These Korean Eye Creams Are the Perfect Balance of Gentle & Effective (2024)

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South Korea is a hotbed of beauty innovation, so it's little to no surprise that it offers multiple contenders for the title of best Korean eye cream. What makes them so potent, not to mention effective? While you can find many of the same ingredients that you might find stateside in eye creams—retinoids and vitamin C among them—one common active stands out: peptides.

In skin-care products, the popular ingredient boosts and replenishes amino acids, which are the building blocks for collagen production, as David Kim, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, previously shared with Allure. As a result, peptides reduce the appearance of fine lines while keeping skin supple and firm—and therefore can ensure that the extremely thin, delicate skin under your eyes remains happy and healthy. (After all, that's the true goal of Korean skin care.)

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In the best of the best Korean eye creams seen below, peptides are often paired with effective and similarly revitalizing ingredients, such as retinoids, niacinamide, and ceramides. Together, they can offer gentle eye care while bringing visible brightening, smoothing, and moisturizing benefits. These days, the most effective formulas include those from long-beloved brands, like Cosrx and Laneige—as well as up-and-comers such as Beauty of Joseon and Tirtir. Scroll ahead for the best Korean eye creams to add to your routine.

Best Korean Eye Cream Overall: Beauty of Joseon Revive Eye Cream Ginseng + Retinal

Beauty of Joseon

Beauty of Joseon Revive Eye Cream Ginseng + Retinal

Why It's Worth It: One of the buzziest K-beauty products, full-stop, is Beauty of Joseon's Revive Eye Cream Ginseng + Retinal counts board-certified dermatologist Hee Jin Koh, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in New Jersey, and cosmetic chemist Ramón Pagán as fans. "I love the ultra-nourishing and soothing formula with the added (gentle) kick of retinal," Pagán tells Allure.

As a refresher, ginseng has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with puffiness. Retinal, on the other hand, appears in the form of liposomes for better penetration and delivery of the vitamin A derivative, according to Dr. Koh. Retinal also "only requires a one-step conversion to the active form of retinoid acid, unlike retinol which requires a two-step conversion," she adds. In other words, it's more effective and less irritating.

Key ingredients: ginseng, retinal, niacinamide | Who it's for: all skin types, so long as you can tolerate retinoids | Fragrance-free: yes

Best Retinoid: Dr. Different Vitalift-A Eye & Neck

Dr. Different

Dr. Different Vitalift-A Eye & Neck

Why it's worth it: Retinal puts the A in Dr. Different's Vitalift-A Eye & Neck to help smooth crow's feet and fortify crepey skin. A blend of emollient-rich squalane and anti-inflammatory shea butter buffers the gentle 0.02% concentration of retinal to ensure the eye cream doesn't create more problems than it solves—like the flaking and irritation that typically comes with introducing a new retinoid into your skin-care routine. Just be sure to follow this with sunscreen in the morning, as retinoids leave skin more sensitive to UV rays.

Key ingredients: retinal, squalane, shea butter | Who it's for: all skin types, including retinol beginners | Fragrance-free: yes

Best Retinol Alternative: Haruharu Wonder Black Rice Bakuchiol Eye Cream

Haruharu

Haruharu Wonder Black Rice Bakuchiol Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: Soko Glam cofounder Charlotte Cho loves the Haruharu Wonder Black Rice Bakuchiol Eye Cream, which is infused with the antioxidant-dense fermented black rice beloved by K-beauty fans and TikTok denizens alike. (Its popularity is due in no small part to the brand's best-selling Black Rice Hyaluronic Toner.) The formula also contains bakuchiol, which helps boost skin cell turnover—as retinoids do—without its irritating side effects. Cho reaches for this lightweight, fragrance-free eye cream because it doesn't cause her to develop milia around her eyes.

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Key ingredients: bakuchiol, fermented black rice, niacinamide | Who it's for: all skin types, including those prone to milia | Fragrance-free: yes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Medicube Deep Reviving Peptide Eye Cream

Medicube

Medicube Deep Reviving Peptide Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: Dr. Koh is a fan of Medicube's Deep Reviving Peptide Eye Cream, a deeply nourishing formula that works both around the eyes and anywhere else on the face vulnerable to fine lines (like the lips). A high concentration of skin-firming peptides is joined by niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, "which work even better together as a pair," she says. “They help strengthen the skin barrier and are great for those with sensitive skin.” Plus, niacinamide also helps with hyperpigmentation, so it can also brighten and even the tone of the eye area, too.

Key ingredients: peptides, collagen, hyaluronic acid | Who it's for: reactive skin types | Fragrance-free: no

Best for Mature Skin: Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream

Mizon

Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: Don't underestimate the tiny purple jar of Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream; it's brimming with marine collagen to elevate the skin's elasticity around your eyes, as well as deeply nourishing plant-based oils for rehydration. The non-greasy eye gel—which feels more like an eye serum, and sinks in fast—has been a longtime favorite of K-beauty aficionados with mature skin for these very reasons.

Key ingredients: adenosine, argan oil, mango seed butter | Who it's for: mature skin | Fragrance-free: yes

Best for Crow's Feet: Benton Fermentation Eye Cream

Benton

Benton Fermentation Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: The ingredient list for Benton's Fermentation Eye Cream reads like a roll call for the best fermented skin-care ingredients in the game: galactomyces ferment filtrate, lactobacillus ferment filtrate, and bifida ferment lysate. This probiotic-rich power trio is known to naturally moisturize skin, protect it from oxidative stress, and decrease skin sensitivity. Consider it an amazing preventative measure against fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes.

