ProVectin blatantly markets itself as a low cost competitor to StriVectin. And with the economy going into freefall, what's wrong with that. ProVectin's Plus Advanced Eye Cream is on sale at Walgreens.com for $14.99, compared to StriVectin's eye cream at $59. But I've always been told that you get what you pay for in life. Is that the case here?

I was pleasantly surprised, on perusing ProVection, to discover matrixyl 3000 (an antioxidant made by combining two peptides) near the top of the ingredients list. This was followed by two more antioxidants, rice bran and soy bean protein. We were off to a very good start.

Hesperidin methyl chalcote is the key active in a product designed to combat dark circles. It is a flavenoid found in citrus fruits and it strengthens capillaries (the idea is that they would then leak less, inhibiting the cause of dark circles). Plus there is a battery of moisturizing ingredients and vitamins.

Unfortunately there are a couple of PEG ingredients. These are polyethylene glycols that are thought to be toxic. Triethanolamine is an irritant and toxic, according to an animal study. There are also several parabens and diazolidinyl urea, an irritant that turns into formaldehyde, and disodium EDTA, which can be toxic (although at higher levels than you would expect to find in cosmetics).

How does it compare to its pricier competitor, StriVectin? Its "Striadril Complex" is made up of matrixyl 3000 and hesperidin plus a couple of botanicals that mostly play an anti-inflammatory role. Overall, the list of botanicals looks fairly impressive. However, with a couple of exceptions - hydrocotyl (helps collagen form), kukui (healing properties) - I couldn't find any references that say what they can do for you.

It has a similar cast of villains (parabens and triethanolamine), with the addition of phenoxyethanol, an irritant that can also damage the central nervous system.

All in all, there isn't enough in StriVectin to justify a price four times higher than ProVectin.

Ingredients in ProVectin

Water, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein, Glycine Soja Protein Soybean, Oxide Reductases, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Tribehenin, Ceramide 2, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Glycerin, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Steareth-20, Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl Tetrapepetide-3, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Triethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Cocoa Butter, Hyaluronic Acid, Sorbitan Olivate, Acetyl Hexapaptide-3, Dimethicone Copolyol, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Disodium EDTA, Dimethicone, Ethyl Macadamiate, Mango Butter, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Octyldodecanol, Propylene Glycol, Zea Mays Oil Corn, Tocopheryl Acetate Vitamin E, Cholecalciferol Vitamin D3, Retinyl Palmitate Vitamin A, Ascorbic Acid Vitamin C, Pyridoxine HCL Vitamin B6, Silica, Sodium Propoxyhydroxypropyl Thiosulfate Silica, Extracts of Cucumber, Green Tea, Grapeseed, Peach, Seaweed, Lemon, Calendula, Gingko Biloba, Ginger.

Ingredients in StriVectin

Water (Deionized), C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Seasame Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Sweet Almond Oil, Striadril Complex (Consisting of Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Siegesbeckia Orientalis Extract, Polyglyceryl Methacrylate, Propylene Glycol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Glucosamine HCl, Algae Extract, Yeast Extract, Urea, Butylene Glycol, Hydrocotyl Extract, Coneflower Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydrolyzed Wheat Starch, Imperata Cylindrica (Root Extract), Bearberry Extract, Licorice PTH), Glycerin, PPG 12 (SMDI Copolymer), Glyceryl Stearate, PEG 100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Cocoa Butter, Kukui Nut Oil, Santalum Album Extract (Sandalwood), Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hordeum Distychum Extract, Meadowsweet, Hydrocotyl Extract, Amino Acids, Green Tea Extract, Shea Butter, Algae Extract, Mugwort Extract (Artesemia Vulgaris), Plantago Lanceolata Leaf Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol (Natural), Mango Butter, Methylparaben, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Propylparaben, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Disodium EDTA, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Retinyl Palmitate.