The eyes are usually the first area of the face to show the signs of the aging because the skin there is so delicate. Whether it’s dark circles, bags, fine lines, or wrinkles, there are a variety of problems that can plague the under-eye area. Fortunately, a good eye serum can help reduce the appearance of many of those issues and keep the skin under your eyes looking as youthful as possible.
But finding the right eye serum can be a challenge. You have to know what ingredients and consistency would work best for your skin type. Furthermore, there are different types of serum containers that offer different benefits, and it helps to know which container is best for you.
Are you on the hunt for the perfect eye serum? If so, you can find our top recommendations in the product list above. If you just want general tips on choosing an eye serum, keep reading our shopping guide.
If you have fine lines or wrinkles around your mouth, an eye serum can help treat them as well. Dab the excess product that’s on your finger after applying it to your under-eye area all the way from your upper lip to the bottom of your nose.
What can an eye serum do?
Depending on the formula you choose, eye serums can provide an array of benefits for your under-eye area.
The skin under the eyes is thinner than most other parts of the body, which means it’s easy to lose moisture there. Many eye serums contain ingredients that not only moisturize but also attract moisture.
Dark circle reduction
Whether it’s due to poor sleep, stress, or heredity, most people suffer from dark circles under the eyes from time to time. Some eye serums contain ingredients that help fade darker pigmentation and make the skin less transparent, so the under-eye area appears brighter.
Many people experience bags or puffiness under the eyes as they age. This can result from lack of sleep, fluid retention, smoking, allergies, and even heredity. An eye serum may contain ingredients that help temporarily tighten the skin to reduce puffiness.
Fine line and wrinkle reduction
If you have fine lines or crow’s feet around your eyes, a good eye serum can help smooth the area. Most eye serums contain ingredients that help promote cell turnover so the skin appears smoother and less textured.
Improved firmness and elasticity
If you notice some sagging beneath your eyes, the right eye serum can help firm the area. Many formulas contain ingredients that stimulate collagen production, which helps make the under-eye area firmer.
Did you know?
It can take six to eight weeks to see results from an eye serum, so you have to be patient.
Eye serum vs. eye cream
Eye serum and eye cream share some similar benefits, but there are several important reasons why a serum is often a better option.
Eye serums are thinner and more lightweight than creams, so they’re ideal for oily skin and skin that’s prone to milia – small, hard bumps that form beneath the eye when the oil glands are blocked by heavy, rich products.
Because they’re lightweight, eye serums absorb more easily into the skin than creams do. That means you don’t have to rub them in as much, which helps prevent the kind of under-eye tugging that can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
Because eye creams are heavier, they often leave behind a residue. Eye serums, on the other hand, sink right into the skin, which makes it easier to apply makeup (like concealer) over them.
Eye serum features
When you’re considering eye serum ingredients, think about the under-eye issues you wish to address.
Fine lines and wrinkles
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that helps promote cell turnover and collagen production to smooth the skin under the eyes.
Peptides are amino acid chains that help stimulate collagen production to smooth the under-eye area.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps boost collagen production and fights free radical damage for a smoother under-eye area.
Vitamin K slows blood flow to the capillaries beneath the eyes, preventing pooling that can cause darkness.
Kojic acid helps minimize the production of melanin that causes dark pigmentation in the skin under the eyes.
Caffeine helps constrict the blood vessels beneath the eyes so they don’t appear as dark.
Vitamin C helps brighten the skin and minimize discoloration beneath the eyes.
Retinol helps stimulate collagen production so the skin beneath the eyes isn’t as thin.
Caffeine helps constrict the blood vessels beneath the eyes so the skin appears tighter.
Green tea extract has anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce swelling beneath the eyes.
Retinol helps boost collagen production to improve elasticity and reduce swelling.
Retinol stimulates collagen production to improve elasticity, so the skin beneath the eyes appears firmer.
Peptides help firm and tighten the skin.
Hyaluronic acid helps the skin beneath the eyes retain and absorb moisture more effectively.
- Ceramides are lipids that occur naturally in the skin and can help reduce moisture loss in the skin beneath the eyes.
