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After a late night, your skin — especially under your eyes — may need a little extra TLC. A dab of moisturizer (or a few extra Zzz’s) might help, but it’s not always a perfect fix.

That could be why under-eye patches are gaining hype. They’re flooding beauty store aisles and probably clogging your Instagram feed, too.

But what do they actually do, and are they worth trying? Keep reading to get the scoop and learn about some of the best options out there.

Many products make bold claims that they completely eliminate dark circles or bags under your eyes.

However, they don’t always work. That may be partially because factors, like lack of sleep, allergies, dehydration, and even genetics, are sometimes at play.

Andrea Fenda, an advanced medical aesthetician at Smith Vein & Cosmetic Surgery, also notes that the under-eye area is very thin and easily prone to showing signs of aging more quickly than the rest of the face.

For long-term improvements around the eye, Fenda recommends using a skin care routine that incorporates an eye cream with vitamin Aretinol — to see the most improvement in fine lines and wrinkles.

But, if you had a rough night or feel jet-lagged, Fenda says under-eye patches can be a fun way to relieve puffiness and help aid in surface hydration.

When it comes to most skin care products, Fenda says the first 3 to 5 ingredients make up the bulk of the formula.

“If a product says it contains a certain buzzword ingredient, but it’s listed as one of the last ingredients on the label,” Fenda explains, “you’re probably not getting enough of the ingredient to make a difference in your skin.”

She says certain companies do this to sell the product, even though the ingredient is not going to be beneficial in small concentrations.

However, Fenda also points out that active ingredients are sometimes listed separately, or before all the other ingredients.

“Active ingredients are the ones doing the real work in the product and don’t necessarily have to have a high dose in order to work,” she says.

“Vitamin A, for example, can have low concentrations (less than 2 percent) and be extremely beneficial for anti-aging.”

Ingredients to look for

Fenda recommends these ingredients:

  • Retinol. This stimulates collagen to promote skin elasticity and lessen the appearance of fine lines.
  • Kojic dipalmitate. A derivative of kojic acid, this ingredient helps lighten dark circles.
  • Coenzyme A and caffeine. Used topically, these ingredients support natural microcirculation to ease the appearance of puffiness.
  • Shea butter and squalane. These ingredients help replenish the skin lipid (the skin’s natural fats) barrier.

Ingredients to avoid

Fenda suggests avoiding products with added fragrance.

This includes synthetic fragrances and fragrant plant extracts, such as:

Fenda says both types of fragrance can lead to skin sensitivity or cause photosensitivity if exposed to sunlight.

Allergies and sensitivities warning

It can be tempting to assume that products labeled “natural” are totally safe.

However, Fenda cautions that even natural ingredients — like lemon, orange, tangerine, and lavender — can lead to irritation or allergic reactions.

Even if you’re not allergic to something when ingesting it, applying it directly to your skin can sometimes cause irritation.

Discontinue use if you notice any signs of irritation, like:

A note on editorial testing

Sifting through product descriptions and customer reviews can be overwhelming. We’re here to make researching products easier.

In some cases, that means having our writers and editors test products to see how they perform in real life. In others, we rely on crowdsourcing reviewer feedback from retail sites.

For this review, our writer tested some under-eye patches and included a few of her favorites. She also scoured ingredients lists and customer reviews to decide which products deserve a spot on the list.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $30
  • $$ = over $30

Best soothing under-eye patches

Klorane Smoothing and Soothing Eye Patches

  • Price: $
  • Count: 7 pairs

These vegan patches include cornflower water to soothe, soften, and decongest your under-eye area. They also contain plant-based hyaluronic acid for a blast of moisture.

The brand says the patches are for cooling, soothing, reducing puffiness, reducing fine lines, and brightening. They’re also free of silicones, parabens, and preservatives.

I tried an earlier version of these patches and loved how they applied to my face and reduced puffiness. I have not tried the reformulated version yet, but I suspect they’d also fit nicely under the eyes like their predecessor.

Klorane suggests tossing these patches in the fridge for an even cooler effect.

Thanks to the nice fit, these are great for multitasking. In fact, the company recommends putting them on before applying eyeshadow, as they help catch pigment fallout.

Pros

  • vegan
  • contain hyaluronic acid
  • made without parabens, preservatives, or silicones
  • travel-friendly
  • can help catch eyeshadow fallout
  • can be tossed in fridge for extra cooling

Cons

  • not hypoallergenic

Best hydrating under-eye patches

Erno Laszlo Multi-Task Serum Eye Mask

  • Price: $$
  • Count: 6 pairs

These clear gel patches contain hydrating glycerin, brightening niacinamide, and are free of phthalates and parabens.

However, they do contain fragrance. This may be irritating to people with sensitive skin and isn’t safe for use during pregnancy.

I tried an earlier version of these and like them for their cooling effect as well as the wide and long shape.

I noticed my skin looked plumper after using them, and the serum soaked into my skin completely, without needing to pat in any excess.

The price point is a bit steep for just six pairs, but Amazon reviewers seem to agree they’re worth it. Many mention being impressed with the hydrating, brightening, and refreshing effect.

