Want to look younger without having to turn to needles just yet? Start using retinol. According to dermatologists, aestheticians, and skincare experts, retinol is considered the gold standard ingredient for anti-aging, and with good reason.
Here are just a few of retinol’s many benefits:
- increases collagen production.
- speeds up the rate of skin cell turnover with acne, blackheads, and clogged pores,
- retinol improves overall skin texture, minimizes fine lines, and evens out skin tone.
Retinol is particularly powerful when used in eye products. Because of its collagen-increasing properties, it can thicken the thin skin around our eyes and improve fine lines and wrinkles.
But here’s the thing: because retinol is so powerful, special care needs to be taken, particularly around the delicate eye area. While there are a ton of incredible products on the market, we’ve narrowed down a list of the 10 best retinol eye creams below.
Before we dive in, though, it’s important to make sure that you’re using retinol eye cream properly.
How to Apply Eye Cream with Retinol
- A little goes a long way, so you don’t need to pile it on (this is especially important to remember since retinol products are often pricey).
- You don’t want to be too aggressive. It’s better to start out with a low concentration and gradually build, rather than being too harsh with your skin right out of the gate.
- Always apply it on dry skin.
- In general, you should only use it at night to avoid reducing its effectiveness. (Follow this beginner’s skincare routine if you’re not sure about the correct order.)
- Lastly, do not use products with retinols or retinoids in them if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Now, let’s get into ten fantastic options if you’re looking to start using an eye cream with retinol.
Top 10 Eye Creams with Retinol
Best for Those New to Retinol
Paula’s Choice Ceramide-Enriched Firming Eye Cream
If retinol makes you nervous, this hydrating option from Paula’s Choice is a great way to get your feet wet. It contains a retinol concentration of just .01%, making the chance of irritation low.
The formula also includes five ceramides and two forms of peptides to nourish and hydrate your undereye area.
It has glowing 4-5 star reviews, with one user saying in just a week and a half it has “made a difference in the appearance of my undereye area and softened my fine lines.”
Best Drugstore Retinol Eye Cream
L’Oreal Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Cream
This budget-friendly retinol from L’Oreal is an extremely gentle option that uses a form of retinol called retinyl palmitate.
Combined with nourishing ingredients like glycerin and centella asiatica, this cream will smooth and firm your undereye area without causing any irritation. It’s cheaper than the Paula’s Choice option, yet still safe for retinol beginners!
Best Multitasking Product
RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream [EDITOR’S PICK]
This multi-faceted product addresses three areas of concern around the eyes: puffiness, dark circles, and wrinkles.
Powered by pure RoC retinol and a mineral complex exclusive to this brand, it promises to visibly brighten and depuff eyes in 4 weeks.
If fine lines have got you worried, this cream claims to reduce their appearance by 50% in just 3 months.
Reviews are very positive, with one woman noting that she can “genuinely see a difference in [her] under eyes” and another calling it her “holy grail eye cream.”
It has also won multiple awards including Allure’s 2018 Best of Beauty Award in the Eye Cream category. At $25, this gentle yet effective product is another great starting point.
Best for Eyes That Need a Lift
Kate Somerville Retinol Firming Eye Cream
Described as a silky, weightless eye cream, this lightweight product improves the firmness, texture, and elasticity of your eye area.
It utilizes a combination of retinol and bioretinols, which are natural ingredients that mimic the effects of retinol but cause less sensitivity.
The formula also contains hyaluronic acid, helping users see an “improvement to the elasticity and texture on both the eyelid and tear trough area.”
The unique gold applicator tip cools and massages the eye area. This is a great option if you’re looking for a little luxury in your retinol product.
Best for Smoothing & Revitalizing
IMAGE Skincare Ageless Total Eye Lift Creme
This luxurious retinol eye cream targets signs of fatigue and aging in the delicate eye area.
The retinol in the formula helps to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, like the other products in this list. But the standout ingredient is the glycolic acid, which sloughs off dead skin cells and helps your undereye area look soft and smooth.
Plus, this formula is particularly good for oily or mature skin types. One buyer wrote that her “eye creases haven’t aged in 3 years…it keeps my eyes wrinkle free.”
Best Eye Cream for Sensitive Skin
Avene Retrinal Eyes
Retinol can be an extremely sensitizing ingredient. If your skin tends to need a little extra TLC, this option from French skincare brand Avene may be a good choice.
It uses a stabilized version of retinol, retinaldehyde, to increase cell turnover while combining it with hyaluronic acid to prevent dryness or irritation.
One woman noted that while her skin is “quite sensitive,” this Avene cream has been “amazing for smoothing out my under eye wrinkles.”
Best for Those Who Prefer a Lighter Eye Product
Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum
If your eye area is prone to congestion and a cream doesn’t sound appealing, this serum formula offers a lightweight option.
With a combination of retinol and ferulic acid, which offers protection from sun damage, it still packs a punch when it comes to addressing fine lines and wrinkles.
In a consumer study, 84% saw an improvement in the appearance of skin quality, with one woman in her 60s noting that “there is a huge difference in the hydration, elasticity, and texture of my eye area.”
Best Retinol Eye Cream for Dry Skin
First Aid Beauty Retinol Eye Cream with Triple Hyaluronic Acid
First Aid Beauty is known for their standout, effective formulas, and this eye cream is no exception.
Microencapsulated retinol minimizes the appearance of crow’s feet, fine lines, and wrinkles. It’s gentle enough to use around the eye area, and it also protects against dryness and dehydration.
FAB’s triple weight hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that helps plump the skin. It also contains their skin saver complex, which features colloidal oatmeal, aloe, and ceramides to help calm and soothe the skin.
With a slight tint, this cream will have your undereyes looking soft, hydrated, and smooth.
Best for Daytime Use
Murad Essential-C Eye Cream SPF 15 PA++
While it is usually recommended to use retinol only in the evenings, this eye cream from Murad might be an exception. It targets eye area concerns in three ways: with retinol, it encourages skin turnover and helps smooth the area; with vitamin C, it brightens your undereyes; and with SPF, it prevents further sun damage and photoaging.
The sun protection makes this safe to use as a daytime eye moisturizer, a unique quality when it comes to anti-aging eye products.
One reviewer said that it “works great with makeup“, while another said it is “very gentle and super hydrating.”
Best for Dark Circles
Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment Cream
Another hydrating retinol option, this cream smooths and brightens the eye area, helping to reduce dark circles in as little as two weeks.
It’s non-greasy, so it feels lightweight on the skin and plays well under makeup.
Reviewers note that it “nicely blends into skin” and makes dark circles “less obvious.”
Whatever your individual skincare concerns, there is an eye cream with retinol out there for you. Starting your retinol journey early will help prevent fine lines and wrinkles, rather than having to treat them later on.
Here’s to looking youthful and radiant!
Amber Broder is the founder of AmberSkinCareDiary.com. When she isn’t studying or riding horses, she can be found testing, researching & reviewing skincare products. You can read more of her product reviews on her Instagram or her blog.
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