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Best eye serum 2023: Banish fine lines and pamper sensitive skin

Treat your delicate under-eye area to the best eye serums from Clarins, Drunk Elephant, L’Oréal Paris and more

Whether you’re a skincare fanatic who’s constantly refining their routine or too tired to follow the multistep routines that are all over Instagram and TikTok, keeping one of the best eye serums in your makeup bag is something you’ll rarely regret.

After all, eye serums can tackle everything from unsightly crow’s feet and shadows to puffiness and dull skin. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that any old cream will do for the delicate eye area: eye serums typically feature a higher concentration of active ingredients, and are targeted at doing more than simply hydrating the area they’re applied to.

The perfect eye serum for you will be formulated to meet and target the precise needs of your skin, whether you’re older, younger or somewhere in between. With such a huge and varied range of products on the market, it can be tough to work out which formulas will suit your skin best. Here we’ll explain what you need to look out for, and suggest some of our favourite eye serums at a range of prices.

Best eye serums: At a glance

How to choose the best eye serum for you

What is eye serum and why would I need one?

Eye serum is a skincare product that is specifically created to be used on delicate under-eye skin and the surrounding area. An eye serum will typically focus on addressing a particular skincare concern, be it fine lines, dark circles or dullness.

This is why it’s essential to decide what you want an eye serum to achieve before you splash out. For example, are you self-conscious about having bags under your eyes after sleepless nights, or are you keen to see if you can reduce the appearance of fine lines?

Decide on your goal before you fork out and keep a close eye on the ingredients, too. Choose a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, for example, and its hydrating properties can give a tired under-eye area a much-needed boost with regular use.

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What’s the difference between an eye serum and an eye cream?

Serums are typically lighter than creams, and are more potent in terms of their ability to tackle skin-related concerns thanks to a higher concentration of active ingredients. They will typically focus on one specific goal – such as reducing dark shadows – but can sometimes be used to tackle multiple issues at once.

Eye creams, on the other hand, are typically heavier and feature a more oil-based composition, which makes them ideal for offering skin a no-fuss hydration fix. They’re thicker and feel more luxurious on the skin.

You most likely wouldn’t need to use both an eye serum and an eye cream as part of the same routine but you can mix things up: use one in the morning, for example, and the other in the evening.

How should I apply an eye serum?

A standard eye serum can be used as part of both your morning and evening skincare routine and, while you should follow any specific instructions included with the product you purchase, there are a few fairly standard steps you can follow.

  • Thoroughly cleanse and dry your eye area.
  • Take a pea-sized amount of product and warm it up between the tips of your fingers.
  • Apply the product to your under-eye area, eyelids and between your eyebrows (unless otherwise stated).
  • Use pressure to encourage the product to sink in; some products are designed with rollers or similar to make applying the right amount of pressure easier.

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The best eye serums you can buy in 2023

1. L’Oréal Paris 2.5% Hyaluronic Acid Eye Serum: Best all-round eye serum

Price: £25 | Buy now from Boots

Formulated to tackle under-eye darkness and fine lines, L’Oréal Paris’ incredibly popular 2.5% Hyaluronic Acid Eye Serum ticks all our boxes. Its fragrance-free formula has been approved by dermatologists, meaning you can feel confident in what you’re putting on your skin. As well as hyaluronic acid, it also features a kick of caffeine, making it a great option for perking up fatigued eyes.

We loved its easy-use triple-bead applicator: the trio of stainless steel beads are designed to maximise results by providing a gentle massage at the same time as application. The price point is another great talking point, as it straddles the line between budget and high-end perfectly, and can typically be found even cheaper at Boots than the RRP stated above.

Created with modern concerns – such as pollution and an excess of screen-time – in mind, it definitely made our eye area feel brighter and more hydrated after just one use. And of course, for a brand that’s as renowned for its mascaras and lipsticks as it is for its range of skincare products, we had to check how it sat underneath makeup. We were impressed: its primer-like qualities created the perfect canvas for concealer and foundation.

2. Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum: Best eye serum for sensitive skin

Price: £52 | Buy now from LookFantastic

Cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant is known for its “biocompatible” products, which feature active ingredients that pack a punch. The brand’s silky smooth Shaba Complex Eye Serum is no different, comprising a heady mix of copper peptides, black tea ferment and niacinamide, which it promises will help to smooth and rejuvenate the delicate skin around the eyes.

Drunk Elephant’s range is guaranteed free from a number of skincare baddies, including silicones and fragrances, making it a great pick for sensitive skin. Super light in composition, the Shaba Complex Eye Serum glides onto the skin and sinks in beautifully. We found there was no clogging or residue left behind, and thanks to its hydrating properties it could almost double-up as a primer.

The only slight issue we had was the serum’s container: the bottle’s pump was difficult to activate. However, if you can forgive the design, it’s a winner.

