Turns out the polypeptides you learned about in your 10th-grade chemistry class are actually helpful for the skin⎯ who knew?! In the realm of skincare, peptides are a type of holy grail, and once you understand how they work, you’ve got the key to truly youthful skin. Peptides are integrated into skincare products for their anti-aging qualities, by minimizing what’s already there and serving as a preventive measure for the future. Think of peptide creams as nature’s Botox⎯ making it an absolute magic ingredient for eye creams. Whether it be minimizing the fine lines under the eyes, or helping with firmness, these peptide eye creams will do the trick. Trendy skincare ingredients may come and go, but peptides are definitely here to stay. Read further to learn the insider details on what peptides are, the benefits of choosing peptide eye creams, and our thoughts on the best peptide eye creams out there.
WHAT ARE PEPTIDES?
We know they’re good for the skin, but what exactly are they? Here’s a mini science lesson! Peptides (also commonly known as polypeptides) are specific amino acids found in the skin that chain together to create protein molecules. One protein of particular interest to us is the infamous collagen⎯ made up of 3 polypeptide chains. By applying products that are rich in peptides, those extra ones penetrate the outer layer of the skin and help to convey to the cells to produce even more collagen and strengthen the skin structure overall.
WHY CHOOSE A PEPTIDE EYE CREAM?
As we age, our collagen production slows down⎯ which is what leads to wrinkles and dullness in the skin⎯ including eye wrinkles. By using peptides, you can prevent those signs of aging and help to combat any present ones too. This is because peptides improve and strengthen the skin barrier, preventing pollution, UV rays, and other toxins from entering the body. As you know, collagen helps to reduce wrinkles, but it also benefits the skin structure, plumping and firming the skin to look and feel less stretched out. Our undereye region is the thinnest, and sensitive area on the face, and requires extremely gentle but targeted products.
COMMON PEPTIDES IN PEPTIDE EYE CREAMS
Now this is where most people have to trouble⎯ fancy words like Matrixyl might scare you away, but it’s worth learning about (your skin will thank you). Here’s a breakdown of some of the most researched peptides to be on the lookout for:
- Matrixyl (Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4): stimulates collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid growth to combat fine lines & wrinkles.
- Matrixyl 3000 (Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 & palmitoyl oligopeptide): does the same thing as Matrixyl, but with the added qualities of reversing glycation damage (often associated with signs of aging like rough texture)
- Matrixyl Synthe’6 (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38): stimulates 6 key ingredients found in skin’s matrix and dermal-epidermal junction⎯ collagen I,II, IV, fibronectin, and hyaluronic acid.
- Copper Peptides (Copper Lysinate Prolinate, Copper Tri-Peptide 1) helps with wound healing and stimulate and repair damaged collagen.
- Enzyme inhibitor peptides like those derived from rice & soy help target harmful chemicals that damage the skin essentially helping prevent the breakdown (loss) of collagen and other parts of the skin matrix.
16 BEST PEPTIDE EYE CREAMS
HydroPeptide Eye Authority $74
HydroPeptide’s Eye Authority is a light cream that targets fine lines with its blend of peptides (including Matrixyl 3000 & Matrixyl Synthe-6), and helps restore lost radiance (and immediately brighten dark circles) with the inclusion of crushed pearls, mica as well as plankton. With consistent use, the firming formula will help reduce the severity of crow’s feet, wrinkles, and diminish puffiness. The four-dimensional formula might be on the pricier end, but the abundance of skin-beneficial ingredients definitely makes it worth it.
Murad Renewing Eye Cream $82
Murad’s extremely popular Renewing Eye Cream has clinically proven results to back up the brand’s performance claims. The cruelty-free nourishing formula uses a combination of peptides (like Matrixyl 3000) and retinol to minimize fine lines and wrinkles. Other key ingredients to be on the lookout for are the deeply moisturizing Mango Butter, rich Evening Primrose Oil, brightening Vitamin C, and a plethora of antioxidant-rich plant extracts from the likes of Clover Flower extract.
