Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex
Rodan + Fields’ Active Hydration Bright Eye Complex is a cream-gel eye treatment that contains a great mix of replenishing ingredients like ceramides and age-fighting antioxidants, including several plant extracts and vitamin E. It’s suitable for all skin types, though a couple of bad apples spoil the bunch.
The opaque tube packaging helps keep its best ingredients stable once opened, which is great. The mineral pigments this contains have a cosmetic brightening effect around the eyes, which can help soften the look of dark circles. These brighteners also lessen signs of fatigue as claimed and the blend of silicones that comprise the base of this formula help soften the look of lines and wrinkles.
Problem number one? This contains more denatured alcohol than anti-aging ingredients, yet this type of alcohol is pro-aging! Although the amount of alcohol doesn’t appear to be much, you’ll feel its cooling sensation as this product absorbs—not good. See More Info for details. Specific to this product, the inclusion of denatured alcohol is the wrong choice for the thin, fragile skin it’s supposed to help.
The second issue is the inclusion of fragrance. Although the amount is low enough to not impart a discernible scent, even low amounts of fragrance pose a risk of sensitizing the delicate eye area. The best eye treatments omit fragrance and other known irritants.
Despite the positives, this ends up being an example of an eye treatment that doesn’t warrant your time or money. See the More Info section where we explain why you might not need a separate eye-area product.
- Overall great mix of replenishers and age-fighting antioxidants.
- Beautifully smooth gel-cream texture.
- Mineral pigments brighten the undereye area.
- Packaged to keep its light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable once opened.
- Contains more denatured alcohol than anti-aging ingredients.
- Leaves a slight cooling, tingling sensation indicative of too much alcohol.
- Contains fragrance even though it can irritate skin and the sensitive eye area.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Research makes it clear that alcohol, as a main ingredient in any skincare product, especially one you use frequently and repeatedly, is a problem.
When we express concern about the presence of alcohol in skincare or makeup products, we’re referring to denatured ethanol, which most often is listed as SD alcohol, alcohol denat., denatured alcohol, or (less often) isopropyl alcohol.
When you see these types of alcohol listed among the first six ingredients on an ingredient label, without question the product will irritate and cause other problems for skin. There’s no way around it—these volatile alcohols are simply bad for all skin types.
The reason they’re included in products is because they provide a quick-drying finish, immediately degrease skin, and feel weightless, so it’s easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin. If only those short-term benefits didn’t lead to negative long-term outcomes!
Using products that contain these alcohols will cause dryness, erosion of skin’s protective barrier, and a strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself. Alcohol just weakens everything about skin.
The irony of using alcohol-based products to control oily skin is that the damage from the alcohol can actually lead to an increase in breakouts and enlarged pores. As we said, the alcohol does have an immediate de-greasing effect on skin, but it causes irritation, which eventually will counteract the de-greasing effect and make your oily skin look even more shiny.
There are people who challenge us on the information we’ve presented about alcohol’s effects. They often base their argument on a study in the British Journal of Dermatology (July 2007, pages 74–81) that concluded “alcohol-based hand rubs cause less irritation than hand washing….” But, the only thing this study showed was that alcohol was not as irritating as an even more irritating hand wash, which contained sodium lauryl sulfate. So, the study is actually just telling you that one irritant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is worse than another irritant, alcohol.
Not all alcohols are bad. For example, there are fatty alcohols, which are absolutely non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Examples that you’ll see on ingredient labels include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol, all of which are good ingredients for skin. It’s important to differentiate between these skin-friendly alcohols and the problematic alcohols.
References for this information:
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, November 2008, pages 1–16
Dermato-Endocrinology, January 2011, pages 41–49
Experimental Dermatology, June 2008, pages 542–551
Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2004, pages 360–366
Alcohol Journal, April 2002, pages 179–190
Why You May Not Need an Eye-Area Product: There’s much you can do to address signs of aging around your eyes, but it’s not mandatory to use a product that claims to be special for the eye area. Any product loaded with antioxidants, emollients, skin-repairing and skin-brightening agents, and skin-soothing ingredients will also work well in the eye area. Those ingredients don’t have to come in a product labeled eye cream, eye gel, eye serum, or eye balm—they can be present in any well-formulated moisturizer or serum.
Just because a product is labeled as a special eye-area treatment does not mean it’s good for the eye area, or for any part of the face; in fact, many can make matters worse.
It’s staggering how many eye-area products lack even the most basic ingredients to help skin. For example, most eye-area products don’t contain sunscreen, which is a serious problem because it leaves skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage—and that absolutely will make dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles worse! Of course, for nighttime use, eye-area products without sun protection are just fine. If you opt to apply an eye cream without sunscreen during the day, be sure to apply a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater over it.
Any product you use in the eye area must be well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes. You might prefer to use a product specially labeled as an eye cream, but you might do just as well by applying your regular facial moisturizer and/or serum around your eyes. Experiment to see what combination of products gives you the best results.
Active Hydration™ Bright Eye Complex is an eye cream that targets the thin, fragile skin around the eyes — often the first place to show signs of stress and fatigue — and brightens the area for a more rested look. It instantly illuminates and soothes, and over time improves the appearance of stubborn dark circles, dry skin around the eyes and under-eye puffiness.
Rodan + Fields At-A-Glance
Many of you are probably familiar with physicians Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields from their appearances on infomercials about their successful ProActiv line of anti-acne skincare products. The Rodan + Fields approaches are advertised for those suffering from a variety of skin conditions, and are claimed to work for anti-aging, skin discolorations, sensitive skin, and acne.
Most consumers want simplicity when it comes to making decisions about what skincare products they should use. The Rodan + Fields marketing strategy is to make it simple. They eliminate the confusion about what products work together by creating streamlined, prepackaged product groups, each aimed at specific skin-care concerns. Each product group is enclosed in a clever, take-along parcel that is the skin-care equivalent of a sack lunch. (Products are also available separately for those who want to customize their routine or add products outside the predetermined routines.) This structured approach has merit, but, each routine has at least one questionable or lackluster formulation, or a problem with packaging.
For more information about Rodan + Fields, call (888) 995-5656 or visit www.rodanandfields.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.