Eyes may be the windows to the soul, but the frames around those windows often show the signs of aging more quickly than other areas of the face -- in addition to wrinkles, many people contend with puffiness and sagging bags. When these issues call for a little firming up, you can turn to dozens of off-the-shelf creams; while the choice of the “best” product boils down to your personal needs, preferences and budget, some expert opinions draw attention to the cream of the crop.
Firm and Protect
As UV rays can damage skin and accelerate the signs of aging, some eye creams contain UV protection. Oprah.com recommends Clarins Sun Eye Contour Care Ultra Protection SPF 30. As its name suggests, this cream features sun-blocking zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in addition to its puffiness-fighting ingredients. For lighter protection, the Marie Claire website claims that Dermalogica Total Eye Care ranks among the best eye creams available. This cream offers SPF 15 protection and firms up baggy eyes.
Tighten and De-Wrinkle
According to Elle and Marie Claire, Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus cream -- which focuses mainly on anti-aging -- effectively firms the area under the eyes and helps smooth out fine lines. Elle also recommends Kiehl's Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye Cream, a cocktail with a foundation of calcium and apricot kernel oil. While this cream specifically targets wrinkles, it also helps your skin retain its firmness and elasticity, according to Dr. Geoffrey Genesky of Kiehl's skin care laboratory.
The Natural Route
To firm up puffy eyes, the Allure website suggests Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Antiwrinkle Eye Cream, which relies on rhodiola rosea extract to restore firmness to the under-eye area. Additionally, this product features yeast-derived ingredients to encourage circulation and fade dark circles. Elle champions the plant oil ingredients of Aveda's Green Science Firming Eye Creme, which include lady's thistle, argan oil and cactus oil to ease skin swelling. For a hypoallergenic option, Elle and Oprah.com suggest Perricone MD Firming Eye Cream, which plumps the skin, eases dryness and lightens dark circles.
Retailing for roughly half the cost of many designer eye creams, Oprah.com calls Boots No. 7 Reviving Eye Gel a “secret weapon for beautiful bright eyes.” This cream alternative, which you store in the refrigerator, features a cooling effect that constricts blood vessels. Other affordable options include the Oprah-recommended Clinique All About Eyes Serum, which uses caffeine to firm under-eye skin, and Aveeno's Smart Essentials Anti-Fatigue Eye Treatment. The Woman's Day website names the latter among its list of the best eye creams to buy -- it costs a fraction of the price of average eye cream and features a roll-on applicator to help deflate loose under-eye skin. Woman's Day also touts the value-priced Olay Total Effects 7-in-One Eye Treatment, an eye-firming cream with vitamins B-3, B-5 and E.
In its 2013 list of the 12 best eye creams, Allure recommends Chanel Ultra Correction Lift Total Eye Lift. This cream features a naturally occurring protein ingredient known as Elemi PFA, which helps anchor skin cells and tighten the skin. Estee Lauder's Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator also makes Allure's list and comes with Oprah's seal of approval, as it contains skin-tightening caffeine with a cooling applicator that helps instantly deflate puffiness. La Praire White Caviar Illuminating Eye Cream and Valmont L'Elixir Des Glaciers Eye Cream both find a place on Elle's own 2013 list of outstanding eye creams due to their lifting, firming and brightening potential, although these products -- the former of which contains golden caviar extracts -- retail for up to 30 times as much as other creams.
Dan combines his decade-long experience as a freelance writer and small business owner with hands-on experience in fashion, mixology, media production and more. Previously, he's published with Chron.com, Charlotte's Book, LIVESTRONG, Civilized Life, Hunker, Fortune, Salon.com, Out East Rose, Samsung, USA Today and others.