Goodbye tired eyes: Eye Masks

Eye masks. Do they do anything or is it just a slippery, goopy, marketing mess? 

Eye Cream - Eye Mask - Mask - Serum - Skincare

I love any sort of at-home facial treatment.  Spa-scented double cleansing, enzyme peels, clay masks, gua sha massage, extraction gadgets and micro current devises.  As more and more products hit retailers, the humble eye mask is starting to feel like one of the originals.

Little fabric or gel pads in wave-like shapes that no-one seems to know which end goes where – but do they do anything? And which are worth your time? In effect, most eye masks are simply a piece of either fabric, cloth, gel or rubber that are soaked in a hydrating serum and applied to the skin under the eyes, whereby giving the skin an intensive moisture boost. Some have cooling effects, which aid in de-puffing – but most can be stored in the fridge to utilise this benefit too.

If you’re already using an eye cream, you’re likely getting all the benefits of eye masks daily without needing a weekly boost, but eye masks are nonetheless a relaxing, satisfying addition to an at-home facial or a nice little add-on when you have five minutes to yourself to relax.

Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels are undoubtedly one of the most Instagram-obvious eye mask choices. Some makeup artists suggest using them pre-makeup as a way of guiding your eyeshadow placement, prepping the skin, and preventing powder fall-out.  But of all the eye masks I’ve tried, these are my least favourite and the most perplexing.  The adhesive serum side is sticky no doubt, adhering easily to the skin, but doesn’t give the feeling of any benefit at all to this side of the patch.  The outer side, is a fabric band-aid like texture.  They are supposedly infused with glycerin and olive oil but these eye masks don’t seem to overwhelm my skin with any hydration, de-puffing or skincare benefits, and following removal my skin was a little red and irritated.

Eye masks, and face masks in general, are notoriously expensive. At the more affordable end of the spectrum I like the Mecca Cosmetica Bright Eyed Eye Masks. Undoubtedly novel to look at, these gold-flecked gel undereye masks help to cool, hydrate and de-puff sleepy eyes. You can store them in the fridge for extra cooling capabilities, and they’re a nice start to your makeup routine – or a refreshing skincare moment at the end of a long day. A perfect, purse-friendly pick me up if your under eyes are suffering from sleeplessness, tears, or too much indulging.

Estee Lauder released their Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask a number of years ago to almost instant popularity. These masks are soaked in their ANR serum (by you, at the time of application) and certainly give the skin a real boost of product. Being skeptical myself, while on a long-haul flight I gave a pair of these to a friend to try. After removing the pads she was surprised – and impressed – noticing a visible difference to her skin firmness and general tired-lookingness. If you have sensitive skin you may find these a little too potent, but I feel more mature skins will soak it up and enjoy.

Another mainstream brand with the goods is Guerlain.  The Super Acqua-Eye Patches are clear, jelly-textured patches that feel lusciously cooling and adhere well to the skin. Being transparent, they’re also a travel-friendly option for those who want to mask mid-flight without terrifying the passenger next to you. I’ve applied these on planes and they’ve gone undetected, leaving my eyes feeling refreshed and hydrated on landing. They claim to hydrate and smooth, and that’s exactly what they do – a department store favourite.

A disappointing masking moment was Knesko Skin Nanogold Repair Eye Mask.  Claiming to be gold infused and doing everything from firming to repairing and hydrating, it was the aloe vera, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid in the ingredients list that got me interested. But although these hydrogel eye masks are gorgeously packaged, they’re so slippery that they slide all over the face. If you’re able to lay flat for the full 15-30 minutes, these will leave your skin hydrated and refreshed, but if you like to be able to move around while masking these may end up sliding down to your chin rather than helping your undereyes.

Speaking of gold, Chantecaille’s Gold Energizing Eye Recovery Masks are one of the most luxe – and pricey – eye masks on the market. A beautiful gift for a skincare lover, they’re infused with the classic Chantecaille ingredient rose water and are a decadent at-home treatment. The serum soaked patches work to de-puff and hydrate and reduce the look of fine lines. I love the small, travel friendly packaging and using these masks is the seamless, pleasant experience you would expect from Chantecaille skincare.

Perhaps at the top of the eye mask tree sits the Clé de Peau Vitality Enhancing Eye Mask Supreme, and not just because they’re the most expensive. These really take eye masks to the next level and cover the forehead, temples, nose, much of the cheeks as well as the undereye area.  Not enough? They can also cover the eye lids if you choose. The idea behind this design is that the forehead muscles control the lifting of the eyebrows and therefore need as much love as the under, and entire eye area. You get just six masks in a pack, they’re infused with iris florentina extract to aid with de-wrinkling and leave the skin feeling de-puffed, hydrated and bouncy.

The Vitality Enhancing Eye Mask Supreme is a goopy, soft cloth style mask – the kind that gives you Michael Myers Halloween vibes. It adheres to the skin really well so there’s no sliding off halfway into your ten-minute masking session. While undoubtedly expensive, I like the fact that you’re getting three quarters of a full face mask for your money, as opposed to two tiny under eye patches. This isn’t one I’d be applying mid-flight for fear of frightening my co-passengers, but it’s a lay down for ten minutes and rest at-home treatment. I leave the mask on for well over the recommended ten minutes, and give my face a gentle finger-tip massage before removing the sheet to help press in as much product as possible. You’ll find quite a lot of the cream-serum is released that you can then spread around the rest of the face – waste not, want not, after all. Even following a sneaky thirty minute wear-test, my mask never went completely dry, and I was left with incredibly soft, bouncy serum-soaked skin.

Are you a fan of eye masks? Let me know your favourites on Instagram.

Find Skyn Iceland at Mecca

Find Mecca Cosmetica at Mecca

Find Estee Lauder at Sephora and Nordstrom

Find Guerlain at Nordstrom

Find Knesko at Mecca

Find Chantecaille at Mecca and Space NK

Find Clé de Peau at Harrods

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