Eye Serum vs Eye Cream: Which Is Best for Your Skincare Needs?

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase.

You want to get rid of the puffiness or bags under your eyes. 

So you go to your favorite store to look for an eye skincare product to do the job. But you may soon find one teeny-tiny problem — there is eye serum, and then there is eye cream.

If you’ve been stomped by having to choose between eye serum vs eye cream, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

a woman with hair wrapped in a white towel is smiling widely while looking at the mirror and touching her under eye

Maintaining a skincare routine is hard enough with all the products and brands you see at the store. And having to decide on eye serum vs eye cream won’t make the task any easier. 

But there’s a solution to every problem; in this case, knowing the difference between eye cream and eye serum is key. 

The good news is you can read through the similarities and differences between these products and the purposes they serve, which you’ll find below. 

Rest assured that you’ll better understand what’s best for your skincare needs by the end of this article. Who knows, you may even go ahead and pick up an eye cream and serum at the same time.

Eye Serum vs Eye Cream: A Quick Comparison

Eye Serum Vs Eye Cream infographic
PurposeTextureIngredientsSkin type
Eye serumCommonly used for specific skin concerns

Best suited for anti-aging skincare routines
Usually in watery consistencyIncludes active ingredients that can penetrate the skinMost serums work for all skin types, including sensitive and dry ones, because of their lightweight formula
Eye creamMainly used for moisturizing skin under the eyesHas thicker and creamier consistency that often looks like face lotionIncludes very few active ingredients or no active ingredients at allPerfect for dry skin types

Can also work for normal or other skin types that tend to get drier when the weather gets colder

A quick rundown on eye serum vs eye cream shows that it is actually easy to tell them apart when shopping for your skincare needs. 

One key factor that sets them apart is their texture, which also leads to these products having different containers. 

Eye serums are commonly made with a lightweight formula and usually have a watery consistency, much like a face serum.

So you’ll often see eye serums placed in tiny bottles with droppers or dark glass packaging

Some fancy eye serums are placed in a smaller roll-on stick, making it easier to apply under the eyes.

But note that some brands also offer gel-type eye serums, which generally come in tubes or small capped bottles.

Eye cream, on the other hand, is much like face lotion, especially in terms of its texture. It often comes in a creamy and thicker consistency than serums, so you’ll usually find them in tubs.

While there are other ways that eye serum and eye cream are different, they have one thing in common. 

These products are specially formulated for the skin under your eyes, which is naturally the most fragile area of skin in the body. As such, hydration is key for this part of your face.

Eye Serum

a close-up image of a woman applying eye serum using an applicator

What Does Eye Serum Do?

The major difference between eye cream and eye serum is that the latter is usually filled with active ingredients.

So what are active ingredients? As its name suggests, these are biologically active skincare components. 

With the presence of high concentrations of active ingredients and its watery consistency, an eye serum thoroughly nourishes and penetrates the skin far better than an eye cream.

What Is Eye Serum Used For?

Due to the formulation of eye serum and because it usually contains several active ingredients, it’s best to use when you have specific skin concerns you want to address.

If dark circles, fine lines, and bags under your eyes have already appeared, it is best advised to include eye serum in your daily skincare routine.

It is also best to make it part of your anti-aging regimen.

What Skin Types Can Use Eye Serum?

Eye serum formulas are commonly lightweight so they can be easily absorbed by the skin. This also means they are suited for all skin types, especially mature and oily skin.

But age is not the only factor that leads to specific skin concerns like fine lines and wrinkles. It could also be caused by excessive sun exposure and our common facial expressions. 

Smoking or vaping, lack of sleep, and even genetics can also exacerbate the appearance of the signs of aging.

So if you think you’re more prone to these skin concerns, regardless of how young you are, you may also want to try using eye serum.

Eye Cream

a young woman wearing white tank top is smiling at the camera with eye cream on her under eye

What Does Eye Cream Do?

Simply put, eye creams are moisturizers formulated for the delicate skin under the eyes.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why do I have to use different moisturizers for the same face?”

It is worth repeating that the skin under the eyes is much thinner, and it is best to use products that have milder formulas. 

This way, you’re making sure that your undereye skin is well-hydrated without bombarding it with products that are not well-suited for the delicate skin under your eyes.

So if your undereye skin is particularly dry, don’t hesitate to grab an eye cream the next time you visit the store.

What Is Eye Cream Used For?

We’ve established that eye cream is best for moisturizing your undereye skin. But if you still think your face moisturizer should be enough to rehydrate your undereye skin, think again.

Treating your undereye skin with an eye cream — as in a moisturizer formulated specifically for this area — will also help you reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

While these changes are an inevitable part of aging, skin dryness can further exacerbate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes. 

So it would help if you also treated using eye cream as a way to prevent these changes from being too prominent.

What Skin Types Can Use Eye Cream?

Like eye serum, eye cream is also suitable for almost all skin types. But due to the eye cream’s lotion-like consistency, it works best on dry skin.

However, colder weather can make any skin type dehydrated.

So if you’re one of the people whose skin needs a little more help in colder seasons, you’ll also find it beneficial to keep an eye cream on your shelf.

