In my mid-40s, when my mother gifted me with the Peter Thomas Roth Instant FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener, I was taken aback. Was I really that wrinkly? After dismissing my ego, I decided to try the product and, lo and behold, it actually worked, smoothing the (OK, slightly wrinkled) skin around my eyes. Eventually, life, laziness and my lack of serious wrinkles got in the way of me using the FIRMx Eye Tightener regularly, and I forgot all about it.
Now, almost 10 years later, the cult-favorite eye treatment is having a huge resurgence, in large part due to a viral TikTok video. The video — which has over 43 million views — shows user @trinidad1967 applying the Peter Thomas Roth product to her skin, and you can watch her under-eye bags completely disappear by the time the three-minute clip ends.
Needless to say, the eye treatment started to fly off shelves — almost as quickly as the disappearance of @trinidad1967's under-eye bags. For weeks after the video went viral, the FIRMx Eye Tightener was almost impossible to get and was either sold out or back-ordered on every online store I checked. I even popped into my local Sephora and Ulta, only to leave empty-handed and disappointed. After some waiting and internet scouring, I was able to get my hands on the magic one-ounce tube, thanks to a surprise restock (which didn't last long). It took more than three weeks to arrive at my door, but it was worth the wait.
The instructions are simple enough. All you need to start is a clean, dry face. The brand recommends washing your skin with an oil-free cleanser for this product to work its best. Trust me, this isn't a step you should skip. The gel won’t be able to bind to your skin if there's any foundation or concealer still on it.
Unlike my first time trying the FIRMx Eye Tightener, when I used my fingertip to apply it, I did as the illustrated instructions suggest and used a small nylon makeup brush. While you're free to use any application tool you like, using the brush can help minimize the appearance of white streaks and pilling. The instructions say to use the gel under and on the side of the eyes, as well as above and below the brows; just avoid “the moveable part of the eyelid.”
The treatment completely dried down very quickly, and I could feel it go to work almost immediately. Under-eye bags aren’t the worst of my problems, but wrinkles, crow’s feet, and sun damage have crept up on me through the years. I also have deep “number eleven” lines between my eyes from years of squinting, when I should have been wearing sunglasses. A subtle tightening kicked in within seconds, and these fine lines were pulled taut. I could also see a nice firming of the entire area between my cheek bones and lower forehead.
Tip: If you rush the application, use too much product or touch it before it dries, you will likely deal with pilling, streaking or a whitish residue forming. All are avoidable by using as little of the gel as possible and being patient with the drying. I learned this the hard way, when I touched the area under my left eye while it was still wet and had to wash it off and start over. However, once dry, you’re good to go! You can even move on to applying the rest of your makeup on top of it, including foundation and powder.
While the disappearing under-eye effect wasn’t visible on me, I had my in-laws try it to see if they'd experience the same magical outcome as @trinidad1967 — and the results were unbelievable. Just a few small swipes of the FIRMx Eye Tightener around their eyes took off years within seconds. I could literally see the puffiness waning as I watched. All of us were pleasantly surprised after initially doubting how much the product would be able to accomplish. And if there's one thing I know for sure: I’ll be keeping this product on hand for days when I have allergy-induced puffy eyes or margarita-induced morning-after bags.
I know what you're thinking ... how does it work? I'm no dermatologist, but a quick glance at the back of the tube shows that the tightening treatment contains a list of skin-safe ingredients (free of parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates and more), and the formula has been tested by ophthalmologists. According to the brand, the firming action comes from a combination of silicates and peptide complexes, which work to tighten and smooth wrinkles and de-puff under-eye bags.
Two hours after using the FIRMx Eye Tightener, my skin still looked fresher than usual. No little gel balls, no white residue, and it still felt tight, if not slightly tacky to the touch. I sat down with my family to see if they’d notice — they didn’t, but I didn't mind. I could feel the difference, and that little confidence boost was all that mattered. And I love that the tightening effect lasted all day, right up until I began my nighttime routine and started removing my makeup.
This time around, I won’t let my lackadaisical ways stop me from using this fantastic eye fix. It’s a definite keeper!