Poor old Uncle Fester. If only the Addams Family’s sunken-eyed hellative had had access to a decent eye cream, maybe he wouldn’t have faced a life of ridicule and torment. Thankfully, the rest of us do have access to these essential little skin savers; these days, an eye cream, gel or serum is almost as likely to be part of a man’s grooming armoury as a moisturiser or face scrub.
It’s easy to see why: Specially formulated to treat the delicate skin under the eye, they’re the perfect antidote for dark circles, crow’s feet and any excess ‘ocular luggage’ you might be carrying. They’re easy to use, too, and, since they’re concentrated products, a little goes a long way.
So, if you woke up feeling a bit Fester, are worried about your wrinkles or look like you’re carrying more luggage than RyanAir the solution is in plain sight.
We’ve rooted out the very best eye creams, gels and serums – from inexpensive essentials to expensive anti-aging superheroes – to ensure that when it comes to a better looking you the eyes have it.
Best eye cream for men: At a glance
How to choose the best eye cream for you
Do I really need a separate eye product?
In a word, yes. At around 0.5 mm thick, the skin around the eyes is some of the thinnest on the body – which partly explains why it’s one of the first areas to show fatigue, irritation and is so susceptible to wrinkling.
Eye products are specially formulated for use on this particularly delicate skin, whereas an ordinary moisturiser could overload it, leading to redness and irritation.
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What’s the difference between eye creams, gels, balm and serums?
As a rule of thumb, gels and gel creams are best for dealing with eye bags because they’re lighter and cooler, instantly constricting blood vessels and tightening the skin around the eye.
Creams and balms are thicker and tend to be more hydrating so are good for minimising fine lines and wrinkles.
Serums, meanwhile, are usually the most potent of the three. Packed with skin-saving ingredients, they couple the cooling properties of gels with the anti-ageing ones of creams and tend to be lightweight and liquidy. You don’t need to spend a fortune on an eye product but money often buys you better active ingredients, especially when it comes to serums.
How do I apply them?
Working outwards from the inner corner, gently tap a tiny amount of product around the eye socket, using the tip of your ring finger. Tapping helps stimulate circulation, helping drain away toxins and improving absorption of the eye cream. Don’t rub or you’ll irritate the delicate skin around the eye.
Are products delivered by rollerballs better?
Not necessarily but they’re often more convenient – especially if you’re a bit cack-handed. Rollerballs – particularly steel ones – are cooling and help massage the product in too.
When’s the best time to apply an eye product?
For maximum effectiveness apply twice a day – once in the morning after cleansing and again just before bed. The evening application is important because skin creams are better absorbed at night while we’re sleeping.
Any tips to help me get the most out of my eye cream?
To boost the effectiveness of an eye product keep it in the fridge or on a cold windowsill. Not only will it feel more revitalising when you apply, the cold will help reduce puffiness. Oh, and remember that when it comes to eye creams, gels and serums, less is more: a blob about the size of a grain of rice is usually plenty for each eye.
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The best eye creams for men to buy in 2022
1. Bulldog Age Defence Eye Roll-On: Best value for money eye product
Price: £6 for 15ml | Buy now from Amazon
An eye saver that doesn’t come with an eye-watering price tag, Bulldog’s award-winning Age Defence Eye Roll-On is the perfect product to see you through the cost-of-living crisis.
Formulated for mature skin, it’s designed to brighten and depuff while a trio of natural antioxidants (rosemary, echinacea and Vitamin E) help fortify and protect against premature ageing.
It’s not as whiz-bang, fancy-pants ingredients as some of the other products we tested but with belts tightening it’s a great value for money piece of grooming kit.
Key specs – Quantity: 15ml; Delivery system: roller-ball; Texture: gel
2. Shakeup Cosmetics Eye Eye Captain Under Eye Concealer & Moisturiser SPF25: Best eye cream for disguising dark circles
Price: £20 for 15ml | Buy now from Amazon
One of the stars of Shapeup Cosmetic’s high-performance cosmetics range for men, this multifunction eye cream takes a 360-degree approach to eyecare, not only reducing puffiness but providing 24-hour hydration and disguising dark circles with the aid of a subtle tinted concealer. It also features and ingredient called Gransil Blur-X60 which ‘blurs’ the appearance of fine lines and masks skin imperfections.
On top of this – yes there’s more – it also packs an SPF25 sunscreen to help guard against wrinkle-creating sun damage.
Available in four shades – from light to dark – and delivered via a cooling rollerball, it’s almost impossible to fault. Think of it as the Swiss Army Knife of eye creams.
