Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Is this The One? Clarins Contour Eye Gel

No matter how much sleep I get, I always end up with very dark under-eye circles. The area there is a bit puffy, too, no matter what I do. And dry. They're dry! I've accepted the panda eyes - the pigmentation of the skin is just genetics. I try to address other issues - you tackle what you can, you know?

I don't use an under-eye concealer, usually, because I don't like most of them - they either cake up, settle into lines, drift, don't come in the proper colors...you know how it is. I usually just blend a bit of foundation into the under-eye area to soften the darkness a bit. If I don't have a proper eye cream, the foundation doesn't blend smoothly. I need hydration! My regular moisturizer doesn't cut it, but some eye creams don't absorb well, or "pill" on your skin when you apply anything over them, or feel too greasy, or don't seem to do anything - they have their own slew of problems. And then eye creams all promise different things...it's kind of a mess.
I'd pretty much given up on the whole issue and was just trying to finish up an eye cream that I was just "mleh" about. But I was at Nordstrom exchanging some things, and the SA asked if I was using any eye cream (I mentioned that the Dior sample I tried caused a reaction), and I kind of waffled a bit. She said, "Oh, you're young, you don't need any serious anti-aging stuff, you just need hydration at this point." I wasn't sure whether I wholly agreed with her, so I just smiled. She said, "Why don't you try this new Clarins gel? It should keep the area moisturized, and it's so lightweight. It also doesn't have any weird fragrances or anything that might cause a reaction." She filled up a little sample container for me (two weeks' worth, at least!) and sent me on my merry way.

I didn't have any high hopes for it, but you know what? I like it. A lot. It's not fussy or overly ambitious (it doesn't claim to eliminate wrinkles or boost collagen or whatever else these outlandish skincare products usually boast about), but it gets the job done - my eyes gradually became less puffy, and the under-eye area stays hydrated. The skin there is much softer to the touch than it used to be, and the little bumps that I used to get from richer eye creams or concealers or plain old neglect have pretty much disappeared. I still have a few that I feel will never leave - they're just part of the skin there - but since the skin is more hydrated, they are less noticeable. It's almost smooth there! Cheer!
The packaging is a basic tube (with a large, flat top) that stands on its own. It's easy to control the amount of gel that squeezes out, and you only need the tiniest drop for each under-eye area. You can see a thin layer there - the gel is a cool blue color. I much prefer tube packaging to eye creams/gels that come in jars.

So, I bought the full sized version during Sephora's FF sale, and I've now been using this for about two months total. I don't think skincare products ever produce "amazing and instant" results, but I like that I'm noticing puffy eyes and little bumps less and less. Even though the instructions suggest morning use, I use this twice daily, in the morning and at night. In the morning, I pat some on after moisturizer and sunscreen, and then get dressed. By the time I'm ready to do my makeup, it's been absorbed into my skin, and the foundation that I apply on the under-eye area blends in seamlessly without pilling or any other unpleasant incidents. I don't experience any severe creasing or caking throughout the day (though that could also be in part due to the foundation itself), either, and as I said, the general area has begun to feel softer and less dry and papery. Also worth noting - this is a gel, so it absorbs really quickly, and it doesn't slip around the skin. I never notice any burning sensations or feel like it drifts into my eyes, which is very, very nice. It's also not sticky - I feel like a lot of eye gels are really sticky, and I am not a fan of those types of products.
Try it if: You're looking for a lightweight, fragrance-free eye gel that addresses the issues of puffiness and dark circles.
Skip it if: You need a rich eye cream, or are looking for anti-aging benefits.

So here's a question for you: at what age is one supposed to start using preventative (anti-aging) skincare? 

$35 for 0.7 oz at Nordstrom or Sephora, or wherever Clarins products are sold.