The skin surrounding your eyes is notably thinner than in other facial areas. Additionally, specific issues, like puffiness and dark circles, demand specialized care and attention. For this reason, you may find it worthwhile to incorporate serums in your skincare regimen that are specifically designed to nourish the sensitive region around your eyes.
However, picking the best eye serum could be challenging as there are many options in the market. To help you choose, we compiled a list of a few promising products, analyzed their active ingredients, and examined their possible benefits in more detail.
Best eye serum in 2024: a shortlist
- Drunk Elephant — best eye serum for dark circles and wrinkles
- Instytutum — best eye bag serum featuring new-generation retinoid
- La Mer — best eye lifting serum
- SkinCeuticals — best eye serum for dark circles and puffiness
- Clinique — best hydrating eye serum
How we ranked and reviewed the best eye serums?
|Vitamin C, retinol, caffeine, hyaluronic acid
|Targets concerns such as fine lines, puffiness, dark circles, and dehydration
|Positive customer experience
- Active ingredients. We analyzed the main active ingredients in the product to understand their possible effects better. Moreover, we compared the brand’s promises to the current scientific knowledge about eye serums or topical skincare cosmetic treatments in general.
- Possible benefits. This article will provide a selection of products addressing common under-eye skincare concerns to help you choose the optimal solution. For instance, if your main goal is to reduce puffiness, you may need a different product than someone looking to minimize fine lines.
- Provider reputation. When it comes to the manufacturer’s reputation, we tried to see the full picture by examining details related to customer satisfaction, including customer reviews.
- Price. We picked products from various price ranges and included both budget-friendly and higher-end selections.
Best eye serum reviews: under-eye, hydrating serums
There are numerous eye serums on the market. Our list showcases a few products that we consider to be the best under eye serums based on criteria such as formulation and brand reputation.
1. Drunk Elephant — best eye wrinkle serum
If your main concern is fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, this eye serum from Drunk Elephant could be a great addition to your skincare routine. Formulated with retinol and peptides, this serum may target the signs of aging by potentially promoting collagen production.
Moreover, this product includes caffeine that may reduce puffiness and promote a refreshed appearance.
Keep in mind that since it includes retinol, one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients in topical skincare, it may be irritating to the skin of some people. Since Drunk Elephant contains a relatively low percentage of retinol (0.1%), this product appears to be gentler and suitable for sensitive skin under the eye. It is advised to introduce retinol gradually, meaning using it once or twice a week to allow your skin to adjust.
Right now, a 0.5 fl oz (15 ml) bottle of this Drunk Elephant serum costs $64.
2. Instytutum — best under eye serum with new-generation retinoid
Active ingredients belonging to the retinoid family are known for their anti-aging properties. This Instytutum eye serum features hydroxypinacolone retinoate — the newest retinoid used in skincare products. It is believed to be more stable and less irritating than retinol while maintaining the same effectiveness. However, as of now, there are not enough studies to confirm this.
Moreover, this serum features a wide range of ingredients that may, according to the manufacturer, improve skin texture and elasticity, reduce dark circles and hyperpigmentation, and support collagen production. These ingredients include rambutan and white flower extracts, tetra-peptides, squalane, B2 and 12 vitamins, and many more.
If you decide to integrate this product into your routine, it is advisable to use SPF during the day as retinoid product may increase sensitivity to the UV light.
One 0.5 fl oz (15 ml) bottle of this product is priced at $95.
3. La Mer — best eye firming serum
Featuring Miracle Broth™, the secret ingredient in La Mer products, this eye serum is designed to nourish the skin around the eyes and create a “mini-lift” effect.
According to the manufacturer, Miracle Broth™ is a potent mix of sea kelp, various vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients with cell-renewing properties. As claimed to by the manufacturer, the long process of making this blend improves the customer sought-after benefits such as anti-aging properties.
Furthermore, it also includes Stretch Matrix Complex, which is intended to provide a firmer and lifted sensation to the skin. However, both of these blends are crafted from secret ingredients, meaning customers can not know the exact formula of La Mer products.
As of now, one 0.5 fl oz (15 ml) bottle of La Mer is called $310. The product is covered by a 30-day refund policy.
4. SkinCeuticals — best eye brightening serum for dark circles
AOX+ Eye Gel by SkinCeuticals is a serum designed to reduce dark circles and puffiness around the eyes. As its primary ingredients, it contains a blend of antioxidants (e.g., vitamin C), caffeine, and Ruscus aculeatus.
Moreover, the combination of phloretin, vitamin C, and ferulic acid featured in this serum has been clinically tested and shown to have an effect in reducing sun damage. Vitamin C, in general, is used as one of the most potent ingredients in anti-aging and skin-protecting products.
This SkinCeuticals is free of fragnances. However, due to this, some customers report that this serum has an unpleasant scent.
The price of this serum is $104 per 0.5 fl oz (15 ml) bottle. To save 5% off your order you can purchase SkinCeuticals products with a subscription that can be cancelled at any time.
5. Clinique — top hydrating eye serum
This Clinique's water-gel eye serum is specially formulated to restore the skin's barrier, reduce moisture loss, and provide a plumping effect. Aloe vera and hyaluronic acid are the key ingredients in this product, both renowned for their excellent moisturizing properties. As reported by the customers, the serum is lightweight and feels refreshing on the skin.
Furthermore, this eye bag serum includes caffeine which is one of the most popular skincare ingredients for reducing puffines.
