- How to Choose the Right Korean Eye Cream for You
- Top 10 Best Korean Eye Creams 2021
- 1. Best Overall Korean Eye Cream Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
- 2. Best for Damaged Skin Benton Fermentation Eye Cream
- 3. Best for Dry Skin Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream
- 4. For Sensitive Skin Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream
- 5. Best Premium Korean Eye Cream Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask
- 6. For Scent Lovers Innisfree Jeju Orchid Eye Cream
- 7. Best Budget Korean Eye Cream Elizavecca Gold CF-Nest White Bomb Eye Cream
- 8. Best for Anti-Aging PURITO Centella Green Level Eye Cream
- 9. Best for Milia MISSHA Super Aqua Ultra Waterful Eye Treatment
- 10. SkinFood Royal Honey Essential Eye Cream
- Guide to Choosing the Best Korean Eye Cream for You
- Korean Eye Cream FAQ
- Final Thoughts on Korean Eye Creams
The skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of aging and fatigue. Whether you’re trying to keep your skin looking youthful or fade persistent fine lines, Korean eye creams are worth a try. Korean skincare is at the forefront of beauty science, with innovative eye creams made with well-researched, natural, and gentle ingredients. We’ve selected the best of the bunch, to visibly improve every common eye area concern.
How to Choose the Right Korean Eye Cream for You
There are a few factors to consider when choosing an eye cream. You need to consider how much moisture you need, what skin issues you would like to improve, and even what your scent preference is. We cover all of the important details so you can find the best eye cream for you.
Types of Korean Eye Creams
Eye cream is basically a moisturizer for the eye area, but the way it will moisturize depends on how light or heavy it is. A lighter eye cream will usually hydrate with water, while a thicker one will add restorative and protective oil-like ingredients. These are the main types, listed from lightest to heaviest:
- Gels and gel-creams are transparent or semi-transparent with a cooling effect. They offer a lot of hydration, and are great for delivering active ingredients.
- Light creams are the most common, offering a balanced mix of hydration and emollience.
- Creams are a little thicker and more buttery, so while they offer some hydration, they mostly create a protective layer on the skin.
- Balms are the thickest. They offer no direct hydration but seal existing moisture into the skin.
We’ll point out exactly which category each eye cream falls into in the reviews, and you can also learn by jumping to our detailed section on the types of Korean eye creams.
The most important factor to consider when choosing an eye cream are the specific concerns you’d like it to address. The most common concerns around the eye area are the following:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Dark circles
In the reviews, we’ll let you know exactly which major concerns each eye cream addresses, so you can easily identify the ones that’ll be best for you. We also include an in-depth explanation of how each eye cream works and why.
You can also learn more about why these issues occur around the eye area and which ingredients work to address each concern by reading our detailed guide.
The skin around the eyes is significantly thinner than the skin elsewhere on the face and body, which makes it more susceptible to damage. Fragrances, in particular, can irritate the skin and cause allergic reactions. This is why it’s important to choose gentle eye creams.
However, if you know that your skin tolerates fragrances just fine, you might like an eye cream with a lovely scent! We’ll let you know about fragrances, strong ingredients, and the likelihood of irritation from each Korean eye cream we review, in the “Gentleness” section.
We prefer products packaged in pumps or tubes. Those containers have smaller openings, so they don’t allow as much air in which protects the stability and efficacy of the product. Jars, though not a deal-breaker, are less hygienic. They expose the cream to air and potential contaminants, which means the product is at a higher risk of spoiling and has to be formulated with stronger preservatives.
Korean brands have some of the most stylish containers around! While we think performance and ingredients are much more important, you can let gorgeous or fun packaging sway you – after all, self-care should be fun!
Is It Cruelty-Free?
For many, it’s very important to only use cruelty-free or strictly vegan products. Korea banned cosmetic testing on animals in 2018, but there are loopholes, and any products sold in China can still undergo post-market testing.
