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In my experience, eye issues are the biggest skincare concerns people have. Fine lines, hollowness, puffiness, dryness, and/or dark circles can affect and annoy people of all ages. Combine this with the fact that very few topical products actually work — except for good undereye concealers as temporary camouflage — and you get a bunch of people desperately searching for a holy grail.
Based on recent sales of Biossance’s Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel ($54), it appears we may have a contender, or at least the hope of one. Since launching in Sephora this past February, this product from a new brand that no one has ever heard of sold out its stock a whopping four times. So what’s the deal?
Biossance is owned by parent company Amyris, a biotech company focused on replicating sustainable versions of commonly used ingredients that are derived from petroleum or other non-sustainable sources. One of its marquee ingredients is squalane, a commonly used skincare ingredient.
Squalane is a more stable form of squalene, which is an oil that occurs naturally in the body but decreases with age, making dry skin more likely. Traditionally, squalane in beauty products came from shark liver oil. When both North America and Europe banned that in 2009, olive oil became a major source. But Amyris figured out how to do it even more sustainably using sugar cane, and now supplies its squalane to over 450 brands.
The company decided it wanted to launch its own brand because “they thought if they showcased a squalane-based skincare range, it would help cause more disruption in the market” and also bring more awareness to squalane as an ingredient, according to Caroline Hadfield, the senior vice president of the brand. It surely did that.
Biossance launched in January 2016, and then went into Sephora in February 2107 after first refining its message more and redoing all the packaging, per the beauty retailer’s request. “They liked the efficacy, the glide, the quality of the formulations,” says Hadfield. “They liked the intelligence of it, in that squalane is such an active emollient.”
Biossance launched its five-product range (eye gel, 100 percent squalane oil, squalane and vitamin C rose oil, probiotic gel moisturizer, and oil cleanser) on Sephora’s website and in 30 stores. It started gaining noticeable sales traction within the first week, particularly for the eye gel.
“I don’t even think Sephora knew exactly quite why,” says Hadfield. “I think they used the words ‘unprecedented performance’ for a small indie brand straight out of the door.” (All Sephora would comment on the matter is that the Biossance eye gel is “among our best sellers.”) After selling out four times, the company is comfortable that it now has enough stock.
If you can’t find the eye gel in your local Sephora store, you’ll soon be able to. It was picked up as part of the Scouted by Sephora initiative to feature new brands, so the eye gel and the Squalane+Vitamin C Rose Oil ($72) will now be in all Sephora stores. Biossance plans to launch two more products soon — biodegradable cleansing cloths and a mineral sunscreen.
As for whether or not it’s a miracle eye product, the jury’s still out. I suspect several things contributed to the interest in the product. “Non-toxic” and “sustainable” are printed all over the packaging, two words that are important to consumers right now. And it pretty much promises to crush your eye problems: “A dual peptide weightless eye gel that reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark circles, and puffiness.”
So does it perform? I’ve been using it for a few days (including through a crying jag) to get rid of morning puffiness, and I’m cautiously optimistic. It contains aloe, the now-famous squalane, niacinamide (which brightens and tightens), peptides (protein building blocks to help strengthen skin), and tons of plant extracts.
It absorbs quickly, plumps my dry bits, feels good, and didn’t pill under my makeup. But I don’t have terrible undereye bags and Botox takes care of my fine lines, so I can’t vouch for those two claims. But when something gets popular, it’s human nature to assume that means it’s good.
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