For your safety
Avoid storing your eye serum in the bathroom, as heat and steam could affect the active ingredients.
While eye serums are usually thinner and more lightweight than eye creams, they can vary in terms of consistency.
Some formulas are extremely thin and watery, so they absorb into the skin especially quickly. They work well if you have oily skin or are prone to milia.
Other eye serums have a thicker consistency that’s somewhere between a liquid and a gel. They tend to be more moisturizing, so they’re most effective if the skin under your eyes is dry.
Like many skincare products, eye serums often contain some type of fragrance. But if you have sensitive skin or eyes, it’s best to choose a fragrance-free formula – synthetic fragrances can irritate the skin and the eyes, which may make whatever skin care issues you have beneath your eyes even worse.
The standard size for a bottle or container of eye serum is 0.5 fluid ounces. However, some serums actually provide a full fluid ounce. Consider the size of the serum when you’re evaluating the price. While you’ll usually pay more for a larger bottle, it often turns out to be a better value overall.
Eye serums typically come in glass or plastic bottles. Because serum is so thin, the bottles often feature a medicine dropper dispenser that makes it easy to dispense just the right amount of product each time. However, medicine dropper dispensers can sometimes get messy because it’s easy to spill the serum.
Other eye serum containers feature a pump dispenser. This prevents a mess when you’re dispensing the product. But a pump doesn’t offer the same control that a medicine dropper does when it comes to how much product is dispensed, so you could inadvertently waste some product with a pump dispenser.
Eye serum prices
Eye serum prices vary based on the quality of the active ingredients, but in general, you can expect to spend between $10 and $245.
Eye serums made with lower-quality active ingredients typically run from $10 to $30.
Eye serums made with average-quality active ingredients typically run from $30 to $75.
Eye serums made with high-quality active ingredients typically run from $75 to $245.
"If you’re having trouble blending the eye serum into your skin, try wetting your fingertip a bit before applying it."
Don’t apply too much eye serum. Use a drop about the size of a sunflower seed for each eye.
To prevent fine lines and wrinkles, use your ring finger to gently tap the eye serum into the skin until it’s fully absorbed. Your ring finger is your weakest finger, so it won’t pull on the skin as much.
Avoid placing eye serum too close to your lower lash line. If you’re not careful, it could seep into your eyes and cause irritation. Eye serum spreads across the skin as it warms to your body temperature, so it’s not necessary to apply it right beneath the lower lashes.
If you’re using eye serum in the morning, give it a minute to absorb into the skin before applying your makeup over it.
Retinol can cause sensitivity in some skin types, so it’s best to patch test an eye serum that contains it to be sure it won’t irritate your skin. Dab a small amount on the inside of your wrist, and wait 24 hours to see how your skin reacts.
Q. When should I start using an eye serum?
A. Most eye serums are concentrated formulas that focus on anti-aging benefits, so you typically don’t need to start using one until your mid-20s. While you may not see the signs of aging until your 30s, starting earlier can help minimize them as they develop. However, if you’re in your early 20s and experience dark circles or puffiness, you may want to use a serum that targets those issues.
Q. Can I use an eye serum with an eye cream?
A. In most cases, it’s not necessary to use an eye serum and cream at the same time. However, if your under-eye area is particularly dry, you may want to start with a serum and top it with a cream for added moisture. If your eye area isn’t particularly dry, you may prefer using a serum during the day because it’s more lightweight, which allows makeup to layer better over it. You can use the heavier cream at night when it has more time to absorb into the skin.
Q. How often should I use an eye serum?
A. You’ll typically see the best results if you use the serum twice a day: once in the morning and once at a night. It should be one of the first products that you apply because it absorbs into the skin so quickly and easily. You can then top the serum with an eye cream if you feel the need for extra moisture.
