This week we tested the products that promise to transform you from bleary to Bambi in one quick swipe
Buy online www.cultbeauty.co.uk
Feedback “I can't leave the house without eyeshadow (and the rest) because my eyelids and brow bone are generally quite red or uneven in colour, so this Gloss Report gave me high hopes for finding something to brighten my eyes. I wasn't disappointed with this duo from 3 Custom Colour. The eyeshadow has a peachy tone that I worried would be too pink (and therefore make things worse) but I needn't have been concerned. With a silky texture and just the right shade of pale, it really did wake up my complexion as I dusted it over the lid and up to my brows. I then used the flesh-coloured pencil everywhere that needed a lift; under my brows, the inner corners of my eyes, just above my top lip and, as per the instructions I even used it in little creases and around spots to reduce redness. I'd prefer a chunkier pencil for those bigger areas where you're effectively topping up concealer, but the precision was helpful for brightening up the waterline to make eyes look bigger and less sleepy. All in all, something I'll be using every day - especially if I've had a late night.”
Susan Posnick Color Correct
Buy online www.skinbrands.co.uk
Feedback "Thanks to a mixture of late nights, early mornings and LFW, I’ve developed a set of rather unsightly red circles to complement my bloodshot eyes. As a result, I’ve been on the hunt for a product that not only brightens both the lid and under-eye areas, but also one that addresses their discolouration too. Thankfully though I can now call off the search, as the exceptional talents of this very clever dual-ended pencil are just what I’ve been looking for.
"Soft, creamy, with a formula that blends like a dream, it consists of two shades: a lighter colour to lift and brighten and a warmer one to even skin tone and cover imperfections. Suitable for a range of ethnicities, you can mix the two to create your perfect shade (I opted for C3) and also use it as a subtle highlighter on brow and cheekbones to help feign an even greater degree of alertness. While in the past I would have reached for my liquid pen or camouflage pot to help hide the effects of a bad night’s sleep, I may have to think again after trying this product. I can safely say that my preconceptions of what a concealer and eye brightener should look and feel like have now been well and truly challenged and changed for the better."
Mac Prep and Prime Vibrancy Eye
Buy online www.maccosmetics.co.uk
Feedback “This is a great product for prepping eyes before make-up application as it’s not too greasy or heavy. Somewhere between an eye primer and a brightening product, this light cream wakes up the skin by depuffing the eye area and disguising any dark shadows.
"The cream itself has a glowy pink shimmer that brightens any pigmentation or redness and the pearly finish reflects the light, disguising under-eye circles, creating a brighter, smoother and more even tone for concealer. I would say it works more as a good primer for eye make-up than a radiance-boosting product because it preps rather than conceals, but the slight cooling sensation when applied to the skin makes a real difference to heavy, puffy eyes.”
Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Duality
Buy online www.cultbeauty.co.uk
Feedback "I seem to have an innate inability to go to bed early. Every night I'll tidy my room, do some washing or even file away old bank statements in some strange subconscious plan to prevent myself from ever feeling well-rested. As a result I’m constantly trying to mask and conceal my weary, sullen-looking eye bags.
"Having never used or even heard of a brightening eye product before, this duo pencil came as quite a revelation to me. It's available in two shades - I used the Camille/Sand, which features a pale, nude liner to open up the waterline on one end and on the other a pearly pink highlighter to enhance the higher brow area and create definition.
"Quick and easy to use, the nude liner’s silky, smooth texture glided on beautifully and instantly brightened my inner eye line and orbital area. I also applied this shade to the outside edges of my eyes which helped extend my eyeline, creating a gorgeous brightening effect. I was less impressed with the highlighting pencil: although it appeared to be a gorgeous pinky/iridescent shade, it failed to have any real brightening effect on my eyes; in fact it left a slightly greasy residue.
"The one-sided performance of this pencil does make its price tag quite hard to justify. Having said that, I was so impressed with the delicate, natural and brightening result from the nude liner that I would probably say it’s still worth the purchase. I’m three days in and have had less sleep than I’ve had for a while, but for the first time in my life I don’t think anyone can tell… I hope."
Benefit Eye Bright Pencil
Buy online www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk
Feedback “For me, make-up is all about the eyes. When I take a seat in front of the mirror to begin my morning routine, my groggy-eyed reflection shows me heavy dark circles and bloodshot eyes. It’s fair to say that it takes a lot to get my peepers from bleary to bright.