Korean eye creams are often made with animal-derived ingredients, like snail mucin, honey, and even bird saliva. It’s not always clear, so we’ll make it easy for you by mentioning when we know for certain that a product is vegan or cruelty-free.
With all this info in mind, let’s explore the best Korean eye creams on the market today.
Top 10 Best Korean Eye Creams 2021
1. Best Overall Korean Eye Cream Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream
Type of eye cream: Light cream
Best for: Dehydration, sensitivity, dryness, anti-aging, and mild hyperpigmentation.
Packaging and Style: It’s available in a 0.5 oz squeeze tube or 0.8 oz jar. While the price per oz is slightly better with the jar, we prefer the cleaner and more convenient tube.
Vegan or cruelty-free: This eye cream is cruelty-free and vegetarian, but not vegan because of the presence of snail mucin.
Effects: The primary effect of this eye cream is to hydrate and strengthen the eye area, but it goes above and beyond.
It’s made with snail filtrate which deserves a special mention because it makes up 80% of this cream. Despite how weird it sounds, it’s actually incredible, offering skin moisturizing, protecting, and even healing effects, which makes it great for soothing irritated skin. It’s been proven to help reduce the depth of wrinkles, likely by plumping up the skin with water. This plumping effect can also help slightly reduce the visibility of dark circles caused by thin under eye skin.
While it loads the skin up with water, it’s low on emollients, so it’s great for dehydrated skin but won’t always be enough for dry skin. For an eye cream that works great for dry skin, consider Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream.
There are other anti-aging ingredients in this mix that deserve a mention, like antioxidant niacinamide which is also known to help with hyperpigmentation, adenosine which reduces wrinkles with long-term use, and a copper peptide that’s been shown to help reduce fine lines by stimulating collagen synthesis.
Gentleness: We feel comfortable recommending this eye cream for sensitive skin. It’s free of fragrances, and even the anti-aging ingredients are unlikely to irritate. Snail mucin even has its own skin-soothing effects! As a bonus, if your skin is prone to developing milia, this eye cream is a safe choice because it’s light and sinks in quickly.
- Lightweight and thoroughly hydrating
- Suitable even for very sensitive skin
- Non-aggressive ingredients give anti-aging effects without causing irritation
- Mid-end price is totally affordable
- Might not be moisturizing enough for very dry skin
2. Best for Damaged Skin Benton Fermentation Eye Cream
Type of eye cream: Balm-cream hybrid
Best for: Extreme dryness, compromised skin barrier, sensitivity, and anti-aging.
Packaging and Style: Black tube that holds 1 oz.
Vegan or cruelty-free: PETA-certified cruelty-free
This thick eye cream is especially good for repairing very dry skin or a compromised skin barrier. It’s made with a few ferment filtrates known for their ability to improve skin barrier function, which is important for reducing dryness and sensitivity. However, if you have fungal acne or a similar condition, stay away since yeasts can make things worse.
Ceramide NP and macadamia seed oil also help reduce dryness and improve the skin barrier, while allantoin increases the skin-soothing effects.
This cream is also helpful when it comes to anti-aging. It contains adenosine and sh-Oligopeptide-1, which stimulate collagen production to firm up the undereye area and fade wrinkles.
One drawback to this eye cream is that the thick texture does occasionally cause milia. It also has low water content so it isn’t hydrating enough on its own. We recommend using it on top of a light product like the Missha Eye Treatment for added hydration. It’s worth mentioning that despite the thick texture, it doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the eyes.
Gentleness: There are no harsh ingredients to be found here, but instead there are many soothing agents, so this eye cream is safe for sensitive skin.
- Barrier-repairing and soothing
- Thick and moisturizing which is great for dry skin
- Contains effective wrinkle-fading ingredients
- Squeeze tube keeps the eye cream fresh for a long time
- Not hydrating enough on its own
- Can worsen fungal skin conditions
- Low-moderate risk of milia
3. Best for Dry Skin Etude House Moistfull Collagen Eye Cream
Type of eye cream: Light cream
Fragrance: Mild, allergen-free
Best for: Dehydration, dryness, and preventative anti-aging.
