A quick Google of Elizabeth Arden’s legendary Eight Hour Cream will have you convinced that this cult classic will cure all it touches. So will the blurb on the back of the packaging: it ‘soothes, restores, calms and helps relieve chapped, cracked, dry skin… soothes roughness, redness and minor skin irritations… provides anti-inflammatory benefits… soothes and comforts minor weather burns, scrapes and abrasions’. That’s a lot of soothing for one tube.
Eight Hour Cream comes armed with glowing reviews, celebrity endorsements (Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rachel Bilson, Amanda Peet, Jennifer Love-Hewitt) and an illustrious 80 year heritage from Liz Arden herself, who used it to soothe the legs of her horses.
I think the fact it was suitable to be used on horses highlights one of the main reasons I didn’t really get on with it – it really is industrial-strength, heavyweight stuff. And it really isn’t a cream; at best, it’s a balm but more accurately, it’s a thick orange-coloured wax with a strong medicinal smell.
I dismissed the smell saying ‘it’s not as if I’m going to eat it’ but I found myself inadvertently doing just that when I used it on my lips – a not entirely pleasant experience. I’ve been struggling with really dry lips for months now and, after reading about the Eight Hour Cream, thought it was time to bring out the big guns. The results were disappointing – after weeks, it looked and felt no better than using my regular balm. And what with the orange colour, unpleasant smell and taste, too-shiny finish and higher price tag, I think I’ll stick to my trusty make-up miracle Vaseline.
One of the major problems I encountered with the Eight Hour Cream was just how sticky it was. Although it claims to be great for cracked and dry skin, which I have aplenty, I found it a hard job keeping it there long enough for it to work its magic (its name comes from a client saying it made her child’s scraped knee all better in just eight hours). Strands of hair would frequently stick to my lips, which would in turn wipe off all the cream onto whatever glasses and bottles I’d drink from. I’d rub the Eight Hour Cream into my dry, peeling hands only to then find most of it rubbing off onto my bathroom’s doorknob when I left! Some make-up artists recommend using it as a shiny highlighter for cheeks – surely only possible in the controlled conditions of a photo-shoot and with a Croydon facelift hairdo!
On the places that haven’t come into close contact with surfaces, I can see some of the hype for 8 Hour. I had an itchy, flaking elbow that I dosed up with 8 Hour before I went to bed and by the next morning, it was nearly all better – so I guess that client from decades ago wasn’t just a figment of a PR’s imagination.
Overall, Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream fell short of expectations. I’ll be sticking to Vaseline, which I find better in nearly every aspect (texture, colour, taste, results, variety of uses), and keep 8 Hour for more serious skin complaints on anywhere other than my face. Even though I’m in no rush to buy again, one of the pros of the cream is that one tube does seem to last ages so it looks like it will be a bathroom cabinet staple for a while to come!