Kate Somerville Retinol Firming Eye Cream
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Kate Somerville

Retinol Firming Eye Cream

0.50 fl. oz. for $ 85.00
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Ingredients

Brand Overview

Kate Somerville's +Retinol Firming Eye Cream is expensive, no question; however, it hits all the right notes in terms of delivering anti-aging retinol along with a retinol derivative and a very good mix of smoothing, skin-replenishing ingredients. This fragrance-free eye cream is recommended for all skin types.

+Retinol Firming Eye Cream is housed in an opaque squeeze tube outfitted with a smooth, angled, cooling metal applicator that flexes to fit the contour of the undereye area. Such packaging keeps the formula nicely shielded from light and air, which are the enemies of ingredients like retinol, plant oils, and the plant-derived antioxidants this contains.

As much as we applaud this formula, it must be said that not everyone needs an eye cream, not to mention you don't need to spend in this range to get a great eye cream. See More Info for details!

Texture-wise, this feels light and silky, yet hydrating. It's not the eye cream to choose if your eye area is very dry, but on the other hand, the texture of +Retinol Firming Eye Cream works well under makeup—just be sure to follow with a sunscreen during the daytime as the eye area needs sun protection, too.

We found Somerville's claims about the "BioRetinols" in this product disingenuous for many reasons. First, the company asserts that BioRetinols are "natural ingredients [that] mimic the effects of retinol but with less sensitivity, for the delicate eye area," but given this product contains plenty of retinol to exert sufficient benefit, why worry about less sensitizing versions? It's like using Tabasco sauce in a recipe along with a sweet pepper sauce that isn't as hot, then telling your dinner guests the recipe is less spicy.

Just so you know the science, "BioRetinols" is a marketing term from ingredient manufacturers who want you to believe they have a plant extract that works like retinol but without the potential for a reaction. In this case, the plant extract is bakuchiol.

There are a couple of studies indicating bakuchiol has some interesting benefits when taken orally; however, in the oral studies the research indicated that bakuchiol has a similar structure to resveratrol, an antioxidant from red grapes, not to retinoids (European Journal of Pharmacology, September 2010, issues 2-3, pages 170-179). Somerville calling bakuchiol a bioretinol ends up being misleading.

There is a study in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, June 2014, issue 3, pages 221-230, indicating bakuchiol can have benefits similar to retinoids but this study also agrees its structure has nothing to do with retinol. Comparing the two studies, it seems bakuchiol's benefit is related to resveratrol which is related to being a great antioxidant, not an ingredient that behaves just like retinol.

Aside from all that science, retinol is just fine to use around the eyes and, obviously, Somerville thinks so too given the amount of it in this eye cream! Some people may find it sensitizing, but that's true of many anti-aging ingredients, and can certainly be true for "BioRetinols", too.

Wrapping up, +Retinol Firming Eye Cream's fragrance free, retinol-powered formula can make good on its claims of visibly firming, brightening, and hydrating the skin around the eyes. It's expensive but beautifully packaged and if you're going to ante up this much for an eye cream, you want every aspect of it to be worthwhile.

Pros:
  • Contains anti-wrinkle superstar retinol and a retinol derivative.
  • Very good mix of smoothing and skin-replenishing ingredients.
  • Packaged to keep light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable during use.
  • Fragrance free.
Cons:
  • Claims about the BioRetinols this product is supposed to contain are misleading.
More Info:Why You May Not Need an Eye Cream: There is so much you can do to address the signs of aging around your eyes, but it's not mandatory to use a product that claims to be specifically for the eye area. Any product loaded with antioxidants, emollients, skin-restoring, skin-brightening agents, and skin-soothing ingredients will work well around the eye area. Those ingredients don't have to come in a product labeled as eye cream, eye gel, eye serum, or eye balm—they can be present in any well-formulated moisturizer or serum.

Most eye-area products aren't necessary because many are poorly formulated, contain nothing special for the eye area, or come in packaging that doesn't maintain the effectiveness of their key ingredients.

Just because the product is labeled as a special eye-area treatment doesn't mean it's good for the eye area or any part of the face; in fact, many can actually make matters worse.

The number of eye-area products that lack even the most basic ingredients to help skin. For example, most eye-area products don't contain sunscreen, which is a serious problem if you aren't wearing the product under a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30. That's because it leaves skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage—and that absolutely will make dark circles, puffiness, and visible signs of aging worse! Of course, for nighttime use, eye-area products without sun protection are just fine.

