I started using anti-aging creams in my 20s. A few decades later, I’m still a skin-care fanatic, but try not to get hung up on getting older. Women over 50 are the moment—radiant, confident, and successful (see: Jenna “F**king” Lyons, everyone’s favorite new RHONY). These days, though, my skin has a habit of revealing my vices: A late night or a salty meal leaves me with puffiness, dark circles, or a less-than-ideal combination of the two.
After months of testing a dozen(-ish) eye creams in search of one that could have me Zoom or date night ready at a moment’s notice—meaning it could instantly banish bags while still being gentle on my sensitive skin—my perseverance paid off.
Experts In This Article
- Jeannette Graf, MD, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
The Clarins Total Lift Eye Cream ($92) caught my attention with its promise to address all of my concerns in “60 seconds flat.” Formulated with a natural retinol alternative, it claims to minimize wrinkles in a single minute—and my mature under-eyes and I needed to (literally) see if it could deliver.
Clarins, Total Lift Eye Cream — $92.00
Key ingredients: organic harungana extract, cassie flower wax, horse chestnut
- Targets wrinkles, crow’s feet, dark circles, and puffiness
- Instantly brightens and lifts
- Suitable for all skin types and sensitive eyes
- Made with largely plant-based ingredients
How it works
According to the pros, I’m not alone in dealing with pesky under-eye concerns that seem to pop up out of nowhere. “Under-eye skin is extremely delicate and thinner than other parts of skin. It requires much more care since aging appears faster than in most areas,” says Jeannette Graf, MD, board-certified dermatologist and assistant clinical professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who also confirmed that lifestyle factors play a role here. “Staying hydrated, healthy sleeping habits, cooling compresses, and using under-eye creams consistently can improve the look and feel of the undereye area.”
Adding an eye treatment step into my routine felt like an easy lifestyle tweak I could get on board with (and one that would hopefully deliver instant results). Enter: Clarins Total Eye Lift Cream, which is packed with plant-based ingredients that immediately target puffy eyes and dark circles.
“Caffeine restricts the blood vessels, helping reduce puffiness,” says Dr. Graf. “Cassie flower wax also has the same effect, along with smoothing the fine lines along the under eye. And horse chestnut paired with organic harungana extract replenishes the delicate skin and brightens the area, leaving a hydrated and glowing texture.”
While retinol has proved too harsh for my eye area, the Total Eye Lift botanicals are known to be much kinder. “Retinol-like products can help skin elasticity and collagen production which minimizes the fine lines gently,” says Dr. Graf. She explains that because “harungana extract appears to recognize retinol receptors in the skin,” those firming properties are even more effective thanks to the pairing of the two ingredients in the Clarins formula.
What happened when I tried it
The brand suggests warming the product between your fingertips and applying it along pressure points. I was trepidious of an immediate shrinking effect—I couldn’t help but imagine a Looney Tunes character being doused with alum. Thankfully, it was a pleasant, refreshing sensation resulting in a gentle blurring of wrinkles and softly reduced bags. I also noticed firmer skin after using it for just a few days.
Unlike many other eye creams I’ve tried in the past, I was grateful to discover that this one causes no irritation. And after a week of use, I’m starting to see the long-term benefits come into play—already, my crow’s feet are less noticeable, and I’m now quick to check the mirror when I wake up like a kid on Christmas morning.
This product has easily fit into my skin-care routine since it can be used day and night, doesn’t cause makeup to smudge, and is so hydrating that my dry-leaning skin doesn’t require anything else. The only con I’ve noted is that the pump is a little finicky—but it’s so much more hygienic than eye creams in tubs that it’s a minor inconvenience and really no big deal.
I’m thrilled with this cream and ready to face whatever comes with my new, bright-eyed self. Get yours here.
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