Ria has been an online beauty writer for several years. Here are her best tips about gel eye masks.
The Gel Eye Mask
Perusing the beauty section of my supermarket, I came across an eye mask filled with liquid blue gel. I was told that gel eye masks can reduce dark circles beneath the eyes, which I suffer from, so naturally, I was intrigued. The gel mask cost $8, so, being on a budget, I decided to research the product to see if I needed one in my beauty regimen. In this article, I rehash my research. I discuss:
- What an Eye Mask Is
- How to Choose an Eye Mask
- Adding a Gel Mask to Your Beauty Regime
- How to Make Your Own Gel Eye Mask
- Other Uses for Eye Masks
What Is an Eye Mask?
For those who don't know, the gel eye mask is an eye mask filled with a soothing gel that's designed to reduce puffy eyes and dark circles. The name is fairly self-explanatory. Among its beauty benefits, it also has a few therapeutic ones, such as relaxation. The gel eye mask is a skincare product that's popular amongst models and beauty experts.
How Often Can I Use a Gel Eye Mask?
As often as you like! Realistically, it's best to sleep with a cooling eye mask on to subdue any eye swelling. Overnight use or during your daily catnap is perfect!
Hot compresses or masks can also be used continuously. Use the mask or compress until your symptoms go away, and when they come back again. Always remember to thoroughly clean your mask or compress so harmful bacteria do not grow and—potentially—give you an infection.
How to Choose an Eye Mask
Different eye masks are useful for different things, and some can do it all (they are known as heating and cooling gel eye masks)! A quick heads up, though; if you're at all concerned you may have an infection around your eyes, talk to your doctor before using an eye mask, hot or cold. Hot eye masks in particular can spread an infection from one eye to another if not properly sterilized.
Cold treatments are more well-known because they are typically used for cosmetic reasons. For example, as previously mentioned, cold treatments relieve puffy eyes and dark circles beneath the eyes, which is the number one reason people turn to gel masks. Both cold masks and hot compresses can also relieve sinus-related symptoms. If you have a sinus headache, a 20-minute nap with the gel mask over your eyes can do a remarkable job relieving pain. The following video outlines when to use a hot or cold compress in general, not just when using an eye mask.
The ailments that are best helped by an eye mask are:
- Headaches: Headaches can be caused by a number of life-related issues, from stress to dehydration. If you've tried drinking more water and decompressing after work and you've still got a headache, try a cooling gel mask and a nap. Consistent migraines may be cause for concern; talk to your doctor if you're experiencing chronic migraines.
- Baggy eyes: As you age, you're more likely to get bags under your eyes. According to Mayo Clinic, lack of sleep, allergies, smoking, fluid retention, as well as genetics can cause puffiness under the eyes.
- Dark circles: A number of factors, including genetics and hyperpigmentation, can contribute to dark circles under the eyes. Fatigue is a likely cause of dark circles in young individuals. According to Healthline, eye strain, allergies, and dehydration are other possible causes.
Cooling Eye Mask Use
Cooling masks are meant for decreasing swelling in the eye region. Redness and "puffiness" are symptoms of water retention which can be dispersed with the use of a cooling gel mask. Heavy computer users and individuals who suffer from the occasional hangover might experience puffy eyes.
- What it is: A cooling gel mask is often composed of gel in a plastic or cotton casing.
- When to use it: According to Yoga Journal, cooling eye masks are one of the best ways to quickly relieve pain in the eye region.
- How to use it: Put your gel mask in the fridge or freezer for the recommended amount of time (see manufacturer's instructions).
Hot Eye Mask Use
According to WebMD, hot eye compresses or masks are great for relieving pain associated with dry, itchy eyes. Hot compresses can add moisture to the eye area by relaxing the muscles and opening up cells in the eye area, allowing moisture on the compress to permeate the cells.
- What it is: A hot eye mask is a heat bag and often contains non-toxic gel, and occasionally aromatherapeutic herbs.
- When to use it: If your eyes feel itchy, painful, or dry, a hot compress eye mask is for you.
- How to use it: Follow the manufacturer's instructions! A safe bet is microwaving your compress to the desired temperature (but be careful not to scald yourself). Start with 30 seconds (different microwaves have different heating capabilities, especially if your microwave is a bit older) and ramp up the time from there until your mask is at the perfect temperature.
