Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream products

Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream is the very definition of a cult product. Used for decades and supported by an intense following (that includes me), the original Eight Hour cream is used on dry skin, chapped lips, minor abrasions and burns, and as a highlighter, cuticle softener, and brow tamer, among a myriad of other uses. It is, without question, one of my absolute favorite products. So when I saw a starter set of minis available at TJ Maxx for $12, I just had to grab it and try out some of the other offerings in this line.

Now, before I begin, let me get a little something off of my chest: a lot of people refer to Eight Hour cream as "fancy petroleum jelly," and that really irritates me. Yes, the original cream has a petroleum base; if you read the back of a full-sized tube, it straight-out says "56% petrolatum." So it's roughly half petroleum. But you know what? Most foundations and lotions contain at least 50% water...are you going to call them "fancy water"? No. My point is that while this is a petroleum based product, it is not just petroleum jelly, and petroleum does have certain benefits, hence why it is so often used in skincare products. Other ingredients include a small amount of salicylic acid (and it has to be a small amount, because too much SA rips my skin to shreds), lanolin, vitamin E, and castor oil.

I honestly get all of my Elizabeth Arden skincare at TJ  Maxx or Marshall's and therefore pay next to nothing for it. Because it seems to be pretty easy to find these products at those stores, I've included retail prices for full-sized products plus the general range they seem to go for at discount stores.

01: Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant; $19.50 retail, $5-12 at TJ Maxx and Marshall's
This is the original, baby! And my personal favorite. It has a thick, gel-like consistency, is a sort of apricot color, and smells spicy. And by that, I don't mean perfume spicy, I mean it literally smells like something out of your spice rack. I personally love the smell, but I know a lot of people hate it--if you're in the latter group, they make a fragrance-free version. As for what I use this product for: just about everything. My full-sized tube stays with my skincare stuff, but I keep the mini in my purse, I love it so much. Its most obvious use is to moisturize uber-dry skin; I use it on my lips after I shower, and when I get really dry in the winter, I rub it on my hands and feet, then cover them with moisturizing gloves and socks. When I regularly did glamor photography, I would use Eight Hour cream on almost all of my models' lips. A lot of professional models purportedly use this product on their lips, cheeks, and lids as an uber-glowy highlighter and gloss, which I've done, and I've used it once or twice to keep my brows in place. I recently gave myself second degree burns with some hot oil, and before they blistered and popped open, I soothed the pain with some Eight Hour Cream. Nothing moisturizes or adds shine like this product, and I love it to death. Plus, a tube will last you for years, if my looks-like-new-after-daily-use tube is any indication. Rating: 5 out of 5.

02: Eight Hour Cream Intensive Daily Moisturizer for Face with SPF15; $35 retail, $18-25 at TJ Maxx and Marshall's
I've been using this product as a day cream and pre-makeup moisturizer for several days now, and I've been quite impressed with it. It has a very smooth, silky feel to it and smooths very easily in to my skin. It's not greasy in the slightest, but it does leave a slight glow to my skin, though that's probably due to the fact that my skin is now moisturized versus any kind of especially glowy ingredients. This is what I would consider a "medium moisturizing" lotion: it may not be as glowy as my beloved Elizabeth Arden Let There Be Light with SPF15 (discontinued, sob!), but it's a step up on the moisturization scale. It's not enough for me as far as night creams go, but I like a very rich, intense night cream because my skin leans towards the dry side. If your skin is normal to oily, this may be a great night cream for you. It doesn't have any strong scent that I can detect. The price is a tab obscene, in my opinion, but again, Elizabeth Arden products will last you for a long time. Let There Be Light is still my HG day/under-makeup cream, but that's because it was specifically made to add extra glow to the skin, and I really like that on my skin type. Rating: 4 out of 5.

03: Elizabeth Arden  Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatmeant; $19.50 retail, $12-15 at TJ Maxx and Marshall's
I really dig this hand cream, but only for a specific purpose. I don't think this is the kind of hand cream you can use every day for super-dry skin, because the moisturization is light to medium and it soaks in to your skin immediately. Folks who need something really intense know that it usually takes a lot of moisturization from a product that tends to linger to get real results. But if you're not trying to cure Chapped Hands From Hell, or if you're like me and you're using it during the summer, it's great. I actually use this product primarily on my feet after I've pumiced them in the shower, because I like to walk around barefoot in the summer and that tends to jack my soles up something fierce. This makes them feel so much smoother and softer! I do use it on my hands and elbows sometimes, and it moisturizes them decently if, say, I've scrubbed them too much. Because it soaks right in, it's the kind of hand cream I'd keep in my purse. I will warn you that this has a slightly silicone-y feel, so if you don't like that feeling, you'll want to pass on this product. Rating: 4 out of 5.

From left to right: original skin protectant, face moisturizer, hand cream.

A final note on two other Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream products that I've tried: the lip balm and the body cream. The lip balm is quite nice for travel, and it works super-well under lipstick, but it's not quite as moisturizing or glossy as the original cream and I've never seen it at a discount store. Because of that, I haven't repurchased it. The body cream is also super-nice; it reminds me of the face moisturizer in that it soaks right in to the skin and leaves it looking and feeling soft and slightly glowy. However, at $25 a tube, and considering you use it all over your body, it's way easier to drain a tube of this stuff, and it still doesn't top the vats of pumpkin butter from, which are half the price and last me three times as long.

Overall, this is probably my favorite skincare line, and it works so well for me that I--normally super super super fussy about finding skincare products that work and sticking with them--will try just about anything Elizabeth Arden makes. I just prefer to wait until it's 75% off at TJ Maxx. :)

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