When it comes to beauty, it's my job as an editor to know a basic amount about a lot. You see, I don't have dry skin or curly hair, for example, but I know enough about these things that I can advise people on the best products to buy and enlist expert help to cover any blind spots. However, when it comes to common beauty scenarios that I can relate to, trust me when I say I know pretty much all there is to know.
One beauty hang-up I know all too well is that of dark circles and sunken eyes. A combination of genetics, sun-induced pigmentation and a general state of exhaustion means that I've battled dark, tired-looking eyes for the entirety of my adult life. I've tried every glow-boosting cream there is, massaged my face silly and even considered injectables in a bid to make my eyes look more alive.
Believe me when I say I have tried every eye product out there. And while I stand by the fact that dark circles are inherently genetic and very few topical skincare products can change their appearance, I do know that there are a handful of products that help me look more awake—the most effective being under-eye masks.
As someone who really champions sustainability in skincare, I would like for you to know that I don't advocate buying single-use products in bulk. In fact, every time I use a single-use product, I cry a little bit inside. However, after ditching sheet masks two years ago (seriously, I haven't missed them at all), switching my bottled products to refills wherever possible and making a conscious effort to recycle all of my beauty products in their entirety, I feel a little better about reaching for disposable under-eye masks once every few months (at least until I find a product that works as well).
So if you too feel at a loss with tired eyes and don't find that your eye cream is up to the job, keep scrolling for the best under-eye masks out there, whatever your concern. (Just remember to use them sparingly for the sake of the planet!)
Are these eye masks a necessity? Absolutely not. However, look at how pretty they are. Available in a pack of two, these masks don't come preloaded with product and instead come packaged with a tiny Dior Capture Total Super Potent Eye Serum. You apply a thick layer of the serum (which contains firming rye extract and plumping hyaluronic acid) and pop a set of masks on over the top to seal it all in. The masks themselves are quite sticky, so they do a good job at lifting the area. The results are good, but I'm not going to pretend it's not the appearance of these masks that sells them.
Whenever I wake up with tired, puffy eyes, this is the first product I reach for. In fact, when I know I have a particularly early start, I pop a sachet of these into the fridge before I go to bed for a super-cooling result come morning. I wake up, put on the masks straight after cleansing and go about my morning routine with them on for 20 minutes or so. Afterwards, my eyes are significantly less puffy, and I feel suitably invigorated.
3. Garnier Hyaluronic Acid and Orange Juice Hydrating Brightening Eye Sheet Mask
The truth is you don't need to spend a fortune on under-eye masks. Sure, the pampering nature of them means you have my full approval to spend a little more than you usually might on skincare. However, these £3 masks from Garnier deliver equally great results as any others on this list. In fact, I'd go as far to say they're probably the most brightening around. If you battle dark circles like I do, you'll find the orange juice in these patches to be a radiance-boosting game changer.
I don't like to use the word tightening when it comes to describing skincare products, because in truth, no skincare product will actually tighten your skin. However, I can't think of a more suitable word to describe these Hydra-Gel patches from Elemis. With hyaluronic acid, they're predominantly hydrating, but the addition of Elemis's cult marine actives leave eyes looking (not feeling) "tighter" and more youthful.
Speaking of hydration, if you find your eye area just doesn't want to keep hold of moisture, I urge you to give these patches a go. A new addition to my eye-mask collection, they are by far some of the juiciest eye masks I've tried. With heaps of hyaluronic acid as well as vegan collagen and caffeine, they help to give fatigued eyes an awakening slurp of moisture.
There's no need to cut slices of cucumber in a bid to wake up tired eyes nowadays—not if this eye mask has anything to say about it anyway. Another one to keep in the fridge, this all-over eye mask has a naturally cooling effect that makes you feel (and look) wide awake.
7. Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
During the recent heatwave, these eye patches were a total godsend. With a cooling, gel-like texture, and thanks to the fact they're saturated in hydrating hyaluronic acid, they're the skincare equivalent of an ice-cold glass of water. Plus, they contain ceramides, arnica and marshmallow extract to soothe any heat-related irritation.
New from Murad, these masks mean business. Formulated with gentle, time-release retinol, they help to tackle fine lines, dark circles and puffiness in just 15 minutes. I'd say these are probably the hardest-working eye masks on the market.
This is without a doubt my favourite eye mask. Applying this all-over sheet is one of my most cherished beauty rituals. The skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than any other area of the face, and these masks soothe discomfort and irritation in a matter of seconds. Containing an impressive concoction of powerhouse ingredients such as rose water, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, panthenol, squalane, ceramides, collagen, caffeine and niacinamide, they work to plump, smooth, hydrate, brighten and soothe all at once.
10. MZ Skin Hydra-Bright Golden Eye Treatment Masks
There are few people in the world whose eye advice I take more seriously than leading oculoplastic surgeon Maryam Zamani's. I have turned to her for advice on my dark circles countless times, and each time I've come away feeling significantly better. These eye masks have been formulated with her expert knowledge and contain collagen, hyaluronic acid and seaweed to better the appearance of dark circles and reduce puffiness, while nano gold particles help to improve penetration of the aforementioned ingredients.
11. Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gel Masks
One of the biggest contributing factors to tired eyes is lack of quality sleep, and these night eye gels help get ahead of that. Apply these retinol and peptide-containing eye masks for just five minutes before you hit the hay and wake up with significantly brighter eyes.
While skincare ingredients don't really have the ability to tighten skin, these patches do a pretty good job of physically lifting the skin around the eyes. Is this something I recommend doing on the reg? Absolutely not. (Stretching skin is never a good idea.) However, if you have a big event, applying these fabric masks before you do your makeup will certainly help lift and sculpt your eye area.