If your dark under-eye circles and fine lines (please let’s not call them crow’s feet!) are a little more pronounced lately, we feel you. Between staying up late to binge The Crown and wrangling holiday menus and gifts for your hard-to-buy-for MIL, we can’t be the only ones in need of a little help in the brightening, hydrating, and de-puffing department. Enter: eye cream.
This skincare classic has its fanatics and critics, but tbh, we’ll fork over some cash for anything that even slightly promises to make it look like we slept a straight eight (when in reality the baby woke up no fewer than three times and the toddler needed a sheets-change at 2 a.m.).
From roll-on options that take the place of chilled spoons and cucumber slices (who has the time?!) to anti-aging, antioxidant-rich formulas that tighten, plump and combat those tiny lines, there’s a flavor for everyone. And because having a good eye cream and being on a budget shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, here are the best drugstore eye cream options available for (mostly) under $20.
This antioxidant-packed formula (complete with lycopene-rich grapefruit) has been clinically shown to reduce the appearance of dark circles in just about a month of regular use. (No small feat for something that’ll run you just $15!). We’re also impressed by the brightening fruit acids and inclusion of licorice root to calm inflammation—if only it could tackle our email inbox, too.
Glycerin, the active ingredient in this formula, is a powerful humectant that locks in moisture—holding onto hydration with a vice grip. Kinda like how your littles grip the iPad when they know it’s nap time. Sheer strength.
Like a cup of coffee for your face (srsly!), this gel formula is chock-full of hyaluronic acid, which experts recommend as one of the top hydrating compounds around. Maureen B. on Amazon says, “This stuff is amazing to plump up those fine lines and make them less noticeable.” The best part? It absorbs super fast, so you can get on with the rest of your a.m. struggle routine.
A true multi-tasker—this anti-aging formula promises to diminish dark circles, defeat dullness, conquer crow’s feet (ugh), vanquish fine lines, triumph over puffiness and also even out tone and texture. If only we had that kind of energy.
Reviewers love this formula, which acts like a primer specifically for the undereye area, helping concealer and foundation glide on smoother. “Inexpensive and it works,” says L. Blumenthal on Amazon. Good enough for us!
If you tend toward dryness (hello, winter!), you need this anti-aging miracle worker, which contains hyaluronic acid and collagen to fill in fine lines, brighten and plump. “I’ve only used this product for a week and not only noticed results, but went a little crazy with it and rubbed it all over my face…I definitely noticed it filled in the little lines around my eyes and even my forehead,” says a review on Walmart’s site. Sign. Us. Up.
This power player contains a chemical exfoliator duo in the form of retinol and a glucose complex that helps turn over dead skin cells and increases skin’s texture and tone. Can it also tackle your mile-long to-do list? We’ll keep you posted.
Because the skin around your eyes has the least amount of elasticity (WHYYY), this area can seemingly age faster than the rest of your face. Thankfully, this serum is like IRL FaceTune, thanks to the amino peptide formula that plumps, smoothes and brightens to create a gorgeously clean canvas. Meaning: the baseball cap and bedhead may be a dead giveaway as to your quality of sleep last night, but at least your face looks awake, right?!
This OG formula has won the Allure Best of Beauty Award three times—and with good reason. It’s a time-released retinol-spiked formula that absorbs super slowly, so it won’t cause redness or irritation (unlike your micromanaging boss—we said it!).
We love Aveeno’s plant-based formulas, and their Ageless 3-in-1 eye cream is no different. With blackberry and dill herbal extracts to help strengthen elastin (the delicate fibers that keep skin flexible), it’s a must-have for anyone looking to stop time (at least in terms of their face). In terms of getting through the teething phase? Let’s speed that part along, stat!
We never leave home without at least three of Burt’s Bees classic lip balms stuffed into every pocket, diaper bag and car console. And now we’re stocking up on the mega-affordable (just $10) eye cream, specifically formulated for sensitive skin to nourish and de-puff your peepers. It’s hypoallergenic and, more importantly, makes you look less like a zombie at school drop-off.
We love a good #selfcaresunday cucumber-slices-on-the-eyes situation, but when you’re *not* blessed with 15 minutes of morning time where you can’t see WTF’s happening in your household, this Anti-Puff Eye Roller from Garnier accomplishes the same thing. The cooling gel contains caffeine to help tighten and tone things right up, so you can get back to playing Mom Referee.
CeraVe’s super gentle line of skincare is beloved by dermatologists, and the Eye Repair Cream should def be added into your regular rotation. The formula is fragrance-free and noncomedogenic (read: perfect for that sensitive undereye area), while also including ceramides—plant compounds to help keep things hydrated while replenishing all-important collagen.
The so-pretty minty green jar makes this eye cream look way fancier than its $10 price tag—and it’ll look super luxe sitting on your nightstand. The creamy concoction contains cucumber, vitamin E and jojoba oil for a hydrating punch that works through the night. Apply a little dab to each eye right before you pass out.
This collagen-boosted formula is a tad spendier than others on our list, but well worth it. OLEHENRIKSEN’s Banana Bright Eye Crème features banana powder (yep, your tot’s fave breakfast is apparently amazing for your face) that brightens and color-corrects, thanks to the pale yellow hue. It’s a perfect canvas for concealer, and we heart the light texture and sunny tint.
And to round out your morning makeup routine, here’s our list of more beauty must-haves.