Packaging and Style: Peachy jar that holds 0.95 oz.
Vegan or cruelty-free: Sadly, no on both counts. Collagen is animal-derived, and Etude House is not considered cruelty-free.
Effects: This super-hydrating eye cream is aptly named. However, it’s also touted as anti-aging, and while it is preventative, we don’t think it’s the best one to choose if you already have mature skin.
The main ingredient here is hydrolyzed collagen, which makes up around 65% of the formula. It’s a powerful hydrating agent that pulls moisture into the skin, plumping it up instantly to reduce the appearance of fine lines. It also has protective effects as an antioxidant, to prevent premature aging.
There’s a misconception that topical collagen can replenish natural collagen levels in the skin to give a long-term firming effect, but there’s no research corroborating that. Collagen’s true power comes from the ability to protect and hydrate.
The other ingredients here, like glycerin, and meadowfoam seed oil are simple moisturizing agents, while baobab oil and extract also have antioxidant effects to prevent wrinkle-formation.
Gentleness: There are no harsh active ingredients in this eye cream, and according to Etude House, the fragrance currently used in the formula is considered allergen-free. Indeed, irritation with this product is rare. Because it’s so lightweight it’s also a safe choice for those with milia-prone skin.
- Deeply moisturizing but with a light texture
- Antioxidants from hydrolyzed collagen and plant extracts prevent premature aging
- Has a pleasant fragrance that is unlikely to irritate the skin
- This mild formula won’t give transformative results
- Jar packaging isn’t convenient
- Not cruelty-free or vegan/vegetarian-friendly
4. For Sensitive Skin Mizon Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream
Type of eye cream: Cream
Best for: Dryness, dehydration, sensitivity, and anti-aging.
Packaging and Style: Purple 0.8 oz jar, includes a small spatula for dispensing product.
Vegan or cruelty-free: Cruelty-free but not vegan because of marine collagen.
Effects: This creamy eye product is a wonderful choice for very dry skin and it also counters dehydration. While collagen might be the “star ingredient,” it shows up after other moisture-attracting agents like glycerin and butylene glycol. This is fine by us – we’re not that impressed by collagen, and we love all humectants equally!
This is a silicone-heavy formula, which is why it’s so good for dry skin. The silicones create an impenetrable barrier over the skin and prevent moisture-loss throughout the night. This is also awesome in dry climates. While silicones are generally very safe, their occlusive ability might contribute to the formation of milia.
It offers a similar anti-wrinkle effect to the Snail Repair Eye Cream, thanks to a similar use of adenosine and peptides. There are also a few antioxidant-rich botanical oils and extracts, for protection from external sources of aging. If the Snail Repair was too light for you, this one is definitely worth a try.
Gentleness: This eye cream doesn’t contain any irritants, but it is very creamy and may cause milia.
- Rich formula relieves dry skin and counters dehydration
- Mild, gentle, and fragrance free to suit even extremely sensitive skin
- Includes effective anti-aging ingredients
- Can cause milia
Type of eye cream: Gel
Best for: Dehydration, dryness, puffiness, blue or purple dark circles, and anti-aging.
Packaging and Style: Elegant 0.8 oz glass jar and a separate ceramic ball applicator.
Vegan or cruelty-free: While Laneige claims cruelty-free status, their products are sold in China which makes us doubtful.
Effects: Though it’s marketed as a “sleeping mask,” this is more of a high-end overnight eye gel. Its primary effect is to hydrate the eye area with a blend of water-binding humectants like butylene glycol, glycerin, and beta-glucan. Despite the gel texture, it’s still going to work for dry skin because of a touch of silicone which prevents transepidermal water loss.
We’re impressed by this product’s caffeine-content, which has a firming effect that helps reduce puffiness and dark circles caused by poor circulation. This cooling touch of an attached ceramic applicator magnifies this effect. Unfortunately, you will have to clean the applicator after every use.
