Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Balm is a richer and overall better alternative to the Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Cream. The term “balm” may give you the wrong impression, as this is still very much a cream formula. It is fragrance-free and it’s moisturizing enough for those with normal to dry skin (whether used around the eyes or on the face).
Although there are some beneficial antioxidants present, it’s not nearly as impressive as you would expect from a $100 eye cream. In fact, it just barely earned a GOOD rating instead of AVERAGE—we’ll get to the reasons for that in just a moment.
We should mention that a special eye-area treatment like this might also be an unnecessary addition to your skincare routine; check the More Info section for those details.
The thicker aesthetic feel of the Lumiere Bio-Restorative Eye Balm is due to the base of fatty acids, petrolatum, and thickening agents. This mix will certainly help moisturize and protect skin from moisture loss—but these benefits aren’t any different from the benefits you would get from a tube of Aquaphor or from other emollient moisturizers, whether labeled for the eye area or not. There are a few antioxidants included; most notable are wild yam (Dioscorea villosa root extract), caffeine, and vitamin C.
We were able to find only one study on wild yam in skincare products, and it showed that wild yam has no demonstrated benefits when applied topically (Climacteric, 2001). Caffeine and vitamin C do have protective antioxidant effects, but you can find these in many products.
You might be curious about the PSP blend, or “Processed Skin Proteins,” in this formula—Neocutis makes a big deal about this ingredient, but on closer inspection, there isn’t much research around its benefits for skin (for additional details on PSP, check out the More Info section).
We should also note that at the time of this review, Neocutis doesn’t adhere to cosmetic ingredient labeling regulations with regard to its “Processed Skin Proteins” blend. They lump this mix of proteins and amino acids together rather than listing them separately, so you don’t know exactly what you’re putting on your face.
All of the above begs the question: Exactly what are you paying for if you buy this eye balm? What you actually get is a basic, but good, moisturizer that’s easily outperformed by alternatives available from the drugstore or the cosmetics counter.
If you’re interested in using a separate moisturizer marketed specifically for the eye area, aim for one that is the absolute best option in the price range that you’re looking to spend—check out the list of Best Eye Moisturizers for plenty of excellent alternatives.
Why You May Not Need an Eye Cream: There is much you can do to improve signs of aging around your eyes, but this doesn’t have to include using an eye-area product. Any product loaded with antioxidants, emollients, skin-repairing and anti-inflammatory ingredients will work wonders when used around the eye area. Those ingredients don't have to come from a product labeled as an eye cream or gel or serum or balm—they can come from any well-formulated moisturizer or serum.
Most eye-area products aren't necessary because so many are poorly formulated, contain nothing special for the eye area, or come in packaging that won't keep key ingredients stable. 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.
You would be shocked how many eye-area products lack even the most basic ingredients to help skin. For example, most eye-area products don't contain sunscreen. During the day, that is a serious problem if you aren’t wearing it under a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30+ as it leaves the 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.
Whatever product you put around your eye area, regardless of what it is labeled, must be well formulated and appropriate for the skin type you have around your eyes. You may prefer using a specially labelled eye cream, but you may also do just as well applying your regular facial moisturizer and/or serum around your eyes.
Processed Skin Proteins: “Processed Skin Proteins,” or PSP, is a blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances featured in many Neocutis products that they claim “….harnesses the power of human growth factors and cytokines.” You’ve may have also heard that a component of this anti-aging blend is human fetal cell tissue—which is correct.
In 2006, a Swiss study published in Cell Transplantation found that biopsied fetal cell tissue could be used for tissue engineering—replacing elements of damaged tissue to aid in the healing process of injuries (Cell Transplantation, 2006). Those biopsied cells were stored in a cell bank, and today, Neocutis uses cell tissue grown from that original cell line; that is, no other fetuses have been biopsied for cells that are destined for use in the PSP blend in Neocutis products. Rather, they continue to grow cells in the lab from the original cell line.
Cellular reengineering of wounds does not translate into how Neocutis’ PSP blend is used in their skincare products—and there isn’t much research on this proprietary blend. What does exist regarding skincare application of the Neocutis PSP blend was conducted on a small group of 12 patients, and only four showed improvement (8% or less is hardly impressive) in collagen production (Journal of the Academy of Dermatology, 2008). There was no comparative data on how PSP performed against other well-researched ingredients such as vitamin C, green tea extract, resveratrol, retinol, or niacinamide.
