The eyes may be the window to the soul…and they’re also where signs of aging show up first. Credit the fact that the skin in this area is the thinnest on the body, making it more susceptible to everything from dryness to crows’ feet. Enter the beauty of using a good eye cream, particularly as part of your pre-wedding skincare plan.
“Eye creams are formulated for the delicate skin around the eye and often packed with active ingredients to target specific eye concerns,” says Dr. Fatima Fahs, a board-certified dermatologist in Michigan and founder of Dermy Doc Box. “They can have numerous benefits, especially for brides hoping to look fresh and bright on their wedding day, both in real life and in photos,” she adds. There’s certainly no shortage of eye creams out there, so when it comes to choosing one, Fahs suggests considering exactly which type of peeper problem you’re trying to tackle.
Read on for the best eye creams to use before your wedding day.
The Inkey List Caffeine Eye Cream
Caffeine is an ingredient that helps constrict blood vessels, which in turn can improve the appearance of both dark circles and puffiness, says Fahs. She recommends this wallet-friendly pick, which is especially great for brides on a budget. We also appreciate the lightweight texture that layers nicely under makeup.
Price at time of publish: $12
RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Eye Cream
Retinol is one of the best anti-aging ingredients there is; by helping to boost the production of collagen, it can both smooth out existing fine lines and help prevent new ones from forming. It can be irritating to your skin, so you definitely want to make sure your eye cream specially formulated for the delicate skin in this area. Fahs likes this one, which she calls, “the OG drugstore eye cream,” and says it’s great for improving the look of wrinkles.
Price at time of publish: $28
Sea Radiance Rapid Eye Lift
“Brides will appreciate the immediate and long-lasting improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around their eyes that comes from the high concentration of peptides in this eye cream,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine. “It replenishes the collagen in your skin, repairs sun damage, and inactivates free radicals, reversing the major causes of premature aging.” Yes, please.
Price at time of publish: $79
Drunk Elephant Ceramighty AF Eye Balm
The name of this newbie refers to the ceramides in the formula; essential components of the skin barrier, they’re imperative for strengthening the skin and helping to lock in moisture. Couple that with a hefty dose of plant-derived fatty acids, and this cushiony cream is an especially great pick for anyone dealing with super dry skin around their eyes. Also nice: It can be used both under the eyes and on the upper lids, which isn’t always the case for all eye creams.
Price at time of publish: $60
Neocutis Lumière Firm Riche Extra Moisturizing Illuminating Tightening Eye Cream
Another one of Jaliman’s recommendations, she says this multi-tasker is great for hydrating, increasing firmness, and minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, as well as combatting puffiness. Credit hyaluronic acid, growth factors, and caffeine, respectively.
Price at time of publish: $97
DERMAdoctor DD Eye Dermatologically Defining Eye Radiance Cream SPF 30
Protecting the delicate skin around your eyes from sun damage—which can cause everything from spots to wrinkles—is an absolute must, and this pick makes it easy to do exactly that. It’s the perfect eye cream to use in the morning. Mineral-based SPF 30 shields the skin (without the potential for irritation that can come from chemical sunscreen ingredients), and it also has light-reflecting particles that work to instantly brighten the eye area and blur away any imperfections.
Price at time of publish: $32
First Aid Beauty Hydrating Eye Cream With Hyaluronic Acid
Fahs says hyaluronic acid is a great ingredient to look for if you have dry skin: “It’s a humectant, drawing in moisture and helping to plump the skin,” she explains. It’s the star of this show in this deeply-hydrating formula, which also contains caffeine to target dark circles and puffiness. This is also a top option for those with sensitive skin since it's both fragrance-free and touts skin-soothing colloidal oatmeal, too.
Price at time of publish: $30
Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream
With retinol to combat wrinkles and smooth fine lines, vitamin C to target discoloration, and hyaluronic acid for hydration and plumping, there’s not much this drugstore staple (another one of Jaliman’s picks) can’t do. Plus, we’d be remiss not to mention the very affordable price.
Price at time of publish: $21
Mary Kay Instant Puffiness Reducer
As the name suggests, this is in fact the product to reach for when you need serious de-puffing power. Just dab on a rice kernel-sized amount under each eye; a blend of clays, gums, and film formers helps pull out excess water that contributes to puffiness. Plus, the results last up to six hours.
Price at time of publish: $35
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright+ Vitamin C Eye Crème
Fun fact: This eye cream was inspired by cult-classic banana power, long used by makeup artists to help color-correct and brighten the skin. Hence why this has a pale yellow-ish tint, meant to help counteract the appearance of darkness under the eyes. Plus, it also contains vitamin C, which can also help improve hyperpigmentation, says Fahs.
Price at time of publish: $42
Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Eye Cream
Another choice drugstore pick, this too relies on retinol to combat wrinkles and sagging. But it’s specially formulated to not be irritating, even more so given that it’s fragrance-free. Use it every night at bedtime; clinical studies showed that it started to yield results after just four weeks.