It prevents premature aging with antioxidants like hesperidin and vitamin C derivatives, and counters existing fine lines with collagen-boosting adenosine.
It also has a calming effect on the skin because of the cooling wand, the aforementioned >hesperidin which is also anti-inflammatory, and skin-relieving >saccharomyces cerevisiae extract. We’d definitely recommend it for under eye redness if you can tolerate the fragrance.
Gentleness: Overall, this formula is very gentle and soothing. Unfortunately, it contains a lavender fragrance and as a result some users could experience irritation.
- Extremely hydrating and moisturizing
- Targets puffiness and dark circles with caffeine
- Diverse antioxidant compounds and adenosine ward-off wrinkles
- Soothing ingredients give relief from redness
- Contains a potentially irritating fragrance
- Ceramic ball applicator requires cleaning
- Not cruelty-free
6. For Scent Lovers Innisfree Jeju Orchid Eye Cream
Type of eye cream: Rich cream
Fragrance: Strong orchid scent
Best for: Dryness, dehydration, puffiness, and wrinkle-prevention.
Packaging and Style: Purple jar holds 1 oz but can be bulky and uncomfortable.
Vegan or cruelty-free: While this product is vegan, Innisfree as a brand sells in China and cannot be considered cruelty-free.
Effects: This eye cream is famously moisturizing, with a focus on natural emollients that smooth down flakey skin and fortify the skin’s barrier functions. The main ingredients contributing to this are squalane, meadowfoam seed oil, and shea butter. These oils make up for the lack of sebum produced around the eyes, and they also offer antioxidant protection.
It features moisture-absorbing glycerin, so it hydrates the skin, and there’s also a touch of silicone which creates a layer over the skin to prevent evaporation. All in all, it’s a comprehensive moisturizing cream.
For morning puffiness or visible veins under the eyes, caffeine is included here. It’s a vasoconstrictor with an instant firming effect, although the amount is quite small (especially compared to Laneige) so the results are not intense. The final ingredient of note is niacinamide, the do-it-all antioxidant, moisture-booster, skin soother, and brightening agent that we always like seeing in an eye cream.
Oh, and what about the star ingredient, Jeju orchid extract? Sure, it possesses some antioxidant abilities, but it’s not very well researched so we’re not that impressed with it.
Gentleness: This Korean eye cream has a strong fragrance, which is actually one of the reasons why it’s so popular. Unfortunately, it also increases its chances of irritating the skin. Additionally, because of all of the rich ingredients it often causes milia.
- A balanced mix of natural ingredients
- The creamy texture feels very luxurious and relieves dry skin
- Prevents fine lines and reduces puffiness with caffeine and niacinamide
- The fragrance is probably too strong for those with sensitive skin or noses
- Too rich for milia-prone skin
- Packaged in a bulky, uncomfortable jar
7. Best Budget Korean Eye Cream Elizavecca Gold CF-Nest White Bomb Eye Cream
Type of eye cream: Thick cream
Best for: Dryness, dehydration, dark circles, and age-prevention.
Packaging and Style: Hilarious tube printed with pig cartoon that holds 1 oz.
Vegan or cruelty-free: Product isn’t vegan and while Elizavecca claims to be cruelty-free, we couldn’t find evidence corroborating the claim.
Effects: We’d recommend this eye cream for a younger crowd with dry skin, because of how it works and because of its low price.
The star ingredient here is swift nest extract, which is basically bird saliva. Don’t get grossed out – it’s actually a prized ingredient in traditional eastern medicine that contains >Epidermal Growth Factor which might have anti-aging effects on the skin. However, there isn’t quite enough research for us to totally buy into Elizavecca’s claims about it.
This cream is very moisturizing, with both water-attracting ingredients and moisturizing emollients. It contains protective antioxidants from a wide range of plants as well as niacinamide to help slow down skin aging and counter hyperpigmentation.
Because it’s heavy, it doesn’t sink into the skin completely, so it’s better for dry skin, especially in the evening.
