The 13 Best Eye Serums for Dark Circles, Wrinkles, Puffiness, and More

Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalizing Eye Serum is golden.

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Best Eye Serums
Courtesy Fresh/ Nordstrom

Have you ever felt like your eye cream isn't quite right? It's either too thick or sort of feels like an extra, and maybe unnecessary, step. Well, that's where eye serums come in. While eye creams are great for hydrating the delicate eye area, serums provide a concentrated amount of key ingredients to target specific concerns like crow's feet, puffiness, and dark circles. They tend to be lighter and absorb quickly, so you can still apply makeup, or double up with your favorite eye cream, afterward.

We interviewed dermatologists to find out how to shop for and use an eye serum. While compiling our list of the best eye serums, we looked for formulas with quality ingredients that delivered noticeable results without any irritation. With its mix of hydrating and anti-aging ingredients, Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalizing Eye Serum won our Best Overall spot.

Puffiness? Dark circles? Crow's feet? Yup, there's an eye serum for that. Below, are the best eye serums for each and every skin concern.

Best Overall: Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalizing Eye Serum

Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalizing Eye Serum

Amazon

What We Like: The serum visibly reduces puffiness and makes the eye area firmer.

What We Don't Like: It's not fragrance-free.

This milky serum is ideal for anyone who loves the rich texture of cream but hates the greasy aftermath. A blend of plant-based ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, raspberry seed oil, and the brand's skin-plumping Liftonin complex, tag-team common eye area concerns like dryness, dark circles, wrinkles, puffiness, and loss of firmness. The nourishing formula is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients, which strengthen your skin over time.

Price at time of publish: $58

Good For: Tired skin | Packaging: Pump | Size: 0.53 oz

Best for Puffiness: The Ordinary Caffeine 5% + ECGC Depuffing Eye Serum

The Ordinary Caffeine 5% and EGCG

The Ordinary

What We Like: This affordable serum reduces puffiness and dark circles.

What We Don't Like: It can take some time to see results.

Like a shot of espresso, caffeine and EGCG (an anti-inflammatory ingredient from green tea leaves) wakes up the under-eye area by constricting blood vessels and reducing excess fluid, according to board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. On top of targeting puffiness, this serum also tackles dark circles and discoloration. The serum is vegan, cruelty-free, and formulated without oil, alcohol, silicone, nuts, gluten, and fragrance. And coming in at less than $10 a pop, it's probably cheaper than your favorite extra shot latte.

Price at time of publish: $8

Good For: Puffiness and dark circles | Packaging: Dropper | Size: 1 oz

Best Firming: Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

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Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

Amazon

What We Like: This serum firms your skin without irritation.

What We Don't Like: You may need to layer cream on top for additional moisture.

Is there any visible sign of aging that this serum doesn't treat? That's a hard no. An impressive mix of peptides, antioxidants, niacinamide, and plant stem cells brighten, firm, plump, and smooth wrinkles around the entire eye contour. The packaging strategically protects these powerful ingredients from being exposed to the air and oxidizing, improving their efficacy and prolonging the formula's shelf life. Coming from a brand that is focused on "clean clinical skincare" the serum is vegan, cruelty-free, and free of essential oils, silicones, and fragrance. It's no wonder the brand's founder, Tiffany Masterson, uses this eye serum everyday and night.

Price at time of publish: $60

Good For: Tired skin | Packaging: Pump | Size: 0.51 oz

Best Retinol: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum

4.5
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum

Sephora

What We Like: The retinol in this serum works hard to slow skin aging.

What We Don't Like: The pump bottle can be finicky.

The reason why retinol gets so much hype? It's a dermatologist-recommended anti-aging ingredient you can count on for results, including targeting crow's feet and crepey skin. This serum has retinol to even out skin tone and texture, while antioxidant-rich ferulic acid brightens dark circles and softens fine lines and wrinkles. Willow bark extract is used to reduce puffiness and soothe skin, making this eye serum a solid all-around pick. Even better: The quick-dry gel doubles as an eyeshadow primer.

Think you don't need to use an anti-aging eye serum yet? Dr. Dennis Gross, a dermatologist to stars like Olivia Palermo and founder of the brand, says it's never too early to start. "The biggest mistake that women make regarding their skin is getting started too late on preventing and slowing down the aging process," says Dr. Gross. "Keeping cells revved up and stimulated is preferable to letting the cell machinery run down and then trying to revive it later."

Price at time of publish: $69

Good For: Wrinkles and dark circles | Packaging: Pump | Size: 0.5 oz

Best Multitasking: Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Eyes and Lashes

Vichy LiftActiv Supreme Eyes and Lashes Serum

Dermstore

What We Like: Not only does it plump your eye area, but this serum also nourishes your lashes.

