We start to see dark circles, wrinkles or dehydrated skin around the eyes when the collagen in the skin starts to break down, while sun damage and lifestyle choices, such as diet and how much sleep we’re getting can also affect our appearance.
The anti-ageing skincare market is huge, with many brands investing in eye creams that hydrate the skin and leave it looking fresh and less tired come morning. But, what should you be looking for?
Retinods such as vitamin A, otherwise known as retinol, work to boost the production of collagen in your skin, helping increase the appearance of fine lines. Vitamin C works as a preventive measure, helping to protect the skin from sun damage and reduce further ageing. Peptides also help to stimulate the natural collagen in your body, while hyaluronic acid hydrates the under-eye area and makes the skin look more plump.
Emma Appleby from L’Atelier Aesthetics says: “Wrinkles appear over time because of two reasons – intrinsic, which takes into account internal or genetic factors and extrinsic, which is external factors such as sun damage and lifestyle factors such as stress.”
The skincare specialist goes on to reveal some of the key ingredients we should look out for in eye creams for mature skin: “Hyaluronic acid holds on to water leaving the skin hydrated and plump while a low dose of retinol strengthens the skin, improves skin quality, elasticity and collagen levels in the skin, increases skin cell turnover.”
“Antioxidants help prevent free radical damage from pollution, while SPF should be used every day to prevent further damage to the skin-DNA and collagen destruction,” she adds.
We tested the eye creams on how they were packaged, how they felt on our skin, if they helped with fine lines, dark circles and wrinkles and if they were worth their price tag.
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The best eye creams for mature skin for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Elemis pro-collagen eye revive mask: £55, Elemis.com
- Best for brightening – La Roche-Posay redermic [R] eyes dermatological anti-wrinkle treatment: £20.25, Escentual.com
- Best for anti-ageing – Drunk Elephant c-tango multivitamin eye cream: £54, Cultbeauty.co.uk
- Best luxury skincare – Irene Forte skincare almond eye cream: £89, Ireneforteskincare.com
- Best budget buy – Lacura moisture boost eye cream: £4.49, Aldi.co.uk
- Best for retinol – Dermalogica age reversal eye complex: £69, Dermalogica.co.uk
- Best for puffiness – Susanne Kauffmann eye cream line A: £158, Susannekaufmann.com
- Best for dark circles – Murad vita C eye dark circle corrector: £56, Murad.co.uk
- Best for hydration – Kate Sommervielle KateCeuticals lifting eye cream: £105, Katesomerville.co.uk
- Best for sensitive skin – Clarins total eye lift: £58, Escentual.com
- Best for fine lines – Freya + Bailey WINK! eye cream: £40, Freyaandbailey.com
- Best organic skincare – Upcircle eye cream with coffee and maple: £149.99, Upcirclebeauty.com
- Best high moisture cream – Shiro kombu eye cream: £58, Shiro-shiro.uk
- Best for skin firming – Ren Skincare dark circle eye cream: £42, Renskincare.com
Elemis pro-collagen eye revive mask
Elemis skincare always feels luxurious – from the packaging to the feel of the cream on your skin. Its eye cream is no different, the jelly consistency slides on to the skin and gives it a moisturised glow from the offset. The eye cream, which comes in one of the brand’s classic transparent pots, is filled with hyaluronic acid, watermelon snow algae and bush clover, which is said to be rich in antioxidants. The cream hydrated our skin straight away and after a week of using it twice a day, and our fine lines became less visible. It also worked well as primer too – before we applied our make-up. A great all round eye cream if you’re looking to boost tired peepers.
La Roche-Posay redermic [R] eyes – dermatological anti-wrinkle treatment – intense
Best: For brightening
One of the lightest creams we tried, this has a barely-there feel. We loved the handy squeezable tube and how it melted into our skin – hydrating it as soon as it touched it. The formula is made up of 0.1 per cent pure retinol, plus 0.2 per cent caffeine, which helped brighten our eyes on days when we were reaching for the coffee, while it also contains a high concentration of La Roche-Posay’s signature thermal spring water. We loved how gentle the cream was on our skin, but still gave us the results we wanted – and at £18 you really can’t go wrong.
