Let’s seriously talk about our choices for the best drugstore eye creams, whether we want to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles or we want to brighten our eye area or we want to diminish the bags under our eyes.
Is it worth spending your time and money on the best drugstore eye creams?
Are cheap eye creams capable of doing more than moisturizing the skin around our eyes? And why would that be a bad thing since a properly nourished moisturized skin is fantastic for looking younger and well-rested?
A well-moisturized eye area also prevents you from rubbing your eyes. Eye rubbing can make everything worse from intensifying dark circles to stretching the skin, breaking the collagen and elastin in the skin, which absolutely leads to under eye wrinkles.
These are important questions to be answered and I will try to provide some answers.
Before that, if you are interested in acquiring more skincare products from drugstores, check out my post on the best drugstore moisturizers, there are plenty of awesome choices for all skin types.
Best Drugstore Eye Cream Benefits
The first obvious benefit that you get from buying the best drugstore eye cream is the affordable price, the prices for these creams for the eye area revolve around $20. Some cost a bit over $20, while others are under the $20 mark.
But what about what they can do?
Some moisturize the eye area intensely because a large majority of eye creams are intense moisturizers and some are so very expensive because they contain a high concentration of beneficial ingredients.
It’s also the reason why you should apply so little of them, which makes eye creams last such a long time even though they only measure 0.5 oz.
They’re tiny but concentrated.
Next to moisturizing, some drugstore eye creams have the purpose of strengthening the skin barrier. That’s crucial although, sometimes, it’s an overlooked aspect.
A strong skin barrier protects the area from environmental factors, allows the skin to adapt to stronger skincare ingredients, like retinol, without any redness or irritation, and prevents the skin from losing moisture. If the skin on our face lacks moisture, it looks older, more tired, without any spark.
Others contain retinol, which means that they’re created for the sole purpose of smoothing out the area around the eyes and for preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
You can even get two best drugstore eye creams: one with intense moisturizing benefits and the other with anti-aging benefits (that contains retinol).
You can apply the moisturizing one during the day and the one with retinol during the night. You will maintain a healthy skin around the eye area but you will also be able to incorporate anti-aging ingredients into your routine.
It’s best to use the eye cream with retinol in the evening because retinol causes photosensitivity. If the retinol eye cream is irritating the delicate skin around the eye area, layer on a moisturizing eye cream to sooth the skin.
When it comes to dark circles and puffiness or bags under the eyes the problems are not simple at all. These two things are hard to combat. These are two under eye problems that can be caused by multiple factors.
Bags under the eyes can be caused by sleep issues, allergies, smoking, alcohol consumption, unhealthy eating, sleeping with makeup on, sitting too much under the sun, and the loss of skin elasticity.
The same factors can lead to dark circles, as well. These two under eye problems go hand in hand.
Dark circles are genetic. The area under our eyes is so much thinner than anywhere else so, the vessels underneath are more pronounced. Hyperpigmentation easily appears under the eyes and, since the skin under out eyes thins as we age, the dark circles become even more noticeable.
Vitamin K and caffeine are two famous ingredients for lightening the shade of dark circles. Vitamin C also has brightening properties. Kojic acid, which is extracted from mushrooms, is another ingredient known for reducing hyperpigmentation.
If you’re leading a very healthy life, balanced in all the areas that matter, and you’re also using anti-aging or moisturizing eye creams, the problem of bags under the eyes can be managed.
In my case, as soon as I sleep 6 or 7 hours, I get more pronounced fine lines, the dark circles extend towards my cheeks, and I get puffy eyes. It looks like I’ve aged overnight. When I was in my 20s those kind of effects were nonexistent but, as we age, we need to pay more attention to everything.
Furthermore, always protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and by applying sunscreen daily.
Best Drugstore Eye Cream Ingredients
When researching the best drugstore eye cream, you realize something important that some people overlook. There are some really awesome choices, with good prices and, most importantly, these affordable eye creams feature some very interesting ingredients.