Key ingredients: Bifida ferment lysate, galactomyces ferment filtrate, ceramides | Who it's for: mature skin types | Fragrance-free: yes

Best Tinted: Shaishaishai Banana Conceal Eye Cream

Shaishaishai

Shaishaishai Banana Conceal Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: The Shaishaishai Banana Conceal Eye Cream has a subtle sandy-colored tint to neutralize undereye darkness, Pagán says, making it an excellent eye cream for dark circles. All the while, it also helps eyes look more awake and lids feel intensely hydrated with the help of niacinamide and vitamin E-rich banana extract—making it a great pick for dry skin, too. "It's the best of both worlds, combining skin care and makeup in one product," he adds.

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Key ingredients: peptides, adenosine, banana extract | Who it's for: dark circles | Fragrance-free: no

Best for Puffiness: Tirtir Collagen Lifting Eye Cream

Tirtir

Tirtir Collagen Lifting Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: Pop the Tirtir Collagen Lifting Eye Cream in the fridge to turn it into a mini at-home spa experience. The metallic tube is topped with a steel rollerball to cool and tighten your eye area as it thinly and evenly spreads on the rejuvenating formula spiked with vitamin C, collagen, and peptides. Together, they make quick work of undereye bags.

Key ingredients: vitamin C, peptides, niacinamide | Who it's for: puffy or sagging undereyes | Fragrance-free: no

Best for Dryness: Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Eye Cream

Laneige

Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: Cosmetic chemist Asia Fee has a "soft spot" for Laneige's Bank Blue Hyaluronic Eye Cream due to its innovative form of hyaluronic acid, which the brand calls Blue Hyaluronic Acid. "Unlike typicalhyaluronic acid, it's derivedthrough the biofermentation of sea algae, resulting in an amplified humectant," she tells Allure. Other standouts of this deeply nourishing yet lightweight formula? Niacinamide and caffeine address and minimize the look of dark circles, and the latter even provides a cooling sensation.

Key ingredients: blue hyaluronic acid, caffeine, niacinamide | Who it's for: dry or mature skin | Fragrance-free: no

Best Under Makeup: Cosrx Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream

Cosrx

Cosrx Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: Stateside, Cosrx's Advanced Snail Peptide Eye Cream is an Allure staff favorite. Content director Kara McGrath enjoys how the silky, lightweight texture reflects light without any added sparkle. "It also plays super well with makeup: There's none of that dreaded pilling when I layer my go-to concealer on top," she says. As for ingredients, a team of snail mucin (also known as snail secretion filtrate), niacinamide, and peptides work hand-in-hand to firm skin, tone down the appearance of dark circles, and give your skin a dose of the aforementioned radiance. All of this goodness is dispensed via an airless pump.

Key ingredients: snail mucin, niacinamide, peptides | Who it's for: all skin types | Fragrance-free: yes

Best for Dark Circles: Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Bright Eye Cream

Saturday Skin

Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Bright Eye Cream

Why it's worth it: Another Allure-editor favorite is Saturday Skin's Yuzu Vitamin C Bright Eye Cream. "The buttery, brightening eye cream feels like “a big reassuring hug for tired undereyes," says Elizabeth Siegel, our deputy beauty director. Vitamin C-rich yuzu extract, caffeine, and niacinamide minimize puffy eye bags, while panthenol (a.k.a. vitamin B5) and vitamin E offer deep hydration to the delicate eye area.

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Key ingredients: yuzu extract, caffeine, niacinamide | Who it's for: dark circles | Fragrance-free: yes

How we test and review products

When Allure tests a product, our editors look at it from every angle in an effort to best serve you. We review ingredients, scrutinize brand claims, and, when necessary, examine peer-reviewed scientific and medical studies. In addition to testing each and every product that's included in each and every review, we rely on experts who shape their fields, including dermatology, cosmetic chemistry, and medicine, to help us vet the ingredients and formulas.

For our list of the best Korean eye creams, we considered each product's performance across five primary categories: product ingredients and efficacy, packaging, fragrance, texture, and product wear. Every product was determined to have excelled in each category by our editorial team, which is composed of in-house writers and editors as well as contributors—along with special consideration from board-certified dermatologists, cosmetic chemists, and experts deeply ingrained and familiar with the Korean beauty industry. To learn more information on our reporting and testing processes, read our complete reviews process and methodology page.

Our staff and testers

A beauty product is a personal purchase. You might be searching for a face cream to address persistent dryness or a new nail product to add to your Sunday self-care routine; you may simply be browsing around for the latest launches to hit the hair market. No matter what you seek or your individual needs and concerns, Allure wants to ensure that you love anything we recommend in our stories. We believe that having a diverse team of writers and editors—in addition to the wide range of outside testers and industry experts we regularly call upon—is essential to reaching that goal.

After all, can we really say a skin-care product is the "best" for people over 50 if the only testers we've solicited opinions from folks who have yet to hit 30? Can we honestly deem a high-end diffuser worthy of your hard-earned cash if it's never been tested on curls? We're proud that our staff spans a wide range of ages, skin tones, hair textures, genders, and backgrounds, which means that we are able to fairly assess any beauty product that comes into the beauty closet.

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These Korean Eye Creams Are the Perfect Balance of Gentle & Effective (2024)
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