Defining Eye Lift

0.70 fl. oz. for $ 55.00
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Brand Overview

Reading the claims for this expensive eye serum makes it sound like the answer to every eye issue out there: dark circles, puffiness, heavy lids. And who wouldn't want a one-stop solution for all of that? We're here to tell you, though, that this product simply cannot work as claimed.

First things first: There's nothing in this cream that makes it specific for use around the eye area. See More Info for why you might not need an eye cream.

That aside, the ingredients included in this serum are lackluster at best, with only a smattering of beneficial ingredients like antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients. In terms of the claims: The brand says organic maritime pine bark and ginkgo biloba extracts can release fat, but there isn't any research proving that to be true, whether applied topically or taken orally, although there is a minimal amount of evidence for it in lab dishes.

Nonetheless, even if it were possible, losing fat around the eye isn't a good thing if you can't tighten the skin at the same time, because losing fat means you will lose support for the skin in that area. Hoping this product will tighten the skin at the same time is at best wishful thinking. You will still have your fat and your sagging skin, and be out $55!

What about the claim that white sea lily extract (technically called crinoids) can lighten dark circles? There's absolutely no research on that. In reality, the best thing you can do to combat dark circles is to treat your skin to a cocktail of proven beneficial ingredients such as antioxidants, and to use sunscreen around your eyes daily, because sun exposure can be a major cause of and/or a contributing factor to dark circles! Sadly, this eye serum contains no sun protection.

The disappointing truth is that this is simply an average moisturizer with nothing special, certainly nothing special enough to warrant the price.

Note: This eye serum contains a tiny amount of the fragrance ingredients citronellol and geraniol, both of which pose a slight risk of irritation.

  • Contains skin-repairing glycerin and the moisturizing agent trehalose.
  • Some of the plant-based antioxidants are good.
  • There is no independent research showing maritime pine bark and ginkgo biloba extracts can "release" fat as claimed.
  • No independent research showing white sea lily extract can reduce dark circles as claimed.
  • Does not lift sagging skin around the eyes (oat sugar cannot do that).
  • Pricey for what you get.
  • Contains a couple of fragrance ingredients that pose a slight risk of irritation.
More Info:

Most eye creams aren't necessary. That's either because they are poorly formulated, contain nothing special for the eye area, or come in packaging that won't keep the key ingredients stable. Just because the product is labeled an eye cream doesn't mean it's good for your eye area; in fact, many can actually make matters worse.

There is much you can do to improve signs of aging around your eyes. Any product loaded with antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, skin-lightening ingredients, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and effective emollients will work wonders and those ingredients don't have to come from a product labeled eye gel or eye cream. You would be shocked how many eye gels lack even the most basic ingredients to help skin. For example, most eye creams (like this one) don't contain sunscreen. During the day that is a serious problem because it leaves the skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage and this absolutely will make dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles worse!

Whatever product you put around your eye area, regardless of what it is labeled, must be well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes! That may mean you need an eye cream or gel, but you might also do just as well by applying your regular facial moisturizer around your eyes.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

Organic oat sugars tighten, lift and open-up eyes. A blend of Organic maritime pine bark and organic ginkgo biloba release fat, to reduce puffiness and relieve heavy upper lids. White sea lily extract lightens under-eye circles for a sparkling, wide-eye effect.

Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Tapioca Starch, Pentylene Glycol, PEG-8 , Caffeine, Trehalose, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Disodium EDTA Sodium Dextran Sulfate, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Xylitol, Alchemilla Vulgaris Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Citronellol, Geraniol.

Clarins At-A-Glance

Strengths: Broad selection of effective, broad-spectrum sunscreens; some good self-tanning products; some good cleansers and gentle topical scrubs; a great foundation primer;superb foundations and powders; very good powder blush; wonderfully creamy lipsticks; great lip glosses and mascaras.

Weaknesses: Overpriced; pervasive reliance on jar packaging; most products have more fragrance than beneficial plant extracts; poor toners; an overabundance of average moisturizers; no effective products for fading discolorations or treating acne; no AHA or BHA products; disappointing eye pencils; average eyeshadows and makeup brushes.

