Friday, February 3, 2012

Chanel Sublimage Eye Essential Regenerating Eye Cream REVIEW

The Sublimage skincare line is without question Chanel's most luxurious and expensive range of treatment products. Perhaps this is why they chose a name suggesting that this product is sublime (which is a term usually reserved to describe an exalted  or magnificent experience that one associates with lofty things like art, literature and music). But why not an eye cream too?!

According to Chanel, Sublimage Eye Essential Regenerating Eye Cream is:

The ultimate in anti-aging luxury, specifically formulated for the delicate eye area. It starts with one unique plant -- the Vanilla Planifolia -- unearthed in the farthest reaches of Madagascar. A unique process created by CHANEL Research harnesses the power of this potent botanical fruit for targeted de-aging action. With the exclusive ingredient, Planifolia PFA*, wrinkles, loss of firmness, dehydration, lack of radiance and inconsistency in pigmentation are pinpointed at once. Adding to the cream's core strength: a unique eye complex to diminish the appearance of puffiness and dark circles and help skin quickly achieve a luminous look. . . revitalized, regenerated, radiant.

*PFA: Polyfractioned Active. An ultra-pure, ultra-powerful ingredient created through an exclusive purification technique developed by CHANEL.

The key ingredient that is the crown jewel in the Sublimage line is Vanilla Planifolia, which is an orchid species found in Florida, the West Indies, Central America, and Northern South America.  Chanel does not hold any proprietary right to this particular orchid, but instead they lay claim to the form it takes once it has been transformed into a Polyfractioned Active (PFA). When I checked the dictionary I realized that the word did not exist, but that it was instead coined by Chanel to describe the technique by which they create their ultra-pure cosmetic ingredients. Deductive reasoning suggests that "poly" (many or much) used in conjunction with "fractioned" (a very small part or segment of anything) is intended to describe a process by which the molecules or particles are repeatedly divided in order to refine the ingredients and make them "ultra-pure." I thought that sounded as though it was a fancy schmancy way to describe the use of nanotechnology (which is controversial when used in cosmetics because the particles are so small that they not only absorb into the skin, but they also make there way into the bloodstream- which means that these particles travel throughout the entire body). However, according to Chanel polyfractioning is a new technique that they developed to isolate and extract the desired active ingredients (or molecules) from the plant, rather than using the entire plant (presumably filled with millions of molecules). My research to learn more about the polyfractioning process only led me back to Chanel where they were a bit vague about the process, but qualified that it was their exclusive technique:

PFA: PolyFractioning of Active ingredients. A process specific to CHANEL that allows for the creation of ultra-pure cosmetic ingredients.

Therefore outside of the world of Chanel this process does not have any scientific data to substantiate or refute any claims made about the efficacy of this particular process of creating ultra-pure cosmetic ingredients.

I did, however, find it rather surprising that Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Oil, which is the most discussed ingredient in the Sublimage line, appears near the bottom of the list of ingredients (which suggests that there is less of it in there than one might expect to find).

Chanel's description:
An exceptional eye cream that provides unique and effective action to treat both dark circles and the different types of puffiness. The skin around your eyes is transformed - incredibly smooth, infinitely more toned. Puffiness and dark circles become a thing of the past. Your eyes light up with a new radiance.

Ophthalmologist and dermatologist tested. Comedogenicity tested. The SUBLIMAGE Eye formula offers the eye area all the revitalizing powers of Planifolia PFA*, backed up superbly by a trio of key active ingredients to reduce puffiness and dark circles. 

Planifolia PFA, the powerful regenerating agent, helps correct all problems associated with the eye area: wrinkles, firmness, hydration, radiance and pigmentation. 

To complement this action, a trio of active ingredients (Dipeptide/ Hesperidin / Lipopeptide) acts on the three factors responsible for the formation of puffiness.

It helps to stimulate drainage, improve microcirculation, strengthen small capillaries and combat skin slackening. The skin around the eyes is regenerated. It feels plump again and more toned. It looks smoother and relaxed. The eyes seem brighter, more open. *PFA: PolyFractioning of Active ingredients. A specific process developed by CHANEL that allows for the creation of Planifolia PFA - an ultra-pure cosmetic active ingredient. Patent pending.

A fragrance-free, rich, smooth and creamy texture that leaves the eye area moisturized and velvety soft.

