Dark circles often appear due to a combination of factors – genetics, lack of sleep, dehydration, unhealthy diet, aging, and more. Unless they result from genetics or a medical issue (e.g., allergies), a multifold approach can help reduce dark circles. It involves using eye creams that target the problem, seven or more hours of sleep every night, a balanced diet, and increased water intake.
This article lists 18 eye creams for dark circles that dermatologists, users, and beauty influencers tout as effective.
18 Best Eye Creams for Dark Circles
Our first eight picks contain medically approved formulations. Other products are a mix of celebrity-endorsed eye creams and effective products that fit everyone’s budget.
Bear in mind that topical solutions for dark circles take weeks or months to show results. For a quicker solution, try non-invasive cosmetic treatments such as microneedling or an under-eye filler.
If you suspect you have allergies, make sure to do tests and consider using nasal steroid sprays and antihistamines, in consultation with your healthcare provider.
1. TNS Illuminating Eye Cream by SkinMedica
TNS Illuminating Eye Cream uses high-quality ingredients in a proprietary formulation that includes:
- A patented TNS complex and peptides – TNX complex includes growth factors, cytokines, antioxidants, and natural messenger proteins. These ingredients nourish the delicate under-eye area and eliminate excess pigments that cause dark circles.
- N-Hydroxyssuccinimide, chrysin – Natural brightening agents that help fade dark spots and discoloration.
- Boron nitride – Light-diffusing agent which helps reduce the appearance of dark circles and improves skin texture.
- Panthenol, sodium hyaluronate, glycerin – Potent hydrating agents that help the under-eye area retain moisture and appear smoother.
The cream has a soft, creamy consistency. It is best used twice a day, in the morning and evening, after cleansing and toning the skin. Gently pat one to two pumps into the skin under the eyes and around the outside corners.
2. TNS Eye Repair by SkinMedica
TNS Eye Repair is another high-performing eye cream by SkinMedica using the same TNS complex to repair skin damage and improve aging signs. It is designed for normal to dry skin.
Apart from growth factors and proteins in the TNS complex, the cream’s active ingredients include:
- Tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate – A stable form of vitamin C with potent brightening properties that help reduce dark circles and balance skin tone.
- Tocopheryl acetate – A stable form of vitamin E that helps protect the skin from free radicals.
- Retinyl palmitate – A form of retinol that helps repair skin damage, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles.
- N-Hydroxysuccinimide and chrysin – Light-diffusing agent which helps reduce the appearance of dark circles and improves skin texture.
- Boron nitride – Potent hydrating agents that help the under-eye area retain moisture and appear smoother.
Use a spatula to scoop out and apply the product into the under-eye area and outer eye corners. Lightly pat the skin with your fingertips. Use in the morning and evening.
3. Instant Effect Gel EYE by skinbetter
Instant Effect Gel EYE refreshes the under-eye area. It includes a stainless-steel rollerball to gently massage the gel under the eyes, helping reduce puffiness and improve the skin’s firmness.
The product’s key ingredients include green coffee to protect the skin from free radicals and sodium hyaluronate to draw moisture from the environment and provide hydration. A blend of algae and botanical extracts hydrate the skin and reduce puffiness.
The product is marketed for puffy eyes but can help reduce dark circles if they appear due to dehydration.
Apply it in the morning and evening for the best results.
4. Youth Eye Complex by iS Clinical
Youth Eye Complex is an advanced, dermatologist-tested formula for aging skin. Key ingredients include:
- Copper tripeptide growth factor – Rebuilds the skin’s protective barrier and strengthens the delicate under-eye area, giving it a firmer, smoother look.
- Hyaluronic acid – A potent hydrating agent.
- Pseudoalteromonas ferment extract – Increases elastin and collagen production, improving the skin’s firmness and reducing puffiness.
The combination of these and other hydrating, anti-inflammatory, collagen-inducing ingredients in the product help address multiple aging signs, including wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles.
Dispense one or two pumps onto the palm of your hand and evenly apply the cream under the eyes and on the outer eye corners with your fingertips.
5. Restorative Eye Treatment by Alastin
Restorative Eye Treatment addresses common premature aging signs around the eyes, including wrinkles, puffiness, and dark circles. Niacinamide and tetrapeptide-30, the product’s key ingredients, brighten the under-eye area and improve skin tone. They work synergistically with green tea and oak leaf tea extracts to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
The formulation also includes the innovative TriHex Technology®, a blend of peptides and active ingredients that promote elastin and collagen production.
Tremella (silver mushroom) provides deep hydration to the under-eye area, and mimosa tree extract and darutoside improve its firmness.
