A drugstore eye cream should offer top-notch formulas and results without breaking the bank. Fortunately, the beauty industry has come a long way, with drugstores offering targeted treatments for specific concerns ranging from dryness, puffiness, darkness, and signs of aging.
We dove right in and researched the best-performing options, considering formula types, ingredients, and price points. We also worked with Tiffany Libby, MD, double board-certified dermatologist and surgeon, to get her expert take.
“The best age to start using eye cream would be in one’s 20s or 30s, depending on genetics and environmental exposures to sun and pollution,” says Dr. Libby.
Our recommendations tackle various concerns in sophisticated formulas. These drugstore eye creams address everything from fine lines to dark circles, providing you with budget-friendly solutions to help your eyes look refreshed.
Best Overall Drugstore Eye Cream
Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Max Eye Cream
Thanks to its creamy and nongreasy formula, the Olay Regenerist Collagen Peptide 24 Max Eye Cream is our preferred choice in drugstore eye creams. It includes hydrating ingredients like glycerin to visibly plump the under eyes, while standout ingredients like vitamins B3 and B5 work with collagen to tackle signs of aging, according to the brand. The formula is also lightweight and not full of additives that can clog pores, which Dr. Libby explains can sometimes cause milia (or small white bumps) around the eyes for some people.
The product is free from fragrance, dyes, parabens, and phthalates, making it suitable for all skin types—even those who are sensitive. Even though it may not treat dark circles as well as other products, it helps decrease puffiness, smooth wrinkles, and firm the skin, which will leave your eyes looking refreshed and brighter. And, just like all products across Olay’s offerings, this luxury-feel eye cream won’t break the bank.
Price at time of publish: $24
Key Ingredients: Vitamin B3, vitamin B5, collagen peptides | Formulation: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounces
Best Budget Drugstore Eye Cream
e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Eye Cream
The infusion of hyaluronic acid and peptides instantly refreshes and moisturizes the under-eye area, making the e.l.f. Holy Hydration! Eye Cream a drugstore favorite for many. The lightweight gel-cream formulation creates a quick and fast-to-absorb application process, making it ideal for anyone in a rush or applying under makeup. Even though this doesn’t target puffy eyes, the active ingredients will help diminish under-eye circles and plump and prevent under-eye wrinkles.
The product checks off the box for affordability while remaining cruelty-free, vegan, and free from ingredients like parabens and aluminum.
Price at time of publish: $10
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, peptides | Formulation: Gel-cream | Size: 0.53 ounces
Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Dry Skin
Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
This gel-cream absorbs quickly and is non-comedogenic, which means it is a good choice to prevent milia (the small, white bumps) from forming around your eye.
Cetaphil is a drugstore staple, so it’s no wonder it is dermatologist tested and recommended. In fact, it is one of Libby’s favorites. “In one’s 20s, an eye cream like Cetaphil’s Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream is an excellent affordable option to deliver hydration with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide,” she says, explaining that these ingredients help smooth the skin under the eyes. This product won’t target dark circles or under-eye bags, but it is a great product for those with dry skin to deeply moisturize eyes without being irritating.
The product is also quick to absorb and is non-comedogenic, so the risk of milia is significantly lower than other eye creams on the market. Plus, the hygienic tube applicator makes applying the product feel like a walk in the park.
Price at time of publish: $16
Key Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, licorice extract, vitamin E | Formulation: Gel-cream | Size: 0.5 ounces
Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Sensitive Skin
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallegro Soothing Eye Cream
Sensitive skin products can be hard to find, so when brands like La Roche-Posay craft lines specifically for those with less-resilient skin types, we take notice. The Dermallegro Ultra Soothing Repair Eye Moisturizer harnesses the power of the brand’s signature thermal spring water to restore the skin’s natural protective barrier around the eyes and eyelids.
And, with common irritants like fragrances and dyes remaining absent from the formula, those with reactive skin won’t have to worry about a flare-up of conditions like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea when incorporating it into their daytime or nighttime routine. This product doesn’t have the active ingredients to diminish under-eye circles, however, you can brighten those circles with a good concealer.
Price at time of publish: $30
Key Ingredients: Neurosensine, niacinamide, shea butter | Formulation: Gel-cream | Size: 0.68 ounces
Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Dark Circles
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
Everyone loves CeraVe’s iconic hydrating cleanser, but the brand’s Under Eye Cream Repair for Dark Circles and Puffiness is an underrated beauty product that deserves notoriety. The brand’s typical blend of three essential ceramides combines with aloe and niacinamide to create an eye cream that helps eradicate dryness and dark circles with consistent use. You do have to use it consistently to see results, but it works.
