Esthetica MD Product Reviews – Eye Creams

Jeepers, peepers, are there a lot of eye creams out there! So, which ones really work? We tested five of the most popular brands out there to find out which ones don’t blink when it comes to fighting fine lines, combating crow’s feet, and diminishing dark circles.

Untitled-1Image Skincare Iluma Intense Brightening Eye Cream

Price: $60

Hyper-pigmentation, dark spots and uneven skin tone

Contains a number of plant extracts that have research-supported potential to inhibit melanin (skin pigment) production, such as bearberry, mulberry, and licorice root extracts, as well as a concentration of peptides for reducing pigment responsible for dark circles, increasing lymphatic drainage and reducing the appearance of crow’s feet.  The cream feels light on the skin providing good hydration and does not contain Parabens.  It also wears well under make-up.

While the ingredients constitute the latest in a cosmeceutical armament to improve skin’s appearance, in our opinion, it is missing tried and true ingredients such as Vitamins A & C.

Iluma Intense Brightening Eye Cream is a great option addressing a number of concerns.


es2La Mer The Eye Concentrate

Price: $190

Anti-aging fine lines and wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness.

The Eye Concentrate contains beneficial ingredients for creating and maintaining healthy skin.  Algae is the first ingredient on the list and would normally have positive effects on the skin such as antioxidant and water-binding properties.  This product contains a few peptides and caffeine, which is effective for improving dark circles.  The product feels hydrating with a wonderful slip.  The overall look of the packaging is cosmetically elegant and the applicator is a nice touch, but can be considered unessential and gimmicky.

The potency of the ingredients are compromised by jar packaging.  Every time you open the lid, you introduce air and light, and every time you insert your finger to apply the product, you introduce bacteria.  This product also contains skin irritants such as eucalyptus oil and lime.  For an eye cream, this product is very expensive.

While this cream does contain great active ingredients, their benefits are compromised by jar packaging.  The eye cream creates a nice barrier on the skin, but at $190 for .5 oz., it seems just a tad pricey.


es3Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Eye Cream and Lash Serum Duo

Price: $25

Anti-aging for fine lines

At $25, the price point makes this product affordable.  This product contains mica for camouflaging dark circles. It also feels pretty emollient and has a nice glide.

This product contains very little active ingredients such as antioxidants and Niacinamide which you want to see in a skincare product.  It also contains parabens and the ingredient Dimethicone, a silicone polymer that provides the appearance of smooth skin texture without any other benefit.  Dimethicone is often used in a variety of primers, foundations and hair conditioners.  The packaging is also not ideal as an uneven amount of product is dispensed from the tube.  This product also did not wear well under makeup.

While this product is affordable, there are other options available that are more efficacious.


es4Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum

Price: $65

Anti-aging for fine lines, puffiness and pigmentation.

This product is filled with good ingredients that work on fine lines and pigmentation.  Some of these ingredients include Ferulic Acid and Retinol for fine lines and wrinkles, BHA & AHA for cell turnover, botanicals for lightening, and Hyaluronic Acid for hydration.  Plus the formula is Paraben-free. The light gel formula slides beautifully on the skin and it wears well under makeup. We noticed an improvement on puffiness right away and the packaging of a glass bottle with an applicator is ideal for keeping light and air out.

The feel of the product is a bit sticky and may not feel emollient for those who prefer a richer feel.

Overall, this is a fabulous choice addressing most under-eye skin concerns.

es5Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream

Price: $55

Anti-Aging fine lines and wrinkles

This product does not offer many benefits, except that it contains a small amount of Vitamin E.

This eye cream contains mineral oil, Vaseline and wax.  So while it may feel soothing, it does not contain any active ingredients that will make a difference for your skin.  You are better off buying a drug-store brand eye cream for less.  The presence of fragrance in the formulation is the worst offender.  Fragrance causes skin irritation and actually contributes toward aging!  The jar packaging will not keep ingredients stable, as it introduces air, light and contaminants.  It also feels heavy and causes makeup to slide right off.

We recommend skipping this one entirely.

Skincare 101: Over the Counter vs. Pharmaceutical

spied esthetica photo smallBetween TV commercials featuring “real women” who use tried-and-true drugstore staples to star-studded magazine ads hawking high-end department store skincare brands to the vast wall of information-packed pamphlets at your doctor’s office exalting the benefits of pharmaceutical-grade beauty breakthroughs, figuring out which cosmetic products are worth spending your hard-earned money can be confusing.

Your first step in making your perfect product matches is understanding the differences between each category.  However, the right products—whether over the counter (OTC), cosmeceutical, or pharmaceutical—are the ones that have the right ingredients.

Over the Counter (OTC)

The majority of creams, serums, and body products on the market fall into this category. Quite simply, they’re the products you’ll find readily available at your local drug or department store. OTCs can range in price from cheap to very expensive, but generally will contain a similar concentration of ingredients (up to 70% pure ingredients per FDA regulation). Because OTC products must fit most skin concerns, they will not contain many active ingredients and often contain inactive compounds, fragrances and preservatives.


This category includes cosmetic products containing active ingredients that are known to be beneficial in some way. For example, vitamin C is a known antioxidant, and when it is added to a lotion or a cream, it is considered a cosmeceutical. Same goes for products with ingredients like marine extracts or peptides.


Essentially, the product is either classified as a drug or as a cosmetic. The pharmaceutical category might have the fewest offering of the bunch (only about 5% of skincare products are considered pharmaceutical-grade), but they are also some of the most effective. Pharmaceutical skincare products are available only through a licensed professional. They’re also FDA-regulated, must contain 99.9% pure active ingredients, must be backed up by scientific studies, and must demonstrate beneficial effect on a function or structure of the skin. In other words, they gotta get the job done when it comes to reducing wrinkles, diminishing the appearance of brown spots, providing hydration, and improving other functions of the skin.

So what is the difference between OTC and Pharmaceutical skin care and which is best?  The major difference is potency or strength and the mixture of the right active ingredients.

Another difference is that unlike OTC products, where a consumer can self-diagnose when choosing a skin care product, pharmaceutical skin care product must be selected for you.

While pharmaceutical products will likely give you the best results, there are a number of good cosmetic and cosmeceutical products on the market.  You have to know the ingredients and have realistic expectations.