Three eye creams, one from Honest Company, one from Biossance, and another from Supergoop, on a tan and beige background. Share on Pinterest
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Being a new parent is incredibly rewarding, but it’s also (understandably) exhausting. During those first few months, you’re sure to get your share of late nights, early mornings, and little-to-no rest in between, which can leave you rocking some heavy bags and dark circles under your tired eyes.

As it turns out, there’s a good reason why they call it “beauty sleep.” There are several restorative processes that occur both mentally and physically while we sleep, explains Brendan Camp, MD, a Manhattan-based dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology.

“When we don’t get enough sleep we affect our body’s ability to produce collagen, restore the skin barrier function, and process fluids appropriately,” Camp says. “Sleep deprivation may also create dark circles by making the blood vessels under our eyes more pronounced; without enough sleep the vessels dilate and impart a blue or purple appearance.”

There’s no shortage of skin care products on the market designed to alleviate your dark circles and puffy eyes.

There’s not a ton of research out there about what ingredients are and are not safe to use on your skin while breastfeeding, especially in topical eye creams which are used in such a small quantity. This study from 2017, which was focused primarily on cosmetic surgery and chemical peels during pregnancy and postpartum, found little evidence that topical absorption could have an effect on breastfeeding babies.

Information on salicylic acid is also limited, however, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), products that contain this ingredient are considered safe, as it’s “unlikely to be appreciably absorbed or appear in breastmilk.”

Still, we prefer to play it safe, so all of these products went through our medical review process and were given the thumbs up for breastfeeding moms.

For this list, we took dermatologist recommendations and pored over customer reviews. Most of these products focus on natural ingredients, such as rosehip oil, aloe vera, and shea butter, for added peace of mind.

We reached out to board certified dermatologists to get their feedback on the most effective under-eye creams that were formulated with ingredients that were considered to be safe for nursing mothers. We also factored in online reviews, the opinions of experienced parents as well as manufacturer information regarding features and capabilities.

Price guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$30
  • $$$ = $30–$50
  • $$$$ = over $50

Best for sensitive skin

CeraVe Eye Repair Cream

Price: $$

This eye cream contains hyaluronic acid, which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, as well as ceramides, which help plump the skin and smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Another ingredient worth mentioning is niacinamide, which has anti-inflammatory properties that help cut back on redness, notes Rina Allawh, MD, a dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

“An added bonus this product is fragrance-free and noncomedogenic (i.e., won’t cause acne breakouts) making it ideal for acne-prone, sensitive skin,” she says.

CeraVe’s eye cream has mostly rave reviews, especially because it’s designed for sensitive skin and on the lower end of the price range. But a few folks complain that the formula is greasy so not great for layering makeup on top.

Pros

  • According to the company, the cream is ophthalmologist tested.
  • The formula includes hyaluronic acid, which will provide a hydration boost.
  • Niacinamide helps cut down on redness.
  • It’s fragrance-free and nongreasy.

Cons

  • It may burn if applied over a pimple or eczema.
  • The cream may not be best for folks with sensitive skin.

Botanics 80% Organic Hydrating Eye Cream

Price: $$

Rosehip oil is the star ingredient in this cream, working to help improve hydration in the eye area and soothe puffiness. Other ingredients include sweet almond oil, olive fruit oil, and shea butter to nourish the skin. It can be used morning and night in addition to your regular skin care regimen.

Some reviewers say that it’s fast-absorbing, so you don’t feel any oily residue under your eye area — which is especially useful if you apply any makeup on top. Other reviewers say that while it’s certainly moisturizing, they didn’t see a big difference in their dark under-eye circles.

Because it’s formulated without certain chemicals often found in skin care ingredients, it’s less likely to cause irritation and is great for sensitive skin.

Pros

  • The cream absorbs quickly, and shouldn’t leave a greasy residue.
  • It contains only natural ingredients, including shea butter, rosehip, and olive oil.
  • The formula is designed for daily use.

Cons

  • The size of this cream is tiny — the package is less than 1 ounce.
  • The cream contains alcohol, which may be irritating if it gets in your eye.

Best budget

Preparation H with Aloe

Price: $

Putting hemorrhoid cream under your eyes might not be the most glam morning activity, but dermatologists swear by it for reducing that puffiness that comes along with a poor night’s sleep.

“Preparation H is a vasoconstrictor, which means it narrows the blood vessels, helping reduce under-eye puffiness and aiding in the blue-violaceous discoloration, contributing to the ‘tired’ appearance,” explains Allawh. “This easy trick can help maintain the coveted ‘well-rested’ look, while saving you a few bucks.”

A word of caution for this inside beauty hack: key ingredient in Preparation H is witch hazel, which can actually dry out the skin. Allawh recommends starting with a small test spot on your hand to check for any irritation reactions, especially in those with sensitive skin.

Creams that are steroids can also cause thinning of the skin over time, especially under the eye. While this can be used occasionally without concern, if you’re looking to use it more regularly, consult your healthcare professional first.

Pros

  • This cream is multi-purpose.
  • It’s affordable and comes in a large, single tube.
  • It’s HSA and FSA eligible.