Drunk Elephant c-tango multivitamin eye cream
Best: For anti-ageing
Drunk Elephant is known for its vibrant packaging and sell out skin care – and its eye cream is no different. Housed in a fun orange and white bottle, you twist the lid to open it and reveal the pump. Aiming to brighten the skin, it features a combination of eight peptides, five forms of vitamin C and cucumber extract to create a sleek moisturiser which applies well to the skin. We did feel a little tingle when we first applied the cream, but the next day we could see a brightening effect on our under-eye area. It’s a pretty average price for an eye cream, especially one from a well-known brand, and we feel it would work well on skin that is seeing the early signs of anti-ageing.
Irene Forte skincare almond eye cream
Best: Luxury skincare
If you have a little more budget and want to indulge then Irene Forte’s almond eye cream is a silky and luxurious choice. We found it worked particularly well when our skin felt dry, with the hyaluronic acid and aloe leaf ingredients soothing and hydrating the area quickly. The cream, which also contains pro-vitamin B5 and avocado oils, has a light consistency and comes in a small cylinder-shaped bottle with pretty gold writing. The only drawback was our skin felt a little tight after applying the cream – but the next morning our skin looked fresh and as though we’d drunk a litre of water. It’s great for tired looking skin.
Lacura moisture boost eye cream
Best: Budget buy
You wouldn’t guess that this is a budget eye cream from the luxury jar it’s housed in. When we applied the peach-coloured cream, which has no scent, it went on smoothly and gave a shine to our skin without leaving a sticky residue. The lightweight formula, which is suitable for all skin types, contains caffeine and green tea and definitely moisturised our skin, but we didn’t see a visible difference when it came to eradicating fine lines. However, at just under £5, it’s a great addition to your skincare routine. You can buy the Lacura moisture boost eye cream from Aldi stores or, from August, through its online store.
Dermalogica age reversal eye complex
Best: For retinol
This cream is for those with dark circles and deeper lines under the eyes – with its main ingredient being an advanced retinol. Housed in a sleek tube, you only need a small dab under each eye every other night. We love how well it applied on the skin, leaving a glossy but firm finish. We did feel a slight tingle from the formula, which could be due to vitamin C or peptides which are also present in the cream – but after using it consistently for a couple of weeks we saw a visible reduction of fine lines and our eyes looked plumper and refreshed each morning. A clear winner for anyone hoping to reduce those tell-tale lines under the eyes.
Susanne Kauffmann eye cream line A
Best: For puffiness
At just over £150 we had high expectations for this formula – especially as it was over double the price of most of the other eye creams we tested. Presented in a box and sitting in a small glass container, with an easy to pump nozzle, the scented cream melted into our under-eye area. The formula, which has active ingredients like ectoin to increase cell protection, and silk proteins for moisture, felt sticky as it sunk into our skin, but went on to give it a firming feel. After one use it reduced puffiness from under the eyes, making them look fresh and easy to apply make-up to, and after consistent use we loved how hydrated our skin looked with darker lines fading. It’s a great investment if you have a bigger beauty budget.
Murad vita C eye dark circle corrector
Best: For dark circles
Housed in one of Murad’s signature quirky bottles, the formula helps to combat dark circles with vitamin C. Easy to pump and apply, the bestseller eye cream also includes red algae and giant kelp extract, which helps to soothe and hydrate your delicate eye area. We found the cream-coloured formula a little sticky as it was applied, but instantly hydrating, firming the skin and brightening dark circles. The long-term effects of using the cream were brighter looking skin and less noticeable discolouration under the eye. A great every day eye cream if you suffer from dark circles – and it’s a reasonable price too.
