Brightening Eye Creams That Are Like a Shot of Caffeine for Your Skin

7 Brightening Eye Creams That Are Like a Shot of Caffeine for Your Skin

Avoid tired, puffy eyes once daylight saving time begins this weekend.
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Spring is finally in view, and following another COVID-19 winter that was also incredibly cold (at least where I live), I for one could not be more excited. Longer days, warmer weather, and fewer layers are all I'm dreaming of. But speaking of dreaming, daylight saving time 2022 begins on March 13 in most parts of the country, which means many of us will collectively lose an hour of sleep. In preparation for tired eyes as sleep schedules adjust, we rounded up some of our favorite brightening and de-puffing eye creams and treatments.

Insufficient sleep and fatigue are common causes of puffy eyes and dark circles, so they'll likely be a common skin concern when the clocks spring forward an hour. This curation includes a combination of top-rated customer favorites as well as a few that have personally helped me out. 

7 Depuffing and Brightening Eye Creams:

  • Tula Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm, $28; tula.com
  • Versed Vacation Eyes Brightening Eye Gel, $18; versed.com
  • L'Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Eye Cream, $16 (Originally $25); amazon.com 
  • UpCircle Eye Cream with Maple and Coffee Extract, $20; credobeauty.com
  • Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinol + Niacinamide Eye Serum, $65; sephora.com
  • Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage, $35; clinique.com
  • Chanel Le Lift Flash Eye Revitalizer, $130; chanel.com

There's a range of ingredients used in these products, but one you'll see pop up repeatedly is caffeine thanks to its ability to invigorate and awaken the skin (the same way a morning cup of coffee can lift your energy). Many of these formulas also incorporate ingredients that may offer other benefits — like cooling aloe to soothe skin or hyaluronic acid to hydrate the delicate under-eye area —  but all are especially useful for reducing puffiness and brightening skin.  

And while some of these options have metal or cool-to-the-touch applicators, my pro tip is to keep a Skin Camp Under Eye Massager in the fridge so you can use it with any product at any time; the cold feels invigorating and gives an extra boost. So if you need a quick pick-me-up (don't we all?), choose an eye cream below to help breathe some life back into tired eyes.

Tula Cooling & Brightening Eye Balm

Brightening Eye Creams
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Shop now: $28; tula.com

Moisturizing hyaluronic acid, tightening caffeine, and refreshing aloe make Tula's eye balm-stick potentially the brand's utmost hero product — and over 2,000 five-star reviewers agree. One shopper wrote that this product is so efficient in brightening their face that they now skip makeup. "This is perfect for tired night shift eyes! I feel like it really perks my eyes up and also reduces fine lines," another user wrote. 

Versed Vacation Eyes Brightening Eye Gel

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Shop now: $18; versed.com

The gel texture of Versed's Vacation Eyes makes it a very lightweight treatment that's suitable for spring (a time when I try to avoid heavy-feeling products). Vitamin C and coffee seed extract are two of the standout brightening ingredients in this formula, and the brand recommends gently tapping it around your under-eye area, from inner eye to temple, during application for best results.

L'Oreal Paris Skincare Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Eye Cream

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Shop now: $15 (Originally $25); amazon.com 

L'Oreal's Revitalift Eye Cream is another awakening eye product that incorporates the cooling powers of a metal tip applicator. But even more important is the formula: It's packed with hyaluronic acid for hydrating under-eye wrinkles and vitamin C, an anti-aging skincare stalwart known for its ability to brighten skin. More than 4,045 Amazon shoppers gave the popular drugstore product a perfect rating, with many citing the near-immediate improvement they noticed on wrinkles and puffiness after using it. Several shoppers also said that this affordable product is worth more than some of its more expensive counterparts. 

UpCircle Eye Cream with Maple and Coffee Extract

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Shop now: $20; credobeauty.com

UpCircle's entire ethos is using leftover ingredients to create sustainably sourced skincare products. Coffee grounds are one of the most common ingredients you'll notice across its formulas, this eye cream included. Here, caffeine is used to brighten skin, maple bark extract provides inflammatory benefits, and hyaluronic acid gives a boost of moisture. Out of more than 500 reviewers who have given this product a five-star rating, many cite reduced wrinkles and puffiness as a main benefit. One thrilled user wrote, "the dark circles I had below my eyes have disappeared in the 3 weeks I've been using it."

Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinol + Niacinamide Eye Serum

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Shop now: $65; sephora.com

As is the case with many beauty products, I was first made aware of Sunday Riley's Eye Serum via viral TikTok videos. One user's post showed the transformation of bumpy under-eyes to skin as smooth as a seal, and over1,000 Sephora shoppers agree with the glowing review. Some wrote that the eye cream is quickly absorbed by skin, and others said they noticed a difference in under-eye wrinkles and puffiness long-term. The formula employs retinol to quickly diminish signs of aging, niacinamide to smooth wrinkles, and ceramides to provide intense hydration. This is a retinol-heavy product, so remember to start slowly and always patch test if you have sensitive skin.

Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage

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Shop now: $35; clinique.com

I've had a bottle of this Clinique product handy for the last decade. Even before I needed an eye cream, I just liked the silver ball applicator and how pleasantly shocking and awakening the coolness of the metal felt. The formula includes caffeine and antioxidants that work in tandem to improve under-eye brightness and skin health over time. 

Chanel Le Lift Flash Eye Revitalizer 

Brightening Eye Creams
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Shop now: $130; chanel.com

This is on the pricey side, but I consider Chanel's two-step Le Lift Flash Eye Revitalizer to be akin to an in-office treatment with a professional aesthetician. Each Le Lift comes with a roll-on eye serum, which is applied first, and 10 pairs of under-eye masks that go on post-serum. I have used this two different ways — once every week or two, or once a day for 10 days in a row (per the instructions), sort of like an eye care boot camp. When I follow the boot camp model, I notice daily improvements in puffiness and brightness. After the entire course, I look like an actual spring chicken — the skin under my eyes is smooth, supple, and lifted, and the brightness lasts for nearly two months.