Cons

  • The cream isn’t designed specifically for under-eye use.
  • Some people may not like the scent.
  • Overuse of a steroid, especially under the eye, can cause thinning of the skin over time. Consult your provider before implementing this on a regular basis.

Best splurge

Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream

Price: $$$$

This cream provides a trio of fatigue-fighting ingredients: peptides, vitamin C, and cucumber extract. “Peptides are short-chain amino acids that are used as the building blocks of proteins like collagen and elastin,” explains Camp.

Vitamin C is your go-to ingredient for those pesky dark circles, thanks to its brightening benefits, and cucumbers help rehydrate and soothe the skin with their naturally high water content, explains Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Drunk Elephant products are mostly well loved by those who use them, but they’re on the expensive side, making this half-ounce bottle a bit of a splurge. Some reviewers say the bottle ran out quickly, and others advise that they saw better results when they kept it in the fridge.

Pros

  • Contains eye-brightening vitamin C.
  • It’s gentle enough for twice-daily use.
  • The cream is safe for sensitive skin.

Cons

  • This option is on the pricey side, especially for an eye cream.
  • It comes in a small container — less than 1 ounce.

EltaMD Renew Eye Gel

Price: $$$$

This oil-free eye gel works hard on your under-eye area, reducing puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. “It contains an ingredient called HDI/trimethylol hexyllactone crosspolymer, which helps brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines by diffusing light,” explains Allawh.

“It also contains vitamin C and niacinamide to help target and reduce redness and puffiness of the under eyes.” She recommends using this eye gel twice daily (morning and evening) for optimal results.

A lot of folks like this EltaMD product, but it’s definitely on the pricier end of this list. It also contains retinyl palmitate — a retinoid. If you have an infant, small amounts and with no direct contact with the infant should be fine, though providers generally advise those who are pregnant and breastfeeding to avoid it. That said, this is likely a better option for parents who use formula.

Pros

  • It’s oil-free, so it doesn’t leave a greasy residue.
  • It contains hyaluronic acid for maximum hydration.
  • Antioxidants help ward off free-radical damage.

Cons

  • This cream is on the pricey side, especially for an eye cream that’s less than 1 ounce.
  • It may be irritating for those with sensitive skin.

Best botanical blends

100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

Price: $$

This plant-based, caffeinated cream was designed to shrink puffiness. It also contains rosehip oil, which hydrates and helps brighten, and vitamin C, which replaces lost collagen from the night before.

Another key ingredient is aloe, which aloe is widely used for burns and inflammation, and similarly may have a soothing effect for dry skin around the eyes, according to Zeichner.

Pros

  • According to the company, this cream “de-puffs” using natural ingredients, like caffeine.
  • Clinical trials have shown it to be effective in reducing dark circles.
  • It can be used in the morning and evening.

Cons

  • It’s fairly expensive for an all-natural product.
  • It has a scent that could be unpleasant to some consumers.

Honest Beauty Deep Hydration Eye Cream

Price: $$

You may already be a fan of the baby-friendly brand Honest Company, founded by actress and mompreneur Jessica Alba, but you may or may not know that they sell a wide array of skin care products for parents, too!

One of Honest Beauty’s most popular products is their Deep Hydration Eye Cream, which contains hyaluronic acid to draw water back into the skin and a soothing botanical blend that includes chamomile and calendula, which can help calm and soothe tired-looking skin.

Reviews are mixed when it comes to how well sensitive skin meshes with this product, even though the cream is fragrance-free. Some folks were happy with the results, and say a little goes a long way, making it a good choice for the price. Others said they had a bad reaction to this cream and it irritated their skin.

Pros

  • It’s dermatologist approved and tested.
  • The cream is formulated without parabens, phthalates, PEGs, and other potentially negative ingredients.
  • The formula has natural ingredients, including chamomile and calendula.

Cons

  • Some consumers with sensitive skin reacted poorly.
  • It glides on more like a lotion than a cream, which some consumers may not like.

emerginC Rawceuticals Eye & Lip Craft

Price: $$$$

This is another splurge-y option but definitely hits the mark if you’re looking for something that’s all-natural. Rawceuticals uses a cold-press method to process fruit, vegetables, and seeds while retaining the nutritional integrity of the ingredients. The result is a balm of sorts, which warms to the touch for application.

This specific blend includes cocoa butter, coconut oil, and carrot seed oil, which a 2019 study suggests might be a beneficial ingredient for skin rejuvenation.

Our market editor is currently testing this product and says that the cocoa butter and carrot seed oil combo is definitely moisturizing and feels nice on the skin. But the consistency is definitely on the greasy side, so it’s not great for wearing under makeup. It also has a very distinct, earthy scent, so if you’re smell-averse, this might not be a great pick for you.

Pros

  • This under-eye cream is “pressed,” which makes it thicker consistency for application.
  • It’s designed to work for all skin types.
  • The cream can be used twice daily — in the morning and at night.

Cons

  • It has a creamy consistency that doesn’t absorb quickly into the skin.
  • It’s free of preservatives, so it won’t have as long of a shelf life as some other eye creams.