Apply one pump on the under-eye skin and pat lightly. Use it in the morning and evening.
6. Instant Bright Eye Cream by SkinMedica
Instant Bright Eye Cream is a comprehensive product that delivers instant and long-term results. It uses ingredients from SkinMedica’s two high-performing products, Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum and HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, to improve pigmentation issues and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Key ingredients in Instant Bright Eye include phenylethyl resorcinol, a whitening agent which balances melanin to reduce pigmentation, five types of hyaluronic acid to instantly plump the skin, and marine extracts to eliminate darkness and shadows.
Apply a thin layer under the eyes twice a day.
7. Interfuse Treatment Cream for Eyes by skinbetter
Interfuse Treatment Cream for Eyes uses patented technology to address all the premature signs of aging around the eyes – wrinkles, puffiness, and eye shadows.
Niacinamide in the product helps improve skin tone, reduce pigmentation issues, and eliminate the appearance of dark circles, while vitamin C brightens the area. It also includes caffeine and yeast derivative to decrease puffiness. A blend of humectants retains moisture and provides deep hydration.
Pat lightly along the delicate under-eye area in the morning and evening.
8. EyeMax AlphaRet® Overnight Cream by skinbetter
Another patented eye cream by skinbetter, EyeMax AlphaRet Overnight Cream uses their AlphaRet technology to deeply repair, hydrate, and nourish the sensitive under-eye area. It contains ethyl lactyl retinoate, a novel retinoid that helps reduce the appearance of crow’s feet, and lactic acid to avoid irritation.
Other beneficial ingredients in the product include:
- Glycolic acid (alpha-hydroxy acid) – Gently exfoliates the skin’s surface, improving skin tone and reducing hyperpigmentation.
- Niacinamide – A form of vitamin B3 often used in cosmetic products as a lightning agent; it decreases hyperpigmentation.
- Glycerin, squalene, ceramides, hyaluronic acid – Moisturizing agents.
Apply it in a thin layer under the eyes, lightly patting the area. Use it only in the evening.
9. C-Tango™ Vitamin C Eye Cream by Drunk Elephant
C-Tango™ Vitamin C Eye Cream focuses on restoring under-eye skin glow with a potent combination of plant extracts and synthetic ingredients that hydrate and protect from environmental damage.
Power 5C Vitamin Complex is the product’s star ingredient, consisting of five forms of vitamin C to brighten hyperpigmented skin around the eyes and defend it from free radicals. The cream also contains eight peptides, superoxide dismutase, and cucumber extract to strengthen and refresh the skin around the eyes.
Apply one pump of C-Tango on the under-eye area and gently pat. Use it in the morning or evening.
The product costs $64.
10. Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream by Paula’s Choice
Often found on beauty magazines’ best eye cream lists, Clinical Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream is effective at firming and hydrating the under-eye area. It may reduce dark circles caused by dehydration, lack of sleep, and other lifestyle factors.
Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin in the product protect the skin barrier and help soften the delicate area around the eyes. The cream’s key active ingredients, vitamin C and retinol, act on various aging concerns ad help illuminate the skin.
Use it in the morning and evening after cleansing the under-eye area. Because it contains retinol which increases the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays, make sure to apply sunscreen after morning use.
The product costs $49.
11. Rapid Wrinkle Repair by Neutrogena
Endorsed by celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Garner, Rapid Wrinkle Repair is a budget-friendly option for people concerned about premature aging signs. Its star ingredient is retinol, which addresses wrinkles and dark shadows. The cream also contains hyaluronic acid to provide moisture, softness, and a more youthful complexion.
Apply a tiny amount on cleansed skin and pat until absorbed. Use once or twice daily. If used in the morning, cover the area with sunscreen because retinol increases the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.
The product costs $31.49.
12. Eye Repair Cream by CeraVe
CeraVe is known for budget products with potent hydrating ingredients. Eye Repair Cream is a great choice for younger people because it has a simple, light formula and may not deliver results for users with prominent under-eye shadows. It can help people with dark circles due to dehydration because of hyaluronic acid and ceramides that deeply moisturize the skin.
The cream’s key ingredient, niacinamide, helps fade hyperpigmentation, reducing under-eye darkness, and a marine and botanical complex brightens the entire eye area.
The cream is fragrance-free and suitable for all skin types.
Apply small dots around the eyes and tap until the cream is fully absorbed. Use in the morning and evening for all-day hydration.
The product costs $13.49.
13. Banana Bright+ Vitamin C Eye Crème by Ole Henriksen
Banana Bright+ Vitamin C Eye Cream is formulated with gold complex ascorbic acid, the purest form of vitamin C, to effectively fade dark spots and lighten the shadows around the eyes. The product also has collagen, providing more skin elasticity, and a banana powder pigment, giving the cream a natural yellowish, color-correcting tint.
