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I realize it’s fairly controversial to say that eye creams are sort-of a scam. After all, the assumption that they’re more necessary than eye masks for puffiness or concealer for dark circles is basically skincare gospel. And though I’m no dermatologist or aesthetician, I am a woman with an innumerable amount of products and one too many test-runs under my belt. So long story short: I think I’m qualified to at least state my case.
It’s not as if I tried an eye cream once, used for a week, and threw away a barely-used jar because my eyes didn’t magically look impossibly fresh and more awake. I’ve tried multiple ones, making sure that I used each one every morning and night for at least six weeks. I’ve applied meticulously with my ring finger because it applies the least pressure to the skin. I’ve experimented with different formulas, including ones that emphasize moisture and ones infused with brighteners like vitamin C. I’ve even made a point of eating cleaner and becoming militant about getting eight hours of sleep every night.
And even with all of these changes, the dark circles under my eyes remain. If my never-ending eye cream experiment has revealed one thing, it’s that, well, the experiment is sort-of pointless. To me, dark eye circles are like stretch marks. Once they’re there, they’re there forever. It doesn’t matter how many creams, hand massages, and jade-rolling sessions you do in a single day or week. After a certain point, your efforts should go toward concealing instead or simply approaching from a different angle. For instance, I find that my dark circles aren’t nearly as visible when I can calm puffiness. And thankfully, eye masks formulated to address this particular issue actually work.
Of course, eye masks for puffiness also require consistent use and almost always perform better when they’re kept in the fridge between usage, but still…they get the job done. And as someone who literally masks every other day and is always trying new, oft-buzzed-about, and underrated options, I’ve come to a carefully-curated conclusion. Ahead, five eye masks I’d bet my money on if ever you needed something to make it look like you actually woke up like this, sans concealer.
Meaningful Beauty Revive & Brighten Eye Masque
This one had me at “Cindy Crawford.” A quick glance over the ingredients list shows you that these masks are heavy on moisture, thanks to the inclusion of niacinamide, castor seed oil, and glycerin. However, those with sensitive skin may want to bypass since it also includes fragrance. On the upside, this one feels extra juicy and doesn’t slip down the face too quickly, though I’d still recommend applying when you know you’ll be able to stay still for a few minutes.
$52 at Ulta
Bath & Body Works Pink Hydrogel with Elderflower Extract Under Eye Mask
These are masks you definitely need to sit still for. If you move around too much, they’ll fall right off your face, simply because they’re on the thicker side and heavy on product. I also love that the shape is created to fit over and under the eye, depending on where you’re experiencing the most puffiness.
$4.50 at Bath & Body Works
Arbonne RE9 Advanced Prepwork Gel Eye Mask
Be sure to stick these in the fridge before using because that’s when they feel especially amazing. If you’re someone who is really concerned about crow’s feet and fine lines, this option is your best bet since it’s heavy on antioxidants, which are renowned for their antiaging properties.
$50 at Arbonne
Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Mask
For those who like to do it for the ‘Gram, these photo-ready eye masks are just the ticket. Plus, once applied, they actually stay on the skin without any slippage. The outer layer of this mask is a special cellulose fiber that locks the key ingredients in, so they can more effectively penetrate the under-eye skin, thus delivering results more quickly.
$25 at Sephora
Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask
And if you’re not into masks at all, the under-eye version of this brand’s award-winning face mask is super convenient and just as effective. Its main ingredients are a custom “Sleep Circular” blend of caffeine, vitamin P and other enzymes that de-puff the eye area as you sleep.
$34 at Sephora
Yes To Cucumbers Cooling Under-Eye De-Puffer
This drugstore fave is in my purse for whenever I spend the night at a girlfriend’s house, stay up all night and need a quick pick-me-up before hitting work or brunch the next day. An on-the-go face-saver, indeed.
$9.99 at Target