The 13 Best Eye Serums for Dark Circles, Wrinkles, Puffiness, and More
Have you ever felt like your eye cream isn't quite right? It's either too thick or sorta 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 crows feet, puffiness, and dark circles. They tend to be lighter weight and absorb quickly, so you can still apply makeup, or double up with your favorite eye cream, afterwards.
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, the best eye serums for each and every skin concern.
- Best Overall: Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalizing Eye Serum
- Best for Puffiness: The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
- Best Firming: Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Firming Eye Serum
- Best Retinol: Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum
- Best Multitasking: Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Eyes and Lashes
- Best for Dark Circles: Murad Vitamin C Dark Circle Correcting Eye Serum
- Best Natural Formula: Kora Organics Noni Eye Oil
- Best Brightening: BeautyBio The Eyelighter Concentrate
- Best for Wrinkles: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II
- Best Splurge: La Mer The Lifting Eye Serum
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Emma Hardie Midas Touch Revitalizing Eye Serum
Best for Puffiness: The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
Best Firming: Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Firming Eye Serum
Best Retinol: Dr. Dennis Gross Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Triple Correction Eye Serum
Best Multitasking: Vichy LiftActiv Serum 10 Eyes and Lashes
Best for Dark Circles: Murad Vitamin C Dark Circle Correcting Eye Serum
Best Natural Formula: Kora Organics Noni Eye Oil
Best Brightening: BeautyBio The Eyelighter Concentrate
Best for Wrinkles: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II
Best Splurge: La Mer The Lifting Eye Serum
Best Value: Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Anti-Dark Circle Eye Roller
Best With Applicator: Charlotte Tilbury Cyro-Recovery Depuffing Eye Serum
Best Lifting: Fresh Black Tea Firming Eye Serum
What to Keep in Mind
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.
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.
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.