Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chanel Sublimage Eye - Review

image from chanel.com
You know how crack dealers give you your first hit for free? Once you're hooked tho, you'll pay, and pay dearly.  So why am I likening Chanel Sublimage Eye to crack?  Because you get a sample from your friendly Chanel counter rep and then you're hooked.  At $200 for half of an ounce or 15 g, this eye cream is super duper expensive.  I figure at that price it better work and make me look ten years younger.

According to Chanel Sublimage Eye is "The ultimate in anti-aging luxury, specifically formulated for the delicate eye area. It starts with one unique plant -- the Vanilla Planifolia -- unearthed in the farthest reaches of Madagascar. A unique process created by CHANEL Research harnesses the power of this potent botanical fruit for targeted de-aging action. With the exclusive ingredient, Planifolia PFA*, wrinkles, loss of firmness, dehydration, lack of radiance and inconsistency in pigmentation are pinpointed at once. Adding to the cream's core strength: a unique eye complex to diminish the appearance of puffiness and dark circles and help skin quickly achieve a luminous look. . . revitalized, regenerated, radiant. *PFA: Polyfractioned Active. An ultra-pure, ultra-powerful ingredient created through an exclusive purification technique developed by CHANEL. "

I started to think.  What is this special process they are talking about.  I googled "Polyfractioned Active"  You know what?  It's not a real term. I mean it is "real" but Chanel coined it to describe the "special" process in which they get  this special "botanical fruit for targeted de-aging action". The nonsense that went into developing Sublimage's Planifolia PFA is just another trick that cosmetic companies try in order to sell more product.  According to Chanel the patent-pending blend is created by "*polyfractioning" the fresh fruit of the vanilla planifolia plant.  Chanel's scientists selected this plant allegedly, for its rich supply of polyketones. Chanel says polyketones are anti-aging molecules that encourage cell renewal. However, according to Wikipedia, polyketones are thermoplastic polymers (translation: plastic). I could not find any documentation linking polyketones taken from botanical sources to anti-aging, except of course, in articles about Chanel.

*Chanel's exclusive "polyfractioning" technique (remember, polyfractioning isn't a word found in any dictionary. It's a term coined by Chanel), is part of the key process to restore firm, radiant, youthful skin. According to Chanel, polyfractioning is a new process that isolates the active ingredients from a plant, paring down millions of molecules to just a handful.  According to Chanel "In the farthest reaches of Madagascar, where the soil is rich in nutrients, the CHANEL Research Team unearthed the key to powerful anti-aging: the precious green fruit, Vanilla Planifolia. 231.5 pounds of Vanilla Planifolia are needed to produce 35.2 ounces of Planifolia PFA. Molecules called Polyketones are able to target the precise ‘life factors’ that program skin’s youthful appearance and vitality."

OK.  So let me break this down in easy to understand terms.

Because of the de-forestation of the Brazilian rain forest, it's no longer "cool" to claim your special fountain of youth comes from there so let's move to other neat-o keen places like Madagascar.  Who doesn't like Madagascar?

And Vanilla?  Everyone like Vanilla right?  I mean the Skinny Vanilla Latte is the *most popular drink at Starbucks, isn't it?  *not an actual fact.

So it only stands to reason that Madagascar vanilla could be the fountain of youth...Not.

Let's say for shits and giggles that the special Planifolia PFA from Chanel does what it says it does.  OK. Then when you look at the ingredients of the Sublimage Eye why is is soooo far down on the list of ingredients?  (Remember ingredients listed on cosmetic are listed in order of largest amount to smallest amount.)

INGREDIENTS:Water, Glycerin, Squalane, Butyrospermum Parkii, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Canola Oil, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolmer, Peg-8 Beeswax, Beheneth-25, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Amonium Acryloyldimethytaurate/Vp Copolymer, Palmitic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Dimethicone, Butylene Gylcol, Sodium Methylparaben, Xanthan Gum, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, O-Cymen-5-Ol, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Oil, Steareth-20, Tetrasodium Edta, Citric Acid, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Dipeptide-2, Potassium Sorbate, Palmitoyl, Tetrapeptide-3, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Biotin

Water?, Glycerin?, Squalane?, Butyrospermum Parkii - Oh that's Shea Butter!, CANOLA OIL?!?!  Seriously? Canola Oil?  Do you all realize how common and INEXPENSIVE the first few ingredients are?  Do you also realize that those ingredients are also found in a host of other less expensive eye creams?

Out of the 35 total ingredients the precious Vanilla Fruit Extract is listed at 24.  That's pretty low.  Any anti-aging effect this item might have is buried under such common ingredients it makes no sense.

Moisturizing - Squalane, Glycerin, Shea butter, Canola oil, Beeswax, Lecithin
Anti-oxidants - Vanilla planifolia fruit oil, Ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C)
Smoothing -  Dimethicone (silicone)
Anti-inflammatory - Licorice extract
Anti-bacterial - Centella asiatica extract
Dark circle reducing - Hesperidin methyl chalcone
Wrinkle reducing - Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3
Preservatives - Methylparaben, O-cymen-5-ol, Chlorhexidine digluconate, Potassium sorbate
Humectants - Pentylene glycol, Butylene glycol
Plasticisers - Methylmethacrylate crosspolmer
Emollients - Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Cetearyl glucoside
Emulsifiers - (water/oil mixers) Beheneth-20, Steareth 20
pH adjusters -  Citric acid
Thickening agents - Ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP copolymer, Xanthan gum
Detergents -  Palmitic acid
Chelating agents - (metal binding agents) Tetrasodium EDTA

Ugh.  I have a sinking feeling that $200 eye cream isn't worth more than the glass container it comes in.

