Road Test: Are Eye Creams Essential?

The great, the good, the soothing

They say great things come in small packages, and they couldn't be more right when it comes to eye treatments. Think of the people you know who have fabulous skin '- our bet is they use an eye treatment. These little jewels '- and some of them are priced as such '- are absolutely necessary for your skin care regimen. At first we thought we'd never be able to "road test" eye products, because there are simply so many. (Dozens are formulated for specific problems, like dark circles, puffiness or fine lines, while others treat all three.) But, determined, we asked the people with the most beautiful skin we know of to recommend the best items, and here's what our testers came up with.

Product name: Pacifica Blue Chamomile Soothing Eye Gel
Claim: This lightweight gel claims to soothe and moisturize the skin around the eyes. It contains a number of herbal extracts besides chamomile to "calm fragile capillaries" and reduce puffiness.
Tester says: "I've always wanted to try an eye cream, because I wake up with puffy eyes every morning. But I've never done it, because my eyes always feel sensitive from staring at a computer all day. I love this product. It goes on almost dry and you only need a small amount. It really did soothe my puffy eyes. It has no fragrance and is not irritating. It also leaves the skin around my eyes feeling smooth."
Price: $22

Product name: Biotherm Hydra-Detox Yeux
Claim: This brand-new product claims to detoxify and oxygenate the skin around the eyes, eliminating the deleterious effects of pollution, cigarette smoke and other environmental factors. It's packed with antioxidants to prevent wrinkles, and contains serious humectants to moisturize skin.
Tester says: "I don't smoke but my boyfriend does, so I was thrilled to find this product that protects against cigarette smoke. At first I wasn't sure I'd like the creamy-gel texture. But I love this product. It absorbs quickly, and some of the crepey lines around my eyes seem to disappear. It's like injecting a bolt of moisture around my eyes."
Price: $26

Product name: Osmotics Kinetin Intensive Eye Repair
Claim: The gold standard of eye care, Osmotics Kinetin Intensive Eye Repair claims to treat fine lines and crow's-feet, make the skin smoother and increase elasticity around the eyes. It contains kinetin, a patented, natural, plant-growth factor that helps address signs of aging skin without irritation, exfoliation or sun sensitivity.
Tester says: "I never thought I would fall for an expensive skin care product, on principle! But I noticed a change in the skin around my eyes within a few days of using this product. After two weeks my skin seemed firmer, and my fine lines seemed to disappear. It comes in a tiny jar, but you only need a little at a time. It's fragrance-free too."
Price: $75

Product name: Skyn Iceland Relief Eye Cream
Claim: Contains a "biosphere complex" that minimizes wrinkles, vitamin K to lighten dark circles, mandarin peel to reduce puffiness, Icelandic kelp to revitalize skin and fight inflammation, and cotton powder to diffuse light from the skin.
Tester says: "This product has it all. It's thick and creamy and feels wonderful going on. It smells slightly of the sea, and it does seem to make a difference on my stressed-out skin. My dark circles disappear, and I don't wake up puffy."
Price: $45

Product name: Clinique Daily Eye Benefits
Claim: This product claims to help restore firmness, reduce puffiness and minimize the appearance of dry lines.
Tester says: "I've tried eye creams before, but they never seemed to do anything and sometimes stung my eyes. But I tried Daily Eye Benefits because it's fragrance free and ophthalmologically tested. I'm glad I did. I love it. It's rich and absorbs quickly, staying where I put it. It seems to give an instant 'lift' to my eye area, and it really does diminish my fine lines."
Price: $27

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