They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. If that’s the case, what do our sleep-deprived, perpetually exhausted under-eye bags say about us?
Exhausted and burnt out are terms that instantly come to mind. But in our defence, our blinkers are put through an exponential amount of work. From staring at spreadsheets for hours on end to trying to keep them open on a Thursday night during a Netflix binge. Not to mention the plight of incoming hay fever season (joy) and the glorious allergies that come with the terrain. With this in mind, a bit of TLC is always a good idea.
Enter onto the scene under eye masks/patches. Originally created and popularised by K-beauty brands, they have become a welcome addition to the UK market, with well-loved high street brands such as Pixi and INC catching on to the trend.
We’re not at all surprised by their popularity, as they are a brilliant solution to perking up before a big night (or hiding the evidence of one). The masks usually come in the form of jelly-like half moon-shaped patches but are also available in a cloth form. They often come ready-soaked in a cocktail of powerful serum formulas which can tackle everything from puffiness and dehydration to anti-ageing concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Not only are they essentially a mini skincare treatment that can be done from the comfort of your bedroom, but they are also a great opportunity to zone out and take some time out for necessary self-care.
With so many different brands/price points/formulations, finding the right one for your particular under-eye area concerns can be a bit of a minefield. With this in mind, we’ve taken out the guesswork and trialled a wide selection – all with different claims and benefits.
How we tested
Over three weeks, we tested a wide range of under-eye patches to ensure that all requirements were covered – from intensive anti-ageing properties to overall hydrating boosts. We also selected items with varying price points to ensure that all budgets were catered for.
Our tester is in their mid/late thirties and suffers from sensitive, allergy-prone eyes with general puffiness and fine lines. It was crucial for each mask that made the cut to be suitable for sensitive, watery eyes and provide hydration. We were also keen to find products with extra benefits such as brightening and anti-ageing, but as it can usually take numerous repeated applications for any visual difference, we did not let this influence our reviews.
These are the best under-eye masks for 2022:
Best overall – Starskin the gold mask eye: £17.60, Feelunique.com
Best for hydrating the under eyes – Rodial dragon’s blood jelly eye patches: £8.99, Amazon.co.uk
Best shape and size – Tired AF Cosmetics happy eyes ultra-hydrating eye mask: £11, Tiredafcosmetics.com
Best for a quick fix – PopMask angel eyes under eye hydrogel patches: £15, Thepopband.com
Best for nighttime – Inc.Redible party recharge soothing melatonin under eye masks: £15, Nailsinc.com
Best for sustainability – Haeckels bio-restore membrane eye treatment masks: £32, Thenorahstore.com
Best for organic ingredients – Juice Beauty stem cellular eye lift algae mask: £15, Juicebeauty.com
Best for luminosity – 111Skin rose gold illuminating eye mask, pack of 8: £75, 111skin.co.uk
Best for depuffing – Pixi detoxifEYE depuffing eye patches: £22, Boots.com
Best dark circles remedy – Bliss eye got this holographic foil eye masks: £3.95, Beautybay.com
Best for retinol – Beauty Pro retinol under eye patch: £5, Beautypro.com
Best for anti-ageing ingredients – Katherine Daniels instant effect eye masks: £71, Katherinedanielscosmetics.com
Starskin the gold mask eye
Who doesn’t want to adorn their eyes with gold? Starskin’s gorgeous gold leaf inspired under eye masks were undoubtedly the most attractive of the bunch, but not only that, but we were also highly impressed with the formulation.
Each mask is infused with 83 per cent rose of Jericho – a hero ingredient that facilitates optimum hydration. It’s also worth noting that having under eyes that Cleopatra would have approved of is not just for the Gram. The luxury gold cellulose fabric ensures that the skin’s natural heat is locked in for maximum absorption of the highly concentrated serum. With all of these ingredients, you would expect these to feel heavy and messy on the skin, but they were quite the opposite – lightweight and stayed put firmly.
Other winning ingredients included are soothing marshmallow extract and butterfly ginger for blue light protection. After leaving these on for 20 minutes, we didn’t want to take them off. The end result? Super smooth, refreshed bright eyes. We truly felt party-ready. A great experience overall, at an affordable price point – it’s no surprise that these came out as our overall best buy. We’re planning to stock up.
