In 2021, not a lot of things are certain, but one thing that is? The influence of Korean beauty on our skincare routines can’t be overstated. We have the industry to thank for sheet masks, facial essences, BB cream, and so much more, but one category has been a sleeper hit: eye cream. According to Alicia Yoon, founder of Peach & Lily, there are two key factors that make Korean eye products so great.
The first is one of the pillars of Korean skincare. “Hydration is one of those fundamental things that you want to get right for skincare because there can be a domino effect on a lot of other aspects of your skin health,” says Yoon. “Even when I’m applying my skincare products, and I’m doing my serums and essences, I’m treating the eye area as well. You want a really great eye cream to kind of lock in all that hydration.”
The other factor is the focus on preventative skincare. “There is this notion of saving your skin, cherishing your skin,” says Yoon. And while many products can and do address skin damage that’s already occurred, you’ll see many products address overall skin maintenance. “When it comes to eye creams, I think that there is a bit more of a range,” says Yoon, “It’s around how we prevent the eye area from going through the wringer.”
Courtesy Alicia Yoon
Yoon adds that social media and even the skincare boom during the pandemic have added to the preventative-skincare movement. “We are getting a lot of DMs from people in their 20s being like, ‘I feel like I should start using an eye cream right now,’” she says. Interested in trying out a K-beauty eye cream? Whether you’re looking for hydration, prevention, or something in between, we’ve rounded up 16 great ones you can get stateside.
“It kind of is a two-in-one,” says Yoon of this eye cream from her own line. “It’s really great for preventative skincare, but it will also help reverse visible skincare signs of damage.” Instead of traditional retinol, it features bakuchiol, rose-hip oil, and beta-carotenes to provide benefits without irritation. “It’s all-around action-packed but also very gentle,” says the founder.
4. AmorePacific Moisture Bound Rejuvenating Eye Treatment Gel
There’s a reason AmorePacific has been one of the most trusted names in Korean skincare for decades. Squalane, niacinamide, caffeine—this eye gel has just about every ingredient that stressed-out under-eyes love.
Snail mucin is commonly used in Korean skincare thanks to its nutrient-rich composition, and it’s the star ingredient of this formula from fan-fave brand CosRx. Count on it to not only moisturize without being too heavy but also brighten dark circles with niacinamide and strengthen skin with peptides.
Dryness is no match for this formula, which features green tea seed oil and extract harvested from South Korea’s Jeju Island. Plus, at just over an ounce, it’s one of the biggest eye creams on the market stateside or otherwise.
Technically it’s an eye serum as opposed to a cream, but we’re making an exception because it’s that refreshing. The hydrating formula has four types of hyaluronic acid to plump up the look of fine lines, and the metal ball applicator instantly cools sleepy under-eyes on contact. (Apply first thing in the morning. Thank us later.)
An eye gel can be a nice alternative to a rich cream, especially if you have oily skin. This gel-cream is super lightweight but still hydrates and plumps fine lines with the best of them thanks to hyaluronic acid and green mineral water.
So, yes, it's freakin' adorable—but it's not just bathroom décor. Packed with hyaluronic acid, seawater, and plankton extract (packaging make a little more sense now?), it lends serious hydration as the gel texture cools the skin.
Unlike typical eye creams, this mask gets washed off in the morning, but it works so well you won’t mind the extra step. The vitamin-rich avocado nourishes while encapsulated retinol addresses environmental damage and signs of aging without being overly harsh on delicate under-eye skin.
15. Donginbi Red Ginseng Moisture & Firming Eye Cream