Total Effects CC Eye Brightening Cream

by Olay  
Price:
$19.99 - 0.5 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Retinol Products > Eye Moisturizers
Last Updated:
4/21/2014
Jar Packaging:
Yes
Tested On Animals:
Yes

Olay's Total Effects CC Eye Brightening Cream has a formula very similar to the brand's other eye creams, which means you're getting a blend of ingredients like antioxidants, niacinamide, and emollients. The main difference is that this version includes a higher amount of mineral pigments (such as mica) to provide a "brightening" effect to the eye area, but that's strictly a cosmetic enhancement, not a skin-care benefit.

This cream does feel moisturizing and soothing under the eyes, and works well under makeup. While it does provide a small amount of brightening, those who purchase this thinking they're going to get any amount of cosmetic color correction (as implied on the packaging and by the flesh-toned color of this cream) will be disappointed, as this blends right into skin, leaving dark circles uncovered and still noticeable.

There's also an issue with Olay's claim that this cream provides gentle exfoliation. We checked the ingredient list up and down, and there is nothing in here that can do that. When you add that to the fact that some of the beneficial ingredients will be rendered ineffective due to jar packaging (see More Info for details), what you're getting is just a below-average eye cream.

Besides, not everyone needs an eye cream (Surprised? Find out why in the More Info section), but if you opt to use one, Olay has better options, as do many other brands—and you can brighten with a separate concealer or highlighter product that really works.

Pros:
  • Contains a good blend of beneficial ingredients, such as niacinamide and antioxidants.
  • Feels moisturizing and soothing under eyes.
  • Works well under makeup.
Cons:
  • Does not cosmetically correct dark circles, despite claims that it provides color correction.
  • Does not provide exfoliation as claimed.
  • Jar packaging means many of the good ingredients are rendered ineffective after you open the container.
More Info:

Why Jar Packaging is a Problem: The fact that this cream is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Why Not Everyone Needs an Eye Cream: Most eye creams aren't necessary. That's either because they are poorly formulated, contain nothing special for the eye area, or come in packaging that won't keep the key ingredients stable. Just because the product is labeled an eye cream doesn't mean it's good for your eye area; in fact, many can actually make matters worse.

There is much you can do to improve signs of aging around your eyes. Any product loaded with antioxidants, skin-repairing ingredients, skin-lightening ingredients, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and effective emollients will work wonders and those ingredients don't have to come from a product labeled an eye cream.

You would be shocked at how many eye creams lack even the most basic ingredients to help skin. For example, most eye creams don't contain sunscreen. During the day that is a serious problem because it leaves the skin around your eyes vulnerable to sun damage, and this absolutely will make dark circles, puffiness, and wrinkles worse!

Whatever product you put around your eye area, regardless of what it is labeled, must be well formulated and appropriate for the skin type around your eyes! That may mean you need an eye cream, but you may also do just as well applying your regular facial moisturizer around your eyes.

Water/Eau, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Isopropyl Isostearate, Isohexadecane, Niacinamide, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Cetyl Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit, Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Benzyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Silica, Dimethiconol, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Laureth-7, Citric Acid, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

Olay offers a fairly large selection of skin-care products sold at drugstores and mass-market stores. Although Olay's products are not as diversified as Neutrogena's or as attractive as L'Oreal's, Olay has come a long way from its star product being a soft pink lotion designed to make skin younger (yet it was and is just a badly formulated product that was out of date almost from the moment it was launched). Today's Olay lineup for those concerned about staving off the effects of aging skin is impressive, comprising their Regenerist, and Total Effects lines. All of these (and several other Olay products) contain the B vitamin niacinamide. As you might expect, the claims made for it are inflated, but, as explained in the various reviews below, niacinamide is a very helpful ingredient for all skin types, capable of exerting multiple benefits. It isn't the best ingredient out there (no single ingredient has that title yet, and it's unlikely that just one ever will be) and as such doesn't deserve the prominence Olay gives it (a bit of variety would have been far better, such as a mix of antioxidants and skin-identical ingredients).