Adding an Eye Mask to Your Beauty Regimen
I didn't impulsively buy the eye mask—instead, I took some time to research more about the product, and I'm glad I did. For me, it's not an important item. However, if you have spare change and you're interested in its benefits, then I highly recommend purchasing a gel mask. They don't cost much, and they last a long time. Remember, the three areas they target most are:
- aiding in sleep;
- beauty-reduction of puffy, swollen, dark eyes; and
- sinus relief.
If you want to correct one or all of the above ailments, an eye mask is a way to go.
20-Minute Nap Relief
A gel mask is perfect for a 20-minute nap in the middle of the day. If you're used to waking up with swollen eyes, you'll especially want to try this. Power naps have been proven to be extremely beneficial in reinvigorating the mind. When you add a cold (or hot) gel pack over your eyes, you'll awake from a nap as bright as you feel. The cold/heat only lasts about 20 minutes, which is why they make a perfect addition to a mid-day nap.
They also help to keep out light from your eyes during your nap, which allows you to sleep easier if the sun pours into your room mid-day.
How to Make Your Own Gel Eye Mask
There are a number of excellent gel eye mask products on the market. The beauty of this simple tool is that, with a little time and effort, you can make your own!
Cold Gel Eye Mask
This cold gel eye mask is from Live Simply and is meant to decrease swelling under the eyes. In addition, check out the video above!
Looking for an all-over cooling facial gel? Try this amazing cucumber face mask to decrease redness and inflammation!
Hot Compress Eye Mask
Making a hot gel mask is a touch tricky, but according to WebMD, making a warm eye compress is as simple as using a few items in your bathroom and kitchen.
- Fill a bowl with warm water and place a clean washcloth in it so the cloth is completely soaked with water.
- Ring out the washcloth.
- Place the washcloth over the eyes and relax!
Other Uses for Gel Eye Masks
- Gel eye masks are an excellent tool for decreasing swelling after medically induced face trauma. According to Yontar and Tatar (2016), cooling gel masks were used for cryotherapy to manage conditions like edema, pain, and ecchymosis in patients.
- Though not as effective as a specific compress, gel eye masks and compresses can also be used to soothe body parts other than the eyes. Use the cooling or warming agent on a sore arm or leg, too!
Need More Tips for Getting Rid of Pesky Dark Circles?
- 13 Tips to Remove Dark Circles Under Eyes Permanently and Easily
Here's what you can do at home to remove and prevent dark circles as well as what causes these circles to form.
- 3 Home Remedies for Dark or Red Circles Under the Eyes
If you have dark or red circles under your eyes, you can get rid of them using foods you may have in your kitchen right now!
- How to Clear and Lighten Dark Circles: Top Causes and Best Treatments
Find out how to clear and lighten dark circles naturally with DIY remedies such as almond oil, eye masks, and vitamins. (Top Tips)
Anthony, Kara. (March 7th, 2019) What Causes Dark Circles Under Your Eyes? Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/dark-circle-under-eyes
Mayo Clinic. N.D. Bags Under Eyes. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bags-under-eyes/symptoms-causes/
Marr, Kristin. Homemade Cooling Eye Masks (For Puffy Eyes). Live Simply. Retrieved from https://livesimply.me/homemade-cooling-eye-masks-for-puffy-eyes/
Yontar, Y., & Tatar, S. (2016). Cooling gel eye mask: Low-cost and efficacious alternative for postoperative comfort of the rhinoplasty patients. Journal of Experimental & Clinical Medicine, 33 (4). Chicago.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Cornhuskers on August 04, 2018:
You were drunk and loud in your super market beauty section?!? I think you mean perusing not carousing.
Spark on April 07, 2018:
Every night, i put the gel eye mask on our refrigerator and use it when im sleeping. But then, this morning i wake up with a blurry eyes. Is that natural?
Armaani Singh on December 26, 2017:
I have started using Gubb World USA eye gel mask which works great over my puffy eyes.
Sonia on March 23, 2017:
Great article! I'm definitely going to get one of these.
Jamie on March 09, 2017:
They sell these at Dollar Tree.
Ivy on February 07, 2017:
I got mine from Walmart for about $5!! I love it sooo much!
Tiyanna on July 24, 2015:
There are some that are much cheaper
Ac.firstname.lastname@example.org on May 15, 2015:
its the best hot or cold it totally works