The 18 Best Eye Creams for Sensitive Skin in 2024



Thinking about adding an eye product to your daily skincare roster? According to dermatologist Diane Madfes, MD, eye cream can help with anything from crepey skin and fine lines to dark circles and under-eye bags. But if you've got a reactive complexion, it's understandable to be wary about introducing a new formula.


Dr. Madfes notes that the eye area is delicate and sensitive, regardless of skin type. With this in mind, she says, "It's important to use products that have been specifically tested for tolerability and use in the eye area." With the right formula, folks with sensitive skin can reap all the benefits without irritation. Licensed esthetician Dana Murray recommends avoiding products with alcohol or added fragrance and looking for soothing ingredients, like chamomile, aloe, green tea, and cucumber extract.


To find the best eye creams for sensitive skin, we consulted five experts (including dermatologists), conducted hours of research, and tested several formulas firsthand, evaluating each based on its ingredients, benefits, intended use, container, and price. Here are our favorites for your delicate undereye.


Best Overall: Avène Soothing Eye Contour Cream



When it comes to sensitive skin, Avène knows what's up. The brand offers a broad range of effective yet non-irritating products, and the Eye Contour Cream is no exception. It contains chamomile (one of Murray's approved ingredients), ultra-hydrating humectant hyaluronic acid1 , and soothing vitamin E. The real secret to the sauce, however, is Avène's mineral-rich thermal spring water, which minimizes inflammation, balances the skin barrier, and calms irritation.3 It's also fragrance-free and approved by the National Eczema Association. We tried this product and loved how it made the skin around our eyes soft, supple, and bouncy. We just wish more came in the container.


Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, thermal spring water, chamomile | Benefits: Soothing, depuffing, hydrating | Size: 0.33 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes



Best Budget: e.l.f. Cosmetics Holy Hydration! Eye Cream



You're wise to be a little picky when selecting products for sensitive skin—but you don't have to spend a lot of money to get exactly what you're looking for in an eye cream. Case in point: e.l.f. Holy Hydration—a wallet-friendly pick that calms with cucumber extract,4 plumps with peptides,5 and delivers a gentle dose of moisture. We took this product out for a spin and were impressed with how much better it made our eye areas look.


Active Ingredients: Peptides, cucumber extract, green tea, squalane | Benefits: Depuffing, soothing, radiance-boosting, hydrating | Size: 0.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Drugstore: Pond’s Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream


"Pond's Rejuveness Lifting & Brightening Eye Cream contains moisturizing ingredients, as well as niacinamide (vitamin B3) to help improve tone and texture, and retinol to help stimulate collagen," says dermatologist Hadley King, MD. We love that it's fragrance-free and derm-tested, so less chance of an allergic reaction, but be careful not to get it in your eyes because it can sting.


Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, retinol, glycerin | Benefits: Firming, smoothing, radiance-boosting | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No


Best Splurge: Priori R-Spinasome Eye Crème


If you can swing the steep price, you can count on this high-end product to produce noticeably smoother, tighter, plumper skin with continued use. "For sensitive skin, I like a clean formula, such as Priori R-Spinasome Ultimate Eye Crème," says Dr. Madfes. "It uses green plant technology that is non-irritating and also boosts collagen." According to the brand, this balmy formula is clinically proven to improve firmness and minimize the look of fine lines.


Active Ingredients: Organic spinach | Benefits: Plumping, smoothing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Hydrating: Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream



Sometimes, sensitive skin is just crying out for a bit of moisture. We're big fans of Cetaphil's Eye Gel-Cream, an exceptionally lightweight and fast-absorbing formula that hydrates with hyaluronic acid1 and soothes with all-star anti-inflammatories like vitamin E,6 chamomile, and green tea.7 As soon as we patted on this eye cream, our eye areas appeared instantly refreshed and smooth. The only thing we don't love is it does contain a form of alcohol which might be irritating for some.


Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, chamomile, green tea | Benefits: Hydrating, radiance-boosting, smoothing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No


Best Natural: Burt's Bees Sensitive Eye Cream




Burt's Bees is an ideal company for anyone with sensitive or eczema-prone skin looking for cruelty-free products. We're partial to the earth-sourced formula and 98.9% natural ingredients in this eye cream. The creamy moisturizer comes in an easy-to-dispense, airtight container and goes on smoothly without irritation. What's more, it has the National Eczema Association's stamp of approval.


