Usually I don't think twice about shopping at discount retailers. Name-brand clothing for a fraction of the price? Yes, please!

Usually I don't think twice about shopping at discount retailers. Name-brand clothing for a fraction of the price? Yes, please!

But as I'm looking through racks of last season's must-haves, I flit right past the cosmetics. Their unfamiliar names and foreign-sounding ingredients promise to lift, tone and moisturize for only a few dollars, so why don't I take advantage? Do their promises mean less at discount stores than in department stores?

On a recent trip to Marshall's, I picked up these four eye serums for less than $8 each, intending to answer those very questions. While their wording and ingredients varied a bit, each product promised to immediately lift and tone - and after some testing, none resulted in blindness (thanks to Brad Keefe for his concern).

Hydra Mar

Antioxidant C Eye Lift Serum

$6, $25 online

A clear, thick and unscented gel that went on cool and tingly, and when dry, immediately felt tight.

The promise: Especially effective on swollen, sagging, tired skin

Pros: Hypo-allergenic

Cons: Contains parabens

Overall tightening: 3 of 4 stars

Absolute Organic

Eye Lifting Serum

$8, $24 online

A light brown, slightly runny liquid that had a pleasant, earthy scent and absorbed easily.

The promise: Combats the visible effects of time, especially crow's feet

Pros: Organic and paraben-free

Cons: Felt tight, but wasn't immediate or long-lasting.

Overall tightening: 2 of 4

Mineral From the Dead Sea

Derma Repair Eye Lifting Gel

$6, online price N/A

A thick, odorless gel that went on smooth and cool.

The promise: Essential oils and plant extracts nourish the eye area.

Pros: The ingredients include friendly and familiar grapefruit peel, calendula and lavender.

Cons: Not being found for sale online makes it a bit questionable.

Overall tightening: 3 of 4

Danielle Laroche

Eye Serum

$8, $20 online

A cream-colored and slightly runny gel that absorbed easily.

The promise: Results in a long-term benefit when used regularly.

Pro: Promises to protect delicate skin.

Con: Smells like something your grandmother would use and there wasn't a noticeable benefit from short-term use.

Overall tightening: 1 of 4 stars