Disclaimer: I'm one of those people who's basically always tired—especially now that I'm 30 weeks pregnant. In fact, "I'm tired" is pretty much my standard response to anyone who asks how I am during the week. (Yes, I'm very much aware that I'm a total hoot.) It does, however, mean that my new party trick is being able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat—any time, any place.
Sure, it might not be as impressive as being able to tie a cherry in a knot using just my tongue (Sidenote: Do people actually do this?), but cat naps on the tube and weekend sofa snoozes are the only way to make up for the nights of disturbed sleep I'm dealing with right now. Well, that and keeping a stash of a certain product on hand for mornings when there's just no hiding the tiredness.
My beauty secret weapon of choice comes in the form of under-eye patches. A backstage staple in the kits of makeup artists—everyone from Victoria Beckham to Ashley Graham has been spotted wearing them to prep tired skin for photo shoots and red carpet events—they're brilliant at de-puffing and brightening dark circles in just a few minutes.
In my opinion, the best under-eye patches are made with a gel-based formulation. Lots come individually packaged (although there are also some gems that come mass-packed in pots) and are saturated in hydrating serums specially designed to refresh tired peepers. I tend to pop a pair on after cleansing my face in the morning and then get on with the rest of my morning routine, as the best under-eye patches stay put so you don't have to worry about sitting still while they get to work.
If you're new to under-eye patches, knowing where to start can feel a little overwhelming, as there's such a huge variation in price point and formulation. However, worry not—I'm pretty confident at this point that I've tried most of them and know which eye masks are genuinely worth the cash. Keep scrolling to shop my 12 best under-eye patches to disguise late nights and sleepy mornings.
111Skin are the celebrity under-eye patch of choice, and they're definitely worth the money. These ones work like magic to cool the eye area (trust me—it feels like you've kept them in the fridge), so they're the ultimate pick-me-up on days when you're feeling really tired.
The award for the cutest under-eye patches goes to these new watermelon-shaped ones from Ciate London. But they don't just look good—they work too! Made in Korea, they're infused with brightening watermelon extract and smoothing niacinamide to reduce fine lines and add radiance to your skin.
Tea is a morning essential for me, and these energising patches from Patchology are infused with green tea, which is known for its de-puffing benefits. They're an instant energy boost for eyes and bonus points for the cute petal-infused design too.
These were the first under-eye patches I ever tried and the ones that convinced me of their brilliance. Starskin is a Korean beauty brand that really knows a thing or 10 about sheet masks. These are formulated with vitamin-rich coconut juice and brightening liquorice root extract to diminish dark circles and puffiness.
These Vichy under-eye patches are slightly different to my other favourites, as you actually apply them before bed and leave them on overnight. They're saturated with hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and plump the skin for smoother, refreshed-looking eyes when you wake up.
Fans of Estée Lauder's cult Advanced Night Repair serum will love these eye masks that are saturated with a concentrated version of the formula to not only combat lack of sleep but also protect eyes from the effects of pollution.
I always have a pot of these eye patches in the fridge for tired mornings. They're made from a water-based gel to deliver skin-nourishing nutrients direct to your complexion. My eyes always look 10 times more awake once I've removed them, and I love that they also contain collagen to plump and smooth the eye area too.
An upgrade on putting sliced cucumbers onto your eyes to combat bags and dark circles, Yes To has come up with this two-step treatment. Apply the rejuvenating, caffeine-infused eye patch first; then follow with the eye treatment to minimise dark circles.
I'm a major Elemis fangirl and love its pro-collagen cleansing balm, so it's no surprise its eye masks are on my list. These are especially good if you're looking to target fine lines and wrinkles, as they're so plumping and smoothing. Great for prepping skin for makeup.
Although I prefer a gel-textured eye mask, these tissue ones from Garnier are incredibly impressive for the affordable price tag. They have a cooling effect on the skin and make light work of brightening dark circles.
These affordable under-eye patches stand up against some of my more expensive favourites and have a dual-function: They're cooling and relaxing on the skin. Even better, you get three pairs for less than a fiver. so you can use them every day without feeling guilty.