Active Ingredients: Olive oil, cotton flower extract, shea butter | Benefits: Depuffing, hydrating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best With Retinol: Kate Somerville +Retinol Firming Eye Cream


If you want to see a long-term, noticeable difference in fine lines and elasticity, reach for something containing retinol,8 like Kate Somerville's incredibly silky Firming Eye Cream. Besides offering results with continued use, it instantly tightens up the eye area without causing irritation, reduces dark circles with light-diffusing particles, and calls on hyaluronic acid to keep the skin plump and hydrated.1 You have to be patient, but those who play a long-haul skincare game will see it pay off.8


Active Ingredients: Retinol, hyaluronic acid | Benefits: Firming, smoothing, plumping | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best for Morning Use: First Aid Beauty Niacinamide Brightening Eye Cream


Do you often wake up with puffy eyes? You may want to start using a caffeine-infused eye cream in the morning. "Caffeine constricts blood vessels and can, therefore, reduce the amount of fluid accumulating," Dr. King tells Byrdie. This one contains caffeine and pumpkin seed extract to soothe and depuff under-eye bags, as well as niacinamide to counteract dark circles.9 We love that it instantly brightens and hydrates, we just wish it came in a pump bottle.

Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, caffeine, peptides, pumpkin seed extract, sodium hyaluronate | Benefits: Hydrating, illuminating, depuffing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best for Nighttime Use: Marla Rene Beauty & Co. IlluminEyez Night Cream


For your evening skincare routine, your best bet is Marla Rene's IlluminEyez. This nighttime eye cream is chock full of radiance-boosting, hydrating, smoothing, and—most importantly—non-irritating ingredients including aloe vera,10 vitamin E,6 and cucumber extract.4 We love that you get a large amount in the container for an eye cream, and results will show themselves as long as you keep using it.


Active Ingredients: Aloe vera, plant stem cells, vitamin E, cucumber extract | Benefits: Radiance-boosting, hydrating, smoothing, firming | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best Smoothing: RoC Retinol Correxion Eye Cream



If it's smooth skin you're after, Dr. King recommends using "a nightly retinoid or retinol cream, like RoC Retinol Correxion EyeCream, to increase collagen." The vitamin A derivative tackles some of the most common concerns we have about the eye area, including fine lines, crepey skin, puffiness, dark circles, and uneven skin tone.8 We tested this product and are pleased to report it lives up to its multi-beneficial claims and doesn't cause any irritation. However, some reviews mention that it can cause stinging if it gets too close to your eye.


Active Ingredients: Retinol, vitamin E, glycerin | Benefits: Smoothing, toning | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No



Best for Dark Circles: REN Clean Skincare Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream


Most women age 30 or older can relate to dark undereye circle frustrations. As skin ages, it can look thinner around the eyes, adding to the dark circle effect. Thankfully, many eye creams come packed with radiance-boosting ingredients, and this one from REN is super gentle. "Sensitive skin responds well to REN Radiance Brightening Dark Circle Eye Cream because it has a special formula that is designed to limit irritation," says Kristina Kitsos, a cosmetic injector and leading expert in medical facial aesthetics. "It includes bio-actives that work to brighten, hydrate, and plump the look of the entire eye area."


Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, vitamin C, elderberry flower | Benefits: Radiance-boosting, hydrating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best Firming: Shani Darden Skin Care Intensive Eye Renewal Cream


Looking to firm up your under-eye area or tighten crepey skin? Go with Shani Darden's Eye Renewal Cream. The luxurious, intensive formula calls on niacinamide, peptides,5 and silk tree extract to deliver visibly firmer, smoother skin. We also like how the lightweight consistency plays well under makeup. Results may take some time though so be patient as you use the product.


Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, ceramides, peptides, vitamin E | Benefits: Firming, calming, smoothing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best for Under Makeup: Fenty Skin Flash Nap Instant Revival Eye Gel-Cream


Undereye creams don't always play nice under makeup, especially if they take a long time to absorb into the skin, but not Fenty Flash Nap. It's the perfect pre-makeup eye cream. It flaunts a hydrating, smoothing, skin-loving formula that soothes with green tea7 and depuffs with horse chestnut extract.11 We love how the lightweight creamy gel formula creates a smooth canvas to help prevent your concealer from creasing. However it does have a scent, so if you're sensitive to that, we suggest trying a different product.


Active Ingredients: Green tea, hyaluronic acid, horse chestnut extract | Benefits: Smoothing, hydrating, depuffing | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best K-Beauty: CosRx Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream


Korean beauty brand CosRx makes some really great stuff for the sensitive set. The Snail Peptide Eye Cream contains snail mucin, a natural (but not vegan) form of hyaluronic acid, plus peptides5 and niacinamide9 to plump, firm, and boost the eye area without stressing out your skin. Extra points for the hygienic, airtight pump container which helps keep the formula fresh for longer than your average screw-top container product.


Active Ingredients: Peptides, snail secretion filtrate, niacinamide | Benefits: Firming, hydrating, radiance-boosting, depuffing | Size: 0.85 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No


Runner-Up, Best K-Beauty: Belif Moisturizing Eye Bomb


Another K-beauty option we love is this best-selling pick from Belif. Moisturizing Eye Bomb is full of calming, hydrating ingredients to soothe the under-eyes such as tiger grass and squalane while smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. The brand says it delivers a whopping 26 hours of moisture for the undereye area. We love that it has a cooling sensation once applied and makes your skin look instantly more radiant. It does come in an annoying screw-top container though.