The bottom line: While some of the proteins and amino acids that make up PSP do have some benefit for skin, it’s minor in comparison to the benefits of well-researched alternatives that you’ll find in abundance in some products from other brands. There isn’t any reason to buy into the belief that PSP is the “miracle” ingredient you’ve been waiting for, and the research certainly doesn’t support the claims made around its use in Neocutis skincare products. Remember, skincare is never as simple as one ingredient, however great (or seemingly great) it may be.
LUMIÈRE RICHE combines the skin rejuvenating action of PSP® with intensive moisturizers, caffeine, skin soothing botanicals and wild yam extract to help target the visible signs of skin aging and dryness.
Water (Aqua), C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Petrolatum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Glycerin, Saccharide Isomerate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Isohexadecane, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Dioscorea Villosa (Wild Yam) Root Extract, Bisabolol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Caffeine, Processed Skin Proteins (PSP®), Disodium EDTA, Phospholipids, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Beech Tree Bud Extract (Fagus Sylvatica Extract), Palm Oil (Elaeis Guineensis), Tocotrienols, Squalene, Phytosterols, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Polysorbate 60, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid.
Strengths: Fragrance-free products; use of pump or tube packaging protects the light- and air-sensitive ingredients; excellent vitamin C serum and retinol product.
Weaknesses: Many of the anti-aging moisturizers and treatments are disappointingly simple formulas; expensive; some products rely on unproven ingredients.
If you’ve heard of the Neocutis brand, it’s likely because a dermatologist or aesthetician recommended one of their moisturizers or treatments. Like many skincare brands catering to patients of dermatologists and so-called “medi spas,” the claims associated with their products play off the perception of “prescription results” via ingredients that have medicinal-sounding names such as “Processed Skin Proteins” and “Melaplex.” It’s all designed to make you think you’re getting something special along with the pedigree of the doctor or spa retailing this line. As you’ll see from the reviews, that’s not true, although there are some good products to be found here.
Now headquartered in San Francisco, California, Neocutis was founded in Switzerland in 2003 by a group of physicians and biologists who realized the [marketing] potential of human cells in skincare products—specifically, amino acids and proteins (which is where their trademarked ingredients with exotic-sounding names come into play).
Despite their beginnings and their initial exclusivity to dermatologists’ offices, today you can order Neocutis products from beauty sites and other online retailers. Their line includes a range of products that caters to those whose foremost concerns are treating and preventing signs of aging. As a result, you’ll find Neocutis offers moisturizers, eye creams, and targeted treatments, many of which are themed around their trademarked “PSP,” or “Processed Skin Proteins.” Note: They claim this blend of peptides, proteins, and other substances “harnesses the power of human-cell derived growth factors and cytokines.”
What Neocutis isn’t telling you is that this blend of cytokines and human-cell derived growth factors has little research demonstrating any benefit for skin, and certainly not in comparison to the numerous well-researched antioxidants and cell-communicating agents used in so many of today’s best anti-aging products (see the More Info section of the products reviewed here for more details on PSP).
We should also note that, at the time of this review, Neocutis does not universally adhere to cosmetics ingredient labeling regulations on some of their products. In some cases, they do not list individually the proteins and amino acids that make up their PSP blend, which violates International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) and
Unfortunately, despite the pomp and circumstance surrounding these products, most are extraordinarily overpriced and contain a surprisingly bland mix of basic moisturizing ingredients with a dusting of antioxidants. When we say “dusting” of beneficial ingredients, we really mean just that; in fact, one of their “remarkable” moisturizers is little more than a mix of glycerin, glycol, and thickeners, with a price tag topping $160!
On a positive note, Neocutis does have two outstanding products—one vitamin C serum and a retinol product—that are (like all of their formulas) fragrance-free and packaged to protect their light- and air-sensitive ingredients. What’s certain is that Neocutis doesn’t have enough going for it to make putting together an entire anti-aging skincare routine from their products a good idea, for your skin or for your budget!
For more information on Neocutis, call 1-866-636-2884 or visit http://www.neocutis.com/.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!