While there’s been plenty of debate over the years on whether eye cream is a necessary step in your skincare routine, I’ve remained firmly in the “pro” eye-cream-camp. The skin under your eyes is just different, after all, which is frankly all the justification I need for a separate under-eye treatment. And while, yes, you could technically dab your face moisturizer under your eyes to combat dryness, I want the skin around my eyes to reap the same, line-smoothing, collagen-boosting benefits of my nightly retinol.
Which is where the Versed Smooth Landing Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm ($14) comes into play. The budget-friendly eye balm nourishes dryness around delicate under-eyes and delivers the smoothing, firming benefits of retinol without any of the irritation, making it a winner for sensitive skin.
What makes it such a star? Its key ingredient, granactive retinoid, is a gentle form of retinol that delivers all of the benefits of traditional retinol without stirring up trouble for sensitive skin. Board-certified dermatologist Ramya Garlapati, MD, explains that granactive retinoid is simply derivative of vitamin A that gives all the benefits of traditional retinol, minus the pesky side effects. “The skin benefits are the same as those associated with a traditional retinol,” explains Dr. Garlapati. “It increases skin cell turnover and collagen production to improve skin tone and texture as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.”
On top of being incredibly gentle, the Versed Retinoid Eye Balm packs major moisture—which we can all use more of in the winter months. Shiitake mushroom extract gives the rich, waxy eye balm its emollient properties, allowing it to deeply nourish dry areas while supporting skin’s moisture-barrier around the eyes. Bursts of vitamin E and black currant seed oil add antioxidant benefits to the mix, too, warding off signs of premature skin aging. Think of it as a slugging product for your under eyes that serves as a “one-and-done” balm to address lines and wrinkles and locks in moisture at the same time. Tl;Dr: It’s the ultimate overnight treatment. Bonus points for the solid formula and compact plastic tub that travels well without eating away at your precious liquids limit in airport security.
Despite its potency, it’s gentle enough for irritation-prone sensitive skin. Scroll through the hundreds of reviews on Versed’s site and you’ll find devoted customers who swear by the Retinoid Eye Balm for its gentle-but-efficacious formula. “I have looked and looked for an eye cream that I could apply on my lids that wouldn’t irritate my eyes, and this is it!” writes on 5-star reviewer. “It is so moisturizing! And I think it will last a long time as it is in a balm form. I just love it!”
Another writes that it doesn’t her upset acne-prone skin at all: ” I was a little skeptical when trying out this eye cream as it contains retinoids and sometimes these are too strong and irritate my skin. After using this for a few weeks, I am happy to report it didn’t cause any irritation to my eye area. It also didn’t cause any additional dryness either…I would highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for an eye cream that combats fine lines and wrinkles around the eye.”
Suffice it to say that the rocky road to finding an eye-safe retinol product isn’t so rocky anymore, now that this $18 eye balm is in my cabinet. Just remember that while Versed’s Retinoid Eye Balm is gentle, it’s still technically a retinol treatment, which means you should only use it at night. To apply it, just rub your ring finger into the solid balm (it’ll melt on contact) and gently tap the product into the skin around your eyes—and be extra diligent about your SPF in the morning. Order yours on the Versed website and save 20 percent on your purchase with the code TGIBF20 here.
Want to be the first to hear about the latest (and greatest) SHOP product drops, custom collections, discounts, and more? Sign up to have the intel delivered straight to your inbox.
Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.