Olay's sales are expected to reach $4 billion annually in the next few years, and given their global presence in stores and constant advertising in magazines and on television, that's not surprising. Much of this advertising is focused on their best products, which is attention well deserved. Just to give you an idea of the expenditure involved for these ubiquitous ads, Olay spent over $50 million to promote Regenerist in 2003. The good news is that each new range of Olay products generally improves on what came before it, offering results that, while not as impressive as the claims, are noticeable in the mirror.

For its ongoing commitment to understanding consumers and formulating products that, while not perfect, definitely offer more proof than puffery, Olay deserves consideration by any savvy skin-care shopper. And it also deserves mention that Olay is one of the few lines in this book whose entire collection of products with sunscreens provides sufficient UVA protection! (Sources for the financial figures above: The Rose Sheet, July 10, 2006, page 5; September 11, 2006, page 4; and January 1, 2007, page 5).

Olay began 2009 with the launch of Pro-X, their most expensive products to date. Not only are these products considerably more expensive than any others from Olay, the packaging, color scheme, advertising campaign, and claims have all been turned up to "max" on the cosmetics marketing dial. The amount of hype and budget thrown at these products easily explains why our Beautypedia product request e-mail inbox has been inundated with requests for me to review these products!

Whenever something this sleek-looking and pricey debuts in the mass market, lots of consumers wonder whether the extra expense is worth it. They also want to know if Olay's "Professional" designation makes these products a cut above the numerous other products they sell, including those with similar claims.

It turns out we had the same question after surveying the ingredient lists for all of the Pro-X products: How are they different from those available in Olay's Total Effects and Regenerist? Supposedly, all of those other sub-brands also have the answer to improving the telltale signs of aging, from dryness and wrinkles to loss of luminosity and unwanted discolorations. In fact, the claims on the label of these three lines are virtually identical.

It is clear from the get go that there are far more similarities than differences among Definity, Regenerist and Pro-X. All of them contain niacinamide, the B vitamin that has almost single-handedly re-energized Olay as a formidable skin-care brand. One of the Pro-X products contains acetyl glucosamine, just like several from Definity, and many Pro-X products contain peptides, just as Regenerist products do. Why should someone consider Pro-X over those other lines?

Interestingly, the folks we spoke with at Procter & Gamble didn't have a clear answer either, which isn't surprising, at least not from a formula superiority standpoint. Rather, their explanation was all about a marketing decision. This "cosmeceutical" –oriented line is supposed to give women who think that a line that looks medical must be better even if it's available at the drugstore. Pro-X was also designed to appeal to women who typically seek professional skin-care products, meaning those that are sold or recommended by a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon.

Of course there is no standardized definition for "professional skin care" and "cosmeceutical" is a bogus term. The dermatologists who consulted Olay about these new products are well-respected, but the formulas still come up short in terms of a cocktail of antioxidants and skin-identical ingredients that can repair damaged skin. As it turns out, despite the Alliance for Skin Care Innovation that Olay speaks of in their promotional materials for Pro-X, its creation had more to do with marketing than with bringing anything new to the cosmetics table.

Don't get me wrong: the Pro-X products have some commendable attributes and certainly offer multiple benefits for aging skin, but the truth is they're not different enough from Olay Regenerist or Definity products to warrant the higher price.

Pro-X's packaging is indeed sexier, the claims are more enticing, and the prices speak to a high-end consumer, but, to borrow a popular catchphrase from the 1980s, we were left wondering "Where's the beef?" The beef, as it were, is merely Olay creating products whose differences are much stronger from a marketing standpoint than from a formulary standpoint. That's not breakthrough news for your skin, and it's a fact that anyone considering Pro-X should know that other Olay products offer comparable benefits for less money. The only significant difference between Pro-X and Olay's other sub-brands is that Pro-X is fragrance-free; that's great, but you would think that leaving out an ingredient as opposed to adding one would lead to a price decrease rather than an increase. It's up to you if that point is enough to make the higher prices worthwhile.

For more information about Olay, owned by Procter & Gamble, call (800) 285-5170 or visit www.olay.com.

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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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