Brighter, smoother, and more hydrated undereyes ahead.

By Hana Hong
July 10, 2020
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
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Pretty much any dermatologist can attest to the fact that eye cream is an integral part of your skincare routine. The highly concentrated form of moisturizer comes packed with supercharged ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and retinol, to help with a plethora of common skin issues. Short-term, it brightens and moisturizes your undereyes; long-term, it helps treat and prevent bags, puffiness, and wrinkles that attribute to aging. The problem is that these formulas usually cost a pretty penny, which on top of your other skincare essentials can rack up quite a receipt. Here’s a secret: You don't actually have to fork over half your paycheck to snag an effective eye cream. Instead of dishing out a couple hundos for a tiny tub, we compiled the best drugstore formulas that will do all of the above—all for under $40.

1

Retinol is a pretty heavy ingredient, so applying it to the thin area under your eyes might sound intimidating. Olay’s winning night cream is formulated to be as gentle as possible, so it's safe enough to use every night with virtually no irritation. Like most Olay products, the star ingredient is vitamin B3, which helps skin retain moisture while helping with surface skin cell turnover and regeneration. In other words, you get all the anti-aging benefits of retinol without the unwanted side effects. 

To buy: $39; ulta.com.

2

If you have super sensitive skin that seems to flare up from just about anything, Cetaphil is the way to go. The derm-loved and hypoallergenic formula is loaded with hyaluronic acid to seriously hydrate and lock in moisture. And thanks to its gel-cream consistency, you get the best of both worlds—it absorbs quickly like a gel while moisturizing deeply like a cream. 

To buy: $18; ulta.com.

3

Another gel-cream winner, Neutrogena’s lightweight cream is like a cool glass of water for your undereyes. Purified hyaluronic acid is coupled with olive extract, a powerful antioxidant with fatty acids that help strengthen your skin barrier from excessive moisture loss. 

To buy: $25; ulta.com.

4

If there’s a prize for most satisfying application, this one takes the cake. Alba Botanica’s eye cream comes with a cooling metal ball on the end that releases the hydration-packed formula as you roll, which means you get to soothe your puffy bags and treat them simultaneously. It only takes a few seconds and feels like a dream when applied to your tired morning eyes.

To buy: $15; target.com.

5

Blackberries might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think anti-aging, but this underrated ingredient deserves all the spotlight in Aveeno’s formula. Because it’s so packed with antioxidants, the dark berry’s juice provides a rich source of vitamin C and anthocyanins that help to renew your skin cells. Over time, it’ll give your skin a noticeably healthier glow.

To buy: $23; target.com.

6

When it comes to skincare products that replenish the skin’s natural barrier, you’ll hear one word over and over again: ceramides. These molecules are lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and protect it against environmental aggressors. When mixed into a skincare product, like this hypoallergenic, fast-absorbing one from CeraVe, it helps restore and maintain your skin’s natural barrier to slow down the aging process. 

To buy: $16; ulta.com.

7

Bliss’ formula fusion literally was a bright idea—the combination of vitamin C and tri-peptides not only instantly brightens the under-eye area but also instigates collagen production, boosting its natural elasticity over time. Apply it daily for reduced crow’s feet, wrinkles, and fine lines.

To buy: $24; ulta.com.