Despite being fairly mild and fragrance-free, some of the plant extracts in this eye cream do occasionally irritate the eye area. For a better option for sensitive skin, consider Mizon Snail Repair. It’s also not a fit for milia-prone skin.
- Effectively moisturizing for dry skin
- Wards off early signs of aging by protecting the eye area
- Very budget friendly
- Doesn’t sink into skin completely
- No transformative long-term effects
- Can cause milia
8. Best for Anti-Aging PURITO Centella Green Level Eye Cream
Type of eye cream: Light cream
Fragrance: Lavender and bergamot
Best for: Dryness, dehydration, and anti-aging.
Packaging and Style: 1 oz squeeze tube.
Vegan or cruelty-free: Vegan and cruelty-free.
Effects: Purito is one of the most exciting K-beauty brands right now, and with this eye cream they delivered a good product with an unfortunate drawback that keeps it from being amazing.
When it comes to moisturization, this eye cream delivers a balanced mix of emollience and hydration. It’s suitable for all skin types, and leaves the skin looking slightly dewy.
The key ingredient in this formula is called centella asiatica, and it’s worth getting excited about. This plant extract has >antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, which is especially nice for red or sensitive skin. The cream includes both centella extract and isolated centella compounds that are even more potently soothing.
It also contains a high amount of wrinkle-fighting and collagen-boosting peptides. While those ingredients are present in other products on this list, this eye cream contains the highest amount of them, so we think it’s the best choice for fading wrinkles.
Gentleness: Now the drawbacks. It’s unfortunate that an eye cream made with so many great soothing agents also includes lavender and bergamot essential oils, which have the potential to cause contact dermatitis. If Purito had left out the fragrance, this would have been one of our top choices, especially for sensitive skin. Instead, Mizon Collagen Power is a safer option for more sensitive users.
- Balanced moisturization for both dryness and dehydration
- High amount of collagen-boosting, wrinkle-fading peptides
- Centella asiatica provides soothing effects
- Soothing ingredients are negated by presence of irritating fragrances
9. Best for Milia MISSHA Super Aqua Ultra Waterful Eye Treatment
Type of eye cream: Gel
Best for: Dehydration, hyperpigmentation, wrinkle-prevention, oily and milia-prone skin.
Packaging and Style: Dark blue 1 oz tube with airless pump dispenser.
Vegan or cruelty-free: This product is cruelty-free and vegan.
Effects: This eye treatment is primarily an excellent hydrator. It contains some great but commonly-used moisture-binders like glycerin, along with plant extracts from seaweed, cactus, baobab and sugarcane, which are also said to be moisturizing and hydrating.
It does a good job of loading up the skin with a ton of water, and as a result cooling it and temporarily reducing the visibility of fine lines. Its texture is fantastic for oily skin, but not enough for dry skin.
This eye treatment contains more than a dozen different plant extracts, but most of those extracts aren’t well-researched so we think they’re only there to make the ingredient list seem longer.
Missha claims that this eye treatment targets dark circles, although we think that in practice, it’s only a momentary reduction thanks to hydration. It does feature niacinamide, which helps specifically with dark circles caused by hyperpigmentation, and also helps protect the skin from extrinsic aging factors.
Gentleness: Gel texture makes it great for milia-prone skin. However, even though there are no obvious irritants in the formula, there are also a lot of plant extracts that aren’t commonly used. As a result, a minority of users end up with irritated skin. We recommend testing it behind the ear or the arm for a few days before applying under the eyes.
- Deeply hydrating and cooling
- Plumps up the skin to reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark circles
- Preventative ingredients keep wrinkles at bay
- Lightweight and excellent for milia-prone skin
- Ingredient list is needlessly bloated with plant extracts
- Occasionally causes irritation
- Too light for dry skin
Type of eye cream: Cream
Fragrance: Mild honey scent
Best for: Dryness, dehydration, and mild anti-aging.
Packaging and Style: Honey-themed 1 oz tube.
Vegan or cruelty-free: Not vegan or cruelty-free.
