We all have those days where no amount of concealer or contouring can hide our tiredness. It’s usually our eyes that give us away, with dark circles and puffiness that makeup just cannot hide! Could Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream be the product to give us that wide-awake look when we’ve skimped on our beauty sleep?

The Claims

According to Clinique, three seconds is all it takes to look wide-awake and refreshed, with specific claims that this product will hydrate, de-puff and brighten the skin. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this new release, but we Geeks are never swayed until we’ve scrutinised the science!

The Science Behind The Bottle

Moisturising Ingredients

When a product promises hydration, we always scan the ingredient’s list for some of our favourite moisturising compounds and Clinique has delivered! Glycerin and sodium hyaluronate both act as humectants: molecules that are fantastic at clinging onto water, drawing it in either from deeper layers of the skin or even the air. Add shea butter, phytosphingosine and squalane into the mix (emollients that improve the barrier function of the skin) and the water trapped by the humectants will be less likely to escape. All of this moisturising goodness can help plump out our skin and temporarily reduce the depth of any lines and wrinkles around our eyes. We love to see ingredients working together like this – it’s a tick for Clinique’s promise of hydration!

Reducing Wrinkles

Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 is a synthetic peptide that has been dubbed ‘BOTOX in a jar’ as it is able to block the pathway that we use for repetitive muscle contraction and by doing so, minimise the formation of lines and wrinkles! Research found that topical application of Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 reduced the appearance of lines and wrinkles around the eyes of 10 women by up to 30% in 30 days. We should point out, although impressive, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8 won’t be as effective as BOTOX but does provide a good, less invasive alternative to injections.

De-puffing the Eyes

For some of us, caffeine is an absolute must to look and feel awake. If espressos aren’t your thing, then maybe you can rely on the caffeine in this product to pep up your peepers! Caffeine is well absorbed when topically applied and is known to help de-puff the skin around the eyes. While it’s tempting to blame a bad night’s sleep for puffy eyes, oedema can sometimes be the culprit. Put simply, oedema is excess fluid trapped in the tissues around our eyes. If you would like to brush up your knowledge on the science behind puffy eyes, click here. The shea butter in this product could go some way to relieving this oedema, as it is rich in compounds called triterpene cinnamates, which have been shown to be effective at reducing inflammation. Sigesbeckia orientalis, known as St Paul’s Wort, has also been shown to have a significant inhibitory effect on inflammation, so can help fight puffy eyes. Last but not least is magnolia tree bark extract, which also has anti-inflammatory properties, but there is some evidence that this ingredient has been linked to causing contact allergy reactions, so we’re a little bit wary of it – a patch test might be a good idea if you have particularly sensitive skin.  

Brightening Ingredients

Algae is appearing more and more in ingredients lists and it’s not surprising, considering the wide range of radiance-boosting properties they can possess! While some species of algae have been reported to brighten the complexion, sadly Clinique hasn’t disclosed which type of algae they have used in this product, so we can’t make a proper judgement on the ingredient. Yeast extracts have also been linked to brightening up the skin but as independent evidence of this is few and far between, we’re not convinced by it just yet. Yeast shines more as an antioxidant in this product: banishing free radicals that could accelerate the ageing process of the skin. As the skin around the eyes is often the first to exhibit signs of ageing, we’re glad to see there is a degree of protection in this product! We think that mica and titanium dioxide (two light-reflecting pigments) are more likely to be responsible for any brightening effect this product may have. They add a bit of subtle shimmer and can provide a little coverage to our skincare by blurring any under-eye imperfections. While this could give a temporary ‘brightened’ effect, we were expecting a little more from Clinique on this claim.

The Verdict

Clinique have really done their homework, and have brought us an eye cream that can solve all of our cosmetic concerns in one; puffiness, dryness, wrinkles and eye bags all treated in one swift application of Pep Start! At £22 this is definitely one of the more affordable eye-creams we have reviewed and for its hydrating, brightening and de-puffing prowess, we’d say it’s worth the investment.

It’s also worth noting that Pep Start has a very similar ingredients list to Clinique’s Smart Custom Eye Treatment, but has the benefit of being almost half the price!

Click here to purchase Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream.

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Water, Glycerin, Butylene glycol, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Squalane, Cetyl esters, Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Polyethylene, Glycereth-26, Polybutene, Sucrose, Magnolia officinalis bark extract, Sigesbeckia orientalis (St Paul’s Wort) extract, algae extract, Molasses extract, Sapindus mukurossi fruit extract, Palmitoyl tripeptide-7, Whey protein, Palmitoyl hexapeptide-12, Trifluoroacetyl tripeptide-2, Caffeine, Phytosphingosine, Acetyl hexapeptide-8, Palmitoyl tripeptide-1, Yeast extract, Glycine soja protein, Caesalpinia spinosa gum, Acrylates, Glyceryl polymethacrylate, Sucrose stearate, Caprylyl glycol, PEG-8, Sodium hyaluronate, Simethicone, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Sodium hydroxide, Dextran, Hexylene glycol, Sodium citrate, Phenoxyethanol, Mica, Titanium dioxide