High-tech facial devices always hit the market with a bang, piquing our interest with blue lights and spaceship designs that make us hope perfect skin isn't just some futuristic fantasy of ours. Some end up being bogus; others, brilliant. But how do you distinguish between the two before throwing down your cash? We're on a mission to find out. Over the next few weeks, R29 staffers will be road-testing the biggest innovations of the year to see if each delivers on its stellar claims. Up next: the Me Bright Eye Illuminating Device. Your undereye area is kind of like your Facebook feed: It shows exactly what you've been up to — whether that's too much partying, way too many late nights, or both. All of the above ends up making an appearance on your face in the form of dark circles, puffiness, or wrinkles. Sadly, I've got all three — and at 26, no less. My main concern, of course, is the one that's most often genetic: those blue-purple shadows, though my lack of sleep and distaste for eye cream aren't helping my cause. That's why I was so pumped to try the new Me Bright gadget, which promises to make the entire area brighter and more taut. Housed inside the purple tube is a string of tiny, red LED lights with radio-frequency technology. The idea is that the combo of the phototherapy and radio waves stimulates the production of collagen, which in turn thickens the skin and hides said inky pools.
Per the instructions, I diligently treated the area five nights a week, at five minutes per eye, for an entire month. (Although, I'll admit that I took a weeklong vacation at week two, and regrettably forgot the tool at home.) Within that slightly compromised timeline, I can confidently say this: It worked, and it worked fast. Within a few days of treatments, my crow's feet looked softer and my dark circles were lighter than ever. And yes, when I took that seven-day hiatus, I could tell the difference immediately. But, like most good things in this life — pizza, Justin Bieber, bodysuits — there's a downside, too. Though 10 minutes a day doesn't seem like a long time, when you're required to sit there with your eyes shut — because the light is blinding if you leave 'em open — waving the wand back and forth along your skin, it can feel like, oh, a lifetime. Speaking of which, the light: It was so bright that, every time I opened my eyes, I'd see little black dots (think: the kind you get after staring at a camera flash) for minutes. That can't be good. (Tiny fine print deep in the instruction manual does advise not to "look directly at the light source of the treatment head of this device while it is in operation," but that's pretty hard to avoid when you're doing it on yourself.)
In the end, it's all about what's most important to you: Do your crow's feet and dark circles drive you crazier than anything? If you answered with a resounding yes, then this is 100% worth the slightly crazy-making time suck. Because if you commit yourself to five days a week, you'll be bright-eyed and fresh in no time at all. (And hey, at $129, it'll also save you years of pricey eye cream.)