I Have This $18 Retinoid Eye Balm to Thank for Erasing My Fine Lines


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

I may only be 26 years old, but my eye area doesn't look it. I blame it on three things. The first of which is my regrettable lack of sunscreen throughout most of high school. The second is my insanely near-sighted eyes, which lead me to squint whenever I forget my glasses (which is often). And the third is the enormous and incalculable amount of hours I've spent staring at my computer screen in order to write articles on skincare, hair, and makeup. (No complaints there). 

All of these things have added up over the years, and lo and behold, around age 25, I started noticing pesky fine lines, rough texture, and hyperpigmentation appear around the outer corners of my eyes. While it certainly doesn't keep me up at night, I can admit that'd prefer a smoother and brighter look. That's where eye cream comes in.

I've tested many different formulas throughout my time as a beauty writer. One of my recent favorites is from Versed, which is Who What Wear's sister brand. It's smoothing, hydrating, and plumping, and it's all thanks to its star ingredient: granactive retinoid. Keep scrolling to learn all the reasons why this $18 eye balm has become a mainstay in my nighttime skincare routine. 

The Ingredients


(Image credit: Versed)

Let's start this ingredient deep dive with the star ingredient: granactive retinoid. It's certainly a mouthful, but it's actually a lot less complicated than it sounds. It's simply a less irritating form of retinol (yes, the very same line and wrinkle-reducing ingredient we know and love). Just like traditional retinol, the retinoid in this formula smooths the texture of the skin to reduce the appearance of crow's feet. 


(Image credit: Versed)

Black currant seed oil and vitamin E are also included in the formula. Both provide an antioxidant function to protect the delicate eye area from free radicals. (ICYMI, free radicals are molecules that weaken and damage healthy cells.)


(Image credit: Versed)

The final ingredient I want to call out is shiitake mushroom extract, which is an ingredient that supports and strengthens the skin's moisture barrier. The moisture barrier is what keeps moisture in and irritants out, so it's critical to overall skin health. When it's damaged, it can manifest in things like dryness, irritation, inflammation sensitivity, roughness, and more. 


(Image credit: Versed)

The Results

I've only been using it regularly for about two weeks now, but I can confidently say that my eye area is smoother, brighter, and more hydrated than it was before. Usually, I see fine lines on the outer corners of my eyes, along with hyperpigmentation (brown spots) from past sun damage. Over these past two weeks, the appearance of both has been minimized. The difference may be subtle to others, but it's significant to me, and I'm looking forward to seeing the results after a couple of months of use. 


(Image credit: @kaitlyn_mclintock)

There's one other thing I want to mention and that's that I only use this eye balm at night. The creamy, melt-in texture is perfect for nighttime wear, but it doesn't bode well for daytime eye makeup (trust me). Plus, since retinoids can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, it's best to keep them regulated for nighttime use. And on that note, make sure you're using sunscreen during the day! 


(Image credit: @versed)

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Kaitlyn McLintock
Associate Beauty Editor

Kaitlyn McLintock is an Associate Beauty Editor at Who What Wear. Although she covers a wide range of topics across a variety of categories, she specializes in celebrity interviews and skincare and wellness content. Having lived in Los Angeles and Austin, Texas, she recently relocated back to her home state of Michigan where she works remotely. Prior to Who What Wear, she freelanced for a variety of industry-leading digital publications, including InStyle, The Zoe Report, Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Coveteur. Before that, she held a long-term internship and subsequent contributor position at Byrdie. When she's not writing, researching, or testing the latest and greatest beauty products, she's working her way through an ever-growing book collection, swimming in the Great Lakes, or spending time with family.