Clarins is a distinctively French line whose beginnings go back to 1954. It was then that founder Jacques Courtin-Clarins began formulating plant-based treatments for his clients. He parlayed this into a Beauty Institute, and from there, with an all-natural mantra that was slightly ahead of its time, the business grew. Never wavering from its original marketing angle, Clarins has steadfastly held on to the belief that whatever grows from the ground and smells nice must be the cure for every skin ailment, from breakouts to loss of firmness to the dreaded "sponginess" of cellulite. A visit to today's white- and red-trimmed Clarins counter confirms that the plant-based, natural-extract rhetoric is still intact, and the counter staff is eager to discuss it (yet ask them what some of the non-plant, unnatural ingredients are doing in their products and you may be met with a blank stare).

You'll also find that Clarins routinely offers facial appointments at their counters, yet more often than not these appointments, which are done behind a privacy screen, are about selling products, not about performing a legitimate facial. (For example, cleansing, toning, and facial massage are included, while extractions are not.) One other point of difference you may hear about is the Clarins Anti-Pollution Complex. First added to their products in 1991, this Complex consists of a group of plant extracts though what they may be is a mystery, since all manner of plant extracts show up in these products, with few repeats. This "high-performing" protection is supposed to shield skin from pollutant gases, corrosive particles, and industrial emissions. Although that sounds good, it's not true and there isn't a shred of proof to the contrary (Clarins research is unpublished). Plant extracts, alone or in combination regardless of the remote locations they may come from cannot keep pollution off the skin. If anything, the amount of fragrance in these products can weaken the skin's defense mechanisms, resulting in more damage from the pollution our skin encounters daily.

This line is enormous, and is absolutely one of the most cumbersome around. Within it, the assortment of plant extracts ranges from the usual to the exotic and ultimately to the no-one-knows-what-in-the-heck-these-are! Clarins has something for every skin concern imaginable, from keeping pollution off the face (not possible) to lifting a sagging jaw line (not possible without surgery), and even protecting skin from electromagnetic waves. It would seem there is nothing these supposedly miraculous products can't do! And you'll find a horde of plants here with the promise that this can really all come true.

However, once you're armed with even a modicum of ingredient knowledge and a fair helping of myth-busting, you'll realize how ridiculously out of whack all of this hype is. That's not to imply that all of these products are bad, there are good ones; or that all of the plant extracts aren't good, because many are very good anti-irritants, antioxidants, emollients, or antibacterial agents. However, many plant extracts are also potential allergens or skin irritants. Clarins also has its fair share of ordinary, standard, and completely unnecessary products whose claims are at best misleading and at worst downright false, and overall the products are incredibly overpriced for what you get. What is most startling is the redundancy among the Clarins products. There are few differences, for example, between the moisturizers and the mask cleansers, and the oil-control products are more reruns than they are new alternatives for skin care.

Note: All Clarins products contain fragrance.

For more information about Clarins, call (866) 252-7467 or visit www.clarins.com.

Clarins Makeup

Clarins showcases its prodigious skin-care products so prominently that you may not have noticed that their excellent makeup collection has become even more impressive. Evaluating Clarins makeup is 180 degrees different from evaluating the lackluster and confusing assortment of skin-care products they sell. When it comes to foundations, powders, and lipsticks, texture is critically important. Luckily, this is where Clarins color line excels, despite premium prices and going a bit overboard with fragrance. Their foundations are marvelous, the lone concealer is much better than their former attempts in this area, and every powder-based product feels incomparably silky while looking stunningly smooth on skin. (Keep in mind, however, that even the best makeup looks only as good as the skin on which it is applied.) Giving Lancome and Dior a run for their money, Clarins' mascaras are surprisingly good, and at least their lipsticks feel as rich as you'll need to be to afford repeat purchases. You don't need to spend this much money to get beautiful results and stellar products, but if your budget allows you to fill your makeup bag with department-store products, Clarins' nicely organized makeup display should be one of your first stops.

Clarins likes to promote that many of their foundations contain a special anti-pollution complex to safeguard your skin. Don't believe it for a second, because there is no way to completely shield skin from the effects of pollution and antioxidants. Besides, the kinds of ingredients that can reduce, not block or eliminate, pollution-based free-radical formation are rarely included in Clarins makeup.

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.

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