Buy now £17.60, Feelunique.com
Rodial dragon’s blood jelly eye patches
Besides sounding like an Eighties metal song, Rodial’s dragon’s blood range is fantastic. Its eye masks are enriched with the unique namesake complex – which is actually a less scary sounding extract from the Croton Lechleri tree, found in South America. The “dragon’s blood” is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, so these are an absolute hero for puffiness. We found our under-eye area feeling intensely hydrated and refreshed after use. There is also a lot of excess serum which is great, as the leftover fluid can be used to massage into your eye area after the patches have been removed – it absorbs in like a dream.
Buy now £8.99, Amazon.co.uk
Tired AF Cosmetics happy eyes ultra-hydrating eye mask
New to the self-care scene, independent UK brand, Tired AF Cosmetics specialises in creating ultra hydrating under-eye masks without neglecting a bit of fun in the process. We also enjoyed the overall cute branding – the Y2K- esque neon pink smiley patches were a welcome addition to our bedside table.
The large, shaped hydrogel patches fit snugly and stayed put – we especially liked how the “smiley” section of the mask fit the right point for our fine lines. We felt refreshed instantly after application and were highly impressed with the cocktail of ultra quenching and brightening ingredients in the essence, such as vitamin c, vitamin e, aloe, collagen and niacinamide. The masks are also vegan-friendly and fragrance-free.
Buy now £11.00, Tiredafcosmetics.com
PopMask angel eyes under eye hydrogel patches
We adored the Black Swan aesthetic of these unique, black, wing-shaped under-eye patches. These were, without a doubt, definitely the easiest and least messy to apply of all. With this in mind, this makes them a great option for makeup prep.
The self-adhesive backing makes them easy to apply and keeps them firmly in place. The added bonus of these being free of parabens, colourant and fragrances also makes them a great option for those of us with sensitive eyes and allergies. These are also infused with caffeine and cucumber extract – exactly what you need to give a much-needed boost in the morning. We also tried these after storing them in the fridge for optimum cooling benefits.
Buy now £15.00, Thepopband.com
Inc.Redible party recharge soothing melatonin under eye masks
When the night is over and the makeup is fully removed, sometimes you need something extra when winding down. That’s where Inc.Redible’s party recharge soothing melatonin under eye masks come to your aid. These come with a little handy plastic tweezer-like tool that enables the masks to be removed with ease (which is also great when you’re exhausted and don’t want to be fumbling around).
The scent took some getting used to, however, but we became accustomed to it after a few minutes and started to enjoy it. These were instantly refreshing and hydrating, but also super relaxing, with the benefits of lavender and melatonin extract – perfect to aid you to a blissful slumber. At £15.00 for a pack of 20 pairs, these also worked out to be great value for money.
Buy now £15.00, Nailsinc.com
Haeckels bio-restore membrane eye treatment masks
As far as sustainability goes, Haekels bio-restore membrane eye treatment masks tick all the boxes. Impressively, every aspect of this product and the packaging is completely waste-free. Not only that, the products are grown to order by the Haekels Lab in Margate, which easily makes them the most conscious, planet-friendly option of the bunch.
The masks come in a petri dish and are activated within 15 seconds with a few splashes of cold water. After activation, these easily adhered to skin. We could feel the soothing benefits of camomile, aloe vera, cucumber and seaweed extract, and the addition of hyaluronic acid provided a much-needed moisture boost and made our eyes feel refreshed and rested.
We also adored the heavy terrazzo effect (obviously fully recyclable) jar that these were housed in, making them a great gift for an eco-conscious pal.
Unfortunately these eye masks are out of stock at the moment so keep an eye on the Country Attire website for their restock.
Buy now £32.00, Thenorahstore.com
Juice Beauty stem cellular eye lift algae mask
For an instant, organic boost before a big event, Juice Beauty has got your back. Its stem cellular instant eye lift algae mask is a two-step kit which combines freeze-dried algae patches (as opposed to cotton pads) and a nutrient-infused activator – rich in ingredients such as vitamin c, aloe, white tea leaf and cucumber extract and Juice’s own custom blend of fruit stem cells.
We found the application process easy and our under eyes were left feeling perky, revived and smooth. With a list of ingredients that we’re very sure that Gwyneth would approve of, it’s a no-brainier why this is our top organic/clean pick.