Pros

  • hydrating
  • brightening
  • silky
  • travel-friendly

Cons

  • high price point for only 6 pairs
  • contain fragrance

Best hemp-infused under-eye patches

PÜR Mellow Eyes Hemp Infused Eye Patches

  • Price: $
  • Count: 30 pairs

PÜR says these green gel patches lessen puffiness and brighten and smooth the under-eye area. They also aim to plump and hydrate.

The patches are infused with hemp seed oil, which Fenda says provides omega fatty acids to help strengthen the skin’s surface against moisture loss.

She also points out that they’re made with cucumber, a non-sensitizing plant extract with helpful antioxidant properties, as well as niacinamide, which helps with texture, tone, and brightening.

Plus, the eye patches contain caffeine. Fenda says this is a great ingredient for dark circles, because it helps improve circulation by constricting the blood vessels. She says caffeine can also absorb accumulated water, which helps reduce puffiness and swelling around the eyes.

These patches come stacked in a jar rather than in individually wrapped packages. The container includes a little plastic scooper for carefully grabbing the patches.

I use these, because I’m a fan of the smoothing effect, although they can slide if you don’t lay them down perfectly on your first try.

Pros

  • hydrating
  • fair price point
  • contain caffeine for reducing puffiness
  • contain niacinamide, a skin tone and texture helper

Cons

  • slippery
  • not travel-friendly

Best under-eye patches with retinol

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

  • Price: $$
  • Count: 12 pairs

This pick is infused with retinol, the wrinkle warrior. They’re also made with stretchy cotton, which means they should stay in place. You can throw these on and multitask with confidence, knowing they won’t slide down your face.

Amazon reviewers seem to love these, noting their effectiveness and awesome hydration.

One thing to note is that the eye masks include fragrance and alcohol, although they’re lower on the ingredient list. If you have sensitive skin, or if you’re pregnant, you may want to skip them.

Pros

  • contain retinol for reducing wrinkles
  • easy to apply (there’s no front or back side to the sheets)
  • travel-friendly

Cons

  • high price point
  • contain alcohol and fragrance

Best brightening under-eye patches

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks

  • Price: $
  • Count: 6 pairs

These patches are popular for their Insta-worthy aesthetic. They come in gold or rose gold-colored foil, mimicking the metallic eyewear look you see at music festivals.

I personally like these for how well they stay in place. Despite being fairly saturated, they don’t slide around, and they give me the freedom to multitask as I mask.

Plus, they visibly reduced my puffiness after using one pair for 15 minutes.

You may notice some serum leaking out from under the patches, but this is typical. You can just pat the excess into your skin after taking the patches off. It should settle in nicely without leaving any sticky residue.

The brand says these eye masks brighten dark circles with camu camu extract.

They come in individually wrapped pairs, so you can share and travel with them easily.

Wander Beauty says the hydrating patches are vegan and cruelty-free, and that they’re free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, and mineral oil.

Pros

  • vegan
  • cruelty-free
  • fun aesthetic
  • stay put
  • travel-friendly
  • no sticky residue

Cons

  • some reviewers mention patches are too thin or did not work for them

Best quick-wear under-eye patches

Patchology FlashPatch Rejuvenating Eye Gels

  • Price: $$
  • Count: 30 pairs

These gel patches are for those who love a cooling, soothing eye treatment but don’t want to wait too long to get it. The eye gels use caffeine to boost circulation and hydrolyzed collagen to enhance elasticity and tone.

Most Amazon reviewers are return buyers, happy with visible results, while others note a floral scent and say they slide too much (a common theme with eye gels).

These are a good choice for those in a hurry. Application time is just 5 minutes, but you can keep them on longer if you wish.

Like some other patches on this list, these contain fragrance. Fragrance isn’t safe during pregnancy and may cause skin irritation for some people.

Pros

  • contain caffeine and hydrolyzed collagen
  • only need to be left on for 5 minutes

Cons

  • not travel-friendly
  • not budget-friendly
  • contain fragrance
  • slippery

Best organic under-eye patches

100% PURE Bright Eyes Mask

  • Price: $
  • Count: 5 pairs

This brand prides itself on these vegan patches for the organic, natural ingredients that all play a role in cooling and de-puffing the eye area.

Beyond the usual suspects, like cucumber, caffeine, and hyaluronic acid, the eye mask is also made with cooling aloe, matcha green tea, yerba mate, and vitamin C.

100% PURE recommends leaving the patches on for about 20 minutes or until they start to shrivel, which indicates most of the good stuff has been absorbed into your skin.

Reviewers love the de-puffing powers of these patches, but they wish they were in stock more often and sold in bulk.

Pros

  • contain hyaluronic acid, cucumber, caffeine
  • made for all skin types

Cons

  • higher price point for smaller patch count

Best vitamin C under-eye patches

Goodal Green Tangerine Vita C Eye Gel Patch

  • Price: $
  • Count: 60 pairs

These clear hydrogel patches come in a jar with a little scooper to help you separate them.

