Believe me when I say I love nothing more than slathering on a thick mud mask or treating my skin to a serum-soaked sheet mask, but honestly, sometimes it's just too much to deal with. Face masks often require sitting relatively still so that they don't slide right off your skin, and we've all absentmindedly touched our faces mid-mask and created unintentional muddy stains on a t-shirt or bedsheet. Masking is meant to be relaxing and rejuvenating, not stressful, so when I need a pick-me-up and can't fit in a full skincare session, I opt for any of the 11 best eye masks and sets under $50 in my collection for a quick fix with tons of payoff. If I told you how many under eye patches I go through in a week, you'd judge me so hard, so instead I'll just wax poetic on my top ten can't-be-without favorites, and hope yo trea yourself to at least one on my list.
First up are my new favorites, and just being honest, I don't see them being overshadowed any time soon. The Talika Eye Therapy Patches ($49 for six, dermstore.com) aren't cheap, but that's because they're puff-eliminating, surface-smoothing miracle workers, and each pair is reusable. Yup, tested and approved by yours truly. I apply my patches on clean skin pre-getting ready, and then when it's time to take them off, I stick them back on their plastic backings and can reuse them for around six days a pack. So really, the price is more like $49 for 36 uses. Score.
The Blaq Hydrogel Eye Masks ($29 for five, blaq.co) are my go-to while traveling, because something about the black patches feels so chic, and is way less embarrassing than other in-flight skincare options. Plus, the formula is loaded with hyaluronic acid and the brand's signature activated charcoal to revitalize and refresh skin, so you won't get off the plane looking tired.
When my skin feels super dry and I dread putting soon-to-be-cakey concealer overtop it, the DHC Revitalizing Moisture Strips ($10 for six, dhccare.com) are my saviors. These are major value for money, with six pairs costing just $10, and they're a safe and soothing bet, thanks to firming Japanese microalgae and tone-balancing peony root extract.
Patchology knows a thing or two about great patches as the brand name implies, and their new MoodPatch Tea-Infused Aromatherapy Eye Gels are the latest coming-soon launch that will become quick cult favorites, so even though they aren't available yet, I'm giving you the scoop so you can snag them ASAP when they drop on April 1. Available in three different versions, my personal favorites are the Happy Place MoodPatches ($15 for five, coming soon to patchology.com), which brighten skin and deliver good vibes with the help of smoothing hibiscus, hydrating lotus flower, and a therapeautic rose scent to top it all off.
True story: Once, when I was in a bad mood and went to the drugstore to cheer myself up with some imulse shopping (Anyone else?), I picked up the Soap & Glory Puffy Eye Attack Super-Hydrating Under-Eye Brightening Hydrogel Patches ($5 each, ulta.com) and my life forever changed. They're so inexpensive, but you get a lot of bang for your buck, and I've recommended these to tons of my friends who experience major puffiness. Cucumber fruit juice, licorice extract, and Soap & Glory's own PUFFEASE technology will save you from listening to your co-workers ask you if you're tired all day. Rude.
Consider the KNC All Natural Retinol-Infused Eye Masks ($25 for five, kncbeauty.com) Instagram's most beloved under eye masks. These gold, glittery, shooting star-shaped gel patches are mask and chill goals, and the ingredients are just as rave-worthy. The patches contain hyaluronic acid, gold, collagen, and vitamin A, aka retinol, amongst other skin-loving ingredients, and because they're so soothing, you can leave them on for up to 20 minutes, which I definitely do.
I first tried the Honest Hazel Eye Gels ($36 for 10, nordstrom.com) while browsing Nordstrom's concept shop, Pop-In@Nordstrom Fresh Faces, and I fell in love with the brand right away. In this particular product, cactus collagen is the game-changing ingredient, and it ensures the masks leave skin feeling refreshed and hydrated — use in case of emergency, aka next time you're hungover.
Another great option for depuffing, the Peace Out Puffy Under-Eye Patches ($25 for six, sephora.com) have a special place in my heart because they are biocellulose masks. This means that they are created using a special bacteria that allows the patches themselves to really cling to skin, so you can walk around and go about your business without worrying they'll fall off as you go. Seriously, who has time to sit around and wait?
Another fave of mine are the Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels ($30 for eight, ulta.com). I love these because I know that every last drop of the product's powerful formula makes its way into my skin. I leave these on for as long as possible, and by the time I peel them off, the once-moist (Can we stop pretending that word is so repulsive?) patches are bone dry, so I know all the peptides and botanical goodness have soaked into my newly-rejuvenated skin.
I'm all about a ~fun~ face mask, so why would my eye masks be boring? The Pacifica Leave Pretty Anti-Puff Eye Patches ($5 each, ulta.com) are a special treat I buy when I need something to get excited about in my skincare routine. They're vegan, leaf-shaped masks infused with blue tansy, linden leaf, and kelp, and even though my under eye area looks picture-perfect after I use them, I tend to take my Snapchat selfies while I wear them, because they're so darn cute.
Last on my list of under eye magicians are the Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks ($25 for six, sephora.com), because gold eye masks were the first that ever piqued my interest, and Wander's are an industry-wide favorite. If you're prone to dark circles, rely on this blend of hyaluronic acid, aloe, and lavender oil to calm and nourish for fresh-faced results.