Our top pick for this category is the Drunk Elephant A-Shaba Complex Retinol Eye Serum with Caffeine + Copper Peptides, which is formulated to soften and smooth fine lines while also targeting a loss of firmness and puffy under-eye bags.Who makes the best eye serum? ›
Our top pick for this category is the Drunk Elephant A-Shaba Complex Retinol Eye Serum with Caffeine + Copper Peptides, which is formulated to soften and smooth fine lines while also targeting a loss of firmness and puffy under-eye bags.What is the best eye serum to use? ›
Clarins' Double Serum is one of the all-time greats—and there's a version for eyes, too. Each pump combines two formulas for a product that smooths, firms, and hydrates in one application.Which eye serum is best for wrinkles? ›
- Best Overall: RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream, $30.
- Best Luxury Eye Cream: Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Eye Cream, $140.
- Best for Depuffing: Neocutis Illuminating Eye Cream, $108.
- Best Retinol Alternative: Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Wrinkle Resist Eye Cream, $75.
Zakia Rahman, a clinical professor of dermatology at Stanford University, said there is evidence that eye creams — and even regular facial moisturizers — can help prevent and repair wrinkles. But there's one big caveat: They must contain some key active ingredients: retinols (or prescription retinoids) or vitamin C.What is better for eyes a cream or a serum? ›
"Because eye serums are lighter in consistency, they are often able to absorb quickly and penetrate deeper and may be more potent than eye creams, depending on the specific ingredients incorporated, such as antioxidants, retinol, humectants, peptides and growth factors."Is a serum better than eye cream? ›
The key difference between serums and creams that are designed for eye care are the potency or concentration of ingredients: serums are more intense, creams less-so. However, this doesn't mean that one is necessarily better than the other.Should I use both eye cream and serum? ›
If you're looking to determine whether or not you can use an eye cream and an eye serum together, the answer is yes—it can be especially beneficial for those with drier skin types. Many of our formulas are layerable, including Powerful-Strength Dark Circle-Reducing Vitamin C Eye Serum.What do dermatologists recommend for under eye wrinkles? ›
Hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers, such as Restylane® and Juvéderm®, are gel-like injectables that plump up under-eye hollows or tear troughs, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulate collagen production to create a more youthful appearance.What is better for under eye wrinkles retinol or hyaluronic acid? ›
If you're looking for an ingredient that can help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone, retinol may be the better option. However, if you're looking for something that will keep your skin hydrated and plump, hyaluronic acid may be a better choice.
Our top picks: Best Overall Eye Cream for Mature Skin: Science EyeMax AlphaRet Overnight Cream, $120. Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Mature Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream for Eyes, $23. Best for Dark Circles: Isdin Isdinceutics K Ox Eyes, $97.What is the best thing for old looking eyes? ›
- Botox. Botox is one of the best known methods for eliminating wrinkles around the eyes. ...
- InterFuse Treatment Cream EYE. This skinbetter daily treatment cream offers a daily option for fighting lines under your eyes. ...
- Invisilift 3-Minute Mask. ...
- VI Peel.
In late 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a new eye drop medication to treat presbyopia. As an optometrist, I was initially skeptical. Prior to the release of these eye drops – called Vuity – people would either need glasses, contacts or eye surgery to alleviate presbyopia.What's best eye cream or eye serum? ›
An eye cream won't help if you want dramatic, quick results. However, a serum won't necessarily help your skin be better moisturized. The need you have for your specific skin concern and the reason you're looking for a high-quality product will largely dictate whether you want to buy a serum, cream, or even both.Is eye cream or eye serum better? ›
"Because eye serums are lighter in consistency, they are often able to absorb quickly and penetrate deeper and may be more potent than eye creams, depending on the specific ingredients incorporated, such as antioxidants, retinol, humectants, peptides and growth factors."What is the best cream for Crepey eyelids? ›
DERMA-E Hydrating Eye Cream – Firming and Lifting Hyaluronic Acid Treatment - Under Eye and Upper Eyelid Cream Reduces Puffiness and Appearance of Fine Lines, 0.5 oz.What is the difference between eye gel and eye serum? ›
Are Eye Gels The Same As Eye Serums? Lastly, we have eye gels, which we like to think of as a sort of hybrid between creams and serums. They tend to be thicker than serums (but without the richness of creams) and have a refreshing, jelly-like texture.