Active Ingredients: Tiger grass, comfrey leaf, squalane, ​​ceramides | Benefits: Smoothing, hydrating, firming | Size: 0.84 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best Depuffing: Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream


Want to depuff your under-eyes without freaking out your skin? Sunday Riley Auto Correct is your new best friend. This fancy eye cream is infused with caffeine and horse chestnut11 to smooth and tighten while also hydrating the eye area with watermelon rind extract. Meanwhile, reflective pigments illuminate your skin to reduce dark circles on contact. Caution: those who're sensitive to fragrance might not like this one.


Active Ingredients: Caffeine, watermelon extract, horse chestnut extract | Benefits: Depuffing, radiance-boosting, hydrating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best With SPF: Supergoop Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40


It's a good idea to wear sunscreen all over your face whenever you venture outside, including your undereye area. Supergoop's take on eye cream boasts SPF 40 protection from the sun's damaging rays. Applying it daily (with sunscreen on the rest of your face and any other exposed skin) will help prevent photoaging (which can cause fine lines, crepiness, and loss of elasticity).12 The pink tint also helps illuminate the eye area, making dark circles less apparent upon application.


Active Ingredients: Zinc oxide | Benefits: Protects from sun damage, illuminating | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Best Multi-Use: SeSpring So Rich Moisturizing Cream


"For sensitive skin, I recommend using a gentle moisturizer that works for the face and eye area, like SeSpring So Rich Moisturizing Cream," says celebrity esthetician Joshua Ross, explaining that it doesn't contain as many potentially irritating actives. "You don't need to spend as much money and can get two for one with your general sensitive-skin moisturizer." We appreciate that it's vegan, cruelty and paraben-free, but some users reported a slightly sticky residue upon application.


Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, shea butter, meadowfoam, ​​centella asiatica | Benefits: Smoothing, softening, calming | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes


Where We Stand

Overall, our favorite eye cream for sensitive skin is Avène Soothing Eye Contour Cream. This ultra-gentle, incredibly hydrating formula simultaneously plumps, smoothes, and soothes the eye area. For something a little more affordable, go with e.l.f. Skin Holy Hydration Eye Cream, a plumping, moisturizing concoction that's easy on tender complexions.

How We Researched & Tested

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best eye creams for sensitive skin. We interviewed two dermatologists, two licensed estheticians, and a cosmetic injector for product recommendations and expert insight into ingredients for reactive skin types. We also referenced peer-reviewed studies, researched different formulations, and tested several options ourselves.

Attributes we evaluated each eye cream for sensitive skin on:


  • Active ingredients
  • Soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Hydrating ingredients
  • Benefits and intended use
  • Formulation and consistency
  • Container and packaging

What to Look For in an Eye Cream for Sensitive Skin

  • Soothing Ingredients: Murray says folks with inflamed or particularly reactive complexions should look for products containing soothing, anti-inflammatory ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, aloe vera, chamomile, vitamin E, centella asiatica (cica), niacinamide, squalane, arnica, cucumber extract, green tea, allantoin, and marshmallow root. Our favorite calming formula is Avène Soothing Eye Contour Cream, which contains vitamin E and the brand's signature thermal spring water to calm the skin.
  • Hydrating Formula: Since the tissue around the eyes is notably thin, fine lines and crepiness are more apparent when that skin is dry. With this in mind, Dr. King says, "Eye creams should be hydrating and moisturizing." Look for options containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, ceramides, peptides, panthenol (vitamin B5), plant oils, and natural butters. We personally love the Cetaphil Hydrating Eye Gel-Cream, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin B3.
  • Airtight Container: There are many benefits to using skincare products that come in airtight containers, like Sunday Riley Auto Correct Eye Cream. Since they aren't exposed to air, they're less likely to oxidize and can last longer with fewer preservatives. Not only that but when you don't have to dip your fingers in to scoop out the product, you can avoid contaminating it with bacteria and other irritants.13

FAQ

What are the benefits of eye creams for sensitive skin?

As Ross notes, "Not all eye creams are created equal." To address various concerns, some formulas contain potentially irritating actives (or higher amounts of these ingredients), which may cause a reaction on sensitive skin. Gentle eye creams can offer many of the same results without irritation.


How do you apply eye cream for sensitive skin?

First and foremost, Dr. Madfes says, "Always apply it to clean skin." Start with a very small amount of eye cream (about the size of a grain of rice and no bigger than a pea). Gently tap it in a semi-circle underneath each eye, then over the eyelids and up to the brow bone.


How often should you use eye creams for sensitive skin?

Many eye creams can be used daily, even if you have sensitive skin, and some are suitable for both morning and night. However, it all depends on the formula. For instance, you may want to use a retinol eye cream only at night, potentially on alternating days, to avoid irritation.

If you're using an SPF eye cream, apply it every day in the morning. And of course, if your skin begins to sting, itch, or becomes otherwise inflamed, it's best to stop using the product and consult a dermatologist.

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