Editor Tip: Ferulic acid is known to enhance and stabilize antioxidants like vitamins C and E. When combined with retinol, ferulic acid helps brighten, even skin tone, and shield against oxidative stress.
Key Ingredients: Trans-retinol and encapsulated retinol, bakuchiol, ferulic acid, rambutan, cica
Who It’s For: Advanced retinol users; people with mature skin | Consistency: Gel | Fragrance-Free: Yes
Best Brightening Boost: Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum
Why It’s Worth It: This astrology-inspired packaging may be cute, but don’t be fooled. This lightweight formula is filled to the brim with powerhouse ingredients like retinol ester and liposome-encapsulated retinol to boost collagen production, dark-circle-brightening niacinamide, and barrier-strengthening ceramides. In other words, this treatment has a little bit of everything you’re looking for, and the ceramic applicator provides a dose of cooling soothing.
Editor Tip: “I love squeezing the serum right onto my undereyes and then running the cooling rounded applicator along to spread the serum,” associate news editor Gabi Thorne said in her review.
Key Ingredients: Retinol ester, liposome-encapsulated retinol, niacinamide, ceramides, olive oil
Who It’s For: Skin-care lovers tuned into the latest ingredients | Consistency: Gel-serum | Fragrance-Free: No
Best Drugstore Pick: L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Eye Cream
Why It’s Worth It: The price tag, for one, but this under-$20 pick also comes highly recommended by Dr. Marchbein. She likes it because the formula combines pro-retinol with soothing Centella asiatica (a.k.a. tiger grass), which work in tandem to firm and smooth the skin without irritation.
Editor Tip: Pro-retinol is a fat-soluble ingredient derived from retinol. “It has also been shown to improve skin moisture levels, altogether working to enhance the appearance and texture of one’s complexion, fine lines, and wrinkles,” Minneapolis board-certified dermatologist Jenny Liu, MD, previously told Allure. Compared to retinol, it’s milder and less irritating, Robinson added. (However, the trade-off is that you’ll need more time using the product to see results.)
Key Ingredients: Pro-retinol, cica, glycerin
Who It’s For: People on a budget who don’t want to sacrifice quality and results | Consistency: Cream | Fragrance-Free: Yes
Best Splurge: Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Smoothing Eye Cream
Why It’s Worth It: Despite its creamy texture, this luxurious formula sinks into your skin swiftly and gives your undereye area an immediate plumping effect, thanks to hydrating squalane and wrinkle-softening aqua peptides.
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