The other day, a commenter berated me for judging a $190 foundation by Sisley on the strength of its ingredients, without trying it. To me, the first test for any product is to understand what is in it. On the basis of the ingredients I can try to judge whether it will live up to its claims, irritate my sensitive skin, or prove to be good value (whatever the price). If it falls at the first hurdle, I’m not going to buy it and try it. In the past, I accumulated far too many half filled pots of things that don’t work because I wasn’t scrupulous, knowledgeable or demanding enough. No more. I’m going to judge a product by its ingredients list whether it costs $200 or less than $10. Which is why I am staring at the small print of Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer ($9.99).

First, I commend a mass market, keenly priced brand for seeking out and including a potent anti-aging ingredient. Matrixyl 3000 (combination of two peptides, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7) has a good pedigree as an active and is generally found in higher priced products and rarely in a humble concealer. However, clinical trials have been based on a concentration of 4% and here, in Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Treatment Concealer, it languishes at the end of the ingredients list raising questions as to whether there is enough here to have any effect at all.

My take on this, is that it is no more than a concealer, offering camouflage but little else. As far as treating dark under eye circles goes, I can see nothing in Maybelline’s Eraser that would have any impact at all. As one might expect, the most dominant ingredients are silicones – there are seven of them! There are almost as many preservatives, ensuring a long shelf life but increasing the risk – since several are potential irritants – that sensitive skins will have adverse reactions.

Although most concealers that I have tried are nearly four times the price of Maybelline’s (see the 2011 Five Best), I’d rather pay the extra for something that isn’t basically a tube of silicone and bacteria killers.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Isododecane, Glycerin, PEG 9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Nylon-12, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Cyclohexasiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Chloride, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Methylparaben, Lycium Barbarum Fruit Extract, Chlorphenesin, Ethylparaben, Aluminum Hydroxide, PEG -9, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, [ +/- May contain : CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499 (Iron Oxides).], Chrysin.