1. Hyaluronic Acid
This is an essential ingredient not only for the delicate area of our eyes but for the entire face. It seems like for quite a few years we have been bombarded with this ingredient everywhere we look and that’s a good thing.
Hyaluronic acid plumps up the skin, it keeps it moisturized throughout the day, attracts water from the skin’s deeper layers, it locks in moisture and it acts as a humectant (it attracts molecules of water from the air and delivers them to the skin’s surface).
It’s perfect for hydration, protection, and as an anti-aging ingredient, since it doesn’t allow the skin to get dehydrated. It’s also perfect for all skin types, including acne prone skin because it calms the skin and oily skin because it hydrates it without clogging the pores or feeling heavy.
Retinol is an antioxidant and antioxidants are crucial for our skin’s health and youthfulness.
Unlike most antioxidants that protect the skin against environmental factors and sun damage, retinol actually causes photosensitivity. It’s best used at night and followed by a sunscreen for the daytime.
It speeds up cell turnover, it encourages the body to create new skin cells, which makes the skin look plump and constantly refreshed, which in turn also leads to thicker skin, boosts collagen production, and decreases hyperpigmentation so it can have an effect on dark circles, as well.
Some more expensive eye creams combine retinol with other skin lightening agents and the effects are impressive.
3. Vitamin C
If retinol is famous, vitamin C might beat it in popularity.
There are a few key words that are associated with this powerful antioxidant that our skin definitely needs: protection from UV rays, environmental factor protection, brightens the skin, boosts collagen production, firmer smooth skin.
It’s just an overall fantastic ingredient and eye creams weren’t going to miss out on it not even the best drugstore eye creams.
Niacinamide or vitamin B3 has already become the word on everyone’s lips. It has become incredibly popular and it’s not a passing fad.
This ingredient is amazing for the whole face not just the eye area.
Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties, strengthens the skin’s barrier by helping the body with its production of ceramides, and offers protection against environmental factors, a good anti-aging ingredient, can help reduce hyperpigmentation, and can make pores look smaller by normalizing oil production, which helps prevent clogged pores.
Cermaides are often overlooked for their importance. Just because they can’t boast about their anti-aging or their brightening benefits, it doesn’t mean that they’re not extremely important. Because they are.
And they actually help with postponing the anti-aging process because they are essential for a strong skin barrier and they help the skin retain moisture, which makes it look plumper throughout the day.
You can’t fight wrinkles or dryness without that and without ceramides. As it turns out, we have just demonstrated that ceramides are indeed an anti-aging ingredient, perfect soldiers for preventing fine line and wrinkles around the eye area and on the entire face.
Caffeine is a common ingredient found in eye creams because it can temporarily reduce under eye bags and it can also lighten dark circles.
It’s an anti-inflammatory, soothing ingredient that also constricts blood vessels. It’s why it especially works for dark circles and puffiness, at least for a few hours.
We can’t talk about anti-aging without talking about antioxidants.
But we also can’t talk about anti-aging ingredients that go into creams and serums without including peptides (amino acids).
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and one such famous protein that we always hear about is collagen. Elastin and keratin are two other famous proteins. Collagen and elastin are what keeps our skin from sagging, losing its firmness, getting wrinkly and crepey.
Collagen is a major structural protein. Peptides as amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins can increase collagen production.
There are quite a lot of peptides but just try to remember these words if you want to spot them on the list of ingredients: dipeptides, tripeptides, tetrapeptides, pentapeptides, polypeptides.
Top 8 Best Drugstore Eye Creams
I’ve talked about what the best drugstore eye creams can do. They can prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and some can even impact deeper wrinkles, like crow’s feet.
Dark circles and puffiness are hard to tackle but they can have a small impact on those problems, as well.