They’re fairly big, which I like; the more landscape to brighten and smooth, the better. Plus, they have a refreshing cold effect and a fresh citrus scent.

The jar contains 60 patches, which is a nice value at the price point.

Important note: Those with allergies or skin sensitivities may want to avoid the patches due to the tangerine and fragrance.

Pros

  • hydrating
  • larger size
  • higher count at fair price point

Cons

Best purifying under-eye patches

Benton Snail Bee Ultimate Hydrogel Eye Patch

  • Price: $
  • Count: 60 pairs

These hydrogel patches have fascinating ingredients: bee venom and snail secretion.

This may sound a little intense, but Fenda says these are helpful ingredients.

Bee venom, as she explains, is known to stimulate collagen production and can also speed up recovery of damaged skin cells.

And snail secretion? Fenda says it’s surprisingly effective at moisturizing, and it promotes collagen production, aiding in healing and skin regeneration (thanks, snails!).

I was a bit skeptical before trying these, but I’m a fan of the results. I notice a smoother under-eye area after using them. They are a bit slippery, though, so you may want to stay still while they’re on.

The brand says these are also made using pearl, gold, diamond, and charcoal powders, which are firming and purifying.

According to the manufacturer, these patches are also cruelty-free.

Pros

  • purifying
  • moisturizing
  • smoothing
  • natural ingredients: snail secretion and bee venom
  • good value for price point
  • cruelty-free

Cons

  • slippery
  • some Amazon reviewers say these are not for sensitive skin
  • not vegan

Best hypoallergenic under-eye patches

Tarte Pack Your Bags 911 Undereye Rescue Patches

  • Price: $
  • Count: 2 pairs

These hypoallergenic, vegan, gluten-free patches are a nice choice for those with allergies or skin sensitivities. They’re free of fragrance, which is important for keeping the thin, sensitive skin around the eye happy.

They’re made with coconut oil to condition and add moisture. There’s also a blend of marine plants that Tarte says help lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and soften the skin.

Note: Some people may still have allergic reactions to plant extracts.

These are a big hit with the majority of reviewers, who love how well they soothe their puffy eyes. But some wish they could get more pairs for the price.

Pros

  • hypoallergenic
  • vegan
  • gluten-free
  • gentle
  • soothing

Cons

  • higher price for only two pairs
  • may cause allergic reaction for some

Best nighttime under-eye patches

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask

  • Price: $$
  • Count: 4 pairs

These patches have an all-star lineup of ingredients: chamomile (to soothe), caffeine (to reduce puffiness), and squalane (to hydrate).

Many Amazon reviewers are happy with the result, although some acknowledge the price point as a downside.

One reviewer mentions these help with the puffiness she experiences from allergies.

Although these are for use at nighttime, remember not to leave them on longer than 10 minutes, according to the brand. They also mention you can pat in any left-over serum and still follow up using your preferred eye cream after application.

Pros

  • soothing
  • hydrating
  • travel-friendly

Cons

  • higher cost for lower patch count

Best splurge under-eye patches

Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Hydra-Gel Eye Patches

  • Price: $$
  • Count: 30 pairs

These are a good pick for those who want to splurge on skin care to tackle fine lines, wrinkles, puffiness, and dryness.

The gold in the product’s name isn’t just because of the color; these are made with pure 24K gold and colloidal gold, which is said to help lift and firm the under-eye area.

The tiny nanoparticles in the colloidal gold may also provide some shimmer, helping your skin look temporarily brighter.

These also contain hyaluronic acid and caffeine, and they’re lightly scented with lavender — something that might not be good for people with allergies.

Pros

  • firming
  • brightening
  • contain hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and colloidal gold

Cons

  • high price point
  • scented with lavender

It’s best to read the directions carefully before applying under-eye patches. However, in general, you’ll simply apply them to clean, dry skin.

Application times range. Some brands say to keep them on for 10 minutes, while others say they can stay on for 20 minutes or longer.

Always apply and remove your patches with clean hands and gently pat any excess serum into the skin, avoiding direct contact with your eyes.

If your patches come in a jar, secure the lid tightly after use to prevent them from drying out.

Do under-eye patches actually work?

Yes, but the results are generally temporary. Consistent use is required (up to a few times weekly).

Can you use under-eye patches every day?

If your patches are gentle, non-irritating, and don’t cause any allergic reaction, you could. But it’s best to use most of them only two to three times weekly.

Can you wear under-eye patches overnight?

You may find a brand that says its patches can be worn overnight, but this is probably not the best idea — you risk getting the product in your eye.

If the skin around your eyes needs some extra love, under-eye patches can be a fun and soothing skin care step.

Although they’re not a miracle product, they may help temporarily relieve puffiness and dehydration around the eye.

Be sure to read ingredient lists carefully. Some products contain added fragrance and other ingredients that may lead to sensitivity, irritation, or allergic reaction.

Breanna Mona is a writer based in Cleveland, OH. She holds a master’s degree in media and journalism and writes about health, lifestyle, and entertainment.