I didn’t think my 35+ skin would find another affordable and effective eye cream after the AHC Youth Lasting Real Eye Cream For Face, but I’m pleased to announce that this $18 gem is in fact, it.
However you may feel about balms or eye creams, hold those thoughts, because the Versed Smooth Landing Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm may change your mind.
Table of Contents
What is it
Literally melts into your skin, infusing it with proven, eye-safe ingredients that visibly soften fine lines and wrinkles while firming and restoring bounce.
Best suited for
Those with dry under eye areas that crave moisture and wish to soften their line fines. Oily skin types may find this unnecessary.
Things to note
Alcohol free, fragrance free, and cruelty-free.
A small plastic jar with a screw on cap. I’m a fan of the soft blue color and minimal design.
No noticeable scent.
Like a solid lip balm. When you rub your fingers on the balm it feels quite firm and doesn’t really melt. You’ll need to rub it a few times to get a light layer of the product on your fingers.
Dewy, but not oily or heavy. I find myself applying a few layers to really moisturize my eye area well.
Versed Retinoid Eye Balm Ingredients
So let’s talk about the active ingredient in here, retinol, specifically Granactive Retinoid 1%.
If we look at this retinoid family tree, Granactive Retinoid is like the younger sister of the queen bee, Tretinoin. Emerging studies have shown that it has the same benefits as the anti-aging superstar ingredient – collagen boosting, fine line reducing – but without the irritations, very promising!
Versed uses 1% Granactive Retinoid, but this name is actually a little misleading, because it’s technically a complex made of 1 part Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (the retinoid) and 9 parts Dimethyl Isosorbide, a solvent. So really we’re just getting 0.1% retinoid, which isn’t bad considering manufacturer tests showed significant reductions in lines and wrinkles when 0.2% was used for 14 days.
Other beneficial ingredients include:
- Shea Butter not only moisturizes and softens the skin, it’s also soothing and full of antioxidants!1 One of my favorite ingredients to see in moisturizers.
- Sunflower Oil is full of fatty acids, which are one of the main building blocks of our skin’s barrier. That’s probably why it’s been shown to improve barrier health!2 Oh and it’s lovely for moisturizing the skin as well.
- Black Currant Seed Oil (1%) is also full of skin beneficial fatty acids and shown to help improve skin’s hydration and water retention levels. It’s also rich in vitamin c and other phytochemicals that’ll protect the skin against free radicals.3
- Vitamin E (1%) is a great antioxidant and emollient for the skin, but the form used here, while more stable, is also more poorly absorbed by the skin compared to pure Vitamin E.4
- Mimosa Flower Wax actually works together with Sunflower Wax and Jojoba Wax in a complex called Acticire that smooths, softens, moisturizes, and protects the skin.
- Shiitake Mushroom Extract (0.2%) is rich in flavonoids, polyphenols, and amino acids that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin.5
It’s not the most impressive ingredient list I’ve seen, but for $18 and what the product claims to do, I have no complaints.
- Apply in the evening after your serum step but before facial oils and moisturizers. Retinols can break down in UV exposure, reducing their efficacy, hence why it's PM only.
- Rub your ring finger into the balm until you get a light layer. You may need to rub a few times to get the desired amount.
- Gently tap it into the skin around your eyes, starting from the inner corners and working out.
- Wait for the balm to set, then follow up with the rest of your skincare routine as usual. Versed says to skip moisturizer around the eyes after using this, but it's too much of a hassle so I just apply my moisturizer normally.
Pair this with an eye serum to get even better results! Or just use your usual serum and apply an extra layer to the skin under your eyes for an anti-aging boost.
Usage Experience & Results
As much as I enjoy facial oils, I’m not a fan of balms (except cleaning balms). They feel a little too heavy and suffocating for my skin, and the results are always underwhelming. So I had my hesitation about this eye balm.
However, the skin around my eyes have always been prone to dryness and those pesky fine lines. God forbid I don’t moisturize the area well enough and the next day it’s crease central for my concealer. And lately my other eye treatments have definitely been lacking in the moisture department!
I was pleased to find that this had a surprisingly light and elegant feel on the skin. It’s moisturizing, but not heavy, like a light oil but more occlusive. I loved how comfortable my under-eye area felt!
