This eye cream has a lightweight, silky texture that feels good, but so do lots of other eye creams and facial moisturizers that don't come with the problems of this one.
The first offense is the presence of fragrance and fragrant ingredients that pose a risk of irritation. Fragrance isn't good for skin anywhere on the face, but especially not so close to the eye itself. See More Info for details on how daily use of fragrant products can harm skin.
Next up is the issue of jar packaging, which we outline in the More Info section. Essentially, jar packaging means the most beneficial ingredients in this eye cream won't remain stable once the product is opened, so this is not money well spent.
Last, there's nothing in this product that makes it special for the eye area. Cranberry doesn't have this distinction, and some of the other plant extracts (like papaya) pose a risk of an allergic reaction. See More Info to learn why not everyone needs an eye cream.
One more comment: Although this eye cream contains caffeine, it's not "invigorating" for skin in the same way that, say, a Starbucks espresso would be invigorating if you're feeling tired. Applied topically, caffeine can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, but it has not been shown to reduce puffy eyes (at least not puffiness related to aging, commonly referred to as undereye bags) or to "give you the look of a good night's sleep" as this product claims. A brightening concealer can do that, and it doesn't need to contain caffeine. (Save that for your Starbucks beverage of choice!)
- Silky texture contains some good moisturizing ingredients.
- Formula contains fragrance and fragrant ingredients, which aren't good for the eye area.
- Jar packaging won't keep this eye cream's most beneficial ingredients stable during use.
- Doesn't have an invigorating effect on the skin, nor can it reduce age-related puffiness.
Daily Use of Fragrant Products:
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Jar Packaging: The fact that this product is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and most 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 present a hygiene issue because even if you wash your hands or use a spatula to remove the product, you're introducing bacteria, which cause further breakdown of key 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; and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).
Why You May Not Need 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 key ingredients stable. Just because the product is labeled as 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 as an eye cream.
You would be shocked 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.
This eye cream is formulated to give you a brighter appearance around the eyes, while antioxidants protect your delicate eye area. It contains Caffeine which gives you the look of a great night’s sleep by reducing puffiness and stimulating circulation.
Water (Aqua), Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-40 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Caffeine, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, C13 14 Isoparaffin, Laureth 7, Acrylates Octylacrylamine Copolymer, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Fragrance (Parfum), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols, Linoleic Acid, Phospholipids, Echinacea Pupurea (Coneflower) Leaf Extract, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Citrullus Lanatus Fruit Extract, Citrus Limonum (Lemon) Peel, Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract, Juniperus Communis Fruit Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Leaf Extract, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol
Today, most cosmetics companies seem to be launched for one of three distinct reasons: they come about as the extension of a high-end fashion house's brand (like Burberry, Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, or Armani); they're created by some corporation under the endorsement of a celebrity (Drew Barrymore's Flower Beauty or Kat Von D's line); or, as is the case for theBalm Cosmetics, an entrepreneur saw an "unfilled niche" in the cosmetics market and decided to get to work.
theBalm was founded in San Francisco by Marissa Shipman, who spent years trying to break into the cosmetics industry before forming her own company in 2004. As the story goes, she crafted her own products in her kitchen by consulting makeup books she bought from Amazon.com. (We hoped that one of them was Paula's Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me, but given many of the formulations, we don't think so.) Eventually she was able to hire a chemist, get a lab (Bye-bye, kitchen workshop!), and secure distribution through cosmetics retailer Sephora. theBalm's products have (pardon the pun) exploded and are now sold in dozens of countries worldwide.
It's interesting to note that theBalm is quite reminiscent of the Benefit brand; the similarity of the packaging, marketing, colors, product selection, and even the place of origin - San Francisco – is blatant. Featuring recyclable cardboard packaging with retro pinup-style artwork and cutesy names, theBalm line includes both makeup and skin care products, and is reasonably priced, although it's definitely more expensive than what you'll find at the drugstore.
The company's makeup is definitely its stronger suit, with some good options, such as a couple eyeshadow palettes, the mascara, and its pressed-powder blushes. It has one true blockbuster product: Balm Shelter tinted moisturizer. This standout product performs amazingly well and is deserving of its many accolades.
Unfortunately, theBalm also has some problematic makeup, in particular, and ironically, their lip products. The inclusion of irritants in two of its lip products is disappointing, and an otherwise excellent lip gloss (with SPF, no less) is marred by a fragrance that's downright overwhelming initially and potentially irritating if used every day.
As far as skin-care, the company's collection, called TimeBalm, is surprisingly larger than you might think. It includes cleansers, toners, moisturizers, AHA exfoliants, masks, eye-area products, and a handful of ancillary items that are questionable in terms of their benefit—though some of them, like the foundation primer, are indeed worth checking out.
Overall, based on the formulas, there’s little reason to give the majority of these skin-care products a second thought, as most of them are laced with one or more problematic ingredients or, in the case of most of the moisturizers, suffer due to jar packaging, which compromises the product’s stability. The prices are good, but there’s not much value in saving money on average-to-problematic products, especially when spending just a bit more can get you far better formulas.
theBalm boasts that TimeBalm skin-care products are free of parabens, synthetic dyes, and phthalates, and many consumers seem to be seeking such products. However, parabens are not a problem, and phthalates aren’t usually included in skin-care products—they’re more often seen in nail polish and in some fragrances. Not including synthetic dyes is helpful, but it would have been even better for your skin if theBalm had avoided fragrant oils and other plant-based irritants. Lots of theBalm products contain great natural ingredients, but they’re often commingled with potentially irritating natural ingredients, and that doesn’t add up to great skin care—it’s more of a ticking time bomb than anything else.
For more information, call 510-522-3610, or visit www.thebalm.com. And yes, we're aware that "it's thebalm.com" is an expression used to indicate something that's totally cool. Coincidence? We'll let the reviews speak for themselves!