This Clinique serum is recommended for oily, dry, and combination skin types. It can be used alone, under makeup, or as a mask.
As of now, one bottle (0.5 fl oz or 15 ml) of this Clinique eye serum is retailed at $38. You can save 10% off your purchase if you opt for the subscription-based purchase.
Comparison of the top firming and brightening eye serums
|Our choice for
|Reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles, lessen puffiness
|Retinol, caffeine, copper peptides
|0.5 fl oz (15 ml)
|Best under eye serum for dark circles and wrinkles
|Reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and reduce dark, moisturize
|0.5 fl oz (15 ml)
|Best eye bag serum for anti-aging
|Firm and rejuvenate the skin
|Miracle Broth™, Stretch Matrix Complex
|0.5 fl oz (15 ml)
|Best eye firming serum
|Reduce dark circles, puffiness, protects the skin
|Vitamin C, ferulic acid, caffeine
|0.5 fl oz (15 ml)
|Best eye serum for puffiness and dark circles
|Moisturize and brighten the skin
|Aloe vera, hyaluronic acid
|0.5 fl oz (15 ml)
|Best hydrating eye serum
When should you start using an eye serum?
The optimal time to begin incorporating an eye serum into your skincare routine varies based on your specific skincare goals, given that eye serums may target a range of concerns.
For instance, certain eye serums could be formulated to address issues related to age, such as Crow’s feet. If you are aiming to reduce fine lines using eye serum, make sure it contains active ingredients that may address your concerns such as retinol and peptides.
Other issues that you may address with eye serums are dark circles or puffiness.
Different types of eye serums explained
Eye serums can be used for a variety of purposes. In this section, we will present a few of the most common issues eye serums may address and what ingredients to look for.
- For fine lines and wrinkles. Some of the most potent ingredients that may have anti-aging effects are retinol, vitamin C, and peptides.
- For dark circles. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, caffeine, kojic acid, azelaic acid, and retinol.
- For puffiness. Caffeine is the most widely used to reduce puffiness.
- For hydration. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most popular ingredients used to hydrate the skin.
However, whether eye serums will have any effect on your targeted concern will highly depend on various factors, including the cause and severity of your problem, your age, skin type, and overall skincare routine.
What to look for when shopping for eye serums
If you have decided to purchase an eye serum, there are a few things you should consider.
- Active ingredients. Depending on the targeted concerns, you may need different ingredients. Moreover, certain active ingredients have undergone more extensive scientific research, rendering them more reliable in terms of their effectiveness.
- Other products you have in your routine. Certain ingredients in skincare products should not be used at the same time. For example, retinoids should not be paired with AHAs and BHAs due to the elevated risk of irritation.
- Reviews and brand reputation. Although customer reviews are often not the most trustworthy source of information, you can check them to identify any potential drawbacks or shortcomings associated with the product.
How to start using eye serums?
If you decide to purchase an eye serum, read the label for detailed information on how to use it. Usually, eye serums should be applied after washing the face but before moisturizer or SPF creams.
To apply the serum, use your ring finger to reduce the pressure on the skin.
Moreover, some active ingredients found in eye serums should be introduced gradually.
For instance, although ingredients from the retinoid family (e.g., retinol, retinal, hydroxypinacolone retinoate) are one of the most potent anti-aging ingredients in topical skincare, they may irritate the skin. This could be exacerbated if you introduce them into your routine too rapidly.
It is important to phase these ingredients gradually: start with 1-2 times per week and increase the frequency if you do not have the signs of irritation.
It is also advised to do a patch test before incorporating any skincare product into your routine. Apply the serum to a small area to assess for any potential adverse effects.
Explore other skincare products
Best collagen-boosting creams to include in your routine for skin rejuvenation.
Best collagen serums that may reduce fine lines and revitalize your skin.
Best CBD face creams that may have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
Best glycolic acid products might help reveal a brighter complexion and reduce acne scars.
Are eye serums better than eye creams?
Not necessarily. This depends on the entire formulation and ingredient choice. However, the main difference between a serum and a cream is usually their texture. Serums are lighter and are easier to layer with other products.
Can I use a vitamin C serum under my eyes?
Yes, most vitamin C serums can be used on the skin around your eyes. For the best results opt for serums that are specifically formulated to be used in that area.
Will an eye serum help reduce dark circles?
Yes, it may. However, the results will depend on such factors as the active ingredients and the formula of the products you pick, the underlying cause of the dark circles, and the regularity with which you apply the product. Consider consulting a dermatologist for the best results.
Are eye serums proven to work?
Yes, some research studies support the usage of eye serums. However, their effectiveness will depend on the active ingredients, formulation, and usage.
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Comprehensive Review.
- Skin Research and Technology. Effects of vitamin C on dark circles of the lower eyelids: quantitative evaluation using image analysis and echogram.
- Dermatologic Therapy. Management of periorbital hyperpigmentation: An overview of nature-based agents and alternative approaches.
- Dermatologic Surgery. Treatments of Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Systematic Review.
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Regenerative and Protective Actions of the GHK-Cu Peptide in the Light of the New Gene Data.
- Molecules. Pharmacological Update Properties of Aloe Vera and its Major Active Constituents.
- Journal Cosmetic Dermatology. Protective effects of a topical antioxidant mixture containing vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin against ultraviolet-induced photodamage in human skin.
- Journal Cosmetic Dermatology. Retinoid stability and degradation kinetics in commercial cosmetic products.