Effects: There is a lot of good about this popular Korean eye cream, but also a few things that give us pause. It’s a richly moisturizing, anti-aging product that includes honey extract, propolis, and royal jelly, which contribute to its honey-based product story. Honey and its extracts are known for being hydrating, soothing, and even anti-bacterial, although propolis, specifically, has the potential to irritate the skin. It also includes oils and emollients that keep moisture in the skin.
Unfortunately, this long ingredient list also includes a lot of fillers, which makes us second-guess the quantities of the more interesting ingredients like adenosine and peptides, which show up at the end of the list. Normally, fillers serve to make a formula silkier, but in this instance the texture is a little sticky.
Gentleness: In addition to propolis, this eye cream also includes a fragrance, so it does have the potential to irritate. It’s also thick enough to potentially cause milia.
- Effectively hydrating and moisturizing
- Small amounts of adenosine and peptides for mild anti-aging
- Comes in hygienic squeeze tube
- Fragrance and propolis can irritate the skin
- A lot of fillers
- May cause milia
Guide to Choosing the Best Korean Eye Cream for You
Consider Your Specific Skin Concerns
When looking for an eye cream, chances are you’re hoping to improve something specific. In this section, we break down everything you need to know about the common eye area concerns. Use this knowledge to choose the best Korean eye cream for your needs.
Dry skin does not produce a lot of oil, so it’s more prone to flakiness, premature aging, sensitivity, and dehydration. The skin around the eyes has fewer oil glands than the skin elsewhere, so even those with normal or oily skin can have dryness around the eyes.
Thick eye creams made with ingredients like plant oils, plant butters, silicones, fatty acids, and ceramides do the best job of combating dryness, although the heavier they are the more likely to cause milia around the eyes.
In skincare parlance, dryness refers to a lack of oil while dehydration refers to a lack of water. The former can lead to the latter, so the two often come hand in hand. Dehydration makes the skin look dull and saggy, makes it more prone to sensitivity, and it magnifies the appearance of dark circles and wrinkles.
The best ingredients to counter it are humectants, which are moisture-binders that pull and keep water in the skin. These include glycerin, butylene glycol, collagen, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, and honey, just to name a few. Oily ingredients can also help by creating a barrier and keeping moisture from evaporating. With the exception of balms, nearly all Korean eye creams are formulated to counter dehydration.
Under eye puffiness (sometimes referred to as “eye bags”) is a common complaint with two main causes. Temporary undereye puffiness is caused by an accumulation of fluids, often in the morning or after eating salty food.
If you experience this kind of puffiness regularly, look for Korean eye creams that contain ingredients that firm the skin and improve circulation like caffeine, tea extracts, and ginseng. We especially recommend Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask, though Innisfree Jeju Orchid Eye Cream can also help with a smaller dose of caffeine.
Permanent puffiness can come with age. As the muscles under the skin weaken, fat moves around and it can settle in that bag under the eye. Unfortunately, these types of eye bags can only be removed with surgical intervention, though you can enjoy a temporary firming effect from the same ingredients.
- Fine lines and wrinkles
As we age, our skin slows down its production of collagen and other proteins that maintain tautness. Exposure to external aggressors like the sun’s rays and pollution speed up this entire process. Because it’s so thin and dry, the skin around the eyes is usually the first to show this loss with fine lines, crow’s feet, and a crepey appearance.
While you’re still young, choose an eye cream with antioxidants, which are ingredients that protect from external aggressors. The antioxidants used in K-beauty are very diverse, from botanical extracts and oils to isolated compounds like niacinamide.
Pro Tip: don’t forget to protect your eyes with a big pair of sunglasses and daily use of sunscreen!
In the short term, ingredients that combat dehydration can pull moisture into the skin, which plumps it up and softens fine lines pretty much instantly. Korean eye creams are packed full of these ingredients, so nearly any one of them can help.
