Over the last week, I've been testing two high-tech products designed to deal with hyperpigmentation and undereye dark circles. These are Murad Active Radiance Serum (RRP £85) and GoodSkin Labs Eyliplex-2 Eye Lift + Circle Reducer (RRP £29.99). This is just a quick "FYI" post as it is obviously too early to see results of either product.
I've had dark circles for as long as I can remember. I haven't left the house without undereye concealer since I was about 13! It sometimes crosses my mind that I'm just being paranoid, but I've also noticed make-up artists slathering on loads of concealer under my eyes (a proper, thick, creasey amount of it), as if they think I have abnormally dark undereye circles. Even the quality make-up artists who are meant to know "less is more".
My hyperpigmentation (manifested as "freckles" splattered across the tops of my cheeks) is a more recent development. I'm prone to hyperpigmentation anyway due to my Asian background (my mum has always been self-conscious about her plentiful freckles), but I've stupidly been a bit too slack in the past with reapplying facial sunscreen frequently enough on holidays. My freckles used to fade along with the tan, but over the last couple of years these pesky dark spots have stayed put despite me wearing daily SPF 30. If only I could turn back time eh?
As a reminder, this is what my freckles and dark circles look like without the slap (as usual, click to enlarge). Hopefully at least one of these two products will give me a successful "after" photo!:
Murad Active Radiance Serum
Murad Active Radiance Serum was launched last year as part of a range of solutions for age spots and uneven skin tone. This serum is designed to protect skin from environmental ageing and encourage the repair of sun damage to brighten dull, uneven skin caused by hyperpigmentation. It also supposedly helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but I'm more interested in the lightening of dark spots at the moment.
Murad claim the serum is clinically proven to brighten and renew the skin in one week by improving natural radiance and clarity, and that it has 50 times the potency of Vitamin C than prior generations (not sure of what). Along with glycolic acid as the second ingredient, this serum means business. I have high hopes for it, so watch out for a detailed review of it soon!
My initial impressions of the serum are that it is easily absorbed and non-greasy (it's not a moisturising type). The instructions are to use it morning and evening under your moisturiser but I only use it in the evenings because I don't like the idea of using chemical exfoliants in the daytime, especially in the summer. In the mornings, I make sure to use a high protection sunscreen (read my review of Boots No7 Anti-Dark Spot Facial Sun Protection SPF 30 here).
Below are the full ingredients of Murad Active Radiance Serum. I don't normally use products containing glycolic acid because my chin area is sensitive to it and comes up in tiny bumps. However, I am using this serum only across the tops of my cheeks and my nose, and my skin seems happy so far.
Water (Aqua), Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Glycerin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Hydrolyzed Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Enantia Chlorantha Bark Extract, Oleanolic Acid, Ectoin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Zinc Gluconate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Biotin, Mannitol, Chitosan Ascorbate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Sodium PCA, Betaine, Sorbitol, Glycine, Alanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Arginine, Lysine, Glutamic Acid, Methyl Diisopropyl Propionamide, Ethyl Menthane Carboxamide, Menthyl Lactate, Lauryl Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Corn Starch Modified, Xanthan Gum, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Orange 4 (CI 15510).
By the way, in the US, Murad sell a slightly more powerful age spot lightening product called Age Spot & Pigment Lightening Gel (see the product page at Sephora here) which contains 2% hydroquinone (a skin lightening agent). However, beauty products containing hydroquinone have been banned in the UK since 2001 due to concerns over its safety. The Murad Active Radiance Serum I am using does not contain hydroquinone, just so you know.
GoodSkin Labs Eyliplex-2 Eye Lift + Circle Reducer
You might have seen this product on the shelves at Boots. It comes with two separate chambers and comprises a day gel and a night balm. It looks like a comedy over-sized contact lens case.
Together, these two treatments are designed to smooth, lift and firm as well as remedy dark circles. I think the Fast-Acting Day Gel is more for lifting and de-puffing, but it's the Long-Lasting Night Balm that I am interested in because it contains an ingredient called "Haloxyl PFE™" which is apparently a powerful extract derived from the passionflower to help reduce the appearance of dark circles while I'm sleeping.
Having only used this product for a week so far, I'm not expecting to see miracles, but my first impressions are positive. Both the day gel and night balm are easily absorbed yet moisturising. The gel does in fact feel quite tightening if you are looking for that instant lifting effect. Look out for my full review sometime in the near future!
Here are the full ingredients of GoodSkin Labs Eyliplex-2 Eye Lift + Circle Reduce (click on the photo to enlarge):
If you can't wait for my usual long-winded reviews, you can find out more about these products at www.murad.co.uk/active-radiance-serum and www.goodskindermcare.com/eyliplex-2.
Disclaimer: PR samples.