A large mask with eye holes and added space to cover the forehead. Good choice for sinus problems and headaches. Comfortable and well-fitting on most. Has a cloth side for added comfort on the skin. Gel-bead fill; use warm or cold.
Seems to be more sensitive to overheating in the microwave than some competitors. Leaks with typical use have been noted.
A convenient two-pack of flexible, beaded eye masks that fit most customers well. Feel comfortable on the face. Straps are easy to adjust. Can be used warm or cold. A good value.
Leaks after several times in the freezer have been reported. Eye holes could be better – seem misaligned on some users.
Offers a large, full-coverage design with a comfortably-fitting shape. Can be heated or cooled. Has flexible gel beads and soft fabric backing for optimal comfort. No eye holes make it suitable for sleeping or sinus and headache therapy. Easy-to-adjust straps.
If you want a gel eye mask with eye holes, this design may not be for you.
Provides a nice design for sufferers of headaches and migraines, as it's not too large or heavy on the face. No eye holes to let in light. Gel beads conform to facial contours. For warm or cold therapy.
The strap is flimsy and tends to fit too tightly. Mixed opinions on the duration it maintains heat or cold. Not for wearers who prefer eye holes.
Is praised for its soft contours and comfortable fit. Soothes headaches, facial discomfort, and puffy eye areas. Secures easily thanks to the Velcro straps. Has eye holes.
Offers cooling relief only, as you can't warm it in the microwave. Can occasionally be frozen, but cooling it in the refrigerator instead is recommended.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We all have those mornings when we haven’t gotten enough sleep and awake with puffy darkness under our eyes. While concealer can help, what you really need is a gel eye mask to soothe under-eye swelling quickly and easily.
A gel eye mask is a flexible, lightweight plastic mask that fits over the eyes and is filled with gel in either liquid or bead form. Not only does the gel make the mask conform to the shape of your face, but it can also be chilled or frozen. When the mask is cold, it helps constrict the blood vessels beneath the eyes to reduce puffiness.
There are many gel eye masks on the market today, and choosing the right one can be a challenge. You have to decide what type of coverage you want from your mask, whether you need your mask to be suitable for hot therapy in addition to cold, and what other features will make the mask most effective. Don’t worry, we’ve got this. Our buying guide is a real eye-opener, providing all the tips and information you need to choose the right gel eye mask to keep you looking and feeling your best.
Most gel eye masks cover only the eye area, so they extend from just below the eyes up to the bottom of the eyebrows. If you’re using your mask to treat puffiness under the eyes, this type of traditional gel eye mask can work extremely well as part of a regular facial routine.
If you want to use your gel eye mask to treat migraines, sinus pain, and other headaches, you’ll want a model that offers more coverage on the face. Opt for a mask that extends up over the forehead and down over the cheeks on either side of the nose to help treat aches and pains that you feel in those areas.
All gel eye masks are suitable for use cold. You simply place the mask in your refrigerator or freezer to chill the gel inside to provide cold therapy that helps reduce under-eye puffiness or numbs headache or sinus pain.
Some gel masks can also be used warm. Depending on the model you choose, you can place the mask in a bowl of hot water or microwave it for heat therapy. Not all gel masks can be heated, though, so make sure that you choose a mask that’s appropriate for heat therapy if you want to use it that way — and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to warm up the mask.
The gel in a gel eye mask is usually held inside flexible plastic, which conforms to the shape of your face for a secure fit. But the plastic can sometimes feel uncomfortable against the skin. For the most comfort, opt for a gel eye mask that’s lined with fabric.
If you want to wear your gel eye mask while you do other things around the house like watching TV, reading a book, or vacuuming, you’ll want a model with holes over the eyes that allow you to see. But if you’re going to wear a mask while you nap, you may prefer a model that completely covers the eyes. Most of these masks effectively block out light like a traditional sleep mask does, so you’re not disturbed when you sleep.
Some gel eye masks are scented with aromatherapy fragrances to help you relax and reduce stress. Most feature a lavender scent, which is said to promote a feeling of calm and reduce anxiety.
Gel eye masks can feature gel in either a liquid or bead form. While both are effective for cold and/or hot therapy, some users find beaded masks to be more comfortable because the beads conform to your face shape more readily than liquid gel does.
Gel eye masks all feature some type of strap or band to hold the mask in place. Some feature an elastic band, which doesn’t allow for any adjustability. You’re usually better off opting for a mask with a Velcro strap because you can tighten it to fit your head comfortably.
Eye massager: Mynt Eye Energizer with Touch Activated Silicone-Tipped Massager
If you want to boost the effects of your gel eye mask, an eye massager can help reduce puffiness and eye strain. This handheld massager from Mynt offers both hot and cold massage and charges easily via a USB cable.
Eye gel for dark circles: OZNaturals Eye Gel
Adding an eye gel to your skincare routine that targets dark circles and puffiness can also help improve the effects of your gel eye mask. We like this formula from OZNaturals because it has a pleasant cooling effect on application and is hypoallergenic, so it doesn’t cause irritation.
Under-eye concealer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
Even if your gel eye mask reduces all of the puffiness beneath your eyes, you may still be left with dark circles that require an effective under-eye concealer. One of our favorites is this brightening formula from NARS. It contains light-diffusing minerals and is available in 30 shades.
Gel eye masks vary in price based on how much coverage they offer and their special features. Most masks cost between $5 and $25.
Inexpensive: The most affordable gel eye masks are usually filled with liquid gel and only cover the immediate area around the eyes. They don’t include a fabric lining but typically only cost $5 to $10.
Mid-range: Gel eye masks that cost $10 to $20 are typically a little larger and may extend onto the forehead and cheeks. These models may or may not have a fabric lining and often feature gel beads for a better fit.
Expensive: High-end gel eye masks are generally large enough to extend over the forehead and down over the cheeks. They contain beads rather than liquid and are usually fabric-lined. Some are also scented for aromatherapy benefits. They typically cost between $20 and $25.
With so many gel eye masks to choose from, we couldn’t possibly include all the worthwhile options on our shortlist. The Ariel EDGE Plush Hot/Cold Eye Mask is another great choice if you’re looking for an affordable fabric-lined mask. It can be chilled in the fridge or heated in the microwave and is available in seven fun colors.
If you’re looking for a more whimsical look for your gel eye mask, we also love the NEWGO Cooling Eye Mask. Not only is it fabric-lined, light-blocking, and suitable for hot or cold use, but the mask is available in a variety of cute animal designs on the front, including a cat face, panda face, and dog face.
Q. What causes puffy eyes?
A. Puffy eyes can be the result of a variety of factors. Allergies, lack of sleep, and crying are the most common causes of swelling around the eyes. You can also experience eye puffiness if your diet includes a lot of sodium or if you smoke. But it might also be a sign of a medical condition, such as an eye injury, an eye infection like pink eye, or a more serious ailment. See your doctor if the puffiness doesn’t improve with the use of cold compresses within 24 to 48 hours.
Q. How long does a gel eye mask usually stay cold or hot?
A. It varies from mask to mask. In general, you can expect your mask to retain the cold after chilling or the heat after warming for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Q. How do I clean a gel eye mask?
A. You should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding the proper cleaning procedure, but most masks require hand washing. Use mild soap and warm water to clean the plastic surface of the mask. If the mask includes a fabric cover, you may be able to remove it and throw it in the washer.