My experience with Sublimage Eye Cream:
Sublimage Eye Essential Regenerating Eye Cream is a very rich and luxurious eye cream that feels very nice on the delicate eye area. My eyes can be very sensitive, and many eye creams have been known to cause irritation, watering and redness (a miserable combination of offenders). I am happy to report that my eyes were not even remotely irritated by Sublimage Eye Cream- in fact they felt good.

Sublimage eye cream is far too rich for me to use both day and night- even if I apply a very thin layer. As a result I can only really use it at night. While I am not prone to under-eye puffiness, it does occasionally happen (allergies, alcohol consumption too close to bedtime etc.), but I can honestly say that Sublimage Eye Cream has not worked to reduce or eliminate puffiness on the rare occasions that this happens to me.

For such a rich eye cream I also expected it to be more moisturizing, and my under eye area is not at all dry. I also do not have slacked skin around my eyes so I can't really say whether slacked skin experiences tightening or regenerating. I do notice that my skin does appear a bit more toned when I wake up in the morning, but it's not a radical transformation on me, by any means.

One thing that I really have noticed is that Sublimage Eye Cream somehow magically lessens the appearance of dark circles (I have genetic dark circles that aren't normally too pronounced, but sometimes they can get pretty bad). This stuff really works for dark circles on me! I MEAN IT REALLY WORKS!! This alone made me do the happy dance! However, the effects are not long lasting unless I use the cream every single night. So in my experience you must use this consistently to render optimal results.

Now you would think that an eye cream that could actually get rid of dark circles would make me the happiest girl in the world, right? Well, that would have been the case period, end of subject were it not for the fact that this cream is too rich for me. If I use Sublimage too many nights in a row I develop milia under my eyes which is unsightly and difficult to get rid of (though I have found that using Ole Henricksen's Truth is in the Eyes [reviewed here] gets rid of milia for me very effectively- which is preferable to the painful extraction technique at the dermatologist's office). So while I think that this is a very nice eye cream it is clearly better suited to someone who can handle a rich eye cream without developing milia. This product really knocks it out of the park by mitigating the appearance of dark circles- so if this is one of your grievances then this just might be your Holy Grail eye cream.

Vanilla Planifolia Flower
INGREDIENTS: Water, Glycerin, Squalane, Butyrospermum Parkii, Cetearyl Alcohol, Pentylene Glycol, Canola Oil, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolmer, Peg-8 Beeswax, Beheneth-25, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Amonium Acryloyldimethytaurate/Vp Copolymer, Palmitic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Dimethicone, Butylene Gylcol, Sodium Methylparaben, Xanthan Gum, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, O-Cymen-5-Ol, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Oil, Steareth-20, Tetrasodium Edta, Citric Acid, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Dipeptide-2, Potassium Sorbate, Palmitoyl, Tetrapeptide-3, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Biotin.

Overall Assessment: I think that Sublimage is a very nice luxury eye cream. There is a reason that it is the Holy Grail eye cream for so many people, but for me it is too rich to use every night otherwise I develop milia (and trust me, I use it quite sparingly- so this isn't an issue of user error). In my opinion it is nearly peerless in its ability to combat dark circles- which is a tough claim to make good on. I thought that it would be more moisturizing for such a rich cream, but I also don't require a very moisturizing eye cream. If this didn't cause me so much trouble with milia I would use it all of the time, but milia is a burdensome intruder that is generally difficult to get rid of making Sublimage Eye Essential Regenerating Eye Cream less than ideal for me. I would suggest getting a sample and trying it for a few weeks to see how your eyes respond because if it works for you- you will be very happy. However, if you are like me- you might have to spend far too much time fighting milia to really enjoy the benefits of Sublimage Eye Essential Regenerating Eye Cream.

$225.00 0.50 oz. Available from Nordstrom,  Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, & Bergdorf Goodman. (Affiliate links)


  1. Good share you made. I like the way you share you thought and the way you discuss your topic.

  2. Great review! I'll try and get some samples to make sure it doesn't give me any irritation.

    1. Hi Tina! Thank you- I am so happy that you liked my review!! I would definitely try to get some samples to see if it works for you. I had really hoped that this eye cream would work for me, but it gave me so much milia. I really wish that it hadn't- because it really did wonders for my dark circles. I completely understand why so many people swear by this eye cream-if it hadn't given me milia I would have purchased a jar!! Have a lovely weekend! :-)

  3. Great review! I'll try and get some samples to make sure it doesn't give me any irritation.


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