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2021's Top Eye Treatments for Refreshed, Youthful-Looking Eyes

We reveal the top 5 products for reducing & preventing the look of aging skin around the eyes.

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Since the skin around the eyes is the thinnest on the body—it's also the most susceptible to fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, dark circles, and even saggy skin. That's why it’s so important to start using an eye serum or cream as early as possible, to postpone and even avoid the tell-tale signs of aging that show up near the eyes. That said, it's never too late to start because a quality eye treatment can halt visible eye aging at any age. 

In this guide, we'll reveal what to look for in an eye treatment that both prevents and reduces the appearance of aging skin around the eyes.

A Quality Eye Serum Can:

Reduce the look of under-eye bags & puffiness

Prevent the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles

Support a firm, refreshed look

Restore a renewed, youthful glow

Visibly minimize crow’s feet & brighten dark circles

The two most common types of eye treatments are eye serums and eye creams. While they may seem more or less the same, there are a few key differences to keep in mind when deciding which is right for you.

Eye Cream or Eye Serum?

The primary purpose of an eye cream is typically to moisturize. So, if dryness is your main concern, then an eye cream may be a good option. 

Eye serums are typically able to penetrate deeper into the skin. That's why, depending on the ingredients, serums are often effective at reducing the look of puffiness, fine lines, and loose skin around the eyes.

"A moisturizer will do just that—moisturize," says Dr. Nikki Starr, MD. "The serum penetrates at a deeper level to rejuvenate the skin," adds Dr. Starr.

However, not all eye treatments are created equally. Dr. Nikki Starr, MD, explains, "Whenever shopping or choosing any of your skincare products, it's so important to read the label. Look for science-proven ingredients that really activate the skin, nourish the skin, and help you feel radiant and beautiful. Because if not, then you're going to deal with lackluster results and negative side effects." So, regardless of which eye treatment you choose, the quality and type of ingredients will determine whether it delivers on its promises.

Ingredients To Look For

Hyaluronic AcidOften listed as Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid is a powerful ingredient that deeply moisturizes to smooth and prevent the look of wrinkles around your eyes.”

NiacinamideA potent form of Vitamin B3 that helps soothe and balance your skin's oil production.

CaffeineCaffeine helps wake up tired eyes by reducing the appearance of dark circles and de-puffing the under-eye area.

SqualaneA skin moisturizer that visibly balances oil production, while locking in enough hydration to keep the skin looking clear, calm, and healthy.

Brightening AntioxidantsPotent antioxidants, like Activated Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid, help diminish and prevent the appearance of dark circles, sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and UV-damage.

Ingredients To Avoid

Synthetic Dyes or FragrancesThese synthetic ingredients may cause skin irritation, clog pores, cause blemishes, and even deplete your skin of its essential nutrients and oils.

Mineral OilA petroleum derivative that may cause breakouts by preventing the skin from absorbing vital nutrients. While this oil does have moisturizing properties, it causes more harm than good over time.

What Else To Consider When Choosing An Eye Cream Or Serum

Transparent List Of Ingredients

Many eye treatments list only a handful of their key ingredients. Beware of this practice, because that’s when the manufacturer can slip in some potentially harmful, synthetic ingredients.

Money-Back Guarantee

Skincare is a multi-billion dollar a year industry, which makes it easy for manufacturers with poor products to slip through the cracks. So make sure to buy an eye treatment from a brand that’s willing to standby its product with a 100% money-back guarantee.

The 5 Best Eye Treatments On The Market

After extensive research, testing, and metrics provided by our Smarter Reviews Ranking System, we’ve put together this definitive list of the best eye care products available right now. When putting together our rankings, we consider the quality of ingredients, safety, return policies, projected effectiveness, and customer satisfaction.

1. Eye Elixir

Total Ranking

9.7/10

A+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Two-in-one eye serum and eye cream formula
  • Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Caffeine
  • Niacinamide
  • Squalane
  • Ferulic Acid
  • Activated Vitamin C
  • Made in the USA
  • Free from petroleum, harsh sulfates, synthetic fragrances, & mineral oil
  • Lightweight, yet powerful formula 
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Exclusively sold online
  • Only sold in the US
The Bottom Line

Tru Alchemy's Eye Elixir is our #1 pick because of its naturally derived formula that moisturizes while minimizing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles.

It contains a patented version of sodium hyaluronate, caffeine, Activated Vitamin C, ferulic acid, niacinamide, and squalane, as well as other ingredients that work together to visibly reduce puffiness and help refresh the under-eye area with its cooling applicator.

To top it all off, Eye Elixir applies as a serum and sets as a cream—giving you the best of both worlds with its two-in-one formula that deeply penetrates like a serum and hydrates like a cream at the same time. 

Eye Elixir is also free of synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, petroleum, sulfates, and other harsh chemicals. And, Tru Alchemy offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked, which shows us they stand by their product.

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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2. Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum

Total Ranking

9.1/10

A-

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates

  • Good for sensitive skin
  • Strong reviews 

CONS

  • High price point at $84.99

  • No money-back guarantee
The Bottom Line

Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum by Murad came in 2nd on our list because it’s made with a potent retinol formula that targets crow’s feet and helps improve the appearance of dark circles.

