Housed in an attractive tube outfitted with a rollerball applicator, Arden's Visible Difference Brightening Eye Gel does contain a few beneficial ingredients. Regrettably, despite the interesting antioxidants and moisturizing agents this contains, their benefit is significantly outweighed by a few problems that are truly deal-breakers. In fact, the ingredient list is a confusing, troubling mix of alcohol and irritating plant extracts.
Witch hazel and alcohol both make an appearance high up on the ingredient list, and that's bad news for your skin. Witch hazel has high alcohol content due to the distillation process to produce the extract (most witch hazel extracts are 14-15% ethanol, which is the bad type of alcohol) and it has a high tannin content. What are tannins? They're chemical compounds that, short term, help to reduce redness but long term they constrict blood flow which irritates skin (and blood flow is a good thing for skin). See More Info for details on why alcohol and its resulting irritation are such a problem for skin.
It's strange that Arden would include such ingredients in any eye-area formula because they make specific mention of the "delicate skin around the eye area needing special treatment" (a typical statement cosmetic companies rarely back up with a superior or unique eye-area ingredients). Regrettably, the only thing special about this product is how potentially badly it would treat the skin around the eye. What a shame, because without the problematic ingredients this would be a good, lightweight gel moisturizer for slightly dry skin anywhere on the face.
Last, the typical claims for a product marketed for the eye area, such as "reduces the look of puffiness" and treating dark circles are here but this cannot help either concern. Surprising fact: You don't need a special eye-area product (and definitely not this one); see the More Info section for details.
Alcohol in Skin-Care Products
Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,"Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
Why you don't need an eye gel: We know it's hard to believe, but the truth is you don't need a special product for the eye area, whether labeled eye gel, cream, or something else. Although there is much you can do to improve signs of aging around your eyes, the ingredients capable of doing that don't need to come from, and often aren't even included in, an eye cream. For example, most eye creams (such as this one) don't contain sunscreen, and that is a serious problem because it leaves the skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage, which will make dark circles and wrinkling worse!
You can save money and take superior care of your eye area by using your face product, if it is well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes!
Roll on our exclusive clear gel packed with natural extracts to enliven tired-looking eyes, reduce the look of puffiness and target dark circles. Your skin is lightly moisturized and left with a smooth matte finish.
Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Propylene Glycol, Polyacrylamide, Alcohol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Butylene Glycol, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citric Acid, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Disodium EDTA, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Laureth-7, Morus Bombycis Root Extract, Retinyl Linoleate, Saxifraga Sarmentosa Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract, Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Sulfite, Butylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea, Ethylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Blue 1.
Elizabeth Arden At-A-Glance
Strengths: Some excellent serums and a few noteworthy moisturizers; praiseworthy concealers; a handful of well-formulated makeup products including foundation, blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick.
Weaknesses: No products for those battling blemishes; several products whose sunscreen lacks sufficient UVA protection; most of the foundations with sunscreen fail to provide sufficient UVA protection; lackluster eye and brow pencils; some problematic lip color products; jar packaging weakens some otherwise great formulas.
Former nurse Elizabeth Arden was a pioneer in the beauty industry. At the turn of the 20th century, Arden began her legacy when she opened her first salon, with the now-familiar red door. Over the next several years she introduced new products and services to women unaccustomed to such choices, and almost single-handedly made it acceptable for modern women to wear makeup. And while Arden understood and met these beauty needs, she was also adept at self-promotion and packaging, helping to solidify the idea that what holds the product should be as beautiful as the woman who uses it. She was the front-runner in the cosmetics industry for quite some time, until another young go-getter by the name of Estee Lauder began her own empire—one that would eventually lead to the Elizabeth Arden line being almost an afterthought in the mind of many consumers.
Not only has Arden's image been diminished over the years due to odd distribution patterns (consumers were getting mixed messages as this prestige line began showing up in drug and discount chain stores), but also through their own formulary mistakes and seeming unwillingness to pay attention to current research. Given the history of this line and several outstanding products they've produced in the past, it's very frustrating that what's offered today is such a mishmash of good and bad, with a hefty dose of average. Arden still has several sunscreens that fall short by leaving out sufficient UVA protection. In contrast, Estee Lauder and the Lauder-owned lines have their sunscreen acts together and consistently impress by including other state-of-the-art goodies to amplify the environmental protection of their moisturizers.
Many of Arden's products also contain potentially problematic ingredients or are packaged in a way that puts the light- and air-sensitive ingredients at risk of breaking down shortly after the product is opened. Given Elizabeth Arden's (the woman) pioneering, innovative spirit, we can't imagine her being completely pleased with the state of her namesake skin-care line (Arden passed away in 1966). Having the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones as a spokesmodel for most of the early 2000s may have raised more interest in this brand than in years past, but a pretty face and eye-catching ads don't always translate to good skin care, as evidenced by the reviews on this site. There are some very impressive products in this line, but it's definitely one that demands careful attention to what you're buying lest you put your skin at risk.
For more information about Elizabeth Arden, call (800) 326-7337 or visit www.elizabetharden.com.
Elizabeth Arden Makeup
Cosmetics trailblazer Elizabeth Arden may have been single-handedly responsible for bringing modern makeup to American women (she opened the famous Red Door Salon in 1910 and formulated the first blush and tinted powders in 1912), but today's lineup of Arden makeup has far more disappointments than its pioneering namesake would have liked. Most of the Arden foundations with sunscreen either leave out the five prime UVA-screening active ingredients or because their SPF numbers are unnecessarily low. Either way, only one of the foundations with sunscreens can be relied on as your sole source of facial sun protection.
In contrast to the mostly disappointing foundations, you'll be pleased with what Arden offers for concealer, eyeshadow, lipstick, and mascara. Each of these categories has some brilliant products to consider, and they serve to prove, at least to a modest extent, that Elizabeth Arden makeup is not to be counted out just yet. The remaining products have little to extol, either because they are truly ineffective or because the competition has Arden beat by a mile. A continual bright spot for Arden is that their tester units are typically well organized and the colors are grouped so it's easy to zero in on what you like.
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