Elizabeth Arden’s Swiss Army Knife


One of beauty’s most mentioned products is actually a big fat lie: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream is not a cream. Which isn’t to say it isn’t great (because we’re telling you, it is). But on the scale of straight up petroleum jelly to literal whipped cream, this would fall somewhere in the balm region—apricot tinted, viscous, and so ridiculously useful it doesn’t matter what you call it, just buy some already.

It certainly has a nostalgic hold on our hearts—for so many of us, including Annabelle Dexter-Jones, was among our first beauty-product memories. For the history buffs, a quick narrative: Ms. Arden (her name was actually Florence Nightingale Graham, which is also awesome) developed the petrolatum, beta-hydroxy, and vitamin E cocktail in the 1930s, and was known, on occasion, to dab some of the ointment on her horses' bruises. Legend has it, the "eight hour" title comes from one happy customer’s experience healing her son’s scraped knee with a smear of the stuff in that exact window of time.

In addition to said healing properties, glossy gel has a definite beautifying effect, whether applied to tame eyebrows or gloss lids—use it anywhere you would use Touche Éclat, illuminator, or lip gloss. But again, don’t take our word for it:

Many live the words so aptly put by Bibi Cornejo Borthwick grandmother: "If there’s ever anything wrong on your body, just put that on.” Notably, Tabitha Simmons for sunburns and subsequent peels; Swedish beauty Helena Carlberg for dry skin; Danish jewelry designer Sophie Bille Brahe for cuticles; and makeup artist-slash-beauty editor Isamaya Ffrench for everything else. It feels more relevant now than ever applied as a devil-may-care eye shadow with a dewy sheen. (Jessica Stam agrees.) Be forewarned: as Vogue's Kelly Connor says, Eight Hour Cream is "seriously addicting”—you'll use it anywhere and everywhere. And if you've discovered other uses than those mentioned here, please, do tell.

Photos by Elizabeth Brockway.

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  • Bolly


  • Evelyn Brockmann

    "The ointment spread easily and, as it seemed to Margarita, evaporated at
    once. Having rubbed several times, Margarita glanced into the mirror and
    dropped the box right on her watch crystal, which became covered with
    cracks. Margarita closed her eyes, then glanced once again and burst into
    stormy laughter.

    Her eyebrows, plucked to a thread with tweezers, thickened and lay in
    even black arches over her greening eyes. The thin vertical crease cutting
    the bridge of her nose, which had appeared back then, in October, when the
    master vanished, disappeared without a trace. So did the yellowish shadows
    at her temples and the two barely noticeable little webs of wrinkles at the
    outer corners of her eyes. The skin of her cheeks filled out with an even
    pink colour, her forehead became white and clear, and the hairdresser's
    waves in her hair came undone.

    From the mirror a naturally curly, black-haired woman of about twenty
    was looking at the thirty-year-old Margarita, baring her teeth and shaking
    with laughter.

    Having laughed her fill, Margarita jumped out of her bathrobe with a
    single leap, dipped freely into the light, rich cream, and with vigorous
    strokes began rubbing it into the skin of her body. It at once turned pink
    and ringly. That instant, as if a needle had been snatched from her brain,
    the ache she had felt in her temple all evening after the meeting in the
    Alexandrovsky Garden subsided, her leg and arm muscles grew stronger, and
    then Margarita's body became weightless.

    She sprang up and hung in the air just above the rug, then was slowly
    pulled down and descended.

    'What a cream! What a cream!' cried Margarita, throwing herself into an

    Bulgakov must have been thinking about Eight Hour cream when writing this passage.

    • Ona_in_Barcelona

      Oh, bravo! I love this passage!

  • Lubo1980

    It was the only thing that cleared up my son's nappy rash. Not even prescribed steroid cream came close to working the magic that this stuff did.

  • Paulina Villalpando

    I need to give it a try!

  • http://www.abeautymark.com/ NazNYC

    But it's Petrolatum...I always thought that was pretty bad for you.

    • bluesky557

      It's not.

  • bluesky557

    Aquaphor works just as well and has mostly the same ingredients for way less money.

    • alex

      Which aquaphor product?

  • Elias

    My favorite way to use the eight hour cream right now is mixing a pea size with coconut oil. Smells amazing & give you such an amazing glow without looking shiny!

    • Ellie

      Do you just pat that on top of your makeup?

      • Elias

        No I don't wear any makeup! Just the coconut oil, eight hour cream & SPF!

  • Haiku Jew

    I dream of this cream
    and like that it's fragrance-free
    won't waft in yoga.

  • http://charlottesophiaroberts.blogspot.co.uk Charlotte Roberts

    I really want to try this! Just seems a tad expensive and I don't know whether to commit or not :/

    • Christie

      I've found countless tubes of it at Marshalls! Totally cheaper, just an fyi.

    • http://badoutfitgreatlipstick.blogspot.com Nae

      Definitely look for it in discount stores, like TJ Maxxx, and on eBay--a lot of people sell sample tubes there.

      • http://charlottesophiaroberts.blogspot.co.uk Charlotte Roberts

        Thanks! Will have a look :)

  • Bella

    I bought a tube of Eight Hour cream on my way to the gym 12 years ago.I didn't even test it; it was a purely hype based purchase. I opened it after my workout, meaning to use it on weather parched lips and hands, but was so powerfully assaulted by the horrible smell that I tossed the tube into the changeroom garbage can. (There's no returning opened products in this country).
    I just don't get it.

  • Lara de Mercy

    Ha the headline is so fitting! I am not a fan of the smell but I simply love how smooth this leaves my lips after leaing it on all night :) x

  • http://badoutfitgreatlipstick.blogspot.com Nae

    I am one of those ridiculous people who uses EA8HC for just about everything. It's my nightly lip treatment, no doubt...but it's also my lipgloss, a highlighter, a moisturizer for my lashes and brows, a cuticle softener, and my #1 lifesaver when the skin around my nose is torn up from a sinus infection. It was perfect for my sister's wedding, when said sibling and the other bridesmaids needed major lip exfoliation.

    Also, I know a lot of people complain about the smell and taste...but I love it. Get the fragrance-free tubes and leave the originals at TJ Maxxx for meeeee!

    Basically, I've written one too many blogposts about this stuff. It's my love.

  • Carol

    It heals pimples and zits!! I just dab it and put a bandaid on top, leave it overnight and they're gone.

  • E

    I believe the petroleum jelly causes breast cancer myth has been debunked: http://thebeautybrains.com/2006/10/08/does-petroleum-jelly-cause-cancer/ and http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/product/277081/Vaseline_for_Dry_Skin_Petroleum_Jelly_Jar/ from EWG, which gave it a 0 hazard rating.

    Petroleum jelly is an occlusive moisturizer meaning that it traps any moisture already present in the skin. Another type of moisturizer would be hyaluronic acid which attracts water from the environment. Derms often recommend to use petroleum jelly right after getting out of the shower.

    The acne bit is plausible because acne is caused by blocked hair follicles that trap sebum and putting something occlusive would further irritate it.

  • Elias Cardenas

    dude samee, the smell is one of the best parts! I can't understand how people want the unscented version lol

  • Trish Lau

    I once blend some eight hour cream with cle de peau silky foundation and vola! An super moisturizing foundation for cold Canadian winter!
    P.S. I have combination skin and I only blotted once (with toilet sheet paper) at lunch!

    Also I use it as a sleeping mask for very dry/ cold days~