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- Retinol is a must for any anti-aging regimen, but it can be harsh on delicate areas like under the eyes. That’s where retinol eye creams come into play.
- Kate Somerville’s +Retinol Firming Eye Cream is the best retinol eye cream because it’s both gentle and effective, with a cooling applicator to instantly soothe tired skin.
I love a good eye cream. There’s a strange sense of peace that comes over me when I tap a hydrating formula into my often-irritated orbital bone. And that feeling is intensified when I know I’m nourishing my skin with powerful ingredients.
Because this is the way life goes, retinol is both absolutely essential for an effective anti-aging routine and often too harsh for the quick-to-wrinkle eye area. Luckily, there are a number of eye creams that have retinol in them that also use hydrating and soothing ingredients to mitigate the potential for irritation.
When shopping for a retinol eye cream, I recommend scanning the ingredients’ list for mega-moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. In addition to the fine line-minimizing effects of retinol, hydration may make your skin look younger and glowier.
Here are the best retinol eye creams you can buy:
- Best retinol eye cream overall: Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream
- Best for sensitive skin: RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream
- Best drugstore retinol eye cream: L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Treatment
- Best brightening retinol eye cream: Kiehl’s Youth Dose Eye Treatment
- Best encapsulated retinol eye cream: Dermalogica Age Smart Reversal Eye Complex
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best retinol eye cream overall
Kate Somerville Skincare
Why you’ll love it: The Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream is packed with fortifying oils and extracts to soothe eyes while targeting the signs of aging.
I’ve used the Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream for more than a year and I could not be happier with the results. I’m still in my mid-to-late ‘20s, so I don’t have much by way of wrinkles, but I am starting to get some minor fine lines around the orbital bone.
This eye cream combines retinol and bio-retinol — a natural complex that mimics the effects of retinol — to create a powerhouse anti-aging formula. Hyaluronic acid, lime pearl, and various plant extracts and oils round out the ingredients’ list. The result is an effective eye cream that won’t dry the heck out of your eye area. A cooling tip depuffs and soothes as you apply.
An eye cream with retinol might take some getting used to, but after a few weeks, you shouldn’t feel any burning or irritation. I apply it every other night, alternating with a purely moisturizing cream, to make sure I’m not overdoing it.
Pros: Fragrance free, moisturizing, brightening, soothing applicator
Cons: Very expensive
The best retinol eye cream for sensitive skin
Why you’ll love it: For eyes that sting at the slightest suggestion of an onion, RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream is a gentle and effective choice.
Even the gentlest retinol eye creams can be a bit much for someone with very sensitive skin. RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream is formulated to be extra gentle, so even people with highly reactive skin and eyes can use it.
Made with a more mild form of retinol combined with hyaluronic acid, this cream still gives you the anti-aging benefits you’d expect from similar products, without the potential irritation. Plus it’s relatively affordable, with a price tag of less than $25 for 0.5 ounces.
The RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream is an Allure Best of Beauty winner and has been featured by Real Simple. Shoppers rate it 4.0 stars based on 480 reviews on the review website Influenster.
One online reviewer writes, “This works amazingly well and leaves beautiful results. You never have to worry about the drying of the skin or rashes other creams cause. When you try it you will be hooked after your first use. I highly recommend it to everyone with sensitive skin.”
Pros: Suitable for sensitive skin, oil-free, non comedogenic
Cons: Not as affordable as other drugstore picks
The best drugstore retinol eye cream
Why you’ll love it: L’Oreal Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Treatment proves that good skin care can be found at great prices.
Louder for the people in the back — great skin-care products exist at the drugstore, and the L’Oreal Revitalift Anti-Wrinkle + Firming Eye Treatment is proof. It’s a creamy eye treatment that minimizes fine lines and firms skin thanks to the inclusion of retinol.
This eye cream promises improvements in as little as four weeks of regular use. It’s fragrance-free, dye-free, and made without parabens and phthalates. As for what it does contain, the formula includes pro retinol and centella asiatica, or tiger grass, which calms irritation.
“I always overlooked this eye cream because of its low price, I thought it was just going to be a waste of money. The expensive one that I was using wasn’t working so I thought I would give it a try, it was cheap so why not? I’m so glad that I did! It’s amazing! It’s a very thick, rich, emollient cream that really does improve the look of lines and firmness!” writes one reviewer on Target.
Pros: Affordable, contains gentle tiger grass, fragrance- and dye-free
Cons: Jar packaging is not airtight
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