What Should You Use for Your Eyes? Serum or Cream?

Now, onto the ultimate question: Should you use serum or cream for your eyes? 

Well, there is not one specific answer to this. 

As discussed above, there are differences between eye cream and eye serum.

And both products, while they work well for the skin underneath your eyes, serve specific purposes.

So whether you should use serum or cream for your eyes largely depends on your skincare goals or if you have specific concerns you want to address.

If your main concern right now is that the skin under your eyes is very dry, then waste no time and grab an eye cream. 

Not only will it provide much-needed moisture, but the eye cream’s thicker texture also means that putting on a layer of this product creates a barrier to help your skin stay hydrated longer.

But if your skincare routine is aimed at anti-aging or your daily activities have had adverse effects on your skin, then you should get started with using eye serums regularly. 

The active ingredients commonly found in this product should help you target more specific concerns. And its watery consistency also means the product will be able to deeply penetrate into your skin to work its magic.

Eye serum is also a better choice for those with oily skin, mainly due to its texture. Its typical lightweight formula also makes it makeup friendly.

You might not even have to choose between an eye cream or serum because you can use them both! 

Do you want to reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles, and wrinkles while keeping the skin underneath the eyes moisturized?

Then start using both eye serum and eye cream as part of your skincare routine!

a beautiful black woman with body wrapped in white towel is applying an eye cream happily

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I Apply Eye Cream or Eye Serum First?

The answer to this question is mainly influenced by the formula and consistency of eye serum and eye cream. 

As a general rule in skincare, products with thinner consistencies and lighter formulas — like serums — should go on the skin first. 

So if you use eye serum and eye cream together, make sure to apply the serum first.

Eye serum contains active ingredients to target skin concerns underneath your eyes. So you want to make sure that your skin can absorb the product well.

Remember, the thick consistency of eye cream can create a beneficial barrier for dry skin. 

But suppose it’s applied before a serum. In that case, you risk wasting the serum as it cannot penetrate deeper into the skin under your eyes due to the eye cream blocking it.

When to Start Using Eye Serum?

Eye serum is best known for its reparative properties, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start using it only when you already start seeing under-eye bags, dark circles, fine lines, and wrinkles. 

As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

While eye serum is one of the best solutions for targeting skin concerns that appear under your eyes, there is no specific age at which serums should be used.

And remember, age isn’t the only factor that can make those fine lines appear.

The best advice is to incorporate eye serums into your skincare regimen as early as possible.

Is Eye Cream Safe on the Eyelids?

As mentioned, dryness can also happen on the skin of your eyelids. And when it does, you might wonder if the same eye cream you use for the skin underneath your eyes will also work on your dry eyelids.

Several beauty enthusiasts and experts have provided different answers to this.

While some have strictly advised putting any skincare product on your eyelids, others have said that you can go for it if you don’t put it too close to your eyes. So it may be best to find an in-between.

Make sure to apply only a very thin layer of eye cream on the upper area of your eyelid. Putting on a thicker layer of product could be risky. 

While it might not come in contact with your eyes upon application, remember that the body heats up as we move around.

So your body’s rising temperature could make the eye cream travel to your eyes later in the day. 

As always, be extra careful when putting any skincare product around the eyes.

Eye Serum vs Eye Cream: What Should You Get?

Now, you should have a better understanding of the difference between eye cream and eye serum. 

So when you return to the store, you should be able to decide which product to take home easily. Remember, you can always get them both.

Ultimately, eye serum and eye cream are two completely different products. The ingredients they have, their formula and consistency, and the purposes they serve are different.

But it doesn’t mean you can only have one or the other.

Eye serum delivers excellent benefits — thanks to its active ingredients — in treating dark circles, under-eye bags, wrinkles, and fine lines. 

But you can always use them before these issues pop up. What’s great is that the eye serum’s lightweight formula makes it suitable for all skin types.

Eye cream, on the other hand, has a more straightforward purpose. It exists to moisturize the skin underneath your eyes. 

But in the long run, maintaining hydrated skin also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. So it’s just as beneficial and vital to use as an eye serum.

As always, knowing your skin needs and what skin type you have is essential. From there, choose between eye serum or eye cream — or get them both! 

Learn More About How to Make Your Eyes Sparkle Here:


  • Ashley Pena

    Ashley Pena brings over 13 years of seasoned writing and editing expertise, fortified by her Bachelor of Science in Management. Esteemed in the beauty domain, her content captivates readers with its depth and authenticity. While she navigates a broad spectrum of beauty trends, Ashley shines particularly as our resident K-beauty guru. Her articles are a harmonious blend of passion and profound knowledge, inspiring readers on their unique beauty journeys.

  • Amanda Meehan

    Amanda Meehan, a licensed esthetician and massage therapist, brings holistic beauty to the forefront. Trained at the Aveda Institute Denver and the Center for Natural Wellness School of Massage Therapy, her accolades include the High Honors and Beauty Is As Beauty Does awards. Beyond skincare, she's a certified Reiki Master and yoga instructor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *