Make-up artists love this eye cream/primer hybrid and if it’s brighter, perkier eyes you seek, so will you
Instant brightening and blurring
Several types of vitamin C
Primarily a day product
By Fiona McKim
The best eye cream can be a lot of things – powerful, effective, occasionally even life-changing – but one word that is rarely used to describe this bit of skincare kit is “fun”. And that’s fair enough, it’s not this product’s job to make us smile; we’d rather it nourishes, brightens and tackles puffiness. But then Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème comes along with its cheeky name, sweet smell and perky yellow hue, and we realise that, yes, maybe we have been missing the frivolity factor in our skincare after all.
That’s not to say this is a novelty product – far from it. Behind that fun and fruity exterior lies a powerful combination of ingredients including three types of brightening vitamin C, nourishing glycerin and seed oils plus softening emollients. Not only that, while those long-game actives are working away in the background, that sunny hue and soft-focus particles instantly brighten, colour-correct and blur to very flattering effect.
Of course, no product is perfect. The downside of that instant pigment gratification and primer-like effect is that I wouldn’t really recommend this as part of a night-time skincare routine. It’s also fragranced and, despite the loveliness of said fragrance, it may still be off-putting if you’re sensitive to artificial perfume.
At a glance
Targets: Tired-looking eyes, dark circles, dullness, rough texture
Star ingredients: Vitamin C, jojoba seed oil, soft-focus pigments
Star rating: 4/5
The heaviest hitter, ingredients-wise, is that aforementioned vitamin C trio. Vit C is unquestionably one of the best ingredients to use on the skin around your eyes. It brightens and fights off environmental damage from UV and pollution. It also boosts collagen synthesis, which is particularly welcome under the eyes to help maintain a well-supported skin structure, AKA no bags.
Banana Bright Eye Crème’s vit C goodness comes via ascorbic acid, a very pure and potent form; tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a lipid-soluble form that absorbs into the skin very effectively; and ethyl ascorbic acid, which is a vitamin C derivative that’s highly stable in both water and oil formulations. The three all work harmoniously together for maximum brightening bang for your buck.
That aside, seed oils, including jojoba and tamarind, along with classic nourisher glycerin, see off dryness, while shea butter and coconut alkanes have an emollient effect, meaning they form a cushion-like layer on top of the skin and prevent natural hydration escaping.
This is all great stuff and almost amounts to the perfect 5/5 eye cream, but the inclusion of artificial fragrance just stops it getting there for me. Yes, the product smells delicious and experts are divided on whether fragranced skincare is a real problem, so it may just come down to personal preference. For me, it’s just an unnecessary addition and one that could irritate very sensitive skin. I’d rather my eye cream smelled too funky than too lovely – but perhaps that’s just me.
Texture and immediate effects
Beautiful with a capital B. You only have to look at this glossy, bouncy little pot of gorgeousness to know it’s going to plump and soften like a dream.
Spreading it on with a ring finger, it slips around pleasingly without going too far astray. Give it a minute and about half will have sunk in, softened and and plumped up fine lines. The other half remains as a fine layer that smoothes over textural issues, as well as brightening and reflecting light away from shadowing.
This brightening effect is subtle, so if dark circles are a major concern, don’t expect this to replace your concealer. Think of it more as your first priming step on the days you are wearing make-up, or a subtle enhancement on days you aren’t.
Another added bonus is that, unlike most eye creams, Banana Bright can be used all around the eye area, including the eyelid. Ordinarily, eyeshadow and eye cream are not exactly best pals, but this actually gave the taupe-nude shadow I tested it with a helping hand by creating a smooth grippy layer.
Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème Clinical results
In an independent consumer panel of 37 women over four weeks:
While clinically measured testing found:
The compact but reassuringly weighty pot offers little for anyone to take umbrage with (except if you don’t like dipping your paw into tubs for hygiene reasons, to which I’d say three very familiar words: Wash your hands). It’s zesty orange shade will stand out on your dressing table and is of such a shape as you’ll find it easy to scoop out every last drop of product.
Despite thick, frosty appearances, the jar is not glass and with no mention of being either recycled or recyclable I can only assume it is neither, which raises the sustainability question. It would be nice to see a brand with such a positive ethos – which includes being entirely cruelty-free – extend the focus of those positive vibes to the environment, too.
Who should buy Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Crème?
If you’re relatively happy with your eyes, but feel they could use a bit of day-to-day perking up, then this could be the eye cream for you. It’s not going to go in as hard on lines as, say, a pure retinol cream, but the punchy and stable vitamin C combo will work brilliantly on shadowing and skin texture.
This cream is known as a make-up artist’s favourite for its affinity with cosmetic formulas. It sits beautifully under foundation and concealer, so would be a great choice if you like to put a bit of a face on most days, so need skincare that plays ball with make-up. Incidentally, it’s this priming effect that inspired the product’s fruity name. It’s a homage to banana powder – yellow-toned loose powders used by make-up professionals to colour correct dark circles and “bake” on make-up during photoshoots.
Price-wise, this sits in the middle of the spectrum; it’s not a bargain but shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive for most people, either. And while the name and packaging might suggest a youthful joie de vivre, there’s enough serious stuff going on here to warrant attention from a 40-plus demographic.
As woman&home's Senior Beauty Editor, Fiona Mckim has tried more products than she’s had hot dinners and nothing makes her happier than raving about a brilliant beauty find on womanandhome.com or her instagram grid (@fionamckim if you like hair dye experiments and cute shih-tzus)
Fiona joined woman&home as Assistant Beauty Editor in 2013, working under legend Jo GB, who taught her everything she needed to know about the industry (clue: learn about ingredients and employ extreme cynicism).
In a previous life, Fiona studied journalism back home in bonnie Scotland and honed her skills as a magazine features writer, with a brief and terrifying stint on the showbiz gossip pages of a tabloid newspaper in between. She's a skincare fanatic who can’t resist adding an extra step to her routine if it’s all the rage in Japan, loves fragrance, has fun with makeup and never turns down the chance to test a new hair tool. Basically, she loves it all.
When not slathering herself in self tan or squinting at a tiny ingredients list on a moisturiser, you’ll probably find Fiona enjoying something to do with food - cooking it, eating it, cajoling her friends into trekking across London to try a hyped pop-up in a dirty car park.
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