Buy now £15.00, Juicebeauty.com
111Skin rose gold illuminating eye mask, pack of 8
We’re all chasing that lit from within glow, so we were intrigued by 111 skin’s rose gold illuminating masks. These contain potent ingredients such as rose, pomegranate and colloidal gold to facilitate radiance and illumination. They also claim to brighten the complexion over time by targeting areas of pigmentation – a common under-eye concern. After 20 minutes, our eyes definitely felt tighter, rested and smoother, and our puffiness had reduced slightly. We may have even noticed a subtle glow. As a result, we’re curious to see how continued usage works.
Buy now £75.00, 111skin.co.uk
Pixi detoxifEYE depuffing eye patches
For the ultimate morning wake-up treatment, we really rated Pixi’s detoxifEYE patches. These are absolutely saturated in essence, so expect a bit of mess alongside an intense hydration boost. At £22.00 for 30 patches, these also work out to be an absolute bargain, coming in at under 75p for a pair – pretty impressive considering the cocktail of nourishing ingredients, such as fruit botanicals, coconut, hyaluronic acid and caffeine.
We left these on for 10 minutes and felt like we’d had a short power nap. As there is so much excess serum after removing the patches, we used this to tap into the corners of our eyes. The result? Refreshed, depuffed and ready to face the day.
Buy now £22.00, Boots.com
Bliss eye got this holographic foil eye masks
Who says your skincare treatments shouldn’t be holographic and celestial? Bliss’s decorative holographic foil eye masks aren’t just great for party prep but are also formulated with a host of powerful ingredients sure to awaken the dullest of dark circles. The addition of hexapeptide (which helps to decrease signs of ageing and stimulate collagen) makes these not just good for the mere price of £3.95, but very good in general. These applied like a dream (no pun intended) and left our under-eye area feeling super soft and looking truly fresh and brightened. We were only annoyed that such a great glow was wasted at 9pm on a Sunday night.
Buy now £3.95, Beautybay.com
Beauty Pro retinol under eye patch
If you’re looking for your under-eye masks to have proven anti-ageing ingredients but at the same time, are also watching your beauty budget, Beauty Pro’s retinol under-eye patches will be the ones for you. At £5 for a pack of three, these are not just fantastic value for money but also include impressive hero ingredients such as retinol, vitamin b5, and vitamin c. It’s important to note that retinol can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so we used these at night.
These adhered to the skin easily and fuss-free. We loved the fresh, delicate scent, and could feel these getting to work almost instantly. As a result, our under-eye area felt fresher, hydrated and smooth to the touch.
Buy now £5.00, Beautypro.com
Katherine Daniels instant effect eye masks
For a spa-worthy experience, look no further than Katherine Daniel’s instant effect eye masks. These come in a pack of four and include a pod of hyaluronic acid-based activation fluid – making them the perfect companion for travel. We left these to saturate in the fluid for 60 seconds and then placed them under our eyes for 20 minutes as instructed. They can also be used for up to an hour, so if you’re feeling in the mood for an optimum pamper session, you’re covered.
The mask is comprised of sea kelp (known for antioxidant and inflammatory properties) and a mineral complex, which boosts cell energy and firmness. We loved how our eyes felt rejuvenated and nourished, and we’re interested in continuing to use these twice a week, as clinical tests have proven the product to reduce fine lines by 41 per cent and boost hydration by 51 per cent.
Buy now £71.00, Katherinedanielscosmetics.com
The verdict: Under-eye masks
Our best buy of the selection was undoubtedly the Starskin gold masks. We had a great overall experience while using these and were thoroughly impressed with the skin-loving, nourishing ingredients list and affordability factor. To be honest, we felt that these rivalled some of the pricier counterparts.
For those of us that so desperately crave a full eight hours of shut-eye, we highly rate Inc.Redible party recharge soothing melatonin under eye masks – not only a treat to use in general but also handy to keep by your bedside for those dreaded insomniac nights.
We also plan to also add 111Skin’s rose gold illuminating eye masks to our routines in the future. We felt recharged and gleaming after use, and we’re looking forward to seeing potential brightening benefits with continued use.
Give tired eyes some TLC with the best eye creams