Later on in life, the key to reversing wrinkles is ingredients that boost collagen production. In Western skincare, retinoids and vitamin C are commonly used, but they’re strong and likely to irritate so they’re less common in Korean eye creams. Instead, K-beauty favors gentle collagen boosters that are considered Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF) like certain peptides and adenosine. If you’d like to try an eye cream with these ingredients, we recommend Mizon Snail Repair, Benton Fermentation Eye Cream, Mizon Collagen Power, Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask, and Purito Centella Green Level Eye Cream.
- Blue or purple dark circles
Dark circles are complicated. They are usually caused by a combination of factors including circulation issues and transparent skin that shows the underlying blood vessels and musculature.
There are a few ways to deal with these kinds of dark circles. If the main cause is simply thin skin, humectants can help in the short term by plumping up the skin with moisture and making it temporarily thicker.
Collagen-boosters like adenosine and certain peptides can work slowly over the long-term to actually thicken the skin, which is also very effective for treating fine lines and wrinkles.
Finally, the same vasoconstrictors that help with puffiness like caffeine and tea extracts can help with dark circles by constricting the underlying blood vessels.
Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask is the best Korean eye cream for dealing with blue or purple dark circles because it includes all three categories of ingredients.
Hyperpigmentation is the overproduction of melanin in the skin, and it can show up as freckles, sun spots, melasma, and occasionally, brownish dark circles. Pigmentation is usually genetic, but the sun can make it more prominent.
Antioxidants and sunscreen are important for preventing these types of undereye circles from showing up in the first place.
If you already have pigmentation around your eyes then the best Korean eye creams for you would include proven pigmentation fighters like arbutin, niacinamide, vitamin C, licorice root extract, and kojic acid.
Milia are little bumps that often show up under the eyes. They look like whiteheads, but they’re actually hard plugs of keratin, which is the protein that makes up the bulk of the skin. They’re usually genetic, but they can also be caused by the overapplication of heavy creams. A dermatologist can remove them surgically or they can be treated at home with gentle chemical exfoliants or retinoids.
If you’re just looking for an eye cream that won’t cause milia, you’re in luck. Many Korean eye creams don’t cause milia because of their gel or light cream texture. Our favorite milia-safe eye creams are: Mizon Snail Repair, Etude House Moistfull Collagen, Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask, and MISSHA Waterful Eye Treatment.
Because the eye area is thinner and more dry than other parts of the face, it’s more prone to irritation. In addition to avoiding common irritants, there are also a lot of soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients used in Korean eye creams that can help. These include oats, green tea, allantoin, snail mucin, centella asiatica, and ceramides.
Detailed Guide to the Types of Korean Eye Creams
Different eye cream types offer different levels of moisture, and each one has its own benefits, drawbacks, and the unique skin type that it suits.
Gel-based eye creams are great for hydration because they add water to the skin without heavy oils. Because they’re so light, they are also great for infusing the skin with actives that need to go deep to have an effect, like caffeine. They’re awesome in the daytime because they don’t leave a residue, and are great for oily or milia-prone skin. They’re not always moisturizing enough for dry skin.
- Light cream
The right word here would be lotion, but in Korea the word lotion is sometimes used to describe toners, so we opted for “light cream” instead. They strike a balance, offering both hydration and heavier emollient ingredients that smooth down dry skin and prevent moisture evaporation. They’re suitable for all skin types, and rarely cause milia, which is why they’re the most common type of Korean eye cream.
- Thick cream
Thick creams have a heavier texture. They primarily help to make up for the lack of oil around the eyes, although they can still hydrate. This makes them very suitable for dry skin, especially for those suffering from extreme flakiness. They can leave a slight residue on the skin, so they’re better for the evening. Note that heavy textures are not recommended for those who are prone to milia.
Finally, we have balms, which are the thickest, most moisture-binding, and least hydrating. Their texture is heavy and greasy, and they’re best used in conjunction with hydrating gels or creams to counter extreme dryness. They are the most likely to cause milia.