African Botanics Marula Resurrection Eye Cream $180
This luxurious eye cream is designed and manufactured in South Africa⎯ we love supporting companies that produce locally. The highly potent formula is a velvety blend of rare botanicals, oils, and active plant ingredients. These include(but not limited to) nourishing marula oil, vitamin-rich baobab oil, and the deeply moisturizing resurrection plant extract. Other star ingredients include the antioxidant-rich green rooibos tea extract that fights free environmental damage, reparative honeybush extract, and the brightening licorice extract that fights dullness. Mixed with all of those natural, organic ingredients is a healthy amount of (rice) peptides to really hyper boost the rejuvenating benefits to the skin.
Elemis Peptide Eye Recovery Cream $49
Reviving and hydrating, Elemis’ flower-power cream was made with tired, overworked eyes in mind. Apart from aging, sleep deprivation is a huge contributor to dark, puffy under eyes. This cream uses star Avensis oil ⎯ famous for being rich in omega-3 fatty acids ⎯ to promote elasticity and lock in moisture. Additionally, Elemis also included four amino acids are infused in the cream to revitalize and smooth the skin. Last but not least the formula contains Elemis’s Peptide4, a tetra-peptide made up of four amino acids, to boost the skin’s natural regenerative processes. If you can’t shorten your workday, use Elemis’ cream to make it look like your eyes have never been more well-rested.
Juice Beauty Signal Peptides Firming Eye Balm $80
Juice Beauty’s organic-based cream uses firming peptides (from rice) and pairs them with a multitude of beneficial ingredients including plant extracts from blueberry to brighten skin, Paracress Flower that research indicates can help relax muscles (like crow’s feet) as well as plant-based oils like shea butter known for being nourishing. Bonus points for the cruelty-free formula being fragrance-free (great for sensitive skin/eyes) and also vegan.
Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Wrinkle Resist Eye Cream $75
PTR did not skimp on peptides in this cream packed with 21 peptides & neuropeptides including Matrixyl 3000! This concentrated formula also includes neuropeptides, gamma proteins, Reforcyl (plant extract that helps repair the skin barrier), and Regu-Age (made up of rice and soy peptides) to really hone in and target all the fine lines. The gamma proteins specifically, utilize Asian natto extract to reveal radiant, glowy skin and target any unevenness. Cutting-edge science in this formula ensures the minimization of crow’s feet and wrinkled aging skin to reveal youthful skin. This cream is definitely worth the price⎯ packed with skin-loving ingredients that are proven to show results.
Peter Thomas Roth also has the exciting Hungarian Thermal Water Mineral-Rich Eye Cream ($46) that has a higher concentration of botanical and natural ingredients. This cream uses mineral-rich Hungarian thermal water straight from the Carpathian Valley to hydrate the skin. In addition, six Hungarian botanicals⎯ sunflower, primrose, apricot, peach, sea buckthorn berry and flaxseed extract⎯ to nourish the skin naturally. The caffeine and lipids in the ingredient list are responsible for tightening and giving the skin that “I definitely had the recommended amount of sleep” look (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone). Just like the other eye cream, this one also uses peptides (specifically Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 known for its firming properties) to reduce the look of crow’s feet, dark under eyes, and any wrinkles. You might not be able to go to Hungary in the middle of a pandemic, but at least you’ll make the most of their mineral-rich water with this cream!
Eminence Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream $60
This organic eye cream uses naturally derived plant peptides to gently smooth out the delicate eye area. Though the brand might not be as familiar as others, know it’s worth the hype – it is not only award-winning but also best selling! The cruelty-free formula uses rice protein peptides to deeply hydrate the skin. Additionally, red algae extract’s abundance in nutrients and minerals enhances the peptides’ work! Botanical hyaluronic acid derived from beetroot helps to plump and protect the skin from losing moisture. This award-winning cream is a beautifully formulated work of art!
Boscia Peptide Trio Eye Cream $34
This clean beauty eye cream uses a special peptide blend (Matrixyl 3000 & the skin-restoring palmitoyl oligopeptide) to stimulate cell renewal. In addition, the vegan formula uses hyaluronic acid to increase suppleness and hydration! The organic botanical oils in this formula ⎯ almond oil, avocado oil, and sesame oil⎯ work to soften and smooth out fine lines. We love that it is fragrance and color-free, making it a great choice for anyone who suffers from sensitive skin or allergies. Boscia claims “beauty grows on trees”, and this cream proves the point pretty well.
