Best Gel Eye Masks

Updated January 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
7 Models Tested
1 Experts Interviewed
485 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best gel eye masks

Last Updated January 2020

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.

A gel eye mask can be an ideal treatment for your next at-home spa day. Even if your eyes aren’t especially puffy, the mask can help you destress and soothe tired eyes.

Key considerations

Coverage

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.

Cold therapy vs. warm therapy

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.

EXPERT TIP

Not all gel eye masks are microwave-safe. Make sure to read the manufacturer’s guidelines to see if your mask can be heated that way.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Fabric lining

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.

Light-blocking vs. eye holes

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.

Aromatherapy

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.

Liquid gel vs. gel beads

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.

Straps

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.

EXPERT TIP

Kids can use a gel eye mask to help with headache pain or sinus congestion, but you should keep an eye on your child while they wear it.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

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 mask prices

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.

EXPERT TIP

You can store your gel eye mask in the freezer or fridge to make sure it’s always ready for use, but put it in a plastic zipper bag to keep it clean and odor-free.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Keep it chill. If you plan to use a gel eye mask for cold therapy, you usually need to chill it in the refrigerator for at least an hour. In the freezer, however, it only needs 10 to 15 minutes of chilling.
  • How hot is too hot? For hot therapy, never soak a gel eye mask in boiling water. The mask may get too hot and burn your skin. Also, the gel inside may be adversely affected by boiling.
  • Use a warm mask for colds and allergies. Warming a gel eye mask isn’t just good for soothing headaches. It can sometimes help with sinus congestion due to a cold or allergy.
  • Set a timer. You don’t want to wear a chilled or heated gel eye mask for too long or you may irritate your skin. Limit mask time to 20 minutes at a stretch.

Other products we considered

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.

While you can generally use a gel eye mask more than once a day if you need relief, you should wait at least 20 minutes between sessions.

FAQ

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.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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