The concept is this. The skin around our eyes needs special attention compared to the rest of our faces, because it’s extremely sensitive and more vulnerable to damage, dryness and irritation.
Eye creams therefore have a unique formula that’s very gentle and anti-inflammatory, yet highly moisturising and line-smoothing. This makes them more expensive and texturally quite rich, which is why we don’t tend to smother them all over our faces. I’ve tried, trust me, and it feels all kinds of weird and claustrophobic.
Right now, this is the hottest moisturiser in beauty land, selling one every ten seconds. There are almost 100 rave reviews on the Boots website and it only launched two weeks ago. People are officially going mad for this cream. Why? Because it’s radical and breaks all the rules of skincare. It’s affordable. It’s from a trusted science-backed brand. It sounds a bit strange.
Enter stage left L’Oreal, who identified these issues and fixed them to create a new hybrid product. Texturally, it’s still decadent but slightly fresher-feeling and more spreadable than an eye cream, so it doesn’t feel cloying.
Price-wise, they can keep it affordable because they’ve flooded it with popular and proven moisturising ingredients (two sizes of Hyaluronic acid molecules) that are readily available in L’Oreal labs. Instead of adding potent active ingredients such as Vitamin C or Retinol, they’ve kept the recipe extremely gentle and non-irritating. And there you have yourself an Eye Cream for Face.
When my preview sample arrived in the post last month, I instantly related to the writing on the box: “The Anti-Line Efficacy of An Eye Cream for the Full Face.” I have lines. I need efficacy. My skin is as overwhelmed and shagged as a big puffy hungover eye-bag. Let’s be havin’ ya.
This was five weeks ago, in early September, when the world was a slightly different place. So my opinion of this product has two very different truths to it: the does-it-work truth from a five-week trial, and a very different emotionally-driven truth.
Firstly, yes, it works fine. It’s a good, richly moisturising, mid-weight lotion that doesn’t cost the earth. My journalist mind thinks that’s marvellous and I would wholeheartedly recommend this if you want a line-curbing hydrating day cream. It didn’t erase any of my skin’s persistent problems (hyperpigmentation, broken capillaries, a smattering of maskne, deep ‘eleven’ frown lines) but it has improved the papery fragility around my forehead and I don’t get my typical 4pm tight, dry feeling over my cheeks.
When I apply it straight after cleansing, it doesn’t sting. It feels incredibly comforting on skin that’s taken a pounding this year – from catching bloody Covid itself and the stress involved with lockdown, to ruining it with too much Retinol and Vitamin C, and basically life as a knackered mum-of-two with a toddler that doesn’t sleep. It’s a good product.
I just need to add here that the claims of acting like a ‘filler’ for the skin is bullsh*t. Sorry. The double-whammy hyaluronic acid may create a very temporary cell swelling because it attracts water and hangs onto it, giving you a nice plumping glow just after application, but this intimidating wording is marketing smoke-and-mirrors. Nothing will ‘fill’ your skin unless it’s in a syringe with a needle.
My personal truth is a bit different. In these past five weeks, life has become a whole lot bleaker and darker. The ever-changing rules, restrictions and tiers are dispiriting and I’ve been getting middle-of-the-night anxiety. The uncertain climb to Christmas has no guaranteed joy or togetherness. Covid deaths are rising. There is a fragility to lifestyles that feels so permanent now. Friends are losing their jobs – every Friday I read at least three emails beginning with “Today is my last day at insert workplace after X years”. Should my kids hug their grandparents? I have become mildly agoraphobic: I don’t want to be near anyone in case they test positive and send me into isolation by proxy.
Home is the only positive space right now. And because I’m a beauty freak, my dressing table is my sanctuary. On it are my treasures; in particular, a gang of skincare products, because face makeup is a bit redundant with my daily mask-wearing. Now, diving into this spectacularly dismal AW20, I crave the sensorial cuddle of ointments and nourishment and comfort.
This ‘Eye Cream for Face’ leaves me wanting. It’s not enough for ‘right now’. Perhaps it’s the garish packaging that looks like a tube of children’s toothpaste. Maybe it’s too efficient and fast-absorbing so I’m left with a thirst for luxe and deliciousness. Maybe it’s because it’s only £13, and – selfishly – I feel I ‘deserve’ a nicer prize for my skin that’s been to hell and back this year.
I need more. I want my skincare to look after me like the concierge at Claridge’s. My dressing table needs to be a space of joy and fun, reassurance and excitement, with some much-needed glamour and a sprinkling of magic dust. I’m not going to find it inside this tube, but I appreciate it for trying.