I tried a $235 La Mer eye cream—is it worth it?

Read this before you dish out your cash.

Credit: La Mer / Reviewed / Kim Foley MacKinnon

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Much to my mother’s eternal despair, I have never been that interested in makeup, not even just a “little bit of lipstick so you don’t look so pale” or “just a touch of mascara so people can see your eyes.” Call me indifferent or lazy, I just don’t want the hassle of dealing with beauty products. Plus, gentle soap and water has worked fine for me for decades.

Enter the year 2020: my 50th birthday, a pandemic, and endless Zoom meetings where I am constantly confronted with my own visage. Seeing my admittedly pale skin with often not-well-rested eyes (read: puffy with the occasional dark circles and fine lines I hadn’t noticed before) finally made me realize that maybe I should do something. So when Reviewed offered me the opportunity to test the world-famous $200-plus La Mer eye cream, I figured: If you’re gonna start somewhere, might as well start at the top.

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What does the La Mer Eye Balm Intensive claim?

La Mer is a celebrity favorite. Pick up any women’s magazine or peruse any beauty website and it pops up over and over again. It’s known for its “Miracle Broth,” a so-called “cell-renewing elixir” that is a key ingredient in all of its products. I tested the Eye Balm Intense, which at $235 for half an ounce seemed rather steep to me, but extreme times call for extreme measures. The balm touts a soothing, fast-penetrating formula that’s able to reduce visible puffiness, hydrate, and visibly soften lines, wrinkles and other signs of fatigue and aging.

What’s it like to use the La Mer Eye Balm Intense?

La Mer 2
Credit: La Mer

The La Mer Eye Balm Intense comes with an applicator that reduces puffiness if kept in the freezer.

The eye balm comes in a small jar with an applicator that has a metal ball at the end. You’re supposed to dab a small amount of the cream on the applicator twice a day and apply under your eyes and up onto your eyelid. You can also pop the applicator in the freezer for a minute or two before applying the balm to further reduce puffiness. Interestingly enough, these instructions did not come with my eye balm. I had to go to the company’s website for info. I probably could have figured out the optimal application process my own, but I thought it was odd to have no guidance. I likely would not have thought to put the applicator in the freezer, though. The balm smells pleasant, slightly reminiscent of cucumber (though that is not an ingredient), and each time I put it on, it felt cooling and soothing. It was not greasy and absorbed into my skin quickly.

Does the La Mer Eye Balm Intense do what it claims?

Front Before and After
Credit: Reviewed / Kim Foley MacKinnon

Before using the La Mer Eye Balm Intense (left) and after (right).

After faithfully using the balm for two weeks twice a day, I can visibly see a reduction in the puffiness below my eyes and maybe the softening of a couple of wrinkles on the sides of my eyes. Two weeks isn’t really that long, so I’m eager to see what the changes might come with continued use. And while half an ounce isn’t that much, I’ve hardly made a dent in the jar, so I predict it’ll last quite a while.

Side Before and After
Credit: Reviewed / Kim Foley MacKinnon

The side of the author's face before (left) and after (right) using the La Mer Eye Balm Intense.

I’m happy enough with the results that I’m even considering purchasing La Mer’s Eye Concentrate for $235, which claims to tackle dark circles within 21 days. In retrospect, it might have been better to have just opted for La Mer’s Genaissance The Eye and Expression Cream, which retails for $450, and is supposed to tackle lines, dark circles, and puffiness all in one and can be used for eyes, as well as frown and smile lines. The cream shares overlapping ingredients with the other eye products, though it's unclear why the cost is nearly double. Then again, it's not clear why any of these products that you'll inevitably use up cost as much as they do, but there are theories that suggest it's because of desirable ingredients like seaweed.

Should you try the La Mer Eye Balm Intense?

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Credit: La Mer

It's pricey, but the La Mer Eye Balm Intense does what it claims to.

Despite my initial skepticism and tendency to balk at what, for me, is a pricey product, I was pleasantly surprised at the results. Using the balm has reduced the puffiness under my eyes, exactly as advertised. I was also concerned at how little product you seemed to get for your money, but as you use so little of it at a time, I can see it lasting for quite a while, making it worth the investment for me. For anyone concerned with mainly addressing puffy eyes, I would recommend the balm. It’s worth taking a hard look in the mirror, and at La Mer’s product line and descriptions, to figure out what would work best for your desired outcome.

Get the La Mer Eye Balm Intense on Sephora for $235

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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