With affordability and ease-of-use top of mind, this brightening and soothing eye cream is ophthalmologist-tested and does not disappoint.
Price at time of publish: $20
Key Ingredients: Ceramides, niacinamide, aloe | Formulation: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounces
Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Wrinkles
RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream
One of the first places that show signs of aging is the eye area, and the RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream should be your first line of defense to treat and prevent under-eye wrinkles. Libby recommends using a cream with retinol in the evening to tackle specific concerns, like fine lines and wrinkles.
Fortunately, the primary ingredient in the RoC formula is retinol, a vitamin A derivative that increases skin cell turnover to combat crow’s feet, dark circles, and puffiness, according to the brand. With clinically proven results, the slightly elevated price point is undeniably justified. If you have sensitive skin, use this product every other night to avoid itchy, red skin.
Price at time of publish: $20
Key Ingredients: Retinol, glycerin | Formulation: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounces
Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Puffiness
Bioderma Sensibio Anti-Puffiness Moisturizing Eye Contour Gel
Renowned French pharmacy brand Bioderma has an eye gel that instantly depuffs and soothes under eyes on contact. The brand claims that the boosts of caffeine and the patented D.A.F. (Dermatological Advanced Formula) will reduce swelling while it hydrates, resulting in a decrease in the appearance of fine lines and visible dryness.
Both fragrance- and dye-free, this lightweight and quick-absorbing gel is perfect for those with sensitive eyes. Although it may not be as moisturizing as some of the other products on the list, it should be the go-to relief for those looking to banish puffy eyes.
Price at time of publish: $22
Key Ingredients: Caffeine, hyaluronic acid, D.A.F | Formulation: Gel | Size: 0.5 ounces
Best Brightening Drugstore Eye Cream
Vichy Mineral 89 Eyes Serum
Dull and tired-looking under eyes don’t stand a chance against the caffeine and hyaluronic acid-infused eye serum from French brand Vichy. The formula is ultra-lightweight, offering instant absorption with a seamless application process. And once soaked up by the skin, this hydration powerhouse provides 24 hours of moisture along with instant brightness and line-smoothing.
Although it doesn’t contain active ingredients like retinol found in anti-aging lotions for those serious about combating wrinkles, it helps your eyes look more awake and refreshed. Ophthalmologist-tested and suitable for daily and nightly use, this product works universally on all skin types.
Price at time of publish: $25
Key Ingredients: Caffeine, hyaluronic acid, volcanic water | Formulation: Serum | Size: 0.51 ounces
Best Drugstore Eye Serum
L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Hyaluronic Acid and Caffeine Hydrating Eye Serum
Like many of its counterparts, the L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Eye Serum blends caffeine and hyaluronic acid to create a plumping and hydrating formula. What sets this serum apart, however, is the unique applicator. Three stainless-steel balls allow this line-reducing and fortifying product to instantly cool and depuff the undereye by providing a contouring massage during application.
Although it has a thinner feel than some creams, it is just as effective–although those with dry skin may want a more hydrating cream. Results feel instant, however, with visible changes seen in the area around the eyes at around the two-week mark, as determined by a panel of dermatologists.
Price at time of publish: $33
Key Ingredients: Caffeine, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide | Formulation: Serum | Size: 0.67 ounces
Best Gel Drugstore Eye Cream
Neutrogena Hydro Boost+ Caffeine Eye Gel Cream
If you find that eye creams you’ve used in the past feel too heavy for the delicate skin around the under eye, it’s worth trying out a gel formula. The Neutrogena Hydro Boost+ Caffeine Eye Gel Cream is a unique take on a classic product thanks to its hybrid-style texture. Lightweight like a gel yet moisturizing like a traditional cream, this caffeine and peptide blend boosts brightness, eliminates puffiness, revives tired skin, and protects the skin barrier, according to the brand.
While it doesn’t contain retinol for faster cell turnover, the peptides do help boost collagen. It is also a great product for those with sensitive skin. You’re sure to have a new favorite in this fragrance-, dye-, and paraben-free drugstore find.
Price at time of publish: $31
Key Ingredients: Peptides, caffeine | Formulation: Gel-cream | Size: 0.5 ounces
Best Drugstore Eye Cream for Nighttime
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Eye Cream
This eye cream targets fine lines, loss of elasticity, and undereye circles with its powerhouse blend of retinol and peptides.
Since retinol makes the skin photosensitive—aka, susceptible to sun damage—it makes sense that the Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Eye Cream would be the top choice for a nightly eye cream. Despite including the peptide blend on this list, this formulation stands out in part to its luxury-inspired texture, powerful ingredient complex, and long-standing results.
It is one of the more expensive products on the list, however, it works. Regenerative and restorative, this drugstore eye cream helps with fine lines, wrinkles, darkness, and loss of elasticity.