Price at time of publish: $40
Biossance Squalane + Marine Algae Eye Cream
“This pick is for my dry-eyed brides who cannot tolerate retinol or struggle with flakiness and sensitivity around the eyes,” says Fahs. The namesake squalane is a sugarcane-derived ingredient that mimics components naturally found in the skin, helping to effectively lock in moisture. The marine algae helps to firm and boost elasticity, all in a formula that’s both deeply moisturizing yet not in the least bit greasy, and melts beautifully into skin.
Price at time of publish: $56
Paula's Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Gel
Not a huge fan of thicker creams? Opt for a gel-based formula, like this one. It earns Jaliman’s vote. She notes that it both hydrates the skin (via hyaluronic acid) and has a cooling, metal applicator that is ideal for de-puffing purposes. It sinks into skin beautifully, without leaving behind any greasy residue.
Revision Skincare D.E.J Eye Cream
While this pick is pricey, it’s worth the splurge, according to Fahs. “This medical grade eye cream is formulated with peptides, which are building blocks for collagen,” she explains. “It’s perfect for brides who are struggling with fine lines, wrinkles, and hooding, as it helps firm the delicate eye area.” We also like the included metal-tip applicator, which both dispenses the perfect amount and offers a de-puffing, massage-like sensation as you rub it in.
Price at time of publish: $114
Bliss Rest Assured Dark Circle Reducing & Depuffing Eye Cream
There’s no shortage of good-for-your-skin ingredients in this cream, which also happens to have a very wallet-friendly price tag. We’re talking niacinamide to help moisturize and often antioxidant protection, vitamin C for brightening, caffeine for de-puffing, and a peptide for line-smoothing. What more could you ask for?
Price at time of publish: $25
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Vitamin C Lactic Firm & Bright Eye Treatment
“Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is said to fight free radical damage and helps improve hyperpigmentation,” says Fahs. There are not one, not two, but three forms of the ingredient found in this silky eye cream, paired with gently exfoliating lactic acid to smooth out texture and even out skin tone in one fell swoop (or swipe, as it were).
Price at time of publish: $68
CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
Jaliman ranks this as one of her favorite moisturizing eye creams, thanks to its use of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and jojoba. “All of these ingredients have great moisturizing properties,” she explains. It works equally well morning and night and is so gentle that it even touts the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Approval.
Price at time of publish: $15
Colorescience Total Eye Hydrogel Treatment Masks
Okay, while technically not an eye cream, these stick-on patches are still a top way to quickly combat puffiness. “These eye masks are so great for de-puffing on-the-go or while multitasking,” says Fahs of another one of her recommendations. “I like to put them in the fridge for an added benefit of cooling upon application,” she adds.
Price at time of publish: $74
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Fatima Fahs is a Michigan-based, board-certified dermatologist. Fahs is also the founder of Dermy Doc Box, a curated subscription service featuring top-rated skincare products.
- Dr. Debra Jaliman is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City, as well as an assistant professor of dermatology at Icahn School of Medicine.
What to Look for in a Pre-Wedding Eye Cream
Consider your specific concerns
“Decide what problem you’re trying to tackle, be that puffiness, fine lines, or dark circles,” says Fahs. From there, you can check the list of ingredients to pick one that works best for you. When in doubt, opt for a multi-tasking formula, which can do all of the above and more.
Many dermatologists recommend choosing a fragrance-free eye cream, particularly if your skin is on the sensitive side to begin with. Fragrance is one of the more common skin irritants out there, so avoiding it can help prevent redness.
When should I start using eye cream?
“Eye creams do not work overnight,” Fahs points out. “Ideally, you should consider incorporating an eye cream a minimum of 12 weeks before your big day to see results.” That being said, anyone can use an eye cream and it’s really never too early to start one, adds Jaliman.
How do I depuff my eyes before my wedding?
A few preventative measures can go a long way. Avoid consuming high amounts of salt and alcohol the night before, and make sure to stay well-hydrated, advises Fahs. The morning of, apply a gel-based eye mask that you’ve chilled in the fridge overnight: “The added coolness will help to constrict blood vessels and reduce morning puffiness before you get your makeup done,” she says. No patches? No problem. Jaliman says cold cucumber slices or a steeped and cooled caffeine-containing tea bag will have a similar result.
How do I get rid of dark circles before my wedding?
Fahs recommends first addressing lifestyle factors that could be contributing to the problem, for example, smoking, allergies, and lack of sleep. In terms of eye creams that can help, she recommends choosing one with a brightening ingredient, such as vitamin C, as well as growth factors, peptides, and/or retinol. The latter can all help improve skin quality and thickness so that the underlying veins and discoloration are less visible.
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has nearly 15 years of journalism experience covering the beauty and lifestyle space for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s also a recent newlywed—who spent quite a bit of time establishing her pre-wedding skincare routine, including rotating between several eye creams.