"Benefit’s Eye Bright pencil looks intimidating at first. It comes in a bright pink shade which I thought wouldn’t look right on my darker colouring, though it claimed to be suitable for all skintones. The website suggested that I draw a line near the inner corner of my eye, under my eyebrow and three lines from the outer corner going towards my temple. I noticed that the pencil is prone to smudging a little, but I was pleasantly surprised with the results. The Benefit’d eye looked brighter and fresher in comparison to the other and it gave me an instant wide-awake look.
"The pencil did leave behind a lot of glitter, which I wasn’t too keen on as I was hoping for a more subtle result. Another issue is its blending ability. While the pencil is soft (always good for delicate application), it’s also very easy to blend it all away. I had to apply the product twice, as the first time I worked it into my skin too much and it almost completely disappeared. Despite this, it really is ‘a coffee break in a stick’ and I would use it again. It takes a bit of practice to get the right level of brightness without wiping it all away, but once you do, you’ll be left with eyes that look like they’ve had a solid night’s sleep (even if that’s a long way from the truth)”
Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener
Buy online www.smashbox.co.uk
Feedback “The fact that this dark shadow deflector contains red wine extract had me on side immediately. A ‘vitamin-packed’ formula with peptides claims to nourish the eye area back to full health, while the shimmer in the fluid is designed to reflect light and minimise the appearance of dark circles. It’s a petite product to say the least and the dainty brush applicator allows for precise highlighting (it can also be used to add radiance to the cheekbones, brow bone, cupid’s bow and inner eye).
"It’s light-as-air formulation absorbs well and my under-eye area certainly looked more perky post-use, however, it would look much more natural with a tan if you are as pale-skinned as I am. I found I needed to mix this with my regular Snow White concealer to make it blend with my skintone. One for those with warmer skintones, but a fatigue-fighter nonetheless!"
Soap and Glory Lid Shadow The Daily Double velvet pink/brownie
Buy online www.soapandglory.com
Feedback "I'll be upfront and say that at first glance, I had no idea what this was or what it was meant to do.
"I headed to Soap and Glory's website to make everything a bit clearer, then as instructed, applied the darker shade on my lash line and the lighter shade just above it. It dries very fast and doesn't smudge, so if you need to blend, get in there quickly.
"To be honest, I don't think it made much difference to the brightness of my eyes, so I doubt I'd use it again. It might work better on someone with a lighter complexion where the difference would be more obvious, but on my skin it was too subtle to notice."
BareMinerals Well Rested Face and Eye Brightener
Buy online www.bareminerals.co.uk
Feedback "Silky, luminous and almost translucent, this little pen of light is has a subtle, dewy effect but don’t let that fool you - it packs a punch when it comes to erasing dark circles (no black eyes, just a fresh-faced je ne sais quoi finish). It’s child’s play to blend and the pearly, reflective formula looked very natural against my pale winter complexion.
"It imparts a sheeny, youthful glow when mixed with foundation or concealer and the brush applicator makes it quick and easy to daub on, however I found that the pen flooded with too much product on initial use. It also slipped slightly during the day and my under-eye area needed retouching after a long afternoon staring at my computer screen. That said, this a fantastic product that does what it says on the tin (pen). It’s a little pricey for my liking, especially since I wasted a bit of product initially, but you’re shelling out for a high-quality luminizer capable of disguising sleepless nights, hangovers and general 'blahness'."
NYX Wonder Pencil
Buy online www.nyxcosmetics.co.uk
Feedback “I have always used liquid textured eye brighteners in the past, so I was interested to see how a pencil would perform.
"Unfortunately, I have not been swayed - I found this almost crayon-like and very difficult to apply. I had to reapply on the same area several times before it made any noticeable difference and I really disliked the feeling of using a crayon on such delicate area of my face. I expected it to have a much creamier texture, as this is really important for an eye product.
"I wasn’t impressed with the packaging or the performance of this pencil, but for such a low price, perhaps you shouldn't expect much."
Benefit Ooh La Lift
Buy online www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk
Feedback “I’m always at a slight loss with Benefit products, as I tend to be instantly seduced by the colourful and playful packaging and then immediately let down by the not-so-great product itself. This eye brightener was no exception. Beautifully packaged in a smart clear tube this creamy pink liquid markets itself as an under-eye brightening boost with raspberry extracts and light-reflecting pigments to instantly perk up tired-looking eyes.
“I applied and rubbed in three small dots underneath my eye and a little more at each corner and whilst it was relatively cooling and soothing, it made little if no difference to the puffiness and dark pigment around my eyes. In the interest of fairness, I later tried applying some on top of my make-up to see if it’s brightening effects would be clearer, but no. Nada.
“What’s more, this product doesn’t come cheap so unfortunately it’s a double whammy of disappointment. You’re better off just getting to bed a couple of hours earlier!”