye area from UV rays and boosts collagen production for a youthful look.

Active Ingredients: Hylarunoic acid, vitamin E, vitamin C, baobab oil, caffeine | Size: 1.0 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

RELATED: This Is the Best Anti-Aging Eye Serum, According to Over 1,700 Five-Star Amazon Reviews

Best Hypoallergenic: Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream

cetaphil hydrating eye gel cream
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What We Love: It has a non-irritating, gel-cream formula that absorbs quickly.

What We Don't Love: The consistency is watery.

This Cetaphil eye cream is a must-have for anyone with sensitive skin. It is dermatologist-tested and hypoallergenic, so you don't have to worry about allergic reactions or irritations occurring. In addition to minimizing the look of dark circles, the cream also includes hyaluronic acid to smooth and hydrate your delicate under-eye area for up to 24 hours.

Active Ingredients: Hylarunoic acid, vitamin E, B3 | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Multitasking: Dermelect Revitalite Professional Dark Circle Corrector

Beauty Products
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What We Love: It has a cool-tip applicator that boosts circulation.

What We Don't Love: It's on the pricey side.

This multitasking treatment from Dermelect does five things at once. Along with brightening the look of dark circles, it also improves puffiness, tightens droopy eyelids, smoothes fine lines, and moisturizes the under-eye area. It features a cool tip applicator, which soothes the skin and helps to apply the cream exactly where you want it without wasting any product.

Active Ingredients: Peptides, sesaflash, liftensyl | Size: 0.5 fl oz. | Cruelty-Free: Yes

TL;DR

Celebrities and experts agree that the ultra-hydrating, retinol-infused Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue Cream (view at Sephora) is a great choice for brightening up pesky dark circles. If you're looking for an affordable eye cream, the Organys Spark Rejuvenating Eye Formula (view at Amazon) will lighten the under-eye area, reduce wrinkles, and hydrate the skin.

What to Keep in Mind

Skin Type

Your specific skin type will play a big role in determining which eye cream to buy. New York City-based dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., warns that not all skin types can handle the same amount of strength. If you are unsure what your skin type is or have skin that irritates easily, she suggests going with an eye cream that is marketed towards sensitive skin as they are tolerated by most people. "Monitor for signs of irritation, such as itchiness, redness, or dry skin, and minimize use as tolerated," Dr. Nazarian recommends. "Even using one just a few times a week will add up to skin benefits in the long run."

Non-irritating Formula

The eye area is very sensitive for everyone, no matter what your skin type is. So, it is imperative that your eye cream uses gentle or clean ingredients to avoid irritating the delicate area. Look for eye creams that are free of artificial fragrances, phthalates, parabens and other harmful ingredients.

Brightening Ingredients

The goal of an eye cream is to banish dark under-eye circles, but what ensures a product will actually accomplish this? Any eye cream with ingredients like vitamin C, niacinamide or light-reflecting particles is sure to brighten up those dark circles, so opt for an eye cream with any or all of those ingredients.

Other Benefits

An eye cream that can do more than one thing is always a win-win. So, in addition to diminishing dark circles, be on the lookout for eye creams that have multiple benefits. For example, an eye cream with anti-aging properties and nourishing ingredients like retinol, ceramides, and peptides will tighten and firm your under-eye area. A hydrating under-eye cream is also beneficial, so anything with hyaluronic acid or moisturizing ingredients is a plus.

Your Questions, Answered

Can eye creams actually eliminate dark circles?

Sometimes it may feel like nothing can improve your dark circles other than getting more sleep (a solution that isn't quite as easy as it sounds), but Dr. Nazarian assures us that eye creams really do work and the science behind them is there. "The right eye cream can contain ingredients that speed up the breakdown of pigment in the skin, and can slow down the production of pigment in the skin," Dr. Nazarian says. "Some eye creams encourage stimulation of cell turnover, bringing new skin cells to the surface, resulting in a more even skin tone and less dark circles."

How do you apply eye cream?

Since the eye area is so delicate, eye creams need to be applied gently and Dr. Nazarian says just a small amount should be dabbed onto the eye area until the cream is fully absorbed. Since creams can be on the thicker side, it is best to not apply them to the upper eyelids and to only use a serum on that area.

When should you apply eye cream?

Some eye creams can be used in the morning and at night, depending on how strong or gentle they are. "Generally, [eye creams] should be applied immediately after gentle cleansing and before other steps in your skincare regimen." Dr. Nazarian says. "If you use them, toners and essences should be used beforehand." When using them in the morning, makeup and a full-spectrum sunscreen should be applied after.

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