Eye creams have a reputation — one that, admittedly, I’d perpetuated until recently — as overpriced moisturizer rehomed in a tiny jar. More often than not, however, eye creams are uniquely beneficial. Nowhere is this more evident than with the new crop of eye creams we’ve been noticing lately: eye balms. Unlike traditional eye creams, which some people can find too thick or stifling for the delicate undereye area, balms glide on in thin, cooling layers. They’re known to impart a bright-eyed, dewy-skinned look, and can therefore function as the perfect primer for concealer. Some eye balms even contain light-reflecting particles for a pearly, glossy finish — almost like skincare with makeup benefits sprinkled in. To top it all off, eye balms are perfect for travel: most formulations are solid, and they’re oftentimes housed in a convenient twist up stick that’s perfect for on the go applications. Below, seven lightweight-yet-luscious options to get you started.
Coconut oil fans will love Kopari® Starry Eye Balm ($28). The pretty pink palette is also spiked with shea butter, jojoba oil, and superfood moringa extract. A duo of coffee oil and caffeine ward off puffiness. While the formula is decidedly chock full of oils, it’s not the least bit greasy. Instead, it absorbs in a nourishing flash.
You could almost think of the Tula® Rose Glow and Get itTM Cooling Brightening Eye Balm ($30) as a highlighter for your undereyes — albeit one of those super-sheer, no makeup makeup ones. The luminous particles reflect light just so, making shadowy eyes look more well-rested. Additionally, this balm packs a one-two punch of hydration and deflation: watermelon extract deeply quenches, and caffeine tamps down on excess fluid retention. The formula is refreshingly cool to the touch, and the lip balm-like applicator supports swiping anytime you need a quick wakeup call.
Inflammation-fighting turmeric stars in the Peach and Lily® Cold Brew Eye Recovery StickTM ($28), alongside caffeine and cucumber. A single swipe over even the puffiest of undereyes leaves the area looking instantly tighter, while niacinamide and kiwi extract brighten over time.
Don’t let Tony MolyTM Cat’s PurrfectTM Eye Contour Stick ($16) fool you; while it may look cutesy, it’s actually loaded with serious skincare ingredients, including silk amino acids. Bonus points for light reflecting particles, which can help divert attention from shadowy undereyes.
The chubbiness of the Embryolisse® Radiant Eye Balm ($25) allows for covering the entire undereye area in one fell swoop, which makes it perfect for people who feel perpetually in a rush. Aloe and glycerin deeply hydrate — sans greasiness — which might be why a host of top tier makeup artists carry this stick in their kits.
Sensitive skin will love the Kate Somerville® Goat Milk Depuffing Eye Balm ($38). The formula relies on a delectable concoction of goat’s milk and manuka honey, which work in tandem to soothe and calm the delicate undereye area. The formula is soft enough that it doesn’t drag or tug on delicate skin, despite its stick format.
Boscia® Super-Cool De-Puffing Eye Gel ($26) relies on aloe vera to instantly soothe and hydrate the undereye area. Jojoba imparts lasting suppleness and nourishment, while finely-milled mica leaves the undereye area visibly more luminous.
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