Not to go all Jerry Seinfeld on you, but what's the deal with eye cream? The so-called miracle product is something of a skincare enigma, with its tiny packaging, steep price tag, and somewhat questionable results. So in search of splurge-worthy buys that actually lift, brighten, and firm, we scoured the reviews of Sephora's best-selling products. What we discovered is that there's one holy-grail ingredient that makes any eye cream truly covetable: retinol.
What Is Retinol?
Retinol is a yellow compound found in green and yellow vegetables, egg yolk, and fish-liver oil. It is essential for growth and for vision in dim light.
When regularly applied to the under-eye area, the potent vitamin promises to reduce the appearance of fine lines, diminish discoloration, and improve luminosity. Consider the search for the fountain of youth over. From a powerful serum with over 30,000 "loves" and 284 glowing reviews to an under-the-radar find so good even Sephora employees rave about it, these are the best retinol eye creams that are worth every penny.
With 30k "loves" on Sephora's website and hundreds of positive reviews, it's safe to say that Dr. Dennis Gross's Ferulic + Retinal Eye Serum has garnered something of a cult following.
Standout review: "I've tried everything. I mostly have a problem with morning puffiness around my eyes, but not dark circles. This stuff is amazing. It takes about 15 minutes, but once it kicks in, it transforms my eye area and makes me look years younger!"
This firming, brightening eye cream contains bioretinols, which are natural ingredients that simulate the effects of retinol sans the sensitivity side effects.
Standout review: "Don't be scared by the price tag; this eye cream is worth every penny. Please note this is NOT an overnight fix. It takes a week to weeks to work its magic, but when it does, IT DOES. The metal tipped applicator helps the product glide on like a soothing dream."
This potent serum claims to deliver "revitalized, youthful-looking eyes in as little as one week." With more than 8,000 "loves," it's apparent Sephora shoppers see results.
Standout review: "I could not be more impressed. I've tried every eye product out there: creams, serums, rollerballs, patches, etc. I was on the hunt for something with more hydration when this miracle product became available—and the results have blown me away. My eye area has never looked better: brighter, smoother, plumper."
What sets this eye cream apart is its time-release retinol technology. Made with micro ruby crystals and optical diffusers, it's designed to keep eyes looking bright and youthful 24/7.
Standout review: "I was on the hunt for a good eye cream that would help to diminish fine lines and am so happy to have found this miracle cream! I have used countless eye creams over the years, and nothing compares to this. It helped my fine lines disappear within weeks and is gentle enough for my sensitive skin."
A combination of soothing shea butter and antioxidant-rich vitamins help balance out the potent effects of microencapsulated retinol in this eye cream.
Standout review: "I've used a number of different under-eye creams/serums to help brighten the dark circles under my eyes and prevent wrinkles. This is by far the most effective! I've used it consistently for about a month, and my dark circles are hardly noticeable now!"
Potent and brightening, this retinol eye treatment is said to lift and firm to visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Standout review: "It is lightweight but thoroughly moisturizes the delicate skin around my eyes. It feels soothing when I put it on, unlike some other serums that can sting. I've noticed that I look less tired since I have been using this treatment, and the skin around my eyes looks supple and healthy."
Boasting 800+ glowing reviews on Sephora's website, It Cosmetics' Bye Bye Under Eye Eye Cream is clearly one beloved best seller. Not only does it include collagen and cucumber extract to minimize puffiness, but the blue tint helps to immediately reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles.
Standout review: "As someone who works at Sephora and has tried a plethora of different eye creams, I can tell you this is the best one I have ever used. Not only does it absorb quickly, but it brightens, tightens, and smooths. The price can't be beat. Value for the price, size, and results is next to none. Highly recommend."
At only $36, this eye treatment is by far the most affordable on this list. With an impressive 40,000 "loves," this coveted cream is clearly a fan favorite.
Standout review: "I expected this to be an eye cream, but what it actually is is even better. It's like a tinted moisturizer for your under eyes. Because of that, I feel like it doesn't crease like a regular concealer. I used it in the summer, and the cooling metal tip felt fantastic on my eyes in the morning. The coolness alone reduces puffiness immediately."
Ed. note: Reviews have been edited for length and clarity.