As a skincare minimalist, I strive to use as few products as possible. I like my morning routine streamlined: wash, tone, moisturize and go. Eye cream has never seemed like an essential, especially because I think crow’s feet can actually look quite dignified (see: Daniel Day-Lewis). I’d resigned to accepting them as a permanent fixture of my face. Short of injectables or plastic surgery (or, I suppose, eight hours of nightly sleep), how could I lose the baggage?
But after attending the launch of La Prairie’s new White Caviar Eye Extraordinaire (and using the $550 cream for the past two weeks), my thinking on the subject has changed. While it doesn’t entirely eliminate undereye circles, it uses a specific blend of chemistry and optical wizardry to help minimize their appearance.
The product debuted during a series of events at iconic modernist homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs. In a talk at architect Richard Neutra’s Lovell House, Josh Gorell, an architectural expert and restorer, discussed how the building was pioneering in its manipulation of natural light. “The silver paint that Neutra applied to the mullions and structural elements of the building dissolve and disappear in light,” he said. “Neutra was using light to erase elements that were holding the space up.”
White Caviar Eye Extraordinaire works in a similar way: manipulating light to camouflage undereye circles and brighten the eye area. As Dr. Jacqueline Hill, La Prairie’s director of strategic innovation and science, explained, undereye circles are an issue of perception.
“Since the eye has a three-dimensional nature, luminosity is not only dependent on color and reflection but also shape,” Hill said. “Color and reflection determine the quality and intensity of light reflected from the skin. Shape, however, creates a pattern of shadows.” Which means that if you have bags under your eyes, they’re the result of unfortunate but inevitable circumstances—discoloration, uneven texture and shadows.
White Caviar Eye Extraordinaire tackles the problem on all three fronts. Because undereye skin is the thinner than the rest of the skin on your face, any discoloration is especially visible. The cream uses Lumidose, the most potent known inhibitor of melanin, to counteract pigmentation. It also has a proprietary caviar extract that helps increase the production of ceramides that, in turn, smooth and firm the skin. (This is meant to conceal the capillaries that lend undereye circles their purplish hue.) Just like the silver paint at Lovell House, this also amplifies light to mitigate the crepey texture and shadows that naturally affect undereye skin.
“Reflection of light, to our eyes, is maximal when a surface is perfectly smooth,” Hill explained. “By smoothing the surface, or epidermis, and the network of collagen fibers beneath, we increase the reflection of light from our skin.”
After incorporating the cream into my own daily regimen, I can attest that that’s more than just scientific jargon. My undereye circles may not be entirely erased but now there’s a mere suggestion of them. The undereye area — a region I’d never expected much of — is smoother with a notable glow. It all adds up to looking bright-eyed, regardless of how many coffees I need to jolt me awake.
I’ve even come to love the ceramic rollerball supplied to apply the cream. Technically, it is there to increase circulation and lymphatic drainage. After initially writing it off as an unnecessarily fussy apparatus, I’ve come to look forward to beginning each morning with a meditative, de-puffing facial massage. Minimal as I may be, this is one eye cream whose benefits have earned it a permanent place on my bathroom shelf.