review avene physiolift eyes

Can you use retinoids on your eye area?

Yes – as long as they’re gentle. 1% retinol, for example, is often too much for this delicate area, making your crow’s feet look worse, not better. Ouch!

A better alternative is a small concentration of retinaldehyde (or retinal, for short). You can find it in Avene Physiolift Eyes. Here’s what happened when I put it to the test:

What’s In Avene Physiolift Eyes?


Retinol doesn’t work. Retinoic acid does.

For retinol to work its magic on wrinkles, it must be converted into retinoic acid. The conversion goes like this:

Retinol → Retinaldehyde → Retinoic acid.

You see it now, don’t you? If you use retinaldehyde (or retinal, for short) from the start, you’d get retinoid acid in one step. And that’s what your skin is really after.

The fewer steps it takes a retinoid to convert into retinoic acid, the better it works. Don’t take my word for it. Science agrees too:

  • A 1999 study found that retinaldehyde “has many of the properties of tretinoin in its beneficial effects on photoaging”. It reduces UVA damage, boosts collagen and repairs elastin fibers.
  • A 2005 study confirms its collagen-boosting abilities and suggests retinaldehyde works even better when paired with other antioxidants (no one likes to play alone).
  • A 2013 study proves it’s just as good at fading dark spots. It works by reducing melanin concentration in the skin.
  • A 2002 study discovered its has powerful antibacterial properties that kill P.Acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.
  • A 2014 study paired it with glycolic acid and noted this combo is effective at treating mild to moderate acne even during the sun exposure period – without irritating skin.

To sum it all up: retinaldehyde fades away wrinkles, dark spots and acne – just like retinol.

Related: Does Retinaldehyde Provide The Benefits Of Retinol Without The Side Effects?

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I’m sure you’ve heard of Hyaluronic Acid. It’s a moisture magnet on steroids.

Its job is to draw much-needed moisture from the environment into the skin. It does it so well, it holds 1000 times its weight in water, and works well both in high and low humidity conditions.

Can you imagine how happy all the extra moisture makes your skin? It plumps it up, softens it, and brightens it.

P.S. Glycerin, another moisture magnet in this cream, does the same thing. But on a smaller scale.

Related: Why You Need Hyaluronic Acid In Your Skincare Routine, No Matter Your Skin Type


Rich, but non-greasy.



How To Use It

After serum but before sunscreen, gently pat onto the eye area with your ring finger.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Avene Physiolift Eyes has a very similar formula to Avene Physiolift Night Smoothing Regenerating Balm. They both make skin softer and smoother in the short term and have their fair share of retinal to slow down premature aging in the long run.

The difference? Physiolift Eyes is a touch less hydrating. Plus, it’s fragrance-free. Fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients in skincare and has no place near the delicate eye area.

Usually, I’d tell you to get the Night Balm and use it all over. Why pay twice for the same thing? But the lack of fragrance in the eye cream does make it a better option for sensitive skin that gets irritated easily.

In case you’re wondering, this didn’t do anything for puffy eyes or dark circles. But then, no eye cream can. Don’t believe the hype. If eye creams could get rid of dark circles, no one would have them anymore!

Related: Do You Really Need A Separate Eye Cream?

avene physiolift eyes review

Who Is This For?

Anyone looking for a gentle retinoid product for their eye area.

Who Is This NOT For?

If you’re already using a face serum with retinoids all over your face, you don’t need this.


A small tube with a pump applicator. Sleek and practical.

Does Avene Physiolift Eyes Live Up To Its Claims?

PhysioLift EYES smooths wrinkles and firms the delicate skin around the eye area whilst helping to diminish puffiness and dark circles. It does smooth out wrinkles but it can’t do anything for puffiness and dark circles.
It has a unique “patch” texture which mimics the skin, ensuring excellent absorption of active ingredients all night long. I’m not sure what this means. They are no skin-identical ingredients here and the texture is a hybrid between a gel and a cream.
Helps to replenish collagen.
No topical skincare ingredient can replenish collagen. Some can help skin produce more collagen, but there’s nothing here that can do that. What collagen does in skincare is just moisturise skin.
Help smooth the appearance of deep wrinkles and firm the skin.
Hyaluronic Acid plumps up skin, so that fine lines and wrinkles look smaller.
An antioxidant, boosts the skin’s luminosity. The emulsion also targets dull skin and signs of fatigue.
There’s not enough of it here to do anything.
A Vitamin A derivative, has a rejuvenating effect which helps to stimulate cell renewal for younger looking skin
Stubborn puffiness is reduced: -14.7%*
Stubborn dark circles are reduced: -52.8%**

*Clinical score by a dermatologist – 31 women – 2 months’ use – treated vs. untreated
**Clinical score by a dermatologist – 32 women – 2 months’ use – treated vs. untreated 

Note how they don’t tell you how the dermatologist collected these results. They may just have asked him if he thought the cream works based on before and after photos. Not very scientific, is it?

Price & Availability

£24.00 at Dermstore and Escentual

Do You Need It?

If you’re looking for a gentle retinoid cream for your eye area, this is worth checking out.


Dupes & Alternatives


Avene Thermal Spring Water (Avene Aqua), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Glycerin, Isodeccyl Neopentanoate, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, BHT, Caprylyl Glycol, Ceteareth-33, Disodium EDTA, Red 33 (CI 17200), Retinal, Sodium Dextran Sulfate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Water (Aqua), Xanthan Gum.