Muzafer Sherif once performed an experiment in which a group of people were placed in a dark room and asked to stare at a small dot of light 15 feet away. They then were asked to estimate the distance that the dot moved. All participants perceived different amounts of movement; they then adjusted their beliefs based on the rest of the group and reached a consensus on the correct estimate. But the dot had never moved at all. This occurrence demonstrates a visual illusion known as the autokinetic effect, but more to the point, it is an example of the social phenomenon known as conformity.

In terms of evolution, going against the group is not beneficial to survival. Because of the tremendous survival advantage to being part of a community, people instinctively tend to go along with the majority view, even if it's objectively wrong or they hold a differing belief. I think it is for this reason that I was tempted to side with all of the glowing TIA reviewers of Dimitri James Skinn products. But, the truth is that my experience has been a few shades less than satisfied. So I am going to break away from conformity, though I remain wistful for Kate's love affair with Skinn's Sweet and Smooth Body Polish and Marta's lip affair with Skinn's Wet Lips Super Shine Gloss. I'll even respectfully contradict Trinh's fervor for Skinn's Wrinkle Balm Night Treatment.

For the past two weeks, I have been trying to use Skinn Reorganize Night Eye Balm and Wrinkle Balm Night Treatment. I say "trying" because it has truly been a struggle. The consistency of both balms is as thick as wax, which (in case you've never had a go with Soypure) leaves an oppressive feeling and a glossy sheen. Immediately after I apply the balms before bedtime, my skin starts to feel like it is suffocating. I try to avoid all mirrors, as my face gets so glistening that the reflection very well might blind me. When I roll over on my side to fall asleep, my face sticks to the pillow and subsequently makes a peeling noise if I return to lie on my back.

I have found that the Wrinkle Balm spreads more readily when first emulsified between your fingers, and a little bit certainly goes a long way. Once the Wrinkle Balm and Eye Balm have fully coated every inch of your face, the sensation is as if you've been hermetically sealed. It's too bad this quality doesn't apply to both products' tub packaging, which forces you to scoop the balm out with your (hopefully sterile) finger. As Trinh pointed out, the design is vulnerable to contamination, and the potions' antioxidant components won't last as long as they would in a protective pump container.

What sorts of antioxidants do these balms deliver? The eye skin gets vitamin A and E, an oil-soluble vitamin C ester, and aloe leaf extract, in addition to a bevy of botanical oils extracted from soybean, safflower seed, avocado, ylang-ylang, rose geranium, patchouli, and myrrh. However, it's no wonder I suffered from feelings of skin suffocation considering the eye balm's extremely concentrated emollient levels. The formula starts not with water, but caprylic/capric triglyceride (derived from coconut oil), and then proceeds to synethetic beeswax, canola oil (!!), shea butter, cocoa seed butter, and finishes up with various fruit waxes and synthetic silicones.

Both the Eye Balm and Wrinkle Balm boast the advanced peptide Dermaxyl (palmitoyl oligopeptide). Additional anti-agers in the Wrinkle Balm come in the form of more peptides, phospholipids, and the antioxidant complex superoxide dismutase. While examining the Wrinkle Balm's ingredients, it struck me that the "Dry to Normal" formula is completely different from the "Normal to Combination" formula. I'm not sure how these two vastly divergent balms pose as the same product, but their formulas do not even belong to the same family.

While the dry-normal version starts with olive butter, shea butter, sweet almond butter, and soybean sterols, normal-combination lists lavender extract, sunflower seed extract, shea butter, and squalane as its most populous components. The overall picture of each is uniquely quite nice, with interesting inclusions like barley, wild yam, green bean, tomato, and noni extracts in one (dry-normal), and more mainstream botanicals, such as sandalwood, algae, rapeseed, thyme, and aloe, in the other (normal-combo). Not bad at $26 for 1.3 oz ...but not good enough for me.

Though the thickness of Skinn is similar to Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Night, the results are like night and day, as they say. So far, there have been no wrinkles removed nor fine lines filled when I awaken in the morning. The extra heavy-duty hydration seems to have rejuvenated my eye area, but at the cost of a grossly greasy ordeal that I'd rather not repeat. I can't imagine continuing to use either of these items throughout the summer months when all my skin wants is to breathe. Nonetheless, the Wrinkle Balm works wonders as a body emollient or as moisture therapy for extreme cases of facial dryness. Fingers crossed that I can get it to work some of its anti-aging magic on my haggard hands.

Ingredients in Skinn Reorganize Night Eye Balm:

caprylic/capric triglyceride, synthetic beeswax, canola oil, glycine soja (soybean) oil, myrica cerifera (bayberry) fruit wax, phenyl trimethicone, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, hydrogenated jojoba oil, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, dimethicone, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) wax, octyldodecyl PCA, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, tribehenin, ceramide 2, PEG-10 rapeseed sterol, palmitoyl oligopeptide, bisabolol, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, panthenyl triacetate, cananga odorata (ylang-ylang) flower oil, pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) flower oil, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, commiphora myrrha (myrrh) oil, spilanthes acmella flower extract, famesol, linalool, lecithin, ascorbyl palmitate, glyceryl stearate, glyceryl oleate, citric acid

Ingredients in Skinn Wrinkle Night Balm (dry-normal):

olea europaea (olive butter), butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond butter), glycine soja (soybean) sterols, santalum album (sandalwood) wood extract, phellodendron amurense bark extract, hordeum distichon (barley) extract, caprylic/capric triglyceride and teprenone (Renovage™), bisabolol, dioscorea villosa (wild yam) root extract, C12-15 alkyl benzoate and tribehenin and ceramide 2 and PEG-10 rapeseed sterol and palmitoyl oligopeptide (Dermaxyl™), caprylic/capric triglyceride and spilanthes acmella flower extract (Gatuline Intense™), phaseolus lunatus (green bean) extract, solanum lycopersicum (tomato) extract, lavandula spica (lavender) flower oil, superoxide dismutase, thioctic acid, linoleic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, morinda citrifolia (noni) seed oil, tocopherol acetate (vitamin E)

Ingredients in Skinn Wrinkle Night Balm (normal-combination):

lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, helianthus annus (sunflower) seed extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), squalane, phospholipids, isopentyldiol, santalum album (sandalwood) extract, phellodendron amurense bark extract, hordeum distichon (barley) extract, glucosamine HCl, hydrogenated lecithin, algae extract, yeast extract, urea, tribehenin, ceramide 2, brassica campestris (rapeseed) seed oil, thymus vulgaris (thyme) extract, lupine amino acids, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapetide-7, phaseolus lunatus (green bean) seed extract, caprylic/capric triglyceride and spilanthes acmella flower extract (Gatuline Intense™), caprylic/capric triglyceride and teprenone (Renovage™), phytosteryl isostearate, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, dioscorea villosa (wild yam) root extract, linoleic acid, stearyl phosphate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, sodium PCA, perfluorodecalin (Rejuvenox™), xanthan gum, panthenyl triacetate, tocopheryl linoleate, chlorphenesin