Ever wondered who actually buys all of those expensive skin creams you see in Sephora et al? The ones which carry too-good-to-be-true style claims on their boxes about how they’ll get rid of your dark circles, or make you look 16 again overnight?
Yeah, that would be me.
In my defence, I don’t buy all of them. I have, however, more than once been described as the “ad man’s dream”, and this means that I will linger too long in front of those stands, looking at the shiny rows of products and thinking to myself, “Well, if it works, it’ll be a bargain, really!”
This is how I came to find myself standing in line at Sephora this summer, waiting to purchase a tube of Bremenn Research Labs Hylexin: the new wonder cream for dark circles under the eyes. Well, that and the fact that I was desperate. Totally desperate, people. As long-time readers will know, the last year or so has been a never ending battle between me and the dark circles under my eyes. Actually, the phrase “dark circles” doesn’t really do justice to what I have. They’re more like dark canyons, which people could get lost in for days. They make me look ill and exhausted, and by the time my summer holiday rolled around, I was ready to try just about anything.
I have to back up a bit here, though: earlier this year, as you may remember, I’d had some success with Nivea’s Aqua Sensation Anti-Shadow Eye Cream, which I’d been pretty pleased with for the price, although it hadn’t totally shifted the circles. It had long since run out, though, and by the time I reached the bottom of the jar, I’d started to find it much less effective than it initially had been. It was clear that something much stronger was required in my fight against dark circles, and as I wandered around Sephora, carefully avoiding all the mirrors so I wouldn’t have to see my vampire-face looking back at me under those harsh lights (Pretty sure they do that to convince you to buy more makeup, by the way. It totally works.), it became clear to me that the “something” I needed was going to be Hylexin.
Now, this costs $59, which is a lot for me to spend on an eye cream, and an indication of how much I wanted it to work. Before leaving on my trip, I had actually done quite a bit of reading about this product, and had discovered mixed reviews of it: those who loved it seemed to REALLY love it, while those who hated it said it did absolutely nothing whatsoever for their dark circles. On balance, however, I’d found more positive reviews than negative ones, which was why I decided to take the plunge. Oh, and the fact that there was actually a photo of my under-eye are on the box helped too:
“Hylexin™ is the first product specifically developed for serious dark circles,” read the accompanying blurb. “Not the kind that pop up in the morning and are gone by breakfast, but the kind of serious dark circles that stay around forever.”
Sold! To the woman who looks like she hasn’t slept all year! I rushed it to the checkout before I could change my mind, and started using it that very night.
What you get for your $59 is a 15ml tube of white cream. It’s thick, but easily absorbed, has only the faintest of scents, and is pretty long-lasting: I bought it at the start of June and have been using it twice a day: it hasn’t quite run out yet, but it’s on its last legs and I reckon I’ll probably only get a few more days out of it. It’s lasted almost three months, though, which makes the price seem a little more reasonable.
As with most eye creams, the recommendation is to use it twice per day, morning and night. It works by breaking down the “hemoglobin degradation byproducts” under the eye: basically, those dark circles are the result of leaking blood from the capillaries under the eye, which then oxidises, creating those bluish-grey shadows. Hylexin claims to not only get rid of that oxidised blood, it also claims to strengthen the capillaries, so the problem stops before it gets started. A double-pronged approach.
I’m sure what you all want to know, however, is whether this works. And the answer?
YES. Or at least, it did for me: as I’ve noted above, I’ve read plenty of reviews from people who saw no difference whatsoever from this, so all I can do is tell you what my experience of it was, and my experience was that it did, indeed, reduce the dark circles under my eyes. Not right away, mind you: for the first couple of weeks I saw no change at all in my under-eye area - in fact, I was so annoyed by this that I considered returning it to Sephora and asking for my money back. I decided to persevere, though, and slowly but surely, I started to see results. After a few weeks, I realised that the shadows were so much improved that I was no longer having to cake on concealer before leaving the house: foundation, and a touch of Touche Eclat were working for me again, and I had lost that exhausted look. Fast forward a few more weeks and the shadows have stayed away: there are still days, of course, when they’re darker than others, and because of my paleness, my under-eye area is probably never going to be completely clear, but there is a definite improvement and I guess the money I’ve saved on under-eye concealer has gone some way to making up for the cost of the cream.
It’s not all good news, though. This product has been mostly created to deal with dark circles, and while it’s definitely done that successfully for me, it’s done nothing at all for the under-eye area in general. I have fairly crepey skin under my eyes, plus some fine lines, and I don’t see any improvement at all with Hylexin: don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t made those issues any worse (and, in fairness, it doesn’t actually claim to make them better), but it’s not all all-purpose eye-cream, and I think if I continue to use it, I’ll have to think about doing so in conjunction with something that will nourish the skin in that area, too.
Then there’s the price. I must be honest: although I desperately wanted this to work, there was also a tiny part of me that would’ve been relieved if it hadn’t , purely because I wouldn’t have had to buy it ever again. Now, of course, the tube is almost done, and I want to continue to keep the dark circles at bay, but I’ve discovered that while Hylexin is available in the UK, it’s even more expensive than it is in the US. This currently retails for $59 at Sephora, which is about £37: a price I’d consider fairly reasonable. In the UK, however, the cheapest I’ve been able to find this is via Harvey Nichols, where it’s £52. How much do I trust it to continue delivering the results I’ve had so far? What if, like other creams I’ve used in the past, it’s initially successful, but then becoms less effective? Honestly, I’m still so surprised that it worked AT ALL – I fully expected to be writing a “duh! This is a complete waste of money!” review here – that I’m starting to wonder if I’ve imagined the dark circles away, in some kind of super-duper placebo effect.