Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator is marketed as an eye cream for puffy eyes and dark circles. Its ceramic cooling applicator tip soothes and instantly reduces inflammation. Reviewers say it feels refreshing and produces noticeable results, but the light-reflecting pigments it contains don't cover dark circles well. If dark under-eye circles are your main concern, Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector (*Est. $40 for 0.33 oz.) gets better reviews.
Deflates puffy eyes. Reviewers love the ceramic cooling tip on Estee Lauder's Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator and say it helps relieve under-eye swelling. Skin care expert Paula Begoun says, "To some extent, the coolness of the tip can help reduce puffy eyes -- at least the kind of puffiness that results from allergies or fluid retention, but only temporarily, until the irritation and swelling from those problems return." She says it has no effect on age-related puffiness. Editors at Allure magazine say the formula contains "skin-tightening caffeine" that also helps relieve puffiness.
The Cooling Eye Illuminator is tinted to help conceal dark circles, but several reviewers at MakeupAlley.com say it doesn't work very well. The shimmer brightens the eye area temporarily but a concealer is still needed to cover dark circles. One user says, "It does diffuse light but will not totally hide dark circles, just camouflage them a bit. It did not lighten the dark circles at all over the two-week period I used it for." Begoun warns that the shimmery finish emphasizes wrinkles and crepey skin, and the formula's fragrant plant extracts can cause irritation. She says, "The truth is you don't need an eye cream, although if occasional puffiness is your concern you may find a product like this worth the expense."
Soothing and cooling. Reviewers say Estee Lauder's Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator ceramic tip feels very soothing when massaged around the eyes. They also like the lightweight formula's silky, airy texture. The eye cream is fragrance-free but contains fragrant plant extracts.
Review Credibility: Excellent Begoun gives Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator a "good" rating because it contains several antioxidants and other good-for-skin ingredients. She says the ceramic tip can temporarily reduce puffiness caused by allergies or fluid retention, but won't help age-related puffiness. The formula's tint is the only benefit to dark circles and the effect is purely cosmetic, she notes.
Review: Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator, Paula Begoun, Jan. 4, 2012
Review Credibility: Good Editors at Allure magazine recommend 12 specially formulated eye creams, including Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator, because it contains "skin-tightening caffeine" and has a cooling applicator to help deflate puffiness near the eyes.
Review: Allure Says: The 12 Best Eye Creams, Kayleigh Donahue, Not dated
Review Credibility: Good More than two dozen reviewers at MakeupAlley.com give Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator an overall rating of 3.3 out of 5 stars. Most say the cooling tip feels soothing on the eyes and relieves puffiness. The tint instantly brightens the eye area, but many say a concealer is still needed. Several say the cream does nothing for them long term.
Review: Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator, Contributors to MakeupAlley.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Fair Estee Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator is included in Cosmetic Executive Women's (CEW) list of 2012 Beauty Award winners. Along with other winners, it's chosen for being innovative, but editors don't say why other than to repeat manufacturer claims.
Review: 2012 Beauty Awards: Winners, Editors of CEW.org, Not dated