Cheap eye creams better than expensive ones, study finds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 November, 2009, 12:00am

Eye creams selling for about HK$150 can outperform those costing consumers up to 10 times more; but, whether cheap or pricey, none of the creams tested can drive the wrinkles away, a study has found.

Eight anti-wrinkle eye creams available on Hong Kong store shelves were tested jointly by the Consumer Council and International Consumer Research and Testing, an association of 40 consumer organisations from 37 countries.

Each product was tested over six weeks by groups of nine to 11 users between 35 and 65 years old. They applied the cream twice a day.

High-definition photos of their faces were taken before using the products, an hour after the first application and after six weeks of use.

The top three performers, described as 'slightly more effective' in the test results, were priced at HK$150, HK$159 and HK$650.

The cheapest eye cream on the list was nearly 10 times cheaper than the most expensive one, which cost HK$1,300 and was graded only as 'average wrinkle reduction'. That is the price of a 15 millilitre container, the same size as the HK$159 cream.

Three products were awarded the top 'slightly more effective' rating, four were rated 'average wrinkle reduction' and one was found 'slightly less effective'.

None of the tested creams came close to eliminating all traces of wrinkles; at best, they made only a slight improvement.

The council has received 12 complaints about eye cream products in the first 10 months of this year, well above seven for all of last year. 'They complained about skin irritation and redness after using the cream, in half of the cases,' the chief executive of the Consumer Council, Connie Lau Yin-hing, said.

The council also tested three samples of footpads designed to remove dead skin from feet. It found levels of alpha hydroxy acids, a common anti-ageing ingredient, at a concentration of 14 per cent, which exceeds the safe level of 10 per cent set by the US Food and Drug Administration and 6 per cent set by the mainland's Hygienic Standard for Cosmetics.

Two other footpads were found to be very acidic, with pH levels of 2.2 and 2.6. The United States and the mainland set 3.5 as the safe level.

Consumers should be careful about using such high levels of acidity on cracked skin or other foot conditions, Lau said. 'People with a serious problem should seek consultation with medical professionals for proper diagnosis,' she said.

Common side effects were skin irritation, redness and flaking, she added. The council has received two complaints about it in the first 10 months of this year.

It has notified the Customs and Excise Department of the findings for any necessary action under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance.

The price of smooth skin

Slightly more effective

Nivea Visage Anti-Wrinkle Q10 Plus Eye Cream HK$159

Dr Brandt Lineless Eye Cream HK$650

Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Booster Eye Transforming Cream HK$150

Average wrinkle reduction

Clinique Repairwear Intensive Eye Cream HK$320

StriVectin-SD Eye Cream HK$695

Clarins Advanced Extra-Firming Eye Contour Cream HK$440

N.V. Perricone MD Cosmeceuticals Advanced Eye Area Therapy HK$1,300

Slightly less effective

RoC Retin-ox Intensive Anti-wrinkle Cream - Eyes HK$360