What We Don't Like: It takes a while to see lash growth.

Skin minimalists: This two-in-one serum is the skincare product you've always dreamed of. It's formulated with plumping hyaluronic acid, moisturizing ceramides, and collagen-boosting rhamnose, which is a naturally derived plant sugar. Completing the serum is Vichy's mineral water to strengthen the skin barrier and help prevent future moisture loss. On top of delivering instant anti-aging results, the firming formula also adds volume and shine to lashes with continued use.

Price at time of publish: $35

Good For: Dry skin and lashes | Packaging: Pump | Size: 0.51 oz

Best for Dark Circles: Murad Vitamin C Dark Circle Correcting Eye Serum

Murad Vitamin C Dark Circle

Amazon

What We Like: It brightens your dark circles both instantly and for the long term.

What We Don't Like: The formula can pill if layered too quickly after application.

"Dark circles? I don't know her," is what people who use this vitamin C eye serum say. It's powered by the brand's potent Vita-C Complex to brighten discoloration and gets its instant illuminating properties from light-reflecting microminerals. Not only does vitamin C have brightening benefits but it also helps prevent sun damage and boost firmness by regulating collagen production, according to dermatologist Michelle Henry, M.D. Murad's juicy serum also has red algae and kelp extracts that de-puff and soothe dry under-eyes. Users can even expect anti-wrinkle benefits thanks to cucumber extract. You'll notice instant results as the serum's gold tint brightens dark circles upon application.

Price at time of publish: $65

Good For: Dark circles | Packaging: Pump | Size: 0.5 oz

Best Natural Formula: Kora Organics Noni Radiant Eye Oil

Kora Organics Noni Radiant Eye Oil

Amazon

What We Like: The natural oils in this serum are very hydrating.

What We Don't Like: The rollerball can get stuck.

This organic formula gets its smoothing and brightening goodness from Kahai oil, a natural retinol alternative with impressive hydration benefits, and marine bamboo extract. Together, they encourage collagen production to tighten and tone the skin. The Noni Eye Oil also soothes away puffiness and irritation with the help of tomato extract and its cooling rollerball applicator, which acts as a mini massage. "This eye oil makes me look like I had a full 8 hours of rest the night before — even if I didn't. The rose quartz roller ball feels so soothing and uplifting around my eyes," says Kora founder and supermodel Miranda Kerr.

Price at time of publish: $40

Good For: Dryness and puffiness | Packaging: Rollerball | Size: 0.34 oz

Best Brightening: BeautyBio The Eyelighter Concentrate

BeautyBio The Eyelighter Concentrate

Ulta

What We Like: This serum wakes up your eyes and acts as a primer.

What We Don't Like: It tends to sell out, so snap it up when you get the chance.

Dubbed the "eyelighter," this serum has a mix of vitamin C and retinol to brighten the eye area as well as hyaluronic acid and squalane to hydrate and plump up the skin. With its metal tip, you can further massage your bags and reduce puffiness. It also acts as a primer, making it an ideal pick for your morning routine.

Our beauty writer Tamim Alnuweiri recently tested the product and already is using it twice a day to help reduce her dark circles. "The darker brown color enveloping my eyes like a panda's was lightened and reduced to a shade more closely resembling my actual skin tone," says Alnuweiri. "My under-eyes also looked hydrated, even after my skin fully absorbed the serum."

Price at time of publish: $58

Good For: Dark circles | Packaging: Tube with Metal Tip | Size: 0.5 oz

Best for Wrinkles: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II

Nordstrom

What We Like: This wrinkle-fighting serum absorbs quickly.

What We Don't Like: It's pricey.

Is there anything worse than a nighttime product that leaves a greasy residue on your pillows? While this wrinkle-fighting serum is designed to work best while you sleep, it absorbs fast so you can catch some zzz's without wondering whether you're going to have to change your sheets in the morning. In addition to reducing lines, tightening loose skin, and replenishing moisture, the serum also significantly fades dark circles and repairs damage from pollution.

Price at time of publish: $65

Good For: Wrinkles | Packaging: Pump | Size: 0.5 oz

Best Splurge: La Mer The Lifting Eye Serum

The Lifting Eye Serum 0.5 oz/ 15 mL

Sephora

What We Like: The serum plus applicator lifts and sculpts your eye area.

What We Don't Like: It can leave a bit of a residue.

For anyone in the mood to truly treat their under-eyes, La Mer's serum is your best bet. The silky treatment is made with the brand's signature sea botanicals to stimulate collagen production, resulting in a visible lift and instant rejuvenation of the skin. The formula is also enriched with antioxidant fruit extracts to brighten, caffeine to de-puff, and glycerin to hydrate. Reviewers say they can feel it slightly tightening their skin as it dries, minimizing fine lines and crepey skin. The serum comes with a special applicator that you can use to apply the serum and sculpt your eye area. The luxury of the treatment matches its price.