Key specs – Quantity: 15ml; Delivery system: roller-ball; Texture: cream
3. Patricks EB1 Triple Correction Eye Balm: Best for travel
Price: £68 for 5g | Buy now from Mr Porter
Hailing from Australia, Patricks products have become synonymous with luxury grooming – combining elegant design with cutting-edge formulations. Their EB1 Eye Balm stands out because, instead of being a cream of gel, it’s presented in solid stick form (think lipstick or lip balm). This makes it great for travel (there’s no risk of leakage and the outer casing locks into place to prevent the lid coming off) and for times when you don’t want to be faffing about with application (you just slick it around the eye area and you’re good to go).
The only product we tested with a noticeable fragrance – there’s a hint of sandalwood and violet – it’s formulated to tackle the three main eye area concerns: ageing, puffiness and dark circles. It’s lightweight and non-greasy and a cinch to apply.
It’s at the pricier end of market and the packaging (box, foam inlay, outer sleeve and enveloped ingredient leaflet) is a wee bit excessive but we couldn’t fault its performance.
Key specs – Quantity: 5g; Delivery system: solid stick; Texture: solid balm
4. Lab Series Daily Rescue Energizing Eye Treatment: Best for tired eyes
Price: £33 for 15ml | Buy now from Boots
Lab Series is a premium range that’s always focussed on providing solutions to men’s most pressing skincare problems, so it’s no surprise that their hero product for eyes is all about fighting the signs of fatigue. Hence the presence of ginseng and caffeine to instantly energises skin and light reflecting particles that blur imperfections and help dark shadows.
A gel cream, the texture is somewhere between the richness of a cream and lightness of a gel making it hydrating but cooling all at once. Think of this one as an energy shot for undereye skin.
Key specs – Quantity: 15ml; Delivery system: nozzle; Texture: gel cream
5. Heath Eye Serum: Best for hangovers
Price: £13 for 18ml | Buy now from Amazon
Fragrance free and made in England, using 97.90% natural ingredients, Heath’s generously sized eye serum is as light as a feather on the skin and feels instantly cooling as it goes on. Hyaluronic acid keeps skin hydrated, while two powerful botanicals (butterfly bush extract and Persian Silk Tree extract) protect skin against the damaging effects of blue light emitted by digital devices and reduce puffiness and dark circles.
One of the more refreshing products we tried, it instantly makes you feel more awake, making it perfect for tired or hungover skin.
Given the size it’s also great value for money and we liked the indentations on the casing, which provide grip for your fingers when you’re applying.
Key specs – Quantity: 18ml; Delivery system: roller-ball; Texture: transparent serum
6. Dermalogica biolumin-c Eye Serum: Best skin brightener
Price: £56 for 15ml | Buy now from Amazon
The superhero of skincare, vitamin C not only ensures skin stays strong and healthy, it helps neutralise harmful free radicals caused by stress, pollution and sunlight, helps prevent uneven pigmentation, improves the overall texture of skin and boosts collagen production too, ensuring skin stays firm and youthful.
It’s the key ingredient in this concentrated eye serum whose key objective is to firm and brighten skin around the eyes. It’s silky smooth and a small amount goes a long way (we found one drop did for both eyes).
Key specs – Quantity: 15ml; Delivery system: dropper nozzle; Texture: lightweight serum
7. Horace Under-Eye Serum: Best rollerball eye product
Price: £17 for 10ml | Buy now from Horace
Formulated with 99% ingredients of natural origin, French brand Horace’s best-selling Under-Eye Serum tackles all your under eyes issues and then some. Caffeine and horse chestnut extract reduce eyebags and dark circles while hyaluronic acid and aloe vera keep skin soft and hydrated. The ‘and then some’ bit comes in the shape of natural orange pigments which have been incorporated to provide an immediate healthy glow effect around the eye contour. The colour might seem alarming at first but once applied with the rollerball and gently blended in with a fingertip it quickly disperses.
At 10ml it delivers slightly less bang for your buck than the other products we tested but the addition of the bronzing pigment makes up for it.
Key specs – Quantity: 10ml; Delivery system: rollerball; Texture: lightweight serum
8. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum: Best anti-ageing eye serum
Price: £45 for 15ml | Buy now from Amazon
If you’re serious about your skincare and are looking for the ultimate anti-ager this high potency serum from skin specialists Murad is your man. The key ingredient here is retinol – a pure form of Vitamin A that’s pretty much the gold standard ingredient when it comes to anti-ageing. As well as stimulating cell turnover it improves skin elasticity and stimulates collagen production – all of which is bad news for your crow’s feet but good news for you.
Retinol itself can be irritating in high doses but Murad’s is time-released and designed for sensitive skin (we certainly experienced no problems when using it) and it certainly made the skin around the eyes feel softer after a few days.
The serum itself is non-greasy and quickly absorbed and the pump dispenser delivers the exact amount you need which is handy. The Only drawback is that you need to make sure you wear a daily SPF product when using anything with retinol.
Key specs – Quantity: 15ml; Delivery system: pump dispenser; Texture: lightweight serum