The formula is free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, so it’s gentle enough for sensitive skin. The eye serum also has received positive reviews.

However, at $84.99 per .5 oz bottle, this eye serum has the highest price tag of any other product on the list. And in order to see the most benefits, Murad recommends using the eye serum as just one step of an entire regimen, which will end up costing you quite a bit.

There’s also no money-back guarantee, which you may want to be careful of. *

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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3. Squalane + Marine Algae Cream

Total Ranking

8.8/10

B+

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Rich, hydrating formula

  • Squalane & sodium hyaluronate
  • Free of parabens and synthetic fragrances
  • 60-day return policy

CONS

  • Missing niacinamide, brightening antioxidants, and caffeine

  • May clog pores due to its rich texture
  • Minimal effect on wrinkles, crow's feet, or dark circles
The Bottom Line

Coming at #3 on our list is Squalane + Marine Algae Cream by Biossance. This eye cream is made with squalane, jojoba esters, and sodium hyaluronate. As a result, users say this cream leaves their skin feeling hydrated for hours. Squalane + Marine Algae Cream is also free of parabens and synthetic fragrances.

However, the formula is missing the deep-penetrating benefits of a serum as well as key smoothing and brightening ingredients like Niacinamide, Vitamin C, and Ferulic Acid. So, it may not be the best choice for people who are hoping to reduce the look of eye wrinkles, crow's feet, or dark under-eye circles

Fortunately, Biossance does offer a 60-day guarantee so you can get your money back if you don't see the results you were looking for. 

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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4. Shaba Complex™ Eye Serum

Total Ranking

8.4/10

B

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Niacinamide

  • Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Fragrance-free, sulfate-free, silicone-free

  • Cruelty-free
  • Manufactured in the USA

CONS

  • High price point at $60
  • Heavier formula

  • Mixed reviews
  • No money-back guarantee
The Bottom Line

Shaba Complex Eye Serum by Drunk Elephant ranks a bit lower on the list, coming in at #4. This eye serum is formulated with niacinamideblack tea fermentsodium hyaluronate, and copper peptides that work together to help slow down visible signs of aging and improve firmness around the eyes.

This eye serum is a bit thicker than the others on this list, so if you prefer a lightweight formula, this product might not be for you.  

Also, some reviewers say that for the price ($60), the product was not as effective as they would have liked it to be. There is also no money-back guarantee.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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5. Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream

Total Ranking

8.0/10

B-

Overall Grade

PROS

  • Sodium Hyaluronate

  • Fast absorbing
  • Free from dyes and fragrances
  • Not irritating 

CONS

  • Doesn't help with fine lines or wrinkles

  • No niacinamide or antioxidants
  • Lacking serum benefits
The Bottom Line

Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream ranks 5th on our list because this product is not actually a serum. Instead, it's a gel-cream hybrid which may absorb slightly quicker and deeper than a cream.

Because Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream contains sodium hyaluronate, it's able to provide long-lasting hydration. And some users also say it helps with dark circles. However, the lack of skin-supporting ingredients beyond sodium hyaluronate makes it unlikely that this product will help reduce other signs of aging.

Many customers say this formula is not irritating around their eyes and doesn’t clog their pores. And we like that this eye formula is free of dyes and fragrances. That said, consumers who prefer natural skin care should note that Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream does contain several artificial ingredients.

Neutrogena® gives customers 30 days to return the product if they’re not satisfied.*

*Results are based on the Smarter Reviews Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

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CITATIONS

  1. Bauza, E., Oberto, G., Berghi, A., Dal, C. and Domloge, N. (2004). Collagen-like peptide exhibits a remarkable antiwrinkle effect on the skin when topically applied: in vivo study. International Journal of Tissue Reactions. Available at: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/15648443
  2. Singh, O., Khanam, Z., Misra, N., & Srivastava, M. (2011). Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.): An overview. Pharmacognosy Reviews, 5(9), 82. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.79103
  3. Necas, J., Bartosikova, L., Brauner, P., & Kolar, J. (2008). Hyaluronic acid (hyaluronan): a review. Veterinární Medicína, 53(No. 8), 397-411. doi: 10.17221/1930-vetmed
  4. Chan, A. (1993). Partners in defense, vitamin E and vitamin C. Canadian Journal Of Physiology And Pharmacology, 71(9), 725-731. doi: 10.1139/y93-109
  5. Kafi, R., Kwak, H., Schumacher, W., Cho, S., Hanft, V., & Hamilton, T. et al. (2007). Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol). Archives Of Dermatology, 143(5). doi: 10.1001/archderm.143.5.606
  6. Lu, Y., Lou, Y., Xie, J., Peng, Q., Shih, W., Lin, Y., & Conney, A. (2009). Tumorigenic Effect of Some Commonly Used Moisturizing Creams when Applied Topically to UVB-Pretreated High-Risk Mice. Journal Of Investigative Dermatology, 129(2), 468-475. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.241