Neutrogena Men Hydrating Eye Reviver (Discontinued)

by Neutrogena  Men
$7.99 - 0.5 fl. oz.
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Skin Care > Retinol Products > Eye Moisturizers
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This fragrance-free, silky eye cream claims to reduce dark circles and puffiness, but it contains no ingredients that can do that. There are no skin-care ingredients that have any research indicating that they can fade dark circles or erase age-related puffiness. Under-eye skin-care problems respond beautifully to anti-inflammatory ingredients, antioxidants, sunscreen, and cell-communicating ingredients, but this product lacks any of these kinds of ingredients.

  • Silky texture provides light hydration for slightly dry areas.
  • Formula is fragrance-free.
  • Contains the controversial ingredient dimethyl MEA (see More Info below for details).
  • Lacks ingredients that can help with fatigue- or fluid retention–related puffiness.
  • Cannot lighten or improve dark circles.
  • Lacks a range of anti-aging ingredients to improve wrinkles (what Neutrogena refers to as "squint lines" for this product; men don't seem to have "crow's-feet" as women do).
  • You don't need an eye cream (see More Info below for the reason why).

More info:

Dimethyl MEA is also known as dimethylaminoethanol or DMAE. Despite the lack of evidence supporting any claim that DMAE has any effect on skin, there are hundreds of Web sites claiming that it does. It is possible that DMAE can help protect the cell membrane, and keeping cells intact can have benefit, but so far that appears to be only conjecture, not fact—and this protective benefit may, in fact, be detrimental.

A study published in the British Journal of Dermatology (March 2007) has shown contrary evidence that DMAE may actually pose risks for the skin. In vitro tests of the pure substance, as well as tests of moisturizers that contain DMAE, demonstrated a fairly fast and significant increase in protective elements around the skin cell. However, a short time later, researchers observed a significant decrease in cell growth and in some cases found that cell growth halted altogether. Small-scale studies of topical application to human and animal skin showed an increase in dermal thickness after seven days, but that's hardly conclusive or indicative of what may happen with long-term use. DMAE is also known to induce skin cell death and to reduce the proliferation of fibroblasts, which are cells in the skin that manufacture collagen (Sources: Pharmazie, December 2009, pages 818–822; and Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, November-December 2007, pages 711–718).

Interestingly, there also is a formulation challenge with including DMAE in skin-care products. To maintain efficacy and stability, the product's pH level must be at least 10, which is highly alkaline, and not good news for skin. A high pH like this can increase bacterial content in the pore and cause dryness and irritation. Moreover, because almost all moisturizers (including eye creams) are formulated with a pH that closely matches that of human skin (generally 5.5–6.5, which is on the acidic side of the scale), in all likelihood the DMAE included in skin-care products cannot have any prolonged functionality (Sources: Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Supplement 72, 2008, pages S17–S22; and

In addition, the truth is you don't need an eye cream. Although there is much you can do to improve the skin around your eyes, the ingredients capable of doing that don’t need to come from, and often aren’t even included in, an eye cream. For example, most eye creams (like this one) don’t contain sunscreen, and that is a serious problem because it leaves the skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage, which will make dark circles and wrinkling worse!

You can save money and take superior care of your eye area by using your face product, if it is well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes!

Hydrating Eye Reviver rapidly soothes, hydrates and revitalizes tired, fatigued looking eyes. This lightweight, non-greasy formula is clinically proven to visibly reduce dark circles and improve fine squint lines & puffiness. Restore the healthy look of your eyes, leaving them feeling fresh and revived.

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methylheptyl Isostearate, Dimethyl MEA, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Citric Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Squalane, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Triisostearin, Glyceryl Behenate, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Hesperetin Laurate, Tyrosine, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Squalane, Polysorbate 60, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, PEG-6 Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben

Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.

Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.

Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).

A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.

It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.

What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.

For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit

Neutrogena Makeup

Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (I'm not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.

There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.

The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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