C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Eye Cream
It's disappointing when one ingredient in an otherwise top-notch, fragrance-free formula keeps it from earning our highest rating, but that's the case with C + Collagen Brighten & Firm Eye Cream.
The ingredient of concern is arnica extract, which poses a risk of irritating skin around the eyes. We're relieved to see it's a minor part of the formula, and everything that precedes it on the ingredient list makes this an outstanding anti-aging eye cream for all skin types.
Packaged in a tall, opaque, cylindrical bottle with a pump, C + Collagen Brighten & Firm Eye Cream has a lightweight cream texture enriched with several antioxidants and restoring ingredients that help firm skin and reduce the look of lines and wrinkles.
Thanks to the mineral pigment mica, this also brightens skin around the eyes, lessening the appearance of dark circles (you'll still need concealer, though).
What about the collagen? Present in this formula as amino acids, collagen in any form cannot impact the collagen in your skin when applied topically. Still, it's a good hydrating ingredient in a product that contains several other notable hydrators.
Dr. Dennis Gross often takes a cocktail approach to the mix of anti-aging ingredients he includes, as well as combining established, research-proven ingredients with newer, up-and-comers. We're happy to report that approach was taken with this eye cream, too! Even though not everyone needs an eye cream (see More Info to find out why), those who prefer using one have a very good option right here!
- Outstanding mix of anti-aging ingredients.
- Packaged to keep its light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable.
- Really does brighten and help visibly firm skin around the eyes.
- Fragrance free.
- Arnica extract poses a slight risk of irritating skin.
Why You May Not Need an Eye Cream: 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.
Most of the products designated as exclusively for the eye area are not really necessary because they contain nothing special for the eye area, they come in packaging that will not maintain the effectiveness of their key ingredients, and/or they are poorly formulated.
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.
Dr. Dennis GrossSkincare At-A-Glance
Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and whats available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.
As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. ButDr. Dennis GrossSkincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.
As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?
Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to everyDr. Dennis GrossSkincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!
Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159161).
Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.
For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.
NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
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.