I have always had puffy under-eye bags. As a teenager, I thought they gave my face a world-weary look that I liked. But over the last few years they have started to make me feel pretty self-conscious, especially in photos where bad lighting can make me look like I got stung in the face by a small but angry swarm of bees. I tried to avoid being photographed, but that made me kind of sad. Makeup isn’t much help either: Dark under-eye circles can be covered with concealer, but because my bags are puffy rather than hollow, adding concealer tends to make them stand out even more. I’m sure there are makeup artists who could work their magic and camouflage the puffiness, but I am not that skilled. (I also don’t want to spend more than 10 to 15 minutes putting on makeup each morning.)
I asked my eye doctor and several dermatologists how to get rid of them, and they all said that short of surgery, there’s little I can do. I figured I would just have to learn to deal with it — maybe if I wear my glasses more often, people won’t see the bags, I reasoned — but then I got offered a free sample of Park Perfection Instant Eye Lift. Based on the professional advice I had been given, I was definitely skeptical, but I decided to try it out. When the sample came in the mail, I put it on right away. About two minutes after I applied a tiny bit of the pinkish-orange gel, the puffiness under my eyes was almost completely gone. I could feel it tightening and flattening as it dried. It actually feels really good, like the most gentle corset or pair of Spanx holding my eye bags in. Even without swiping on my usual mascara or blush, I look younger and less tired. In photos and on Zoom, my under-eyes look as smooth as pudding. For about a day (or whenever I wash my face next), it’s as though the bags were never even there.
According to Dr. Lily Talakoub, founder of McLean Dermatology, a big part of what’s causing those bags to disappear is sodium silicate, an inorganic salt that leaves a thin film on the skin. When that film dries, it pulls the loose skin tight. Another key ingredient is pullulan olivine extract, a polymer that dermatologist Azadeh Shirazi says works similarly. Park Perfection also includes sodium hyaluronate (a.k.a. hyaluronic acid), nannochloropsis oculata extract, and chicory root. The first two are humectants that Shirazi says help de-puff, plump, and improve fine lines on your skin. The third is a little less common. Shirazi hasn’t seen it in a lot of skin-care products, but says that chicory root “prevents trans-epidermal water loss with protective and restructuring effects on the skin.” Basically, it helps your skin stay hydrated and younger looking. Chicory root is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce puffiness.
Because it’s temporary (and a little expensive), I’ve been using Park Perfection as a sort of special-occasion product — like when I know I might have my picture taken or when I’m filming a video for the Strategist’s Instagram. And I will definitely use it next summer when I get married so I’ll look fresh and awake in all the photos. Each time I put it on, the effects are immediate. They’re also subtle enough that my friends might think I just got a really good night’s sleep.
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