In this report
What we found
October 2009 Ratings

Do eye creams make a visible difference?

Last reviewed: October 2009

You've heard the claims: "Younger-looking eyes in just 24 hours" (Avon Anew Rejuvenate), a "brighter, vibrant, refreshed" eye area (Clinique Repairwear). Americans must really want these boasts to be true. They spend more than a billion dollars a year on wrinkle removers.

We tested 16 over-the-counter eye creams—10 sold in the U.S. and six European products that can be bought online and shipped to the U.S.—and found several worth trying. Just don't expect them to turn the clock back to your dewy-skinned youth.

  • Results varied. Each product reduced wrinkle length or depth for at least some people and did nothing for others. A moisturizer with no antiwrinkle claims that we used as a control reduced wrinkles about as well as several high-rated creams did.
  • Changes were minor. Even among the best-performing products, wrinkle reduction around the eyes was generally pretty subtle. After six weeks of daily use, none came close to eliminating wrinkles.
  • Price predicts nothing. The priciest cream tested, Perricone MD, $95, was no better than cheaper drugstore brands.

A wrinkle in time

Our tests, done at an outside lab, included 107 people, 94 of them women. Each person used two creams, one on each side of the face around the eyes, morning and night for six weeks. We masked package labels.

We took a high-resolution digital photograph of each participant's eye area before the test, one hour after the first application, and after six weeks of use. Participants also filled out questionnaires. Trained sensory testers evaluated visible wrinkles in the before-and-after photos without knowing which was which. Ratings (available to subscribers) reflect the extent to which the testers detected an improvement.