Kate Sommervielle KateCeuticals lifting eye cream
Best: For hydration
This lifting eye cream comes in a striking silver pump – which looked attractive next to our other beauty products. Thicker than some of the other formulas, it contains a peptide complex which aims to relax and reduce fine lines and dark circles. Once applied it took a little longer to sink in, but gave our delicate under eye area an instant boost – looking hydrated and brighter than normal. After just a few uses fine lines looked less ingrained. However, it isn’t cheap, and at just over £100 it’s one of the more expensive creams on the market – but you really are paying for Kate Somerville’s knowledge when it comes to anti-ageing skincare.
Clarins total eye lift
Best: For sensitive skin
Another well-known brand, Clarins has been perfecting its skincare for over 60 years, but this eye cream launched just last summer. The cream comes in a vibrant red pump, which is small enough to store on your dressing table or tuck away in a drawer. The light consistency of the formula was a real plus, and felt silky as we applied it on to our skin. One of the eye cream’s main ingredients is cassie wax, a flower which helps to soothe – an element which we found to work well on our sensitive skin. After a few days we saw a noticeable difference in fine lines under the eyes, while it also gave us a well-rested look.
Freya + Bailey wink! eye cream
Best: For fine lines
The pretty bottle design for this eye cream from Freya + Bailey really stands out, with the rose gold finishing and push down pump. The thick consistency of the cream doesn’t weigh the skin down and spreads along the under eye with ease – giving it moisture straight away. We used a small amount in the morning and evening and the sweet-scented moisturiser gave our skin a more hydrated feel every time, and after using it for a week we could definitely see improvements of our fine lines which sat at the edge of our eyes. The formula, which is made up of hyaluronic acid, wheat germ and green tea also reduced inflammation on sensitive skin round our eyes – although it did sting slightly on drier skin, so not one for you if you have sensitive skin around the eyes.
Upcircle eye cream with coffee and maple
Best: Organic skincare
If you’re not a fan of coffee then this eye cream may not be for you – as the scent is infused with the stuff, and a hint of maple. Housed in a small glass bottle, which can be reused for your next purchase of the cream, we loved the easy-to-use pump and light consistency of the formula. Made from natural ingredients – including coffee oil and repurposed maple bark extract – it is also great for vegans, while being cruelty free. We loved how much brighter our skin looked after using this eye cream, while the hyaluronic acid seemed to plump the appearance of our skin every morning. One of the cheaper eye creams, it’s great if you are looking for a natural product which brightens.
Shiro kombu eye cream
Best: High moisture cream
One of the more unusual formulas we tested – its ingredients include gagome kombu, a rich nutrient from the sea, along with fucoidan and alginic acid, which both help skin retain its moisture. Easy to squeeze from the long white tube the lightweight cream goes on smoothly and brightens up the eye area after a couple of days. It did feel a little greasy at first but once it sinks into the skin it leaves it highly moisturised and hydrated. Great for those with sensitive skin, it left the delicate area under the eyes looking plumper – especially after lack of sleep.
Ren Skincare dark circle eye cream
Best: For skin firming
It may be small but Ren’s dark circle eye cream is one of the best at eliminating not just dark circles but hydrating the skin too. We applied the cream, which had a medium consistency, morning and night and loved how bright our under-eye skin looked every time. Filled with 95 per cent natural-origin ingredients including elderberry flower extract and glycogen it hydrated our skin every time we used it and reduced shadows under our eyes in a little over a week – leaving them looking firmer and brighter. We also love that the bottle is made from 97 per cent infinity recycling.
The verdict: Eye creams for mature skin
Elemis pro-collagen eye revive mask was a treat to use every day and night. From the packaging to the way it constantly hydrated our eyes, the cream was a clear winner. Our fine lines were a distant memory after using the eye cream regularly. La Roche-Posay’s anti-wrinkle treatment is a worthy runner up – we loved how gentle it felt on our skin but also gave us some great results. It’s also perfect if you can’t shell out for expensive skincare every month.
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For more hydrating skincare favourites, read our review of the best hyaluronic acid serums
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