Price at time of publish: $47
Key Ingredients: Retinol, vitamin B3 | Formulation: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounces
Best Eco-Friendly Drugstore Eye Cream
Honest Beauty Depuff +C Eye Cream
If combating dark circles and under-eye bags is your goal, then the Honest Beauty Depuff +C Eye Cream is the perfect pick-me-up. Packed with brightening and swell-reducing ingredients like daisy flower extract and vitamin C, this dermatologist-recommended eye cream makes the perfect addition to any skincare routine. We should note that if you are sensitive to products with vitamin C, you should avoid this product.
What really stands out about this product is the sustainable packaging. It is 100 percent recyclable as it uses materials like aluminum and virgin polypropylene, both of which originate from post-consumer waste.
Price at time of publish: $24
Key Ingredients: Daisy flower extract, vitamin C, peptides | Formulation: Cream | Size: 0.5 ounces
With an affordable price point, visible results, and versatility, the Olay Collagen Peptide 24 Max Eye Cream is our best overall drugstore pick. It won’t clog pores and is full of hydrating and nourishing ingredients that target concerns from aging, dehydration, and puffiness. If you prefer something more lightweight with similar results, we recommend trying the Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel Cream.
How to Shop for Eye Cream Like a Pro
“Active ingredients are typically more targeted in addressing eye concerns like brightness, dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines,” states dermatologist Tiffany Libby, MD. This notion is why understanding what ingredients tackle which concerns is one of the first steps in deciding on any eye cream, drugstore or otherwise.
For example, if you are fatigued and trying to depuff, a gel or cream with caffeine will give your under-eyes a quick pick-me-up. You’ll also find that ingredients like retinol in nighttime eye creams tackle signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. If seeking a daytime formula for the same woes, hyaluronic acid can plump the eye area and hydrate it, giving it a smoother appearance.
Formula and function can often be confused. Dr. Libby explains that the formula relates to the texture or feel of the product. She says that eye creams should be lightweight to prevent things like milia while “prioritizing active ingredients.” This idea doesn’t mean you won’t find richer under-eye creams on the market. It represents the notion that generally speaking, all under-eye products will be lighter than something, like a moisturizer, used on the entire face.
Most eye cream formulas will come in a gel or cream. An exception includes an emerging trend of serum-style eye products that offer fast absorption and highly concentrated ingredients. Another outlier is gel creams, which are eye products that are not as emollient as traditional eye creams but provide a richer feel than a lightweight gel.
The function is akin to purpose, as in, what will your eye product get you in terms of results? “Our eyes are the first point of contact when looking at one another, and focusing on prevention here and optimizing the skin in this area has been an increasingly popular request,” says Dr. Libby. So she often has patients asking her how to prevent signs of aging, increase hydration levels, and help with dark circles. All of which are examples of what your eye product should address.
When beginning the selection process for an eye cream, understanding your skin type and concerns should be the first place you start. Ingredients and formulation can come after that.
Questions You Might Ask
Is it best to use eye cream in the morning or at night?
“Ideally, eye cream is best used both mornings and at night,” says Dr. Libby. She explains that the same product can be applied both times of day, but there are instances where you might want to have two options. “If desiring more specific eye creams for each routine, for the AM, I would recommend looking for an eye cream that also has SPF and antioxidants, and in the evening, one that also has a retinol,” she adds. Of course, you should be mindful of your budget if you decide to add two eye creams to your skincare routine.
Can you use moisturizer instead of eye cream?
The simple answer is, no, you shouldn’t be using a face moisturizer as an eye cream. “Some moisturizers as well are thicker and may be too occlusive for the more sensitive skin around the eyes, and I have seen patients come in with milia, or tiny white cysts that form beneath the skin, likely due to clogging of pores by a cream that is too heavy and thick for the skin around the eyes,” says Dr. Libby. If you are keen on using a moisturizer around this area, she suggests using something that would only “offer benefits of hydration to the skin.”
What is the best age to start using eye cream?
It is best to start using eye creams in your 20s, according to Dr. Libby. At this stage, the focus should be on preventative measures, with more advanced eye creams coming as you age. She recommends those in their 20s look for hydrating formulas “with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide,” which smooth the skin surrounding the eyes. Those in their 30s and up should start using products with retinol to increase cell turnover and collagen production.
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Samantha Parsons, a beauty industry veteran, and writer with experience across the cosmetics, skin, and wellness industries. She researched countless sites and brands to find the best eye creams available at the drugstore. She worked alongside Tiffany Libby, MD, double board-certified dermatologist and surgeon, to ensure her selections were efficacious and affordable.