By Sarah Walter
Aug 17, 2014 @ 6:05 pm

In the 15-plus years I’ve been covering the beauty market, I’ve slathered on more caffeine-laced eye creams than I care to admit. I’ve scared my Labrador with frozen face masks, and unnerved my husband with a handheld zapping device that—while surprisingly effective at toning my upper eyelid droop— did nothing to firm up the swollen American Tourister luggage under my lower lashes.

So you can imagine my delight when I heard about Neotensil—a new system developed by the MIT braniacs at Living Proof—that promises to do for under eye circles what Yummy Tummy did for my post-pregnancy mid section. Breathless with a kind of giddy, I’ve-seen-the-future-and-it’s-in-this-box excitement, senior beauty editor Angelique Serrano explained how the two-part system works: First, you lay down a smooth layer of the “reshaping base,” then you glide the “activating layer” on top and within an hour, the product starts to "crosslink," forming an invisible girdle that sucks in any loose skin. I could barely wait until the next day to get my hands on the product.

This turned out to be harder than I expected: You see, you can’t just pop into any old store and pick up a kit; you have to make an appointment with a dermatologist for a training session before you can buy it. Attempting to circumvent this process, I reached out to Neotensil. After sending them a series of humiliating shots of my under eye deterioration (try snapping a selfie while looking up at the ceiling and you’ll see what I’m talking about) I was informed that my bags were “mild” (on a scale of 1 -9, they said I was a 2) and that I therefore probably wasn’t a good candidate for the treatment.

Well hell hath no determination like a former beauty editor with two kids, one dog and a collagen-elastin matrix in need of fine-tuning (my bags, I told myself with a degree with dysmorphia usually reserved for dressing rooms, were at least a 4). I told them not to worry, I had the product here in the office and I would simply watch the YouTube tutorial myself and go at it alone. I tweeted my intentions and left the office, my purse bulging with the contraband.

Model photo courtesy of Neotensils

When I got home, I carefully removed all of my eye makeup using the enclosed cleansing wipes, snapped a “before” selfie, then applied each layer of the product with the reshaping tool. And then I waited. The instruction booklet said it would take 1-3 hour for the product to take full effect but within minutes the skin under my lower lids seemed noticeably more smooth and taut. “Did this really obliterate not just my puffiness but also my crow’s feet?” I wondered aloud as I peered incredulously into the mirror. I snapped an “after” shot and then quickly used the app Pic Stitch to compare the results. “Wow,” I thought, grinning maniacally at the juxtaposed images. “This is the next best thing to blepharoplasty.”

Not fully trusting myself, I decided to do a double blind placebo controlled test (or at least the closest I could approximate this scientific rigor within the confines of my NYC apartment). Using my husband as a guinea pig, I carefully applied both the product and a placebo to his right and left eyes. Then I quizzed our most discerning family member: 5-year-old Olivia. Which eye looks better? I asked. “That one!” she said pointing to my husband’s taut left eye, the one cocooned in the Neotensil sheath. I then questioned both my son and my husband. The consensus: The left eye was definitely tighter.

The next day, the Neotensil team—alarmed by the prospect of me going rogue and testing it on my own—showed up at my office to give me a proper tutorial. I knew they were coming so I had taken pains (2 glasses of wine and a heaping plate of shrimp pad Thai) to ensure my bags would be Hefty. I was in rare, bulging form.

The Neotensil trainer was not impressed, however, insisting with good humor that I was still a “2” on the Biesman Anderson Gilchrest Lower Lid Typing Scale. Nevertheless, she went through with the demonstration, carefully applying the product to both of my eyes. Once again, I felt the tightening sensation. And once again, my undereye bags disappeared. However, this time, once the product had fully “set” she topped it off with the pièce de resistance: a flesh-tinted powder that eliminated any hint of darkness (this concealer, which is sold separately for $45, is the only kind of cover up that works with Neotensil). And voila—my lower lids hadn’t look this bright and tight since my late 20s.

Bottom line: Yep, it really does work. As in, I haven’t seen a product this dazzling since they first started injecting wrinkles with Botox. One caveat: If you don’t apply (and blend) it just right, the edges can flake a bit, leaving you with VPL (visible product lines). This is why they insist on training consumers before handing over the goods (it’s worth noting, however, that I had no trouble applying it successfully after watching just one YouTube tutorial). The real downside? It’s expensive. The full kit costs $500 for a 7-week daily supply. At roughly $10 per wear, you may want to save that under eye girdle for special occasions.

Want to dive deeper into complexion? Check out this beauty machine that measures the age of your skin.