Japanese skin care is generally known for its genius fusion of ancient beauty secrets and modern innovation, so it makes sense that the best Japanese eye creams are some of the best eye creams out there, period. The best one for you, though, will depend on your specific skin care goals: While just about every Japanese eye cream is formulated to deliver intense hydration, most of them also offer more targeted benefits (e.g., brightening, soothing, firming, et cetera). So, when picking out a new eye cream, think about what results you're hoping to achieve.
The secret to Japanese eye creams' effectiveness lies in the innovative ingredients. Which seems incredibly obvious (what is a skin care product if not an amalgamation of good ingredients?), but some things in Japanese skin care may be new to Western consumers — think placental protein, soluble collagen, and CoQ10. At the same time, most of these eye creams are balanced out by more familiar-sounding ingredients, like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, and allantoin, which bring their own moisturizing abilities to the table.
And here's a pro tip: Apply these eye creams anywhere else your skin could use some firming and plumping, like around your mouth or between your brows.
Scroll on to discover five of the best eye creams Japan has to offer — all of which can be conveniently purchased on Amazon.
1. The Overall Best Japanese Eye Cream
In short, this DHC eye cream does all the things. More specifically, the heavyweight ingredient in here is CoQ10, a super powerful antioxidant touted for its ability to stave off free radicals that can cause skin damage while also stimulating collagen and elastin production and preventing moisture loss. The formula also contains shea butter, squalane, allantoin, and hyaluronic acid to impart instant hydration, so your eye contour area will feel comfortably moisturized in the immediate and look firmer over the long term. Soluble collagen and placental protein also show up in here — two other great ingredients for plumping and strengthening the delicate skin around your eyes.
Amazon reviewers, for their part, love this eye cream for its visible smoothing and depuffing effects and its blissfully buttery texture, but it’s not greasy, so it works well under makeup.
2. The Best Moisturizing Eye Cream
Speaking of unusual but powerful ingredients, the big one in this Sukoyaka Suhada eye cream is urea. Never heard of it? Probably because it comes from pee (seriously) — not the most glamorous ingredient origin story you’ve ever heard — but the urea found in skin care products is synthetic. I repeat: The urea in skin care products is made in a lab, not a toilet.
Onto why you'd want it in an eye cream: As a humectant, it attracts moisture at a molecular level, so your skin will feel (and be) truly hydrated. It’s also a very gentle exfoliant, so it’s occasionally used in treatments for skin conditions that cause rough, dry skin, like psoriasis and keratosis pilaris. But in smaller amounts, urea is gentle enough to be used on thinner skin, such as the delicate skin around our eyes. Plus, urea can improve the penetration of the other ingredients in this formula, like ceramides and hyaluronic acid, since it helps loosen thick, rough skin on the surface. This is why you should put urea on your face. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.
3. The Best Brightening Eye Cream
Another highly rated Japanese eye cream on Amazon: DHC Eye Bright. (DHC is one of the best/most popular Japanese skin care brands out there, so it’s not surprising that they’d show up twice on this list.) This contains a few targeted ingredients for cooling, depuffing, and brightening your skin, like cucumber, caffeine, and licorice root. At the same time, hyaluronic acid, allantoin, and glycerin — the Big Three of eye cream ingredients — impart a lot of moisture without a trace of greasiness. This cream’s gel-like consistency feels especially refreshing if you store the tube in the fridge.
4. The Best Eye Cream For Sensitive Skin
For the most part, Japanese beauty products are formulated with sensitive skin in mind, so any of the eye creams on this list are technically suitable for irritation-prone skin. But to be on the safe side, go for this eye cream from Curél Japan, which specializes in extra-mild but effective moisturizing products for people with sensitive skin. This soothing, milky gel contains ceramides and allantoin to replenish and bolster your skin's natural protective barrier, which helps your skin retain moisture over time. It’s also free of synthetic fragrances and colors, since these additives can be irritating for people with easily reactive skin. Of course, if you have a known allergy to a particular ingredient, you should still check up on the ingredients list to make sure it works for your sensitive skin.
5. The Best Japanese Eye Cream With Retinol
Retinol is one of the best substances you can use to firm, brighten, and resurface your skin, but it can be a-little-to-a-lot burn-y for some skin types — especially on the delicate skin around the eyes, which should never, ever burn. This Sana Nameraka eye cream has a solution for that: retinyl palmitate. It’s a very mild retinoid, but it still does what a more intense retinol does best, e.g. encouraging cellular turnover, promoting collagen production, and quelling any dullness and roughness. This has some other cool ingredients too, like lactobacillus ferment, a plant-derived probiotic that has brightening and soothing effects, plus squalane for a burst of fluid, refreshing hydration.