Before plastic surgeons discovered that botulinum toxin helped improve the appearance of fine lines and hyaluronic acid fillers could create the look of plumper, more youthful-looking skin, there was no such thing as a quick fix for nagging cosmetic concerns.
The secret to agelessness can now be unlocked with a syringe, but it seems like a natural progression that the next big breakthrough in anti-aging should come entirely needle-free. Dr. Brandt Skincare promises that its No More Baggage Eye De-Puffing Gel will be that very game changer in the category: a fast-acting, if temporary, solution that instantly reduces the appearance of bags, puffiness, and dark circles without the need for injectables.
“The inspiration behind the Filmatrix technology of No More Baggage is the MIT ‘second skin,’” explains Dr. Brandt Skincare Advisory Board member and dermatologist Shasa Hu, MD. (She’s referring to the groundbreaking discovery of a silicone-based polymer, an invisible coating that mimics the properties of healthy, youthful skin, developed by MIT scientists last year.) Unlike a regular eye cream, which gets absorbed into the skin, the No More Baggage gel forms a temporary tightening film over the lower eyelid that smooths and “opens up” the eye area. “You can think of it as a tape,” Dr. Hu says, “but much more elegant.” She describes it as “shapewear for your eyes.”
The additional proprietary ingredients in the topical product (which include birch bark, green tea, and caffeine) also brighten skin, reduce inflammation, and improve elasticity over time — so the idea is that you’re getting an instant lifting and tightening effect, which lasts for about four to six hours, coupled with the long-term cumulative results you’d anticipate from any eye cream. “Literally within five minutes of application, the Filmatrix technology kicks in and you feel the tightening,” Dr. Hu explains. “The color-corrective ingredients in No More Baggage also soften the appearance of dark circles instantly, but in the long run, the under-eye bags, puffiness, and dark circles improve gradually via the actions of active botanical extracts and nourishing peptides.”
There’s only one way to find out if the prospect of Botox in a bottle — or liquid Spanx in a tube — is the real deal or too good to be true, so we asked two Refinery29 staffers to put the instant-fix claims to the test on makeup-free skin (though the product indicates it can be used under or over concealer, too). Their results, below.
“I’ve noticed bags under my eyes since high school, and I think they make me look older and more tired than I am. I’ve tried concealer, but that mostly seems to emphasize them rather than hide them. I’ve flirted with various caffeine- and green tea-packed creams, but I’ve never noticed anything that made a real difference.
"[Applying the gel was] incredibly easy — just squeeze it out and apply. I definitely felt a tightening under my eyes for about fifteen minutes, but I mostly felt results rather than saw them. About an hour after applying it, I looked at myself in an elevator mirror and, sure enough, my under-eye bags were still very noticeable. I’d try and use this before work in the morning, because the noticeable tightening [feeling] actually made me feel more awake and presentable.” — Molly Stout, entertainment director
“I've had under-eye bags for as long as I can remember, and they've always bothered me — I've even had an ex tell me that I need to learn how to put on makeup to cover them up (he was horrible, in retrospect). This led me down the path of buying every eye cream ever starting at the age of 23, and going to every makeup counter asking them to ‘fix’ my under-eye bags. I'm 26 now, and I typically rely on Clé de Peau Beauté Concentrated Brightening Eye Serum, Urban Decay's Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid, and then Stila's Stay All Day Concealer in Honey, followed by translucent powder.
"This product was very easy to use. You squeeze it out of its tube, and tap the burnt orange gel across your under-eye area. The smooth, matte texture reminded me of primer, and it takes roughly five minutes to settle in and dry out — and voila. My under-eye bags and dark circles weren't gone, but they were visibly reduced, and it was much easier to cover them up with concealer afterward. So yes, I'd use this again — probably if I didn't sleep well the night before.
"One weird thing: The box says you can tap the gel over makeup as well, but when I tried that, I ended up with a visible film of product. I ended up rubbing it off (not good for under-eye bags) and starting over — so I probably won't try it on top of concealer again.” — Jessica Chou, senior editor, content strategy