One last thing:
Whatever eye cream you end up using, always apply it with your ring finger because it’s the one that will put the least pressure on such a thin skin. You can gently tap the cream until it’s completely absorbed. I like massaging it into the skin, without pressing or pulling.
You only need a small amount, a pea size amount for both eyes. If you use too much, you will just waste it as it might not be absorbed by the skin completely. If you apply too much, use the excess on the area between the eyebrows, the forehead or on your upper lip.
I use my eye cream on my upper lip because I was completely aware that I’m prone to wrinkles in that area. I have a very awful unhealthy habit that causes some diagonal lines right above my upper lip.
Eye creams are really tiny, they pretty much all measure 0.5 oz. When you get your first tube you might be actually wondering if you didn’t get a sample by accident. Trust me, you didn’t.
With that being said, let’s review some best drugstore eye creams so that you can see exactly what they’re capable of.
1. La Roche-Posay Redermic R Eyes – Best Retinol Drugstore Eye Cream
La Roche-Posay has quite the impressive array of amazing eye creams but they’re a bit more expensive than the usual best drugstore eye creams.
They’re also very good so, if you feel like you want to splurge a bit on an anti-aging eye cream with retinol, I definitely recommend giving this a thought.
It’s an eye cream that promises to reduce the appearance of crow’s feet and other fine lines and wrinkles and to lighten dark circles, giving you a fresh look throughout the day.
It achieves that with the help of powerful ingredients:
- caffeine for lighting dark circles
- hyaluronic acid for hydration
- the unexpected bonus in the form of retinyl linoleate – weaker than retinol but still another vitamin A derivative
- and adenosine – another skin restoring ingredient with anti-wrinkle and soothing benefits
The retinyl linoleate together with adenosine are actually called a Retinol Booster Complex by La Roche-Posay, their purpose being of enhancing retinol’s effectiveness while reducing skin discomfort.
This best drugstore eye cream is recommended for all skin types, including sensitive ones.
2. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair – Cheapest Drugstore Eye Cream with Retinol
At more than half the price than the above drugstore retinol eye cream, we have the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair.
It’s a very popular choice when it comes to preventing under eye wrinkles on a budget. It’s also one of my top recommendations because if you want an anti-aging eye cream with a very effective ingredient, this Neutrogena is one of the best.
It’s very simple in its ingredients.
There are just 3 ingredients that stand out: retinol for fine lines and wrinkles, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and glucose complex for strengthening the skin’s barrier.
It promises to even work on smoothing out expression lines like crow’s feet. It might work but retinol is one of those ingredients that need to be used for quite a few months before seeing major changes.
3. CeraVe Eye Repair Cream – Cheap Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Dark Circles and Puffiness
The CeraVe Eye Repair Cream is an incredibly affordable option for those who are mostly concerned with dark circles and puffiness.
It won’t banish dark circles completely but it will lighten them up a bit. You will be able to see a difference and I’ll go as far as to say that it might become one of your favorite skincare products.
It doesn’t have any intriguing ingredients but it does contain some that are essential: niacinamide is right at the beginning of the list and it’s good for decreasing hyperpigmentation and for stimulating collagen production, hyaluronic acid for moist plump skin, and 3 essential ceramides for a strong skin barrier.
It’s a combination that’s beautiful in its simplicity and works for all skin types.
It contains sweet almond oil that contains vitamin K, which can lighten dark circles, as well. Aloe vera and vitamin E complete an ensemble of extremely useful ingredients.
Those with dry sensitive skin will love this eye cream and the boost it offers. It’s also non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.
4. Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C & Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting Eye Cream – Best Anti-Aging & Hydrating Drugstore Eye Cream
Bliss has a best drugstore eye cream that really tries to impress us and it definitely succeeds.
I see it more as a day cream because it contains a vitamin C derivative (3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) that is included right at the top of the list.
Since vitamin C is an antioxidant famous for its sun and environmental protection, I definitely think that this Bliss should be a top choice for everyone who wants an affordable best drugstore eye cream with brightening and anti-aging benefits.