StriVectin Hyaluronic Tripeptide Gel-Cream for Eyes $65
The unique gel & cream comes backed with skin-beneficial ingredients including the likes of blue daisy to help combat dark circles, antioxidants rich “BioMarine” extract that help fight free radical damage & peptides (like Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5), to help with firmness. The potent blend of ingredients also has the patented complex – NIA-114 (an advanced form of vitamin B3) to provide a deep boost to the skin’s hydration levels that is only enhanced with the hyaluronic acid included in the formula. Finally, the innovative formula contains Scelleye- which research has shown has a number of benefits including targeting dark circles, crow’s feet, and reducing the depth of wrinkles.
Jack Black Protein Booster Eye Rescue $40
This formula uses Matrixyl Synthe’6 (deoxygenated lipopeptide) to improve the skin from the inside out. Rich but delicate enough to be used on the eyes, the cream also has natural oat kernel extract to help provide an immediate lift. Other key ingredients include caffeine (to refresh and soothe puffiness), organic green tea (to counter free radicals), and organic omega-3 fatty acids (to brighten and moisturize). We also love the added benefit of the plant-based peptides from bamboo and peas to help support the Matrixyl Synthe’6.
EltaMD Renew Eye Gel $57
With an oil-free gel consistency, this extremely popular (600+ 5 star reviews) eye gel uses a unique peptide (Acetyl Hexapeptide-3) to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles”. Plant-based extracts (from the likes of Watermelon and Apple in the light formula helps to combat signs of aging, and eliminate the appearance of puffiness. EltaMD promises visible improvements within days of using the product. Another plus point: it is perfectly compatible with sunscreen!
Biossance Squalane Peptide Eye Gel $54
This weightless, plant-based gel-cream is definitely worth the extra dollars. The formula uses 2 peptides, acetyl tetrapeptide-5, and acetyl hexapeptide-8 to help increase firmness and promote collagen production. In addition, the squalene extracted from sugarcanes locks in moisture, leaving your skin extra plump and supple. The vegan and cruelty-free gel is free of parabens and also rich in niacinamide too (a skincare favorite). Certified clean at Sephora, it also comes in recyclable packaging⎯ we love an environmentally conscious brand!
Dr. Lara Devgan Skincare Peptide Eye Cream $215
Okay, despite it being a bit of a splurge money-wise, we are very much fans of this high-end peptide eye cream. The powerful blend of vitamins (vitamin E and Vitamin B5), peptides ( Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 known for its ability to help the skin’s structure, and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7 that helps with the skin’s surface) and moisture-boosting hyaluronic acid. The natural-derived and cruelty-free formula is also fragrance, dye, sulfate, paraben, and gluten-free (a sensitive-skin user’s dream).
Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Firming Eye Serum $60
This vegan and cruelty-free formula use the beloved copper peptides we mentioned earlier to promote elasticity in the skin. Additionally, it uses Leontopodium Alpinum Meristem Cell Culture to soothe and combat signs of aging (quite a tongue-twister but absolutely amazing for the skin nevertheless). Black tea ferment in this cream smoothes out any roughness or texture underneath the eyes, and visibly brightens (along with decreases glycation). Like Drunk Elephant’s other products, this one is also free of essential oils, silicones, and fragrance.
Kypris Ad Astra Nighttime Eye Cream Emulsion $150
This luxurious vegan cream is award-winning with good reason – not only is it jam-packed with nutrient-rich ingredients, but the formula has also advanced firming and moisture-boosting properties. Key ingredients in the formula include the highly moisturizing Leuconostoc Ferment, Glutathione the potent antioxidant, moisturizing Ectoin to fight environmental damage as well as some unique peptides (Oligopeptide-24 and Caprooyl Tetrapeptide to help with firming. We also love the cute starry design on the cream bottle⎯ perfect to add to your nighttime skincare collection!
Peptides work from the very inside of your skin and tell your skin cells to produce more collagen. You can never start too early with using peptide eye creams because the longer you use it the more apparent the results will appear. Whichever you end up choosing, perhaps you’ll get even more restful sleep knowing those dark circles are slowly but surely going to fade away! If we had to sum it up in one sentence: peptides are definitely worth the hype.