Dark Circles Beware: Peace Out’s Retinol Eye Stick Is Not Here to Play

The proof is in the under eyes.
Last Updated
Feb 17, 2022

It's rare for a beauty brand to become notorious for only creating raved-about products. Peace Out Skincare is like a Greatest Hits album—except the soundtrack is all of their formulas. It was the brand's Salicylic Acid Acne Healing Dots and Microneedling Brightening Dots (a must-try for post-acne dark spots) that got me initially hooked. So, when Peace Out did a 180° from its normal acne-related arsenal and ventured into anti-aging, I had to try its latest product geared towards my biggest complexion woe: under eyes. For $28, Peace Out's Retinol Eye Stick promises to tackle hyperpigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area. Its two powerhouse ingredients—retinol and astaxanthin—convinced me that this eye treatment might be different from the countless others I've tried before.

Have I finally said goodbye to tired eyes? Ahead, I break down if Peace Out's Retinol Eye Stick is really worth your time and money in the quest for brighter eyes.

Review At a Glance

Pros

  • Fights fine lines and wrinkles
  • Moisturizing
  • Gentle
  • Improves dark under eyes
  • No mess
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • May pull delicate skin
  • Can not be used with vitamin C or AHA/BHAs
  • Leaves a shiny residue
Photo Courtesy of Savannah Sitton

About My Skin

Let’s get personal, shall we? Generally speaking, my skin and I get along. My complexion is usually clear with one exception: impossibly thin skin around my nose and eyes. This causes my under-eye area to appear dark (when really you're just seeing through my skin) and fine lines are exacerbated when makeup inevitably settles into every nook and crevice. I’ve tried all the eye creams, lotions, primers, pads, DIYs, and banana peels but even when I’m at my healthiest and most rested self I still have prominent dark circles. Since I don’t yearn for high coverage, I rarely use face makeup (mostly because I’m not gifted at applying foundation) and dream of being able to ditch my concealer. So any product that talks a big game has my attention and today, it’s Peace Out’s new Retinol Eye Stick.  

Photo Courtesy of Savannah Sitton

About Peace Out’s Retinol Eye Stick

Launched in 2017 by Enrico Frezza to solve his own acne woes, Peace Out Skincare has become one of Sephora’s best-selling brands thanks to its viral nose strips, five-star acne serum, and now the retinol eye stick. 

This serum-balm hybrid promises to combat signs of aging around the eyes while smoothing texture and lessening the appearance of dark circles. The powerful formula is packed with moisturizing ingredients like squalene and peptides to counteract the retinol’s drying effect. In addition, this retinol eye stick claims to solve one of retinoids' biggest concerns: sensitivity. From purging to peeling, retinoids can cause a slew of hurdles. The harsh vitamin A-derivative is expected to run amuck on your face until your skin gets acclimated before seeing potential benefits. But for those with sensitive and thin skin, the process can be too brutal to endure. However, Peace Out opted for an encapsulated retinol. 

What is encapsulated retinol? 

It means the retinol molecule is placed inside of another carrying molecule which slowly breaks down upon application to release the protected retinol slower rather than all at once. In addition to other nourishing ingredients like peptide complex (which aids in collagen and elastin production), vegan squalene (to counteract dryness), and astaxanthin (to reduce fine lines and dark spots), this skin-friendly formula is ideal for all skin types, especially those on the more sensitive side. 

Who Is the Peace Out Retinol Eye Stick Intended For?

Though the brand insists that the retinol stick is safe for sensitive skin, it's a good rule of thumb to test any new product with a swatch patch on the inner arm before applying it to the face. The brand suggests introducing it into your regimen once a week, especially if temperamental skin is a concern. 

Of course, if you’re allergic or have had extreme negative reactions to any of the listed ingredients in the past, you’d best sit this one out. Conversely, for those that have tried harsher chemicals like AHA/BHAs or retinoids but couldn’t commit to the purging and acclimating process, this may be the perfect product to try since it’s specially formulated to be an extra gentle option. 

Furthermore, if you’re actively trying to reverse deep wrinkles and thin under-eye skin, this product may not be your most effective bet, but it is a low-commitment option that certainly won’t hurt. It’s ideal for beginners or lackadaisical users and the quickest step in any nightly regimen.

How Do You Use Peace Out's Retinol Eye Stick?

The clear formula is packaged into a concentrated wand with a retractable base. Application is simple: gently swipe on starting at the top sides of your nose, around to your eyelids, and inward below your brows creating a C motion. Swipe once or twice to fully transfer the product into your skin. The lipstick-like tube makes this a completely mess-free process, which is a big gold star in my book. For smooth application, make sure to apply just enough pressure so the formula melts into your skin without pulling or dragging. 

Because it is a serum-balm hybrid, it should be applied after essences and toners and before heavy moisturizers. If you use a cream or oil first, the stick will only glide right over it without transferring any of the product to your skin. Despite its gentle and nourishing ingredients, it is a retinol so be sure to use it only before bed and apply SPF the next day to keep your complexion protected.

It's also important to note that this product must not be used alongside vitamin C or AHA/BHAs. These ingredients do not mix well and will irritate (or in some cases burn) your skin. 

Photo Courtesy of Savannah Sitton

My Results

Before testing Peace Out's Retinol Eye Stick, Ole Henriksen's Banana Bright Eye Crème was the only product that made a visible difference in combatting my dark under-eye circles. I'm happy to report that Peace Out has made its way into my skincare rotation. I love the fact that I don't have to use my fingers to scoop out any product—a game-changer in terms of sanitation. 

Although I will still reach for my trusty Banana Bright, overusing it causes milia for me. So far, the Retinol Eye Stick hasn’t yielded these results—likely because, in its essence, it’s a lightweight serum. Plus, the infusion of soothing ingredients like papaya seed oil, pumpkin seed extract, raspberry, blueberry, olive fruit oils, and bakuchiol (a natural and gentle alternative to retinol and AHA/BHA) helps keep my complexion bright and clear and the milia at bay. 

The Final Verdict

After two months of testing, Peace Out made a firm believer out of me. I wouldn’t have guessed that such a tiny thing (in pretty, tidy packaging no less) would help me achieve what I thought only cosmetic procedures could accomplish. My under-eye wrinkles have significantly smoothed out. Now, when I apply concealer there’s hardly any creasing. Within the first two weeks of use, I noticed my eyes looked illuminated from the inside as if I’d gotten a full nine hours of beauty sleep. Skin as thin as mine usually requires filler or laser treatments to see visible results, so imagine my surprise when I noticed an adequate increase of lightness (a shade or two lighter) around my inner under eyes near the one-month mark of testing. It wasn't enough to trash my concealer completely but the results were certainly exciting considering no med spas were visited—and that is nothing short of a treasure. 

The product does leave behind a noticeable shine, so if you're not a fan of an overly dewy look, take caution. Although the balm is pretty transparent, it provides a micro amount of natural tint that leaves an even and hydrated look. 

All in all, Peace Out’s Retinol Eye Stick is worth it. I’m delighted with the results and convinced to keep up with it. Could the progress get even better? I’m willing to find out. 

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