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The 21 Best Retinol Eye Creams for Serious Results

Crow's feet and dark circles are shaking.

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Astrid StawiarzGetty Images

To understand the benefits of a retinol eye cream, one must first get a grasp on what a retinol is. Definition, please: Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that spurs cell turnover and enhances collagen production, which ultimately yields healthier, younger-looking skin. (You can really dig into the science of retinol with our comprehensive guide.) Dermatologists think of retinols and their many forms—retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde—as being among the most efficient and safe options in the entire skincare universe.

Over the counter, the highest concentrations available top out at one percent. This is because formulas with higher percentages of retinol can cause skin irritation and peeling, and may require the oversight of a doctor. For many years, retinols were not present in eye treatment products at all—the strength of the formulas were considered too damaging for the very delicate skin around the eyes. Today, we're lucky enough that science has gifted us a wide range of safe and effective retinol eye creams.

When considering the retinol eye cream that might be right for you, think about the other benefits you're hoping to achieve. Some contain powerful moisturizers, which can plump fine lines and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. Others contain brightening ingredients that can address dullness or dark circles. Whatever result you're after, retinol eye creams are an essential part of a well-rounded skincare regimen.

Retinol Eye Stick
Peace Out sephora.com

Encapsulated retinol is housed in a handy stick thats even delicate enough for your very thin eyelids. Also contains peptides, moisturizing squalane, and an impressive antioxidant complex. 

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Retinol Correxion Anti-Aging Eye Cream Treatment
RoC amazon.com

This is not a sponsored post: RoC makes some of the best OTC retinols on the market. I said what I said. Thanks to a hypoallergenic formulation and a soothing mineral complex, you'll experience none of the retinol downsides (puffing, scaling) and all the upside (visibly smoother, clearer skin). 

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Regenerist Retinol24 Night Eye Cream
Olay ulta.com

Eyes are sensitive—we can agree on this, no? This fragrance-free cream manages to be deeply nourishing and quenching, while not being one bit irritating. 

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Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
Neutrogena amazon.com

Here, the absorption and efficacy of the relatively low-dose retinol is enhanced by the presence of a proprietary glucose complex. If that sounds like word salad, it's not. Neutrogena has plenty of internal studies to back up the claim. In short, they have the retinol receipts. 

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Retinol Eye Cream
The Inkey List sephora.com

Pricey doesn't always mean better, especially when it comes to good skincare. Here, a time-released version of stabilized retinol means none of the peeling, flaking, or redness and irritation often associated with the vitamin A derivative.  

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FAB Skin Lab Retinol Eye Cream
First Aid Beauty sephora.com

What's nice with this find from across the pond: Not only will you get the skin-rejuvenating benefits of retinol, but you're also getting a really, really lush eye cream thanks to the presence of hyaluronic acid, colloidal oatmeal and vitamins A and C.

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Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare dermstore.com

Ferulic acid is one of the best antioxidants in the game and retinol is one of the best anti-agers. Some smart scientist paired up this inimitable duo and the rest, they say, is history.

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Comprehensive Retinol Eye Cream
NeoStrata dermstore.com
$43.20 (20% off)

In addition to a 0.05 percent concentration of a pure and stabilized retinol, this formulation also makes use of NeoGlucosamine, a proprietary amino acid for exfoliating and brightening dark circles. 

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Retinol Recovery Eye Cream
Dr. Zenovia Skincare sephora.com

Call it a one-two punch, but really it's a one-three punch: Green tea polyphenols, retinol, and caffeine team up to cinch up blood vessels, encourage circulation, and promote the development of new, tighter skin cells.  

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Youth Dose Eye Treatment
Kiehl's birchbox.com

For some people, even a separate eye cream feels like a little too much work each day. For that person, we offer this tinted retinol primer. Layer it under your daily concealer and kill all the birds  wrinkles and dark marks with one stone.

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24/7 Retinol Eye Cream
Dr. Brandt dermstore.com

Here, a time-released retinol is combined with a hydrating lemon tree honey, phospholipids, and amino acid complex, plus an illuminating ruby crystal formulation that sounds woo-woo but is actually *chef's kiss.*

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Retinol Firming Eye Cream
Kate Somerville sephora.com

Sweep on this feather-light blend of hyaluronic acid and retinol with tube's cooling gold tip and you'll feel like a rich, crow's-foot-free lady. (Who checks her privilege and is also doing the work, mind you.)  

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Beauty Booster® Retinol Eye Cream
Trish McEvoy nordstrom.com

Resveratrol, the powerful antioxidant found in your favorite red wine, is here alongside moisture wicking hyaluronic acid and high-concentration retinol for an efficient addition to your daily routine. Chin chin to good skin!

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Retinol + Vitamin C Complex
Urban Skin Rx dermstore.com

If addressing the fine lines, sagging, pouching, and ruddiness around your eyes is your primary concern, this power-packed potion is just the ticket. What it has: retinol, vitamin C, caffeine, and peptides. What it doesn't have: Distracting scents, irritating additives, a lot of unnecessary hype.  

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Retinol Fusion PM Eye Cream
Peter Thomas Roth sephora.com

The micro-encapsulated retinol that PTR has chosen for this formulation is said to absorb more readily into the skin, since it's part of a smaller molecule. Who can say if that's true? What we can say: We noted visibly lighter dark circles and fine lines that seemed to almost evaporate with continued use.

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Advanced Retinol Eye Cream
Strivectin nordstrom.com

A few tiny dabs of this clinical-level product is so effective that some reviewers have said the hydrating and tightening results kept them from scheduling eye surgeries.

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Pure Peach Retinoic Eye Cream
Peach & Lily ulta.com

Peach extract, yes, but also ferulic acid, ginseng, niacinamide and green tea all combine to enhance the overall plumping, tightening and brightening effects of this supremely gentle retinoic offering.

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Age Recovery Night Crème
Meaningful Beauty ulta.com

Celebrity skincare lines elicit an internal eyeroll emoji from most beauty editors—but Cindy Crawford's Meaning Beauty range is a well-heralded exception. A few different vitamin A derivatives mean you're getting a range of benefits, plus the free radical-scrounging activity from antioxidant melon extract. 

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All-trans-Retinol Eye Repair Cream
Replenix dermstore.com

If you can't decide whether your fine lines or your dark circles pester you more, why choose! This generous complex contains brightening arnica and vitamin K alongside green tea and peptides, which work to shore up the elastin bonds in the skin.  

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Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum
Murad sephora.com

Retinols can be serums, too, and this happens to be a very good one. The nearly translucent formula dries down with almost zero sheen, meaning it's great under concealer, foundation, or heavier creams and treatments. 

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Boosted Contouring Retinol Eye Balm
Tata Harper sephora.com

If winter dryness is a concern, in addition to the overall elasticity of the skin around your eyes, this is the formula for you. This quenching balm creates an occlusive layer of moisture around that ever-so-delicate zone, while also delivering no-nonsense retinols where you need it most. 

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