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Lancome

Energie de Vie Eye Illuminating & Cooling Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel

0.50 fl. oz. for $ 39.00
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Energie de Vie Eye Illuminating & Cooling Anti-Fatigue Cooling Eye Gel has a long name (and really does use the word "cooling" twice)—and a list of problematic ingredients that's almost as lengthy!

This fluid eye gel is dispensed from a component that has three metal rollerball applicators. These allow it to glide over skin, leaving a refreshing feeling of hydration but all of that is useless for skin, and shouldn't skin care be about caring for skin?

The problem is that most of the cooling effect isn't good for skin because it comes in the form of alcohol, balm mint (Melissa extract), and menthoxypropanediol, a potent derivative of skin-irritating menthol. All of these are bad for skin anywhere on the face but especially the vulnerable eye area! See More Info for details on the damaging effects alcohol has on skin.

Although the gel formula contains an impressive amount of skin-restoring niacinamide, it's the only anti-aging ingredient of note; similar beneficial ingredients are present after the synthetic coloring agents—one more thing the eye area doesn't need. Not surprisingly, this product presents little hope of improving puffiness, wrinkles, or dark circles.

Consider this eye gel a near-total bust (did we mention it also contains fragrance?) and see our list of Best Eye Creams & Treatments for undeniably better options.

Pros:
  • Fluid, gel texture slips easily over skin.
  • Feels refreshing and hydrating.
  • Impressive amount of niacinamide.
Cons:
  • The amount of alcohol poses a risk of triggering irritation.
  • Contains fragrance, which isn't ideal for use around the eyes.
  • The Melissa plant extract and oil pose further risk of irritation.
  • There's more synthetic coloring agents than anti-wrinkle ingredients.
  • Menthoxypropanediol is a cooling agent that canyuptrigger irritation.
More Info:

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

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes
Formulated with caffeine and antioxidants like cranberry, lemon balm, and ginseng, this eye gel is the perfect day-after solution. This refreshing formula provides 24-hour hydration and features a unique applicator with three massaging rollerballs that instantly cools and freshens the eye area. Over time, puffiness and dark circles look visibly reduced and wrinkles around the eye area are visibly improved.
Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Niacinamide, Melissa Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Water, Dimethicone, Betaine, Isononyl Isononanoate, Ci 77891 / Titanium Dioxide, Ci 19140 / Yellow 5, Ci 42090 / Blue 1, T-Butyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Mica, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Sodium Acrylates Crosspolymer-2, Phenoxyethanol, Caffeine, Arginine, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Chlorphenesin, Silica Silylate, Salicylic Acid, Silica, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Oil, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Dimethiconol, Limonene, Xanthan Gum, Menthoxypropanediol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract Propanediol, Phospholipids, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Carbomer, Citric Acid, Citral, Dextrin, Oryza Sativa Extract / Rice Extract, Fragrance.

Lancome At-A-Glance

Strengths: Some good cleansers; well-formulated scrubs; foundations with beautiful shades for almost every skin color; great concealers; several outstanding mascaras; the Artliner liquid eyeliners perform well; impressive powder eyeshadows; some fantastic lipsticks and automatic lipliner.

Weaknesses: Expensive for what amounts to mostly mediocre to below-average skincare products; lacking in effective treatments for blemishes or lightening skin discolorations; average toners; moisturizers that are short on including state-of-the-art ingredients; jar packaging; some foundations with sunscreen do not provide complete UVA protection.

French flair, free gifts with purchase, constant magazine ads, and attractive packaging impel women to seek out the Lancome counter. Once you're there, though, unless you're captured by the enticing claims, the skin-care products are resoundingly dull, and we mean really, really dull (the makeup is a different story). With new research and developments in skin care many cosmetics companies typically improve their formulas, even if just in a small way. Thats not the case with Lancome, which tends to raise their prices while producing lackluster, ordinary formulas with little benefit for skin.

Even more shocking is that their most expensive skin-care items tend to be the most disappointing, usually for what they lack rather than for what they contain. It's startling to realize that their priciest moisturizer is remarkably similar to dozens of other Lancome creams priced more reasonably (but still too high when you consider what you're getting for the money). It seems that all it takes to justify the excessive prices is a good story based around a rare ingredient and claims of delivering a younger look. What a shame so many consumers are taken in by this kind of marketing mumbo jumbo.

L'Oreal-owned Lancome, along with L'Oreal's own skin-care products sold at the drugstore, has fallen well behind their competition. For all their lofty claims and beautiful models, many other companies leave them in the dust. Most of the Lauder companies (Clinique, Estee Lauder), along with Dove, and Olay have skin-care formularies that consistently outperform those of Lancome and L'Oreal in terms of what substantiated research has shown is necessary to have healthy, more wrinkle- and age-resistant skin. Lancome claims to understand women, and they certainly know how to entice them with pretty packaging and scientific-sounding claims. It would be far better if they had an intimate understanding of what it really takes for skin to look its best and function optimally.

The biggest improvement Lancome has made is that almost all of their sunscreens now include the right UVA-protecting ingredients. Who knows why it took them so long to get this straightened out (L'Oreal is no stranger to this issue, as they have developed and patented new UVA filters throughout the years), but it is now easier than ever to find a reliable sunscreen from Lancome. Given their prominence and presence in department stores around the world, Lancome isn't easy to ignore. Our suggestion is to look beyond most of the skin care and focus on what they do best: makeup (especially foundations and mascaras).

Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all Lancome products contain fragrance.

For more information about Lancome, owned by L'Oreal, call (800) 526-2663 or visit www.lancome.com.

Lancome Makeup

L'Oreal-owned Lancome is a stellar, French-bred collection of makeup that remains the best reason to shop this line. Because most of Lancome's skin-care products have problematic elements (be it jar packaging, insufficient sun protection, or dated formulas), it is a relief to find that, for the most part, the colorful side of their business has more than its share of innovative products. We enjoyed the fact that no matter where we shopped, Lancome's counter personnel were friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. There's a lot to keep track of, and Lancome deserves credit for keeping their salespeople so well informed.

If you're looking for a force to reckon with for foundations, Lancome is a must-see. They continue to offer some of the most elegant, silky formulas anywhere and in a color range that is overwhelmingly neutral, whether your skin is porcelain or ebony. The only troubling aspect is that most of Lancome's foundations with sunscreen do not contain adequate UVA protection or the SPF rating is too low. Lancome obviously knows about the risks with these issues (after all, they market ecamsule, their version of the UVA-protecting ingredient Mexoryl SX, and brag about its UVA range). And considering that, we are not recommending as many of their foundations as we have in previously have. Beyond this major gripe, you will discover that Lancome has a well-deserved reputation for their fantastic mascaras, and that their latest powders and eyeshadows apply with a silkiness that makes them gratifying to work with. The rest of the makeup encompasses many valid choices, but before you commit to Lancome, consider the similar options available for less from sister companies L'Oreal and Maybelline New York. Striking a balance among the best of each of these lines will give you first-class makeup that beautifies without breaking the bank.

Note: Lancome is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Lancome does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they dont test on animals unless required by law. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Research Team.

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.