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How do I Choose the Best Retinol Eye Cream?

Selecting the best retinol eye cream hinges on understanding your skin's sensitivity, the retinol concentration, and the product's additional nourishing ingredients. Look for creams with hydrating components like hyaluronic acid to counteract retinol's drying effects. Remember, a patch test is key to avoiding irritation. Wondering how to integrate retinol into your routine for youthful eyes? Keep reading.
Harriette Halepis
Harriette Halepis

The best way to choose a retinol eye cream is to consider the eye-related issues that you are trying to treat. Some eye creams were meant for people with fine lines, while others were meant for people who have puffy eyes. When shopping for an eye cream, look for one that treats the areas of your eyes that bother you the most.

There are three basic types of eye creams, including day, night, and everyday creams. Day creams do not usually contain retinol, though some products may contain a small amount of this ingredient. Night creams usually contain retinol, since these creams work to heal eyes overnight. Night creams also include a number of different firming ingredients that will help eyes to appear younger.

Retinol eye cream.
Retinol eye cream.

Search for products that contain ingredients such as caffeine, vitamin C, alpha hydroxy acid, and retinol. When combined, these ingredients help to dispel puffy eyes and fine lines, while also firming the skin that surrounds your eyes. If you want to get rid of any dark circles that are underneath your eyes, you may want to try an eye cream that has vitamin K. Some experts believe that vitamin K may help to get rid of dark circles caused by bruising, though this theory has not been proven.

To get rid of dark circles underneath the eyes, people may want to try an eye cream that has vitamin K.
To get rid of dark circles underneath the eyes, people may want to try an eye cream that has vitamin K.

There is some debate as to whether or not retinol eye cream is effective. While some skin experts believe that everyone should use an eye moisturizing cream in order to avoid wrinkles and sun damage, others do not believe that these creams have any effect. All skincare experts do agree that skin, including the eye area, should be protected against sun damage by using a moisturizer that contains sunblock.

Look for an eye cream that treats your specific problem areas.
Look for an eye cream that treats your specific problem areas.

When purchasing any kind of retinol eye cream, look for a product that is packaged properly. Retinol is light-sensitive, which means that any package that allows light or air to seep into a cream is not effective. Instead, the eye cream package must be opaque in order to protect active ingredients.

Most over-the-counter eye creams contain a small percentage of retinol. While this ingredient can have a positive effect on skin, many products do not contain enough retinol to impact skin dramatically. Many types of retinol eye cream will improve the appearance of the skin that surrounds the eye area, though most of these improvements are temporary. Using the same eye product on a regular basis may produce favorable results, though these results often fade once a product is no longer being used.

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Discussion Comments


@alisha – It might be that your retinol cream has too high of an alpha hydroxy acid content. This is the same stuff that dermatologists use in chemical peels, and if you have sensitive skin, then you will need a low percentage of it.

I always look for a retinol cream with just a touch of it. I had to have several chemical peels done by my dermatologist, and my skin became very irritated after he put the alpha hydroxy acid on it. I stayed red and flaky for days.

If you can find a cream that has around 5% alpha hydroxy acid, then you should be safe. Absolutely stay away from those containing more than 10% of this powerful ingredient.


I believe that retinol eye creams designed to be applied at night are the most effective. Though they don't contain caffeine and won't necessarily make your eyes look less puffy in the morning, they heal damage that causes aging.

Our bodies and our minds both take advantage of the sleep cycle and use this time to heal themselves. The retinol eye cream just serves as extra fuel for the undereye area to accomplish this task. As we age, we can use all the extra help we can get.

I think that the skin under my eyes looks much better since I've been using the retinol cream before bedtime. I don't believe a day cream would have as dramatic of an effect, simply because daytime is when the damage is done, not repaired.


I do use a retinol eye cream, but I never get the kind with sunscreen in it. I wear it during the day, but I use a foundation that has sunscreen as an ingredient.

I have heard that if you apply two different types of sunscreen at once, then you cut the SPF in half. So, if I applied a 15 SPF retinol cream under my 18 SPF makeup, I would be getting less protection than either of them could offer alone.

Even if my foundation had no sunscreen in it, it still wouldn't make sense to put the eye cream underneath it. If the makeup is covering it up, I'm not sure it could do any good, since they would probably smudge together and the SPF would suffer.


I tried a vitamin K cream for my dark circles awhile ago, and I have to say, it didn't do a darn thing for me! So in my case, the best retinol eye cream seems to be none at all. Rather than spending money on retinol eye cream, I just use concealer instead.

There are specific concealers you can buy for dark circles under your eyes. I've found that yellow toned concealers usually neutralize the under eye circles, so that's what I use. Then I dab some of my normal foundation over it so the skin under my eyes matches the rest of my face.


@KaBoom - I agree. Until that happens, everyone should just take the time to read reviews and consumer reports. I know I would even hate to throw away $20 on an eye cream (vitamin K, retinol, or whatever) that didn't work.

I also want to reiterate what the article said about how some creams are better to use at night. I've noticed that most night creams are much thicker than day creams. Once I accidentally put my night cream on my face in the morning, and my face looked greasy all day. So I think it's essential to buy both a night cream and a day cream.


@Mykol – I use a retinol eye cream with caffeine in it, and it never ceases to amaze me. My face looks like a nightmare when I first wake up, with my baggy eyes and sleepy gaze. Within a few minutes of applying the cream, I look like I have had a cup of coffee, even though I haven't drunk any yet!