Pro Tip: Texture lets you know in what order to apply your products. You can layer a lighter eye cream under a heavier one if you have multiple skin concerns or if you need deeper hydration.
Safety Tips for Shopping Online
When buying online, it’s always important to be cautious. Shady sellers often send out fake or expired items, especially when it comes to popular Korean beauty products. Fake skincare can be dangerous, and applying it to the skin can result in infections or contact dermatitis rashes. Make sure to buy directly from Amazon or from a reputable seller to stay safe.
Korean Eye Cream FAQ
Why Is Korean Skincare So Popular?
Over the last decade or so, Korean skincare started popping up everywhere. Some say that it’s even more popular and well-regarded outside of Korea than within it. There are a few different factors that contributed to the rise of Korean beauty, some of which have to do with the amazing products and others that have more to do with external factors.
When it comes to the products themselves, the Korean skincare industry puts a lot of effort into research and innovation. They’re at the forefront when it comes to ingredients, effects, textures, and packaging. The result is unique, fun products that are also very effective.
Innovation in textures led to the unique Korean multi-step routine, which involves applying a series of different liquids and lotions to the skin instead of the typical “cleanser, toner, moisturizer” routine that was so ubiquitous in the West. Many people have adopted the multi-step routine because it hydrates the skin thoroughly, and gives a dewiness and luminosity sometimes referred to as “glass skin.”
The external factors are also very important, however. The main one is the support of the Korean government, which helps Korean cosmetic brands with funding and tax breaks, especially if they export. The Korean government also supported the spread of Korean dramas and pop music all over the world. It’s no surprise that fans of Korean media, in wanting to mimic the look of their idols, also became K-beauty consumers.
What Makes Korean Eye Creams Different?
There are a couple of major differences between Korean eye creams and eye creams made in North America or Europe.
Most of the eye creams on our list cost less than $20 (in some instances less than $10), while a browse through the shelves at Ulta shows that Western eye creams are far more expensive.
At the same time, the standard quantity for a Korean eye cream is between 0.8-1 oz per tube or jar, while in the West, most eye creams come in 0.5 oz containers. Despite offering nearly double the product, Korean eye creams consistently cost less than comparable Western ones, making the cost per oz shockingly low.
- Strong vs. Gentle Ingredients
Western eye creams often include strong active ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, or pure vitamin C. These give radical results but they also have a high potential to irritate the skin. Korean eye creams are usually more gentle, with slow-acting but still effective ingredients like peptides, adenosine, niacinamide, ferments, and plant extracts.
How to Use Korean Eye Cream
Eye cream can be used both in the morning and at night, or just in the evening. You should always apply it to clean skin, although your eye cream can be applied after eye-safe essences or serums.
Since we’re talking about Korean eye creams, it’s best to follow a gentle Korean application method. It involves tapping the product into the skin instead of massaging, so there’s less friction against the eye.
Dispense a pea-sized amount of eye cream, and rub it between both ring fingers. Then, gently tap it into the skin. Avoid getting too close to the eye by following the curve of the orbital bone. Start slightly below the inner corner of each eye and apply it along the under eye, next to the outer corner of the eye, and below the brows.
Do I Really Need an Eye Cream in My Routine?
Whether eye creams are actually necessary is pretty controversial. Some experts say eye creams are just glorified moisturizers, while others say they’re absolutely mandatory. We think the truth lies in the middle. A mild face cream is a safe choice for moisturizing the eye area, but a strong anti-aging or mattifying anti-acne moisturizer can hurt the delicate skin.
What makes eye creams worthwhile is that they’re formulated with ingredients that help with the specific issues that show up around the eyes. A face moisturizer might do the trick, but the right eye cream will awaken and transform your eye area completely!
Final Thoughts on Korean Eye Creams
The Korean beauty world offers an endless supply of great products, and even the eye cream selection is surprisingly diverse! Having so many options can get confusing, and it can be hard to find an eye cream that will give you the results you want. However, by pinpointing your needs and preferences, you can find the Korean eye cream that will get you seeing the world with brand new eyes!