September—perhaps by virtue of being
Virgo season—has always been emblematic of a sense of order and routine. With in-person work schedules slowly coming back to life, plus New York Fashion Week, the Emmy Awards, and the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals in the rearview mirror, it’s no wonder this month feels like a perpetual back-to-school whirlwind, even years after graduation.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget about your social life.
Both coasts have been brimming with late-night celebrations, libations, and endless evening gossip (which, of course, makes sense only after two-plus glasses of wine). A few short hours later still beckons an early morning meeting or inbox that has no mercy for your sleep deprivation, your unintentional hangover, or the fact that you’ve simply become socially burned out. We all have our own specific tools for next-day body perk-ups—whether workouts, meditations, or triple espressos—but what about that face of yours, out way too late every night this weekend? Lack of sleep, diet, or alcohol consumption will dehydrate your skin and put your dark circles and crow’s feet on view as prominently as
a new Fendi Baguette on the runway.
Aestheticians and dermatologists all concur that masks, gels, and patches are quick and intelligent fixes for puffiness, dehydration, or tired eyes. Currently, there happens to be several hundred varieties on the market—and we recently tested the top selections, then narrowed them down to a curated list of the most effective products.
This is our desert island pick (especially if
Brad Pitt happens to be on that island). In all seriousness, it’s one of our favorites for lifting and firming, especially because the composites—retinol, high-grade-hyaluronic acid, and extensive plant extracts—not only respond well to the eye area’s skin, the vibrance and the elasticity lasts all day long. Most eye masks make the eye area look fabulous and plumped for a few hours; maybe that’s all you need, but if you want maximum hydration and visible results, this is one to consider. Aestheticians recommend using the mask as a final skincare step 2-3 times a week. We unfortunately don’t have that much dilly-dallying time on our hands—but still saw results with once-a-week usage.
We fell in love with Chanel’s eye mask because post-application, the skin around the eyes looked dewy, soft, and had a legitimate glow. This two-step application utilizes a rollerball applicator for the serum itself, which you then cover with hydrogel patches. The result was never taut or uncomfortably tight and sticky, and will be a definite mainstay in our beauty regimen.
Hydration, Hydration, Hydration
It’s par for the course to thoroughly test out various
Retin-A or retinol strengths—it’s what we do, and we do it often. What is not received well, however, is our skin becoming parched during trials. Dempsey’s eye masks are super hydrating and tremendously beneficial, bringing soothing relief to the eye area. It’s also one of the best eye masks to resurrect a tired and lackluster eye area before makeup application (what else should be expected from a lauded MUA who’s dealt with this issue more times than she can count?). The eye mask goes on seamlessly and contains enough milky prebiotic serum left over to spread it onto your frown lines and forehead, too.
Sleepless nights can not only make you feel bloated the next morning, but they can also cause your face to look as if it’s retaining excess water. MBR crafted these remedying eye patches that lift, tighten, and firm the upper eyelids (cellular proliferation travels even if applied under the eye) as well as the crow’s feet areas. The patches use a combination of seaweed extract, Panthenol B5, caffeine, and hyaluronic acid to make you look as if you slept for ten hours and hit the gym—instead of crashing into your bed at 4 AM. An added plus: they’re lightweight and very easy to apply.
Two beauty experts we have come to trust over the years are revered dermatologist, Dr. Jessica Wu, and Kristie Streicher—the latter of whom is an eyebrow maven and founder of West Coast eyebrow salon STRIIKE. Both rate these eye gels as their absolute favorite. Personally, we found Skyn’s eye gels to feel great (there was an intensely soothing, cooling effect) with super-quick results that last all day. Dr. Wu, the board-certified derm and Harvard Medical School graduate, further advocates the benefits of these eye-saving patches. “They’re super easy to incorporate into your morning schedule,” Wu says. “Store them in the fridge, and if you need to depuff quickly, put them on in the morning when you’re brushing your teeth and having breakfast. They contain a peptide called acetyl hexapeptide-8, along with angelica extract, which has anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce puffiness.”
Bid your fine lines goodbye and good riddance, because the power in this eye mask lies in its firming capability. It tightens and minimizes eye-area wrinkles without feeling too weighted. Like most eye masks, you don’t wash off the liquid formula after application—and it feels wonderful and cool on the skin. Unlike most eye masks, there’s no heavy residue feeling afterward.
This is the absolute winner for the eye mask with the most brightening power. Nousha Salimi, the Beverly Hills-based RN and rejuvenation specialist, recently recommended these to us and fondly calls them her secret weapon for rejuvenated eyes in less than 15 minutes. The fusion blends a robust mix of diamond powder, niacinamide, and CoQ10 to revitalize the eye area quickly, and for hours. We concur and think this is a wise investment for those who suffer from dark circles, or just want their eye area to look healthy and awake.
Providing immediate relief, this eye mask will literally temporarily stop your wrinkles. The formulation contains a peptide called argirelin, which prevents muscle movement and gives the appearance of a rested eye area for several hours. There’s also retinol in the composition, to aid with brightness and lines.
had to indulge in this red carpet staple—and were not disappointed. The thin, clear, gel masks go on very light and comfortably after you maneuver them carefully under and around the eye area. You can also layer this mask under Vargas’s antiaging sheet mask, but we preferred to test it out on its own for singular results. After one application, the lines around the eyes ceased to exist, even when smiling really, really wide (and smiling wide is very hard for me, thanks to Botox). We indulged by popping them in the fridge overnight for a cooling effect during the recent L.A. heatwave.
The last time I used this product was during a four-day marathon of morning-and-night events. Naturally, my skin—especially the eye area—was depleted, tired, and needed a boost. Zamani’s mask feels not only refreshing and cooling, but it also adds a beautiful glow to the skin. I was in awe of how well-rested I looked after application. The Hydra-Bright Eye Treatment Mask is to be used twice a week for 15 minutes; its proprietary blend of collagen, chamomile, seaweed, and niacinamide check all the right boxes to properly firm, brighten, and plump.