I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Eye creams are one of those things that I’ve bought very few of in my life. It’s not that I don’t like them, per se, but more that I find them to be expensive, and often they don’t make much of a visible difference for me. I know eye creams are supposed to be more of a protective measure for the soft, sensitive skin around the eyes, but for the past few years I’ve just dabbed on a bit of concealer when I have bags and dark circles.
But then, apartment renovations happened.
Emmett and I live in a really old rental apartment in an up-and-coming area of Toronto, and though it has lots of perks, there were a few issues we knew needed to be fixed from the moment we moved in. The biggest concern was the peeling, cracking, blue, vinyl flooring that seemed to be shredding apart in certain areas. We complained to the landlords, they had it checked, and suddenly we were told the floor was rotting in places and needed to be totally redone.
The best part: we have three pets, both work from home, and had nowhere else we could go.
I’m sure anyone who has ever dealt with living through renovations knows where this story is headed. The new flooring was supposed to take five days and it took close to two weeks altogether; there was a massive hole in our floor and we couldn’t use the bathroom for 24 hours; our cats got mad at us and peed on the bed, etc. We ended up sleeping on the couch most nights (the only room we could access), and we had to wake up early every morning (even though the contractor was always late).
By the end of it, we were a pair of sleep-deprived zombies with--you guessed it--the worst under-eye circles.
Desperate for something to bring our poor, tired faces back to life, Em and I resolved to put a handful of eye creams to the test.
Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream with Cotton Extract
It's a fragrance-free, 99% natural eye cream that claims to be lightweight, reduce under-eye puffiness, and moisturize sensitive eye skin.
Alyssa: I’m not a huge fan of this formula personally, as I find it really thick and sticky. I like being able to add a layer of concealer on top of my eye cream for particularly bad eye-bag days, and I find this product turns my concealer into a goopy mess that won’t blend. As far as the actual eye-bag treating goes, I didn’t find this product did much at all beyond acting like a really heavy moisturizer that wouldn’t absorb. It also bothers me a bit that, although the product itself is marked cruelty-free, the brand is owned by Clorox, so I feel like in a way, I’m still supporting a non-natural brand that conducts animal testing.
Emmett: The eye cream? I don’t know its effects but it feels like it’s tightening! What kind of tea would you like?... That’s off the record! What else do I say? It’s very thick!
Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream
Aesop uses a combination of natural and non-natural ingredients to provide the best possible antioxidant effects they can. This formula contains vitamin C to boost collagen, parsley seed extract to protect the eye skin from pollutants, green tea, and vitamins A and E. It promises to balance, hydrate and fortify the skin, leaving it refreshed.
Alyssa: I really like the herbal scent of this cream; it reminds me of yoga studios and spas. I also love the rich, buttery texture. It’s extremely thick and hydrating, but also lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin. It works exactly how I’d like it to: it feels very dense without being too thick, and definitely helps alleviate puffiness and dark circles. My only complaint is, again, it doesn’t seem to work very well with concealer on top or combined with it due to thickness.
Emmett: It feels like it’s tightening my skin, and it smells really good--better than the other one. I don’t think it did much for the puffiness… it’s [the puffy eye bags] too big.
Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme
Tata Harper’s product line is extremely eco friendly and sustainable--100% natural and 68% organic. This eye cream contains a massive list of plant-based ingredients ranging from carrot oil to daffodil bulb extract and promises to relax wrinkles and diminish lines in the first 24 hours of use.
Alyssa: I was really excited to try some products from the Tata Harper line, as I’ve heard so much buzz about it in the natural beauty world. I really love the bright, cheerful packaging, and the sweet, tropical scent (the mango butter in this formula makes it smell divine). The cream itself is extremely soft and gentle, and the bottle advises to apply it above and below your eyes, so I did. In short, this eye cream is awesome! It works well as a base underneath makeup, or in combination with a little bit of concealer, and I really noticed a difference in colour and puffiness after using it for two days. Definitely worth the splurge!
Emmett: Um, it isn’t as stingy as the other ones, but I think it was a bit too thick. I didn’t like that I had to put it on my upper eyelid, and I got a pimple on my eyelid right after I used it… but that may just be coincidence?
Korres Quercetin & Oak Antiageing Eye Primer
A three-in-one product, this eye cream is supposed to work as a primer, corrector, and anti-ager. With quercetin and oak extract, plus sunflower oil and a ton of unpronounceable ingredients like isododecane, this product has the longest, most complex ingredient list by far.
Alyssa: Technically this product isn’t an eye cream like the others because it’s slightly tinted, but I like it so much that I couldn’t leave it out. This cream is affordable, and you can really see results right away thanks to the peachy tint built into the cream. The primer aspect means it interacts great with other products like concealer and powder, and the formula itself is extremely lightweight, silky, and easy to apply. My only issue is that the apricot colour is definitely limiting to specific skin tones, which is a major bummer.
Emmett: What’s this? Is this what you use when you look scary? It feels weird. The other ones stung; this one doesn’t. I feel like my puffiness went down, but that might just be an illusion. Wait, I’m not supposed to rinse it off? It’s so light!
Emmett and I are open to other natural, cruelty-free suggestions, so please share in the comments!