Results over time
After 1 night: The dryness definitely improved almost immediately after using this, similar to how your lips feel after using a lip mask the night before.
After 1 week: Continuing to notice the moisturizing benefits, and my concealer now goes on a little smoother too.
After 3+ weeks: The appearance of fine lines are less becoming noticeable! Some of this could be attributed the improved hydration level but it could also be the effects of retinol starting to kick in. There’s still a lot of product left, so this jar should last a long time!
For the price, I’m impressed, but I wouldn’t call this a miracle product. It took me some time to see results, and if you’re in your 30’s like me, this alone won’t deliver the results you’re looking for. I didn’t notice any improvements to my dark circles either.
But let me tell you, this is the perfect companion to eye serums, which aren’t nourishing enough on their own. Previously I was using the Nivea Creme over the eye area as an occlusive and it works, but this eye balm works better. If you don’t have the Nivea Creme and are looking specifically to target the sensitive eye area, I definitely recommend it.
What Others Say
These reviews were sourced from the Versed website.
I’ve been battling with syringomas around my eyes for over 15 years… But after using this for a month I’ve seen an amazing and surprising reduction.female, age 35 to 44
The only thing I regret is not taking before and after photos. However, I can see a massive difference in my eye texture and firmness.female, age 45-54
I don’t love the texture. It feels greasy like lip balm. I understand it is described as a “balm” but it feels really heavy. I also noticed I’m getting breakouts around the sides of my eyes, which is somewhere I’ve never had that happen before.female, age 35-44
AHC Youth Lasting Real Eye Cream For Face
They’re so different! AHC is a light gel cream that oilier skin types will love more, but I realized that it wasn’t quite moisturizing enough for me during winter. AHC would still be my pick, but for dry skin folks Versed would pair beautifully with it!
Peter Thomas Roth Vital-E Microbiome Age Defense Eye Cream
Loved the PTR, especially what it did for my puffiness and eye bags, but this also has an issue with not being moisturizing enough for me. While not as effective, Versed is clearly more suited for dry skin.
Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
Definitely a beginner’s option, this one focuses mainly on moisturizing, and I’d say this and the Versed are on par in that aspect, just different textures. I like that the Versed has added retinol!
The Inkeylist Retinol Eye Cream
Haven’t tried this one, but from the ingredients it seems like a lighter version of the Versed and could be good for younger or oilier folks. It’s also more budget friendly!
Medicube Deep Collagen Vita Multi Serum Stick
Closest in texture, but the Medicube feels lighter on the skin, probably because it’s meant to be a “serum” rather than a true moisturizing balm. Again, a good option for oilier skin types or those that prefer a more multipurpose product.
- Won’t irritate the delicate skin around your eyes (unless you’re allergic to the ingredients)
- Occlusive properties makes it ideal for those with dry to really dry skin.
- Will reduce the appearance of fine lines with continued use.
- Unique texture and budget-friendly price point.
- For those with heavy wrinkles or crow’s feet, this may not be strong enough.
- Not very effective against dark circles or puffiness.
- Works best when paired with a more potent product.
Scores & Summary
Given my low expectations at first, I ended up really enjoying this! Sure, I could just buy an expensive eye cream that does it all, but I like that I can now try out eye treatments of all different textures, and just layer this eye balm on top to lock everything in. It’s not for everyone, and I don’t think it’s a must have, but if you don’t want to drop $$$ on an eye cream, try the AHC + this. It’s a dreamy combo.
To keep my content accurate and trustworthy, I rely on peer-reviewed studies, articles from reputable academic institutions, and quotes from certified healthcare professionals to back my claims.
Leslie Baumann, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology, 2nd edition, Shea Butter – pages 277
Leslie Baumann, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology, 2nd edition, Natural Oils, 274
Brod, J. et al. Evolution of lipid composition in skin treated with blackcurrant seed oil. International journal of cosmetic science 10.4, 149-159 (1988)
Leslie Baumann, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology, 2nd edition, Vitamin E – pages 293-294
Wu, Yuanzheng, et al. “Mushroom Cosmetics: The Present and Future.” ResearchGate, MDPI AG, 8 July 2016, www.researchgate.net/publication/305078746_Mushroom_Cosmetics_The_Present_and_Future.