We purchased Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Eye Crème so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
As someone who’s had serious dark under-eye circles since I was a kid, I’ve been on the hunt for a brightening eye cream that actually works for a while now. Needless to say, when I got the chance to test Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Eye Crème, I was on board immediately. It’s the top-selling eye cream at Sephora and a Byrdie go-to for reducing the appearance of dark circles—plus, Kim Kardashian West is reportedly a fan. But did it actually live up to the hype? Read on for my review.
About My Skin: Major dark under-eye circles
As I said above, my main issue with the skin around my eyes is dark circles. Mine are hereditary—there are definitely childhood videos of me with dark, dark eyes. (And my sister has them, too!) I don’t currently have any fine lines around my eyes, but I’m definitely on board with an eye cream that will prevent them from forming in the first place.
Ingredients: Vitamin C and collagen
OK, so, contrary to the name of this eye cream, banana is not one of its ingredients; Its name is simply inspired by banana powder, a yellow-tinted powder that makeup artists use to brighten and color-correct dull skin.
Instead, the star ingredients at work here are vitamin C and collagen. Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, benefits the skin in several ways: It shields against environmental stressors, promotes collagen production, and helps lighten brown spots or discoloration. (Currently, I use vitamin C all over my face to target dark marks and improve my skin tone, so I was happy to have a gentler version to use around my eyes.) Collagen, on the other hand, improves skin’s elasticity and firmness and delivers a dose of hydration when applied topically.
It also helps to prevent fine lines from forming.
Although this product is clean by Byrdie’s standards, it does contain ingredients that can be irritating to the skin, with some users even reporting that they’ve had allergic reactions to it. Why? “The product contains some anti-inflammatory ingredients that are generally calming to skin, such as jojoba oil and shea butter,” says Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a board-certified dermatologist and member of Byrdie’s Beauty & Wellness Review Board. “But it also contains some vitamins—including vitamin C and related ingredients—that can be somewhat irritating for sensitive skin types, like ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, citrus fruit extract, orange fruit extract, 3-0 ethyl ascorbic acid, and citric acid.
[These] may occasionally be too irritating for many people, especially around the eyes.”
However, there’s another ingredient that could be the culprit: Fragrance. “Fragrance and perfumes are common triggers for allergies in many people—not just people with sensitive skin,” says Nazarian. “Because the area around the eye is thinner than other areas of the body and a little bit more sensitive, it’s always important to proceed with caution when choosing a new product for this area.”
Before I tried this eye cream, I did just that, spot-testing it on my skin until I was sure it was safe for my under-eye area.
The Feel: Moisturizing and creamy
Just a tiny bit of product (I mean tiny—like less than a grain of rice) is needed for each eye. It feels hydrating, creamy, and slick without becoming oily. Don’t use too much though, or else it goes from soothing to greasy. Personally, I like to give it a few minutes to sink in if I’m applying makeup over it, or else the formula interferes with how my concealer looks.
The Scent: Citrus, not bananas
While the name might have you expecting the scent of bananas, the actual fragrance leans citrusy due to the addition of orange and lemon extracts (again, the name comes from the color, not the ingredients). To me, it smells like the chalky vitamin C tablets I used to take as a kid. The scent is pretty strong while it’s in its tub, but I don’t notice it after I applied the product.
Drying & Irritation: None for me, but irritating to others
Despite my initial hesitation, I didn’t experience any irritation while using this eye cream. Overall, though, I’d recommend spot-testing it for a few days before using it all over, as I did. It’s also important to note that many people who did experience irritation said that it started after many months of use, so if you notice any drying or red spots developing, stop using this product.
The Results: Moisturized skin, but I still have dark circles
I used Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Eye Crème almost every morning for four weeks. I was waiting for something miraculous to happen—that I’d wake up one day and notice my dark circles were gone. But unfortunately, I never noticed a truly significant difference in my dark circles after a month of testing. This may be due to the reason for my dark circles, though—if yours are the result of discoloration rather than just the way you were born, you may have more success than I did. (For example, this product worked magic for Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould, who says it’s the only eye cream she’s ever tried that’s made a difference.)
However, the daily ritual of applying this product did have other visible benefits. I found that the rough spots and dryness under my eyes faded significantly, which made concealer and makeup go on easier. I also loved that several hours after applying it, my under-eye area still felt moisturized and my makeup looked fresh.
The Value: $39 for half an ounce
This eye cream is expensive, but not totally unexpected given the brand name. But, when compared to other high-end brands, the price really isn’t that bad (many of Sephora’s other best-selling eye creams will set you back $50 or more).
While there are cheaper products at the drugstore, the price feels worth it for the product quality. Plus, I don’t foresee having to repurchase it again anytime soon—so little product is needed at a time that even after a month, it looks like I’ve barely touched the jar.
Similar Products: Lots to choose from
GLAMGLOW BRIGHTEYES Illuminating Anti-Fatigue Eye Cream: Glamglow’s formula includes caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and peptides to plump and hydrate under eyes. It also includes “illuminating spheres” to disguise dark under-eyes. It’s priced at $39 for a half-ounce—exactly the same as Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Eye Crème—so it’s worth trying them both to see which you prefer.
Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream: A much pricier option is Drunk Elephant’s C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream, which is $64 for a half-ounce. Its main star is vitamin C—it’s packed with five different kinds. While the vitamin C tones and firms, peptides improve the look of fine lines and cucumber extract works as an antioxidant.
Our Verdict: Worthy of a spot on your shelf
Even though my dark circles haven’t totally vanished, I still enjoy applying Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright Eye Crème every morning. It’s pricey, but quality ingredients aren’t cheap, and the small jar lasts quite a long time. I definitely think it’s worth it for the way my concealer glides on.