Buy now from Boots

3. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG: Best budget-friendly eye serum

Price: £7.90 | Buy now from Look Fantastic Looking for an eye serum on a budget? The Ordinary is no stranger to rave reviews for its fuss-free skincare that offers great results at a low price. With its high dose of caffeine, this eye serum also contains EGCG, a plant compound often found in green tea that’s renowned for its anti-inflammation properties.

Great for smoothing out the delicate skin around the eye (which in turn makes it an ideal product to use pre-makeup), it sinks in beautifully without leaving any hint of residue.

It promises to tackle puffy eyes, dark shadows and fine lines, and is as straightforward as they come in terms of design. Look elsewhere if you’re after fancy applicators or stand-out packaging; The Ordinary does what it says on the tin, and does it well.

Buy now from Boots

4. Clarins Double Serum Eye: Best multitasking eye serum

Price: £58 | Buy now from John Lewis Clarins’ Double Serum Eye is packed with anti-ageing properties but can be used by all ages. It has a deliciously delicate fragrance that lingers past application and adds a definite sense of decadence to application.

Promising visible results in a matter of days, it firms up skin as well as helping to minimise the appearance of dark shadows. It features Clarins’ new anti-pollution complex, which aims to protect skin against both indoor and outdoor pollution, and boasts a 96% natural ingredient list, which includes around a dozen natural extracts.

We found that Double Serum Eye offered an instant boost of hydration and loved how it felt more like a decadent bit of pampering than just another step in a skincare routine. It’s easy to use, too: a squeeze of the bottle’s dispenser produces both a cream and a serum, which are blended together to create the silky mixture that you then tap on to your eye.

Buy now from John Lewis

5. The Jojoba Company Transformative Eye Serum: Best eye serum for fine lines

Price: £43 | Buy now from The Jojoba Company

With its eye-catching gold-and-white packaging, the Transformative Eye Serum is an attractive option if you’re plagued by fine lines and crow’s feet. It promises to simultaneously lift and smooth, and the formula contains ingredients such as the pleasingly named Inst’Tight™, which promises to provide a powerful restorative for tired skin.

Other key ingredients in the formulation include the vitamin-rich Australian Jojoba leaf extract, salicylic acid (which clears pores and helps to shed dead skin, as well as reducing inflammation and redness) and summer snowflake bulb, which some refer to as “nature’s Botox” due to its claimed ability to tighten and smooth skin with regular use.

Free from damaging pesticides and chemicals, the serum feels thick on application but soaks into skin almost instantly. The gold massage tip – which is also great for cooling puffy eyes – ensures that you apply just the right level of pressure, and we adored how luxurious the whole experience felt.

Buy now from The Jojoba Company

6. Evenswiss Eye Complex: Best eye serum for bags and puffiness

Price: £37 | Buy now from Dermoi

Formulated with puffy eyes and under-eye bags in mind, Evenswiss’s vitamin-rich Eye Complex is a fantastic choice for tired skin that’s in need of a new lease of life.

While the product’s design is simple – comprising a straightforward squeeze-to-use dispenser pump – its wow factor lies in its composition.

It contains a range of skin-boosting active ingredients – including niacinamide, which is notable for its anti-ageing properties – but its real stand-out component is Dermatopoietin Peptide Complex. Dermatopoietin doesn’t sink into skin as you might expect but instead sends signals that trigger a range of reactions, including, according to Evenswiss, a 90% increase of elastin, hyaluronic acid and collagen in the inner layer of the skin. Clever, no?

Buy now from Dermoi

7. SBC Green Caviar Perfecting Eye Gel: Best eye serum for vegans

Price: £32 | Buy now from SBC Skincare Made in the UK from vegan-friendly ingredients, SBC’s Green Caviar Perfecting Eye Gel is a fantastic option for beauty fanatics who are concerned about the environmental impact of their skincare purchases. It’s also dermatologically tested, making it a great choice if you have sensitive skin.

We liked how the clear, scent-free serum simply melted into our skin, with the lightweight formula leaving the eye area feeling instantly refreshed. It’s also incredibly straightforward to apply: simply squeeze the dispenser and gently massage in the product.

The Green Caviar Perfecting Eye Gel is formulated from a range of superhero ingredients that all play their part in revitalising tired eyes that are in need of some TLC. Aloe vera is one of the key ingredients, which is ideal for helping to soothe puffy, tired eyes, while green tea, ginkgo bilboa and elderflower work in perfect tandem to offer an antioxidant fix that can help to brighten skin and reduce the presence of dark circles. On top of that, it also contains Early Boost®, a vegan-friendly supercomplex that claims to smooth and hydrate skin.

And naturally, it also contains green caviar, a type of green algae that you might have also heard referred to as “sea grapes”. This hydration-rich ingredient is rich in amino acids and minerals, which are great for bumping up the moisturising impact of the product, as well as vitamins A and C for stimulating collagen production.

Buy now from SBC Skincare

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