Most under-eye baggage is genetic and thus, there’s no cure. Sorry! But an eye serum *can* help tighten and brighten, if that’s what you’re after, and we’re deeming these five the “Chosen Ones.”
Let’s lay some groundwork right out of the gate: When it comes to under-eye baggage, there’s really only so much you can do. Circa my mid twenties, when this started to be something I paid attention to, I spent much dollars and internet time trying to figure out how to tighten up the bags.
After several years of less-than-stunning results with various creams, I resigned myself to the realization that, to paraphrase Juvenile, I get it from my mama. And also my dad. Dark circles, puffiness and wrinkles are mostly hereditary and related to our genetics.
That being said, there arethings I could’ve done, in theory, to not exacerbate the situation further, such as not drinking beer like I was trying to hydrate for a marathon, or maybe cutting back to “twice a week pho” instead of “five times a week pho.”
I’m happy to report that in my early thirties, I’m consuming slightly less salt and drinking slightly less beer. But timing has also worked out such that a new generation of eye serum products have emerged on the marketplace.
Whereas many products of yore relied on caffeine as a skin-tightening agent—or else the blood-vessel constricting ingredient phenylephrine (as in same stuff used in hemorrhoid cream)—they yielded only a temporary fix, whereas newer products containing retinol and a slew of acids have the ability to deliver more long-term-ish results.
These are some of the best that I’ve come across, and even still, the changes are subtle—the kind of thing you only notice if you’re explicitly looking for it. In other words, you’re probably the only one that is ever going to notice.
But here’s the otherthing about my new fave eye serum products: I’ll probably still keep using them, even if I’m the only one that ever notices. Becausepreventativecare (maybe).
But really, it probably has more to do with confidence and tricking your brain: I look more awake, therefore I must be more awake! And than in itself is kinda worth it.
NIOD Fractionated Eye Contour Concentrate, $68
NIOD, which stands for “Non-invasive options in dermal science,” is a sister company to The Ordinary, the uber-accessible skincare company that beauty buffs are swooning over right and left. Both fall under the parent company of DECIEM, which is taking a chemistry-forward approach to skincare, haircare and even supplements.
This product in particular, what with its “28 clinical technologies,” can feel a little intimidating, but all it takes is a tiny drop applied to the upper and lower eyelids morning and night. While the NIOD line is significantly pricier than The Ordinary, this stuff goes a long way, considering the dosage.
Verso Super Eye Serum, $80
Everyone knows that vitamins are our friends, but in recent years, we’ve discovered that vitamin A is our skin’s bestfriend, more or less. Utilizing what this Swedish skincare company calls retinol 8, a proprietary formula of vitamin A that is allegedly eight times more effective than regular retinol, this serum encourages new collagen production.
Which is precisely what your skin starts missing as the clock keeps ticking; collagen production slows at a rate of one percent a year after you turn 20.
Smyrna Anti-Aging Gold Collagen Eye Masks, $21.69 for a pack of 10
One could make the argument that these are a mask and not a serum, but as we’ve previously discussed, no one really knows what a serum even is. I’m going to go ahead and make the case that the collagen fluid that the masks transfer to your under-eye skin are indeed a serum, thus this belongs on this list.
The masks manage to be super cool and soothing on your skin, and after you’re through, you’ll notice your skin is feeling v hydrated. Plus, they’re just kinda fun to wear, seeing as how they’re gold.
Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum, $60
Drunk Elephant has built a reputation for itself with products that don’t utilize any “extra” ingredients—nothing to make it smell or look any prettier than it simply is. That means the copper peptides, edelweiss stem cell culture, black tea ferment and sea buckthorn oil are all doing work to shrink wrinkles, reduce redness and improve radiance.
For the record: My go-to combination of late has been this plus the NIOD FECC.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum, $69
This coveted skincare line’s eye serum packs the punch of retinol plus ferulic acid, an acid with strong antioxidant properties that is derived from the seeds of fruits like apples and oranges.
Throw in a little licorice root extract to brighten dark circles, and this popular serum delivers when it comes to reducing puffiness and wrinkles, and all-around brightening up your whole situation. Lovely.