A cold splash of water to my face helps make me alert, but I still look terrible until I put on the cream. I let it soak in as I eat breakfast, so when it's time to apply my makeup, I don't have to worry about smearing the cream.

I have become addicted to this stuff. I even use it on mornings when I have nowhere to go, just to improve my appearance. I feel better inside when I look alert on the surface.


I think it's so sneaky that some brands of wrinkle eye cream put enough retinol in to list it on the ingredients list, but not enough to actually make a real difference. I'm sure this allows them to keep their profits up, and also keeps customers buying their products.

After all, if your wrinkles go away, you don't need any more wrinkle cream! So it's definitely not in the best interests of these companies to actually get rid of wrinkles permanently.

I personally think that companies should not be allowed to list retinol as an ingredient unless there's actually enough retinol in the cream to make a real difference to the customer.


@bagley79-- That's the retinol eye cream I have right now too but I'm having some kind of a reaction it. I've been using it for five days and I've developed these pinkish flaky areas around my eyes.

I thought that ROC retinol eye cream was hypoallergenic, I don't know why this is happening to me.

Did you experience anything like this when you first started using it? I'm wondering if retinol creams take some getting used to. Should I use it less often initially so that my skin tolerates it better?


Aside from the ingredients and amount of retinol in a eye cream, I also pay attention to the texture. I use an eye gel 'cream' containing vitamin K and retinol which I feel absorbs much better into my skin and does a better job than creams do.

I do have friends who prefer creams though because they have dry skin and need something more moisturizing. I have very oily skin and I don't like to use anything heavy on my face. It seems like it's just sitting on top of my skin whereas the gel absorbs very quickly and doesn't leave an oily shiny residue.


@Mykol-- I don't agree with @bagley79 because I heard experts talk about this on TV recently. They said that they've done some studies comparing more affordable face and eye creams with more expensive ones and have found no difference whatsoever.

So I think you should definitely look at the ingredients and percentage of retinol in the cream rather than the price. More than likely, you're going to get the same benefit from a drugstore eye cream with retinol that you get from a high-end eye cream.


@Mykol - It has been my experience, like most products, there is a big difference in price and effectiveness when it comes to eye creams.

I have used a lot of different ones from the cheap ones, to tubes that cost over $100 to buy. Some of them work better than others, but if I can find one that works well without spending a days wages on, I would rather use that.

One that has worked well for me, and is not too expensive, is ROC eye cream. I think no matter which cream you use, one key is to be consistent at using it every day.

Even if you don't see results right away, keep using it for awhile. Some people claim they notice a difference the first night they use it. For me, I really didn't see a difference until after a month or so.

This cream seems to work better than others I have tried for my puffy eyes. As far as the fine lines and wrinkles, I have not noticed as much difference.


What is the best way to choose the most effective retinol eye cream?

I have been reading retinol eye cream reviews and have not found one that really stands out any better than the others.

There is a wide range in prices, and I am wondering if the more expensive creams are worth the extra money?

Some of the expensive brands have the same amount of retinol as some of the cheaper ones, so I am wondering if there is much difference.

One thing I found very interesting is that many of them contain caffeine. How ironic that caffeine can give me a boost to get going in the morning and can also be beneficial for my eyes as well.


I think using a firming eye cream on a regular basis has made a big difference for me. This is something I have been faithfully using for several years, and I seem to have fewer eye lines and wrinkles than a lot of my friends who don't use a product like this.

I think you get the most healing when you use a night cream that contains retinol. I also make sure and apply a moisturizing cream before I apply my makeup in the morning.

The area around our eyes is so fine that I think it is important to give it a lot of support. Another thing I think is beneficial is to protect our eyes by wearing sunglasses when we are outside.

If we can protect our eyes and not have to squint, this will also make a difference over time.


As I have aged it seems like the first sign of wrinkles showed up around my eyes. I first began using a wrinkle eye cream to help diminish these fine lines and wrinkles.

Then as I had trouble sleeping, I began having dark circles under my eyes that really bothered me. I started using both vitamin K and a retinol eye cream for my eyes.

I can't really say if I have noticed much difference or not. I guess it makes me feel better that I am trying to do something about it, so I keep using the cream every day.

The dark circles under my eyes don't seem as apparent, but I still notice the wrinkles around my eyes.

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    • Retinol eye cream.
      By: Coprid
      Retinol eye cream.
    • To get rid of dark circles underneath the eyes, people may want to try an eye cream that has vitamin K.
      By: WONG SZE FEI
      To get rid of dark circles underneath the eyes, people may want to try an eye cream that has vitamin K.
    • Look for an eye cream that treats your specific problem areas.
      By: Nobilior
      Look for an eye cream that treats your specific problem areas.
    • Most over-the-counter eye creams contain only a small percentage of retinol, so read the labels carefully.
      By: arturas kerdokas
      Most over-the-counter eye creams contain only a small percentage of retinol, so read the labels carefully.
    • In addition to applying retinol eye cream, use a daily moisturizer with a high sun protection factor (SPF) that can help prevent further sun damage.
      By: Africa Studio
      In addition to applying retinol eye cream, use a daily moisturizer with a high sun protection factor (SPF) that can help prevent further sun damage.