The 18 Best Eye Creams for Puffiness in 2024, According to Editors and Experts

Who says you didn’t get eight hours of sleep?

best eye creams for puffy eyes: Dior eye gel, La Mer eye concentrate and more eye creams
(Image credit: Future)

Ever wake up in the morning with puffy eyes? Yea, same. While dunking your entire face in an ice bath is a worthwhile solution (seriously, the technique is all over TikTok), slathering on one of the best eye creams for puffiness will work just as well—and be a heck of a lot more enjoyable. Whether you’re partial to gel formulas and serums or gravitate towards rich, creamy creams that layer flawlessly under makeup, there’s a de-puffing, cooling, and hydrating eye cream out there that will make your under eyes look fresher than ever.

That said, there are a ton of eye creams to choose from. It can be overwhelming to weed through all the claims and marketing jargon. And when eye puffiness is your primary pain point, you need a product that addresses the swelling. Caffeine and hydrating ingredients are going to be your BFFs. To make your shopping as easy as can be, we did our research, tested a range of products, and spoke to the experts to hunt down the best eye creams for puffy eyes. 

Overview

What to Look For in a Puffy Eye Cream

  • Retinol

Not only can retinol be a transformative ingredient for your entire face, but it can also substantially improve the look of your under eye area. "Retinol helps stimulate collagen and helps reduce the hyperpigmentation which is common in this area," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Karan Lal. That in mind, you're not going to want to double dip—pick a retinol eye cream specifically designed for the delicate skin under the eye. 

  • Hydrating Ingredients

This is pretty much the baseline for any good eye cream. Dry and dehydrated skin is only going to contribute to puffiness. Moisturizing ingredients are far and wide, but it's best to make sure your eye cream has been proven to boost moisture. “Ceramides and hyaluronic acid will make sure the skin is hydrated," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Morgan Rabach. "Peptides can also help repair damaged collagen, which is prevalent in the aging eyelid region," adds Dr. Lal. Glycerin, fatty acids, and squalane are also worth noting. 

  • Caffeine

"Caffeine is another great ingredient which helps shrink blood vessels in the skin which reduces puffiness, albeit temporarily," says Dr. Lal. If you want to up the ante on the puffiness-reducing power, pop your caffeine-infused eye cream in the fridge before application. 

  • Fragrance-Free

While in large part fragrance in a product is personal preference, just be warned that it can exacerbate puffiness via an allergic reaction. Fragrances can also react with the sun and cause hyperpigmentation. "Hyperpigmentation in this region can last for months to years," says Dr. Lal. A product that contains fragrance isn't necessarily bad, but just use extra caution if you have sensitive skin or eyes. 

The Best Eye Creams for Puffy Eyes

The products on this list have been vetted by Marie Claire's Beauty Editor, Samantha Holender (a.k.a. yours truly) and Marie Claire's Beauty Director, Deena Campbell; or have been hand-selected by a board-certified dermatologist. Each and every one includes ingredients clinically proven to deliver de-puffing results, is highly rated by reviewers, and provides hydration. While the *best* eye cream for you will vary based on personal preference, you truly can't go wrong with one of the items on this list. For a more personalized recommendation or if you have any concerns, check with your board-certified dermatologist.

What Causes Puffy Eyes?

First things first: Puffy eyes are normal. Dr. Rabach explains that people can have a genetic predisposition to puffy eyes as a result of fat piercing through the muscle. So, if you’ve inherited under-eye bags from your family, don’t expect your puffiness to disappear overnight. But (and this is a biggie) sometimes puffy eyes are the result of easy-to-change lifestyle habits. “Eating salt can cause water retention and seasonal allergies, or allergies to eyes creams, can cause swelling and fluid build up around the eye,” explains Dr. Rabach. Another possibility? You're not getting as much shut eye as you should. "Poor sleep also contributes to puffy eyes," adds Dr. Lal. 

When Will I See Results?

In short: The best eye creams can reduce puffiness. That said, it’s important to have reasonable expectations. A few pats of product isn’t going to completely remove the puffy under eyes you’ve had your entire life. The right ingredients can, however, make a visibly noticeable difference—it's just going to take time. 

"Don’t expect overnight miracles and don’t expect 100 percent improvement," says Dr. Lal. "Eye creams and serums are great for those that want something to do at home, but they do not replace in-office procedures. Eye creams and serums are a supplement to procedures and take, on average, eight to 12 weeks to see improvement. It just takes that long to stimulate collagen and improve skin quality."

Meet the Dermatologists

dermatologist
Dr. Morgan Rabach

Dr. Morgan Rabach is a board-certified Dermatologist and media expert with hundreds of opinion articles on skincare and the use of injectable cosmetic procedures.  Dr. Morgan is known for her expertise in cutting edge techniques for Botox and Fillers and the savy use of skin products. Additionally, she deeply enjoys helping people eliminate acne scarring. Dr. Morgan is ranked “#1 dermatologist” in NYC by RateMDs, featured as a “Superdoctors” in NYTimes Magazine for the last five years, granted “TopDoctor” designation by Real Self and is an advisor for Gerson Lehrman Group and Guidepoint Global. In addition to her private practice, she is a Clinical Assistant professor of Dermatology at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She graduated from Brown University with Honors in Biology, earned her medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, and completed her medical internship at Yale New Haven Hospital and her dermatology residency at SUNY Downstate Medical Center where she served as chief resident.

.
Dr. Karan Lal

Originally from New York City, he grew up in Queens and attended Hunter Science High School in Manhattan. He graduated summa cum laude from the New York Institute of Technology, where he completed a rigorous seven-year accelerated combined medical program. He was selected to be an academic medical scholar, during which he received a Master of Science in neuroscience and a scholarship for three years of medical school and graduate training. He was elected to the Sigma Sigma Phi and Psi Sigma Alpha medical honor societies. He completed his internal medicine internship at the University of Connecticut Medical Center where he was elected intern of the year. He completed a three-year dermatology residency at the University of Massachusetts, where he was elected chief resident. He continued at the University of Massachusetts to complete a pediatric dermatology fellowship, where he gained an interest in vascular anomalies, pediatric laser, and dermatologic surgery of pediatric patients. Dr. Lal specializes in pediatric and adult dermatology, laser surgery, soft tissue filler augmentation, body sculpting, melanocyte keratinocyte transplant surgery for vitiligo and hypopigmentation, pigmentary abnormalities of the skin and enjoys treating patients from birth onwards. He is an expert in atopic dermatitis, vitiligo, melasma, psoriasis, and hidradenitis and has worked in specialty clinics among experts. He is the only board-certified pediatric and fellowship-trained cosmetic dermatologist in the country.