10 best eye serums to treat dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles

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Have you found yourself distracted on your Zoom calls, focusing more on why you look so tired than the person you’re talking to? Or perhaps whenever you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror, all you see are bags and fine lines? If this sounds familiar, it could be time to upgrade your eye cream to a more effective, harder working eye serum.

Eye creams are great at giving the eye contour a moisture boost, but if it’s a more youthful result you’re after – think brightening, tightening, smoothing or depuffing – you’ll need an eye serum. Just like a face serum, they contain antioxidants and higher concentrations of active ingredients that can really make a visible difference.

“Eye serums are formulated to be more fluid than a cream,’’ explains Daniel Ezra, renowned eye surgeon at prestigious eye hospital Moorfields and Harley Street. “A gel-like consistency that allows for better penetration of potent anti-ageing ingredients as opposed to an eye cream which tend to just sit on the skin and is less likely to penetrate the deeper tissue.”

Read more: 11 best moisturisers for combination skin that really work

We put the latest formulas on trial, so you can pick one that delivers real results. We applied them as part of a morning and evening skincare routine instead of eye cream (you don’t need both). Our winners were soothing and a pleasure to use, but most importantly targeted puffiness, discolouration, lines and wrinkles.

We recommend you look out for ingredients such as peptides for boosting collagen, vitamin C and niacinamide for brightening and soothing and retinol for fine lines and wrinkles. And don’t underestimate the power of caffeine – just like your morning hit, it wakes-up and de-puffs the eye contour by boosting circulation. We found that the eye serums that included it made us look as if we’d had a full eight hours sleep, even if we’d actually got far less.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

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StriVectin Peptight 360° tightening eye serum, 30ml There isn’t an eye concern this eye serum doesn’t promise to target – and that’s not just the usual under eye suspects of puffiness, dark circles, lines and wrinkles. It extends its care to the upper eyelid too with a 360-degree formula for the entire eye area, and we have to say, it doesn’t disappoint. It works well lifting and tightening upper eyelid wrinkles, or crepey eyelids as they’re better known, that are a result of the loss of elasticity in our skin as we age – making for a much smoother eyeshadow base. What’s more, the cooling metal applicator stimulates the blood flow, whilst the niacinamide works its anti-inflammatory magic on puffiness. We saw a difference after just days of using it and are so impressed with the generous 30ml tube compared with the 15ml size of most standard eye serums. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Lancome advanced genifique yeux light-pearl eye and lash concentrate, 20ml Tired eyes will love the instantly cooling effect this Lancome offering has, whether it’s used as a morning wake-up or an evening soothe. There are a number of different ways to use the flexible massage applicator, depending on the results you’re after – we particularly loved using it on puffy eyes for a lymphatic eye drainage massage (a word of warning though, it’s seriously addictive to do and you’ll want to use it more than twice a day). As a bonus, this serum is also a lash conditioner – we were thrilled to see softer lashes and a stronger flutter too. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Verso super eye serum, 15ml A retinol formula may sound scary to apply on the delicate eye area, but this contains a clever next-generation stabilised form that’s less aggravating to skin. We were impressed by no redness, drying or irritation that you may get with other retinol skincare, and that’s after continued daily use on sensitive skin more susceptible to inflammation. After two weeks of testing, we started seeing results. The texture of the skin felt smoother and the fine lines looked softened. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Typology 5% caffeine + 5% niacinamide eye serum, 30ml Effective and affordable – what’s not to love with the eye serum from this stripped-back French brand? The minimalistic bottle is made-up of recyclable materials, and the no-fuss formula is back-to-basics skincare at its finest. The texture is quite watery, so you do have to let it dry in the mornings before applying make-up, but it didn’t bother us as it feels so refreshing. With caffeine working on puffiness and niacinamide on dark circles, use continuously and you’ll see results. As the French would say, it’s très bon. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Emma Hardie midas touch revitalising eye serum, 15ml An extension of the much-loved face serum of the same name, it’s little surprise that a version targeting the delicate eye area would be just as good as the original. We found the hyaluronic acid formula worked well at hydrating a particular dry eye contour and plumping fine lines and crow’s feet. It’s a top pick for a speedy morning routine, as you can apply make-up straight away. And as a bonus, it also works a treat at plumping vertical lip lines. A real two-in-one product! {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Murad environmental shield vita-C eyes dark circle corrector, 15ml If you can’t wait for results and want some instant gratification, you’ll love the light-reflecting pearlescent shade this serum has, which instantly creates the illusion of a brighter eye. However, for skincare benefits you’ll have to wait longer – after two weeks, as promised, the whole eye area looked visibly fresher and brighter. We can thank the heavyweight gold-stabilised vitamin C that’s both potent and stable (meaning it doesn’t lose its effectiveness in light or air) for that. A real dark circle eraser in a bottle! {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Estee Lauder re-nutriv ultimate diamond transformative eye serum, 15ml When the brand that’s already home to some seriously impressive eye formulas brings out a new luxe version, you know it’s going to be good. This serum boasts an extravagant ingredient list, including black diamond truffle extract, refined 24K gold and pearl to name a few – hence the rather high price. Is it worth it? We saw immediate brightening results, thanks to the illuminating formula, and couldn’t believe how velvety soft it made skin feel. And naturally, it comes with a gadget too; this time an oval-shaped wand made of ceramic, perfect for getting into the corner of the eye but also massaging the under-eye contour. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Drunk Elephant shaba complex eye serum, 15ml The go-to if you struggle with skin sensitivity, as it’s fragrance-free and doesn’t contain any ingredients that can cause irritation to the eye area. The product is a deceptively rich texture at first touch, but absorbs quickly and makes a great primer for concealer. If you’re looking for a wrinkle-buster this isn’t for you, but if you’re hoping to smooth out some subtler fine lines it works a treat. Try storing it in the fridge, as we did – it makes it extra cooling, and a great wake-up for tired eyes. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Dermalogica biolumin-c eye serum, 15ml When this first launched there was a lot of love for it on the squares of Instagram, and we can confirm, rightly so. At first soothing and refreshing, the super lightweight vitamin C formula is almost water-like, but it absorbs quickly. Be careful, as this does make it tempting to use too much or drag rather than pat the skin, so use sparingly and with a gentle touch. We started to see a brighter contour within days of using and it worked well on reducing puffiness too. As for smoothing fine lines, you’ll have to give it longer to see results. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}} Clarins total eye lift, 15ml This new and improved formula is made up of high-performance plant extracts that we found our under-eye missed when we forgot to use it one morning. The silky, light texture glides on effortlessly and is super gentle even on sensitive skin (it’s also great for those that use contact lenses). After applying, it’s gone in seconds and leaves the eye contour feeling refreshed. We saw a marked softening to those pesky laughter lines after continued use. Slow and steady wins the race with this one. {{#hasItems}} Price comparison {{/hasItems}} {{#items}} {{ merchant }} £{{ price }} Buy now {{/items}} {{#hasItems}} {{/hasItems}}

The verdict: Eye serums The standout product has to be the StriVectin Peptight 360° tightening eye serum for its all-round formula that targets every eye concern in one. If you’re looking for something more targeted to brightening, opt for the Murad environmental shield vita-C eyes dark circle corrector for an instant “I’ve had my eight hours” and ongoing eye-care glow. We’ve also rounded up the best niacinamide serums that rebalance your skin so you can have flawless skin all day, every day.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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