Let's be frank with one another. Dark under-eye circles and puffy "I've not slept enough" eyes are the worst. There are of course a few things you can you do - ensure your skincare routine includes one of the best eye creams, arm yourself with a hard-working brightening concealer and invest in some of the best under-eye patches.
Thanks to a combination of too many hours spent on our phones and not enough hours spent fast asleep, we often wake up noticing that our eye area is looking (and feeling) overly puffy and dry.
This is unsurprising—with fewer sebaceous glands and far thinner skin than on the rest of the face, the area around our eyes is prone to damage and is one of the first places to suffer when overtired (check), stressed (check) and dehydrated (yep, check again).
A wealth of clever under-eye patches and masks designed to target the area are on the market, promising to combat everything from fine lines to dry patches and puffiness. We set about testing them to find the very best.
While we know single-use products aren't the most sustainable choice, here at Marie Claire UK we believe living more consciously is about making small changes everyday to reduce your waste. Our top tip? Make sure you dispose of the packaging the masks come in correctly. Most products featured either come in plastic pots or cardboard boxes, which you can recycle or even reuse. Unsure on how to do so? Our guide on how to recycle your beauty products will help.
Before reading our roundup, don't forget to check out our edits of the best eye creams for puffiness, the best caffeine eye creams to help brighten dark circles, and even a guide on how to apply eye cream.
What do under-eye patches do?
First things first, what do these products actually do? We all know that no eye cream or eye mask can miraculously get rid of dark circles completely, but can under-eye patches help? According to Dr Fadi Haddad, dermatologist at Dr Kayle Aesthetic Clinic Dubai, yes they can.
"Under-eye patches are perfectly shaped to fit the under-eye area and are composed of an occlusive material (which prevents moisture loss through evaporation) that is infused with serum, which is rich in active ingredient(s)," explains Haddad.
"Generally speaking, under-eye patches work by targeting dark circles, crow’s feet, and they also reduce puffiness. This is because they can hydrate and nourish the skin through high-quality, concentrated ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and ceramides, anti-aging ingredient powerhouse retinol, as well as brightening agents such as caffeine and niacinamide."
That being said, Haddad explains then when it comes to things such as fine lines and wrinkles, although the under-eye patches can soften the appearance, they are not a long-term solution.
How to use under eye patches
In theory under-eye patches are easy to use, but as Senior Beauty Editor Katie Thomas points out "they're actually a little bit confusing, because there's a rounder side and more pointed side, so it's tricky to work out which bit goes where."
To clarify, if you want to treat the area directly under the eye - dark circles and puffiness - apply the rounder end here, with the slimmer end curling upwards toward the hairline.
If it's fine lines that you'd like to soften pop the patches the opposite way with the larger and rounder side on the outside with the slimmer end curving under towards the nose.
Another thing to note is that for these to truly work you need to give them at least 10 minutes, so it's not something that you can pop on for a quick minute in a rush in the morning.
How did we test the under-eye patches?
What did we look for when testing the under-eye masks? We took a few things into account, which we've listed below:
- Did the eye masks help with puffiness?
- Did our skin feel hydrated and appear brighter after using?
- Did the masks irritate the eye area?
- How much did they cost?
- How were they packaged?
The best under-eye patches to buy now
1. Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Our Beauty Contributor, Grace Lindsay, loves these under-eye patches by Peter Thomas Roth. According to the team over at the brand, these masks "help hydrate, moisturise and instantly improve the look of fine lines, crow’s feet and under-eye darkness with a pure, plumping water vapor." Although Grace didn't notice a huge difference in terms of fine lines, she did feel as if her under-eyes were much more hydrated and looked a lot plumper, and loved that the tub came with a handy spatula to help apply them.
2. MIJ Hydrogel Eye Patches 002
MIJ Hydrogel Eye Patches 002
When we heard that Maya Jama had her own range of under-eye patches, we knew we had to try them out. We went for the rejuvenating and hydrating ones, and although they didn't feel as hydrating as other options, we did notice that our under-eyes looked really plump after using, thanks to the combination of glycerin and hyaluronic acid. They were also really cooling on the skin, so perfect for a morning pick-me-up.
3. Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels
Patchology FlashPatch Restoring Night Eye Gels
Our Health Editor, Ally Head, loves these under-eye patches for when she's looking (and feeling) a little tired. They are specifically designed to be used at night, with ingredients such as retinol and a peptide complex to help fine lines, dark circles and puffiness. The best bit is, even after you take them off before bed, the powerful ingredients will work as you sleep.
4. Dr. Zion x Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Masks
Dr. Zion x Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Masks
We all know that retinol is great for fine lines, so if that's something you want to tackle, we recommend these retinol eye masks by Dr. Zion and Murad. They contain "retinol tri-active technology", alongside blue agave extract which helps to add hydration back into the skin, as sometimes retinol can have a drying effect. The brand recommends using them at night, two to three times a week.
5. Uklash Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Uklash Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
We like to think of these under-eye patches as a triple threat, leaving your eye area looking completely rejuvenated. They contain hyaluronic acid to hydrate, vegan collagen to tackle fine lines, and caffeine to tackle puffiness and dark circles. What more could you want?
6. 111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask
111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Eye Mask
Haddad recommends these under-eye patches from 111Skin, as they contain "both retinol and hyaluronic acid so can give the eye contour area a boost." They are definitely a more expensive option, but will help to improve the appearance of fine lines and dehydration.
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Grace Lindsay is currently Junior Beauty Editor at Who What Wear UK and previously was Marie Claire UK's E-Commerce Writer. With over three years of experience in the fashion and beauty industry, she covers everything from the best make-up and skincare deals to how to shop the stand out trends of the season. When she's not typing away at her laptop, Grace can be found shopping her favourite vintage markets IRL, or catching up on her never-ending list of books to read.