Best for the entire face

Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream

Price: $$$

This eye cream is designed to brighten your skin while you’re (hopefully) asleep, taking advantage of the time when your body is already rejuvenating. The ingredients list is simple, with two main ingredients — squalane, a human-made lipid that’s based on the squalene your body naturally produces, and marine algae. These work to hydrate, firm the skin, and stimulate collagen production.

The reviews are mostly positive for this eye cream, with folks saying they experienced brighter, more moisturized skin after using it. Though it’s not intended to be used on your entire face, Dr. Camps says there’s nothing in the ingredient list that would make it harmful to slather all over, especially since it’s fragrance-free.

Pros

  • It’s formulated without potentially harmful ingredients, like parabens and fragrance.
  • It absorbs quickly into the skin and starts working fast.
  • It’s ideal for most skin types.

Cons

  • It may not be ideal for those with sensitive skin or folks who are prone to irritation.
  • Some reviewers report that it takes too long to see results.

Acure Radically Rejuvenating Eye Cream

Price: $$

Although this cream is formulated for the under-eye area, it can be used anywhere on the face, thanks to its natural list of ingredients, including edelweiss extract and chlorella, which both provide nourishing hydration without causing irritation.

It’s also free of a plethora of potentially harmful chemicals often found in skin care products, including parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, and petrolatum. Plus, it’s cruelty-free.

Pros

  • It’s made with natural ingredients that won’t be likely to cause irritation.
  • It’s safe for use on the entire face, so you can use it as more than just an eye cream.
  • It absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn’t leave behind a residue.

Cons

  • Some reviewers complain it has an unpleasant scent.
  • It may take a while to start seeing an improvement.

Best cream with sunscreen

Supergoop! Bright-Eyed 100% Mineral Eye Cream SPF 40

Price: $$$

Even on cold and cloudy days, you should be applying SPF to your skin — especially your delicate under-eye area, which contains some of the thinnest skin on your face. Luckily, this mineral-based SPF cream is meant for your under-eyes and is formulated with ingredients like 100 percent zinc oxide that can protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

To use, simply apply to the area at least 15 minutes before you plan to leave the house and don’t forget to reapply every 2 hours or so to ensure you’re protected throughout the day.

Pros

  • It has 40 SPF, so it offers some protection for the skin from UV rays.
  • It’s mineral-based, so it’s safe for breastfeeding.
  • It absorbs quickly into the skin and starts working fast.

Cons

  • It may not be ideal for people with sensitive skin, or anyone prone to irritation.
  • It’s not as easy to blend in as other sunscreens.

Whenever you talk about skin care products, it’s essential to remember that what works for some people may not work for others. We read some reviews for each of the products included in this list, and every single one had comments highlighting mixed results — as everyone’s skin is different.

There’s no exact science, so choosing products could involve some trial and error before you find your ideal eye cream. That said, if you have any specific skin conditions or sensitivities, it’s always a good idea to speak with your dermatologist before trying a new skin product.

Do eye creams help with wrinkles?

Eye creams can help improve the appearance of wrinkles by addressing certain skin changes that occur around the eyes. For example, eye creams can improve skin hydration, which also benefits appearance.

Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid can smooth out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles that form around the eyes, Camp says. “By attracting moisture to the skin, these creams help plump the skin to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.” (The creams don’t make the wrinkles go away, just decrease how obvious they are.)

Can eye creams help remove dark circles?

Aside from lack of sleep, there’s a myriad of factors that can lead to dark circles under the eyes. These include age, an increase in melanin or pigmentation in the skin, and an uptick in the appearance of superficial blood vessels that impart a blue or purple color to the skin, Camp says.

Luckily eye creams can blur the appearance of dark circles, often by using mineral ingredients like mica. “Mica reflects light from the skin, which can make the under-eye skin look smoother, softer, and healthier,” he says. “Eye creams that contain vitamin C may help address dark circles by increasing collagen production and protecting from the damaging effects of free oxygen radicals.”

Can eye creams help get rid of bags under my eyes?

Those bags under your eyes are not merely the result of lost sleep, but also of swelling (also called “edema”) of the lower eyelid skin, which can come with natural aging. Luckily, certain ingredients that constrict superficial blood vessels can help with swelling, Camp says.

“Caffeine is an ingredient found in some eye creams that helps address swelling and dark circles by constricting blood vessels and minimizing the discoloration of dark circles,” he says.

Is it safe to use an eye cream every day?

Most eye creams are safe for everyday use. However, Camp notes that certain ingredients, such as retinol and vitamin C, can be particularly irritating. He recommends gradually starting to use an eye cream that contains these ingredients, so as not to cause a rash or other irritation.

There’s no shortage of eye creams for sale, many of which are formulated with ingredients that are safe for breastfeeding or expecting parents.

As always, it’s important to know your skin type, and how your skin responds to certain ingredients so you can prevent a potentially unpleasant reaction. Consulting a board certified dermatologist is the first step should you experience any negative skin changes, or side effects from the use of a new eye cream.