Oleracea fruit extract and green tea extract are two other powerful antioxidants with the same amazing benefits.
In order to deliver even more anti-aging benefits, a powerful peptide has been included – palmitoyl tripeptide-5.
The brightening effects are handled by the vitamin C derivative together with niacinamide and licorice root extract.
There are also powerful moisturizing ingredients: shea butter, meadowfoam seed oil, camellia seed oil, aloe vera, and avocado oil.
Just as I said in the beginning, Bliss Bright Idea Vitamin C & Tri-Peptide Collagen Protecting Eye Cream is impressive and the price is great.
5. Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream – Best Hydrating Drugstore Eye Cream
The Cetaphil Eye Gel Cream is unbelievably affordable.
It’s just such an amazing hydrating eye cream to have around. I definitely see it as a must have cream to hydrate the eye area, especially during the cold months.
This cream has plenty of antioxidants, it will serve as an awesome cream for the day.
I’m just impressed with how cheap it is even though it packs great ingredients: niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, licorice root extract (skin brightening and anti-aging properties), grapeseed oil with powerful antioxidants, plus a bunch of other oils.
It’s simply a must-have cheap best drugstore eye cream, especially if you suffer from dry sensitive skin.
6. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Gel Eye Cream
Based on their famous hyaluronic acid gel moisturizer, we have the pair in this hydrating gel for the eye area.
I like the above Cetaphil Eye Gel Cream a lot better because it has a wider array of ingredients, it’s more complex with its fantastic ingredients, but Neutrogena offers an alternative to it and they both have cheap prices.
The only ingredient that this gel eye cream is based on is hyaluronic acid. It’s amazing for dry sensitive skin but it works for all skin types.
7. Mario Badescu Eye Cream
Mario Badescu doesn’t have just one eye cream. They have a bunch that you can choose from. And they’re all extremely affordable. You’re probably missing out if you don’t give one a chance.
They have a hyaluronic acid one that’s great for sensitive skin but I want to review the Mario Badescu Glycolic Eye Cream.
Glycolic acid is an ingredient that you won’t find in any of other best drugstore eye creams but it’s a powerful AHA that has anti-aging benefits, removes dead skin cells, evens out the tone and might even help you get rid of milia.
The presence of the glycolic acid makes it a night cream for the eye area. During the day you can choose another one, like the Bliss, the CeraVe, or the Cetaphil from above. There are so many choices.
It’s oily, it contains 3 different oils, so you only need to use a very tiny amount. Besides those and the glycolic acid, it also contains vitamin E.
It’s recommended for those with mature, dry or combination skin types.
8. Oh K! Under Eye Mask, Ginseng & Eucalyptus – Under Eye Mask for Puffiness
This is not a cream, it’s a mask for the under eye area.
Basically, you get two under eye gel patches, you know that comma-design that perfectly goes under the eyes.
Considering that you only get to use them once and this packet contains just one application, the price is not cheap.
It’s not a best drugstore eye cream but a very popular eye mask so, I really though I should include it on this list.
Given the price, don’t expect to be able to use one every single morning. And the effect won’t intensify the more you use this eye mask, like it happens with creams and serums.
It would be nice to have them around for those occasions where you either party too much or you work too much. Both have the same devastating effects on our eyes.
They’re perfect for reducing puffiness and for making you seem wide-awake and full of energy.
The well-rested look is achieved thanks to natural ingredients: ginseng (brightens), eucalyptus (astringent), and peppermint leaf extract (cooling effect).
You should leave the patches on for 20-30 minutes and then you’re ready to go.
The truth is, we can’t rely just on using the best drugstore eye creams, those that I have reviewed are good but they’re not miracles in a tube, we need to lead as healthy a life as we possibly can, those are the contributions that actually matter as we get older, both internally and externally.