Bloodhound eyes can be temporary – too much alcohol/not enough sleep/salty foods (sometimes) – or a longer-term challenge. Whatever the cause, the effect bugs pretty much everyone we know. There’s a lot physically you can do to shift eye bags – massage techniques (which we detail in our books, for instance), frozen teaspoons (used to smooth away the puffiness) – and sometimes a good night’s sleep works wonders in itself. (A good walk drains fluid from the face, including the eyes area, too.) Products can be effective, nevertheless – and since a great deal of beauty R&D money’s ploughed into tackling the problem, we put a wide selection of products through their paces.

This is a notoriously challenging category – and this year, only two product entries impressed our testers sufficiently to be given awards. The two award-winners for 2019 are both masks specifically for the eye zone rather than the more familiar gels or rollerballs (which was somewhat of a surprise to us, actually!)


GOLD AWARD DHC Rich Eye Zone Care Pack

These encircle the whole eye area – paired left and right to fit the eye area comfortably, they are powered by a creamy, intensive formula infused into the masks, featuring multi-peptides (to support collagen), olive fruit oil for moisture and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration. It’s recommended you apply them for 10 minutes, then gently massage any remaining product into the eye zone. Once or twice a week is recommended frequency of use.


‘I have never used an eye mask before but these are very easy to put in place as they are shaped to go round the whole eye, rather than just underneath, which is novel. Afterwards, my eyes look bright, really refreshed and not tight – love that! It did cool them and reduce puffiness very effectively. My eyes were well moisturised but that did absorb and I could apply eye make-up. Very effective’ • ‘The dark circles under my eyes didn't look so dark and it was good at reducing puffiness. They felt refreshed and looked a bit brighter. It promised to revitalise the entire eye area and I think it did what it said’ • ‘Great product! It took a little tweaking to get the eye masks in the right place over and under my eyes, but once I figured it out it was a breeze. It took just ten minutes for them to work their magic. It was amazing at reducing puffiness, eyes looked taut and terrific. It also brightened up my eyes. I loved these’ • ‘My eye area looked brighter and the lines and crepiness under my eyes reduced significantly. I found that my under eye bags had reduced significantly, and even more when I tapped the excess product into my skin after taking the pads off. My make up went on like a dream after – foundation and concealer blended right in to the skin under my eyes and I didn't need as much concealer. The results lasted all day. In the evening my eye area still looked smooth, when it usually starts to dry out and look more lined’ • ‘They felt lovely and cool on, and I found I could wear them and get on and do other things, which was good’ • ‘I loved this product, which is so easy to use. It said to apply after cleansing, which I did, but I did also try it when I was wearing make-up and the make-up stayed on. The packaging said the masks are hydrating and my eye area did feel hydrated. My dark circles appear less obvious and puffiness is reduced.’

£16.50 for 6 - click here to buy


SILVER AWARD Elemis Pro-Collagen Hydra-Gel Eye Masks

These scooped a Gold Award in 2017 but were just pipped to the post by the DHC new entry, left, when we re-tested them this time around. The Hydra-Gel Eye Masks aren’t something you’d want to be caught wearing by the postman, perhaps: infused sheets, specially designed to sculpt themselves to the eye zone when applied, with a sort of ‘banana’ shape, designed to be positioned on the problem area and left for 20 minutes or so (one side is slightly sticky, to keep them in place). They’re super-moisturising, delivering a mega-dose of age-defying marine algae Padina pavonica and plumping hyaluronic acid to the eye zone, offering a cooling effect to boost microcirculation.


'My eyes are increasingly sensitive as I get older so I need to be super careful with the products I use. I love Elemis and since it's a gentle effective brand I used it first when my eyes were tired, slightly red, with dark circles and puffiness. Once you get them out of the packaging (a bit fiddly) they just slide into place and you forget they are on. I just relaxed and watched TV. I could actually feel my eyes decongesting and the gritty, tired feeling disappearing. After 30 minutes, I could see a firmness in my under eye area, most of the redness had disappeared and my eyes felt wonderfully refreshed as if I’d had a great night’s sleep’ • ‘A quick fix that really works. Great for a special occasion when you want to look your very best, and for those times when your eyes are really tired. I will now keep a supply in the fridge for emergencies’ • ‘I used these before my wedding and saw instant results. My fine lines definitely reduced, and hydrating my eye area made a huge difference. It’s a short-term solution – I know now that I need to drink more water – but I would use these after a long flight or before a night out to give my eyes some TLC’ • ‘I wondered how on earth these slippery gel masks would stay in place but they did perfectly even when I was in the bath. My eye area definitely looked brighter and felt amazingly refreshed. Fantastic for reducing puffiness; on one occasion I’d shed a few tears, which always makes my eyes ridiculously puffy, and the masks reduced that’ • ‘These are a perfect pick-me-up, which I enjoyed using before I applied my make-up on special occasions, or as part of a “Sunday facial”’ • ‘Like a mini-spa treatment and a fantastic quick-fix. I tested after just a few hours sleep and the area under my eyes felt great and looked fantastic. It definitely provides immediate improvement, with fine and medium-sized lines dramatically reduced, and the whole area more hydrated, smoother and firmed.’

£50.50 for 6 - click here to buy