What’s the Difference Between Eye Serum and Eye Cream?

Your eyes, having about the most delicate skin on your entire body, are extremely susceptible to age-related changes such as sagging, thinning, and wrinkling. Although, if you know anything about skincare, this is probably already something you’re well-aware of. To help with the appearance of premature signs of aging around the eyes, you have nearly endless options for eye skincare products, most often are labeled or marketed as eye serums or eye creams. Since you probably don’t need both, which is better for your skin? And what’s the difference between these similar eye care products?

What is Eye Serum?

Eye serum is similar to other facial serums except that it’s specifically formulated to help the skin around and below your eyes. Serums in general are known for having highly concentrated ingredients with low molecular weight, helping them absorb more quickly into the areas in which they’re applied. Common ingredients in eye serums include caffeine, antioxidants, and retinol, which help with concerns like dark circles, skin laxity, and even environmental damage.

What Is Eye Cream?

An eye cream is a moisturizing formula that might contain potent high performance ingredients but are more designed to hydrate the application area, typically with richer compounds than a typical face moisturizer. The anatomy of eye creams includes emollients, which lubricate and smooth the look of skin, humectants, which help retain moisture, and occlusives, which help visibly lock in moisture.

Although they may not have the same high concentration of ingredients, many eye creams also come with anti-aging compounds like retinol or antioxidants. They just may not penetrate the surface of the skin as quickly as when they’re included in a serum.

Differences Between Eye Serums and Creams

The key difference between serums and creams that are designed for eye care are the potency or concentration of ingredients: serums are more intense, creams less-so. However, this doesn’t mean that one is necessarily better than the other. Here’s a better breakdown of their main differences.


An eye cream won’t help if you want dramatic, quick results. However, a serum won’t necessarily help your skin be better moisturized. The need you have for your specific skin concern and the reason you’re looking for a high-quality product will largely dictate whether you want to buy a serum, cream, or even both.


Serums are water-based or otherwise very thin formulas, whereas eye creams are rich moisturizers with occlusive properties. Depending on what currently works for your skincare routine and what you’re looking for with a new product, texture matters. Creams feel thicker on your skin and at worst could interfere with applying makeup or other skincare products after you use it. However, higher-quality creams and serums will find a better balance between their natural tendencies to dry out or overindulge normal skin types, respectively.

Skin Type Benefits

Nearly anyone can benefit from eye serums, since their lightweight formulas and quick absorption rates can complement nearly any skin type. They’re especially beneficial to people with oily skin around the eyes or mature skin that needs additional moisture.

On the other hand, mature skin can also become drier with age, meaning that the more moisture you can give it, the better it will look. This is where an eye cream is helpful, and anyone with chronically dry skin can especially benefit. The most advanced eye creams contain many beneficial ingredients, which, coupled with the moisturizing compounds of the cream, can refresh and enhance the look and feel of people who have aging concerns.

Eye Care Products By Concern

In addition to your natural skin type, the specific eye concern you might have also plays a major role in choosing whether to use a high-quality serum or eye cream. The most common concerns we have heard our customers citing are dark under-eye circles, puffy eyes or bags under the eyes, and crow’s feet wrinkles around the corners of the eyes.

Dark Circles, Puffiness or Bags

Dark circles, puffiness or bags under the eyes are often presumed to be from lack of sleep, alertness, or sickness, but can often develop naturally over time due to age or thinning of skin around the eyes. To counteract this with a skincare product, a potent serum like our Eye Alive Serum is a highly targeted way to reduce the appearance of any under eye concerns.

Fine Lines or Crow's Feet

One of the first signs of aging are crow’s feet at the corners of the eyes. This can be accompanied by a general thinning of the skin that exacerbates the crinkling of the skin in this area. At this point in the process, it’s generally helpful to have more than just a serum, although our Strengthen and Rebuild Vegan Concentrate Serum can help your eyes look visibly younger. In addition, our top-rated Eye Cream provides the rich moisture to help your skin look and feel smooth even as you age.

High-Quality Skincare Products from Epicuren

If you’re looking for the best way to keep your eyes looking smooth, and supple, Epicuren has the eye-specific serums and creams to help. Browse our whole section of anti-aging products online or take our Skin Quiz to be matched with products that are perfect for your specific skin type.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are eye creams or serums better?

Creams and serums are different from each other, providing their own benefits for specific concerns. Serums tend to be more concentrated, which might go as far as to irritate sensitive skin, whereas eye creams don’t deliver active ingredients as serums can.

Should I use both eye serum and eye cream?

As long as the directions of your products say they are safe to use in the same regimen, you’re free to use both an eye serum and cream.

Which comes first, serum or eye cream?

Moisturizers contain compounds called occlusives that help lock in moisture on top of the skin, which means they should always come last in your routine.

Are eye serums worth it?

Many high-grade eye serums are well worth their cost for the way they help people enjoy the look, texture, and feel of their skin.



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