I am no stranger to the world of hydrogel eye patches. They were a skincare product that took me a while to come round to – I didn’t really see much point in them. I used them a couple of times a week, and didn’t see any difference in my tired, puffy eyes. However, since my good Instagram friend @woodnote_song informed me of her trick of wearing them for a while every day after waking up – while making breakfast, having that all-important morning coffee, and holding my head in my hands over the latest BBC headlines – I’ve noticed a huge difference.
In my opinion, most hydrogel patches give similar results. It’s more the cooling effect for me that reduces the puffiness, rather than the actual ingredients. I’ve used over four different kinds now and haven’t really noticed any difference between the types. What’s important is the adherence – i.e how slippery they are, and if they have a strong scent, if they irritate my under eye area. I have very sensitive eyes that seem to tear up or turn red if there is an ingredient they don’t like in an eye product. So it’s important for me to choose well with the hydrogel patches. However, it’s an expensive solution for tired eyes. Consider that many tubs have less than a month’s worth of patches in them. This means that’s another factor for me to consider when looking for eye patches.
Recently I’ve been trying a new set – the Koelf Ruby Bulgarian Rose Hydrogels. I chose them for a reviewer package from Althea Korea, after realising my Swanicoco patches were close to running out, and I needed some sharpish. These usually cost under $10 when you order from Korea, and indeed in many online stores. This means if I liked them, they would be a great choice for inexpensive hydrogel masking daily.
Purified water, glycerin, calcium chloride, butylene glycol, ceratonia siliqua gum, xanthan gum, damask rose, hydroxyethylcellulose, PEG-60 hydrogenated castor oil, ethanol, synthetic fluorphlogopite, titanium dioxide, ruby powder, disodium EDTA, gold, green tea, houttuynia cordata extract, yuzu, 1,2-hexanediol, caprylyl glycol, ethyl hexadeniol, citrus grandis seed extract, bambusa textilis stem extract, pinus palustris leaf extract, chlorphenesin, phenoxyethanol, methyparaben, fragrance.
For sensitive skin, it’s worth noting that these contain butylene glycol (possible irritant for acne), and fragrance. They contain methyparaben, which as you might guess is a preservative in the paraben family. There are some claims that parabens are linked to cancer, but the ingredient has not yet been banned, as studies are not conclusive. So ultimately it’s up to you what you put on your skin. These don’t irritate me, but YMMV.
Green tea and houttuynia cordata are favourites of mine for calming and soothing, and yuzu can help with brightening, which is good for under eye patches – you hopefully want the area to be calmed and brighter after removal.
Packaging and price
The patches come in a small box, with a tub inside which contains the patches. There is a small spatula included. This does the job okay, but I’ve taken to using one of my bigger spatulas, as I find it to be a little thin for getting hold of the patches.
You get 60 in a package, so that’s about a month of daily wear. Obviously if you don’t do it daily, you’ll get more uses. This was $9.75 from Althea, so that means each eye masking session costs about $0.30. Cheaper than eye masks, and you’re more likely to notice effects doing this method than a mask every now and again.
The packaging is quite pretty but nothing special. It feels and looks about the price it is. I have to take a moment to appreciate the fact that the tagline of this product is ‘the eye patch of elf’. I like to imagine that if elves do exist, this is indeed their eye patch of choice, and eye masking is their number one priority.
The eye patches are quite easy to get out the tub. You simply use the spatula (or one that you choose that’s slightly wider, with more surface area) and take one out. Place it under your eye and wait 20-30 minutes. You’ll feel it dry out a bit as your skin absorbs the moisture.
There is a slight fragrance and it’s somewhat rosy, but more that fake floral bathroom rose scent, that reminds me somewhat of rose perfume that’s been hidden in a cupboard for years. Not entirely pleasant, but it’s pretty much while you have the tub open that you notice it. When they’re on your face, you don’t notice it too much.
They’re a little more slippery than other eye patches, but once you have them positioned, they don’t fall or move about much. You get a little bit of liquid on the patch, but not a huge amount, which is good as it means they don’t slip down your face all the time. Once I have them in position I can go about my morning pottering.
If I use these every day, I notice that my eyes look less puffy, and I appear more awake. Some colleagues of mine noted that ‘I didn’t look tired even when I said I slept very little’, so I suppose that’s a nice compliment of some sorts, and I owe it to the patches. Not with just these ones, but in general. When I went on holiday last, I didn’t take any with me, and I noticed the difference. My eyes looked puffier and my appearance was overall of a very tired person. If I use hydrogel patches I can fool everyone.
To conclude, these eye patches perform pretty much the same as others which I have tried (e.g Berrisom placenta masks, Swanicoco