The cream’s potent brightening agents help improve dark circles gradually but provide instant results thanks to the concealer-like pigment that smoothly blends into the skin.
Apply in the morning and evening after cleansing the skin.
The product costs $44.
14. Pigmentclar Eye Cream by La Roche-Posay
Pigmentclar Eye Cream is a gentle, dermatologist-tested formula for sensitive skin that specifically targets dark circles. The formula contains:
- Phenylethyl resorcinol
It also includes iron oxides and titanium dioxide that provide a visible tint and protect the skin from UV rays.
Place a pea-sized amount into the cooling metal applicator that comes with the product. Apply the cream below and above the eye using the applicator. Pat the area lightly until the cream is absorbed.
The product costs $44.99.
15. Eye Cream by Dr. Barbara Sturm
Many movie stars rave about Dr. Barbara Sturm’s high-end skincare products that promise impressive results. Eye Cream is a rich hydrating cream that reduces dark shadows, puffiness, and bags under the eyes. Key ingredients include purslane, golden root, sugar beet, and yeast to reduce puffiness, and omega lipids help retain moisture to rejuvenate the skin. The combined effect of this clean, minimalist formula improves hyperpigmentation.
Use in the morning after cleansing the skin. Gently pat around the eyes.
The 5 ml container costs $55. The 15 ml container costs $145.
16. Eye Duty Niacinamide Brightening Eye Cream by First Aid Beauty
Eye Duty Niacinamide Brightening Eye Cream is another “two-in-one” solution to dark circles that contains ingredients to provide long-term improvement in skin tone and a light tint to instantly illuminate the under-eye area.
Active ingredients include:
- Gigartina Stellata - Algae extract that hydrates and plumps the skin.
- Glycerin, hyaluronic acid, panthenol – Moisturizing agents.
- Caffeine – Tightens the under-eye area.
- Licorice root extract and niacinamide - brightening agents.
- Peach micro pearls – Visually correct under-eye shadows.
Apply around the eyes after cleansing. Use once or twice daily.
The product costs $36.
17. Potent-C Power Eye Cream by Peter Thomas Roth
Potent-C Power Eye Cream is a powerful, concentrated blend of brightening agents which deliver fast results. The cream contains THD ascorbate, an ultra-stable form of vitamin C that is 50 times more potent than L-ascorbic acid. The formula also includes vitamin E and ferulic acid, caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and Phyco’derm®, a complex of seaweed extracts that minimize dark circles, puffiness, and bags under the eyes.
Place a few dots of the cream along the under-eye area and lightly pat, moving outward from the inner corners to smooth the cream into the skin. Use in the morning and evening.
The product costs $68.
18. Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream by Neutrogena
Hydro Boost is a simple, budget-friendly formula that deeply hydrates the skin, potentially helping with dark circles. Its main ingredient, hyaluronic acid, smooths and plumps the under-eye area to deliver a brighter look.
Apply in the morning and at bedtime on cleansed skin. Pat lightly around the eyes until the cream is absorbed.
The product costs $22.99.
Bonus Product: Instant Bright Eye Mask by SkinMedica
Instant Bright Eye Mask is not an eye cream, but people with dark circles experience impressive results when using it with SkinMedica’s Instant Bright Eye Cream (number 6 on our list).
The mask is suitable for all skin types and contains cooling gel patches that instantly refresh and hydrate the under-eye area, reducing puffiness and dark circles.
The patches are infused with potent botanical ingredients, including antioxidant golden root extract, hydrating baker’s yeast, and golden herb extract that supports skin rejuvenation.
Apply the mask under the eyes one to three times per week.
How to Choose the Best Eye Cream for Dark Circles?
Choosing the best eye cream for dark circles is mainly a trial-and-error process. People have different experiences with skincare products. To start testing eye creams, consider these questions first.
- Is it suitable for your skin type?
- Is it dermatologist-tested and approved by medical professionals?
- How much are you willing to spend on eye cream?
- Does it have a “clean” formula without irritating ingredients like parabens and fragrances?
- Does it have brightening agents like niacinamide, vitamin C, retinol, glycolic acid?
Read skincare experts’ recommendations for the best eye creams for dark circles and consult user reviews and ratings online.
Dark circles are unflattering and can make you look tired, older than your age, or ill. Luckily, many eye creams target this issue and can help reduce the appearance of shadows. Make sure to combine topical solutions with healthier lifestyle habits to brighten and rejuvenate your under-eye area.