Whatever product you use in your eye area, regardless of what it is labeled, it must be well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes. You may prefer to use a specially labeled eye cream, but you might do just as well by applying your regular facial moisturizer and/or serum around your eyes.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

This silky, weightless eye cream visibly firms, brightens and hydrates to recover a more youthful appearance instantly and long term. Formulated with Retinol to visibly improve the appearance of firmness and skin texture, and BioRetinols, natural ingredients that mimic the effects of retinol but with less sensitivity, for the delicate eye area. Unique gold applicator tip feels cool on contact, provides targeted application, and flexes to allow for massaging product around eye area. Can be used on the upper brow area.

Water/Aqua/Eau, Dimethicone, Propanediol, Glycerin, Polysilicone-11, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Butylene Glycol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Ethyl Linoleate, Lauryl Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Retinol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Bidens Pilosa Extract, Bakuchiol, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Microcitrus Australasica Fruit Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Terminalia Chebula Fruit Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Oil, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, Adenosine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Polyacrylamide, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyl Hydroxystearate, PEG-12 Dimethicone, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Caprylyl Glycol, Decyl Glucoside, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Aminomethyl Propanol, Laureth-7, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA

Kate Somerville At-A-Glance

Strengths: Provides complete ingredient lists on their website; effective Anti Bac Clearing Lotion for acne; good eczema cream; some fantastic serums and moisturizers chock-full of beneficial ingredients.

Weaknesses: Expensive; irritating cleansers and scrubs; several products contain irritating ingredients with no proven benefit for skin; disappointing CC cream.

The woman behind this line is a Los Angelesbased aesthetician who owns her own clinic, which specializes not only in aesthetic services but also in cosmetic corrective procedures involving injections (dermal fillers), lasers, Botox, and the like. The clinic is staffed with a doctor and nurses, which is definitely what you want if you're considering services beyond a facial or a massage.

The selling points of this line are Somerville's years of experience in the aesthetics industry and her allegedly devoted celebrity clientele. As such, her products and famous clientele get press in the pages of fashion magazines, which explains why we routinely get asked about this skin-care line. Somerville herself is every bit as attractive as her star clients, and the information on her Web site is presented in such a way that you sincerely believe she has your skin's best interests in mind. And wouldn't you want to trust your skin's needs to a professional who also tends to celebrities?

Knowing all these details, we were anticipating that most of the products bearing Somerville's name would be state-of-the-art slam dunks. Alas, many of them are far afield from that level of formulation. When it comes to giving skin what it needs to function as healthily and normally as possible (and, at these prices, that's what you should expect), this line is, unfortunately, hit or miss. What Somerville knows about giving an amazing facial is one thing, but she clearly missed the research that proves how problematic several of the plant oils that she uses can be. A professional concerned with the health of her clients' skin shouldn't be formulating products with cinnamon, grapefruit, and lavender oils, among others.

If we were one of Somerville's clients, we'd certainly take her to task for that oversight, but we'd also want to know why she offers only one sunscreen and doesn't offer any effective AHA or BHA exfoliants. A discussion of advanced skin science and state-of-the-art ingredients is not sufficient if your product line has gaps: limited sun protection options, no reliable exfoliants, no non-drying cleansers, and a complete lack of options to treat skin discolorations (pigment irregularities, unlike blackheads, cannot be manually extracted, which makes the absence of a skin lightening product an issue).

This product line may not be the one you want to build your skin-care routine around, but there are some exceptional products. Of all the aesthetician-backed lines we've reviewed, none come as close to providing the level of formulary excellence of many of Somerville's moisturizers and serums. They're pricey, but if you're going to spend in excess for skin-care products, you should be doing so on products that stand a very good chance of markedly improving your skins appearance. We are curious to see how this product line will expand and (hopefully) improve over the years. The current mishmash of awesome and awful products makes it risky to shop this line blindly (or on the sole rationale of a celebrity endorsement), but with careful consideration to avoid irritants you can find some products of value. Hopefully, she will expand the line to fill in the current gaps (especially for sun protection) and eliminate the irritants.

For more information about Kate Somerville, now owned by Unilever, call (800) 984-5283 or visit www.katesomerville.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.

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