So, do you NEED this?  I don't know.  
That's right. I'm not sure.  Even though a preponderance of the evidence shows that the ingredients are nothing special, that there is an excess of ingredients that could be found in your kitchen and bathroom cabinets I still am not sure if you "don't" need this.  Why?  Because whatever is in there, it works.  Maybe it's the Licorice extract or the Hesperidin methyl chalcone but when I use this eye cream I see an improvement in my under eyes so apparent and so remarkable that I am astounded.  My fine lines start to disappear, my dark circles start to lighten, the puffiness under my eyes dissipates and I look...well YOUNGER!  The eye cream sinks in quickly, does not feel greasy and works very well under eye makeup.  I apologize that my examples only serve to obfuscate and confuse you. They confuse me too.  So far I'm living off a few free sample tubes.  Once they are gone, well. I'll be on the hunt for an eye cream that works as well bust costs about $140 - $160 less than Chanel Sublimage Eye.


  1. I just want to say thank you for this post. I'm happy to see a guru who does her homework. Not a lot of gurus look into a product as in depth as I just read this. So again, thank you. lol

  2. If someone feels the need to spend this kind of money on an eye cream, then it's time for plastic surgery!! Creams are meant to moisturize - and not much else!

  3. Thank you for such an honest post! Too many reviews just gush about how wonderful something is without actually checking to see if there is any validity to the claims the cosmetic company is making! Your analogies brought a smile to my face as I was reading!

  4. This IS a really great post. And since I know that your non-under-eye skin tends to be like mine, I am more inclined to go to my dealer - I mean, Chanel counter - and give this a try.

  5. This makes me very sad due to the fact that I fell in love with my sample too... and you are right... their special ingredient being listed 24th just made me not want to buy the full size... There is no way that it can be anything special. I have a less expensive Dr. Denese eye duo kit coming soon.... I hope the ingredients are better in it...

  6. What a great post, I learned something today! And although it might be confusing indeed, I totally get it. Of course I won't buy it, an eye cream at $200 is not in my budget unfortunatly - snif... :-(. But I learned something about the ingredients I have to look for.


  7. Oh Elvira, you've just made me love you even more.
    This reminds me of the La Mer vs. Nivea battle.
    I think one is basically paying for the prestige behind the Chanel name. I can think of half a dozen $20 eye creams which contain more or less the same ingredients.
    You should just print out the list of ingredients and then compare them with other eye creams when you go shopping for a replacement.

  8. this is the BEST post. I need me some samples because I def. won't pay that price. LMK when you find a cheaper goodie!

  9. Dude, I love you for breaking down the ingredients!!!!! I always read ingredients lists, but I know a lot of people can't (or won't, rather) read them at all and I think it's so very important for someone to know what they're really getting when they buy something! Regarding what it is in the Chanel that works, it could be quality of the ingredients or some synergistic effect of a combination of them. And while it is definitely doubtful that the vanilla fruit extract at #24 is doing very much in this cream, I think it's worth it to point out that actually, a lot of ingredients, not only in skincare, are actually pretty damn potent and you don't need that much of them and they can be dangerous, so counting ingredients isn't always a surefire way to know how much of a player an ingredient is... For example, things that contain hydroquinone for whitening contain a teensy bit of hydroquinone because it's actually quite toxic at higher concentrations.

    If I had to guess, I'd guess that the high concentration of squalane is what's doing it. It's great stuff. I make my own moisturizer from 1:1 jojoba oil and squalane plus a tad of rosehip oil and I've never felt the need to have a separate eye cream. As far as I can tell what I'm using already has the key ingredients in many eye creams! (Though... I am also only 23).

  10. I tried an earlier rendition of Sublimage Eye that was about $50 less a few years ago. I think the extra $50 must be part of the plane fare for the PR people to go visit Madasgar to look at some of those magical cool ingredients. While I liked the one I tried when I finished it and went on to something else I didn't miss the Chanel.
    Of course that doesn't mean I didn't spring for the new Le Metier de Beaute eye cream so I guess I'll eat my words!

  11. love it. you just made me google and read the entire FDA ingredient label regulations.

    Personally I believe it's entirely possible to live on GWPs and samples, considering the rate we get them these days. I haven't owned a full-sized eye cream since May. Have been on a constant rotation of impossibly expensive creams gotten from GWPs and generous SAs and I plan on doing this as long as I can get away with it gaha!

  12. It's always amazing to see the 'research' and ingredients within these high end products- you have to be wary because the marketing team are very well versed in blabbing on and around the real truth. Though I am glad to hear this product does 'work' for your eyes :) Wish my Chanel counter was nicer at shelling out samples, would love to try and fall in love with some of their goodies

  13. I love this review for two reasons, one it helps me realize I don't need this, but two it makes me feel better for really wanting this crazy ridiculous cream when my sample runs out. Please let us know what replacement you find!

  14. my derm said if I can't afford the Chanel,just use vaseline...???

    1. I'm not a Doctor. If that what he/she says then I guess you should follow their advice.

  15. I wasn't implying that I thought you were a Doctor,only that it surprised me it was suggested I use vaseline in lieu of the Chanel,that's all.Sorry.

    1. I don't think Vaseline will give the same results of Chanel. But the reason why I mention I am not a Dr. is b/c I don't want to get in trouble going against a medial professional's advice. I hope you understand. In my personal experience The Chanel eye cream worked better than Vaseline used as an eye cream. Hope that helps.

  16. oh,absolutely! I wasn't asking what I should do,I just found it odd she would recommend vaseline. My question marks were more like *wth* rather than what should I do :)

    1. I have to admit I is odd that a Dr. Would reco Vaseline of all things. Borba makes a nice eye cream...and it's way less expensive than Chanel :-)

    2. Vaseline would be terrible to out under your eye! Stunned a derm would say, but maybe your skin has different needs.... :-s


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