Price at time of publish: $300

Good For: Droopiness and fine lines | Packaging: Pump with metal applicator | Size: 0.5 oz

Best Value: Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller

Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller

Ulta

What We Like: This affordable serum has a tint to further brighten your eyes.

What We Don't Like: It only comes in one shade, which may not work for every skin tone.

For an eye serum that doesn't come at a steep price, you can't go wrong with this version from Garnier. It combines vitamin C and caffeine to brighten and depuff the under eye, while the rollerball physically smooths the area. The formula also has a tint thanks to minerals, which makes it a great first step in your makeup routine. Some reviewers say it's the only concealer they need to cover up dark circles. Affordable and multitasking? Sold.

Price at time of publish: $12.99

Good For: Dark circles and puffiness | Packaging: Rollerball | Size: 0.5 oz

Best With Applicator: Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Depuffing Eye Serum

Charlotte Tilbury Cryo-Recovery Depuffing Eye Serum

Nordstrom

What We Like: The metal tip and icy formula wake up tired eyes.

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

Whether it's stress, lack of sleep, or genetics that are leaving your eye area puffy, Dr. Zeichner recommends this eye serum for waking up the eyes. Harnessing the rejuvenating skin care properties of icing the skin, the Cyro-Recovery Depuffing Eye Serum's cooling applicator gently glides the formula across the skin for a refreshing massage. The formula smooths, lifts, illuminates, and firms with the help of the brand's Icewake and caffeine complex. It's perfect for those mornings when your eyes look especially tired and puffy. Pro tip: Keep the serum in the fridge to amp up its cryo benefits.

Price at time of publish: $68

Good For: Puffiness | Packaging: Tube with metal tip | Size: 0.5 oz

Best Lifting: Fresh Black Tea Firming Eye Serum

Fresh Black Tea Firming Eye Serum

Sephora

What We Like: It noticeably lifts your skin overtime.

What We Don't Like: It's expensive.

For under-eyes that need a little lift here and there, this firming eye serum from Fresh has a corset-like effect on the skin that wastes no time kicking into gear. The all-star ingredient here is the brand's Black Tea Complex, which features firming peptides and other radiance-boosting ingredients to reveal a lifted and brighter under-eye. The powerful complex also aids in de-puffing and reducing the appearance of crow's feet.

Price at time of publish: $72

Good For: Droopiness | Packaging: Pump | Size: 0.5 oz

What to Keep in Mind

Ingredients

Start your eye serum search by first deciding what specific concerns you want to address. If you want to reduce puffiness and dark circles, Dr. Zeichner recommends products with caffeine to help constrict blood vessels and remove excess fluid.

For crow's feets and crepiness, go for retinol. "It is the best studied ingredient we have to increase collagen production and strengthen the foundation of the skin," says Dr. Zeichner.

He also recommends vitamin C for those wanting to brighten the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. And if you notice that your under eye area looks hollow, hyaluronic acid helps plump up the skin.

"I like to look for products that contain hyaluronic acid to draw water into the delicate skin around the eye to keep it hydrated as well as peptides and growth factors that provide great anti-aging benefits," says board-certified dermatologist DiAnne Davis, M.D.

Applicator

While most eye serums come in a pump bottle for sanitation and precise dosage, others come in a rollerball and a tube with a metal tip. The coldness of the applicator will instantly depuff and soothe any redness in the skin, especially if you keep the product in the fridge. So if your goal is to depuff tired eyes, look for a serum with a rollerball or metal tip.

Your Questions, Answered

Why should I use an eye serum?

If your eye area concerns are not going away — even though you regularly use an eye cream — it might be time to add a serum to your regime.

"A serum is a skin care product designed to deliver high concentrations of a specific active ingredient to the skin. They can be layered underneath your moisturizer to give added benefits," says Dr. Zeichner. "I recommend a serum when your skin care routine needs an extra boost."

How do I use an eye serum?

Depending on the serum and your needs, you might want to apply the product in the morning, night, or both. If you are looking to depuff and brighten your eyes with caffeine and/or vitamin C, it's best to apply the serum in the morning. Known for its antioxidants benefits, vitamin C also helps fight off damage from free radicals and sun exposure, so it's good to have a layer on during the day.

Alternatively, if your serum has retinol, it's best to use it at night. That's because retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun and sunlight can deactivate retinol, as board-certified dermatologist Shari Marchbein, M.D. once told InStyle.

Since serums don't always put hydrating as the top benefit, you may need to layer an eye cream as well. Dr. Davis recommends applying the thinner product first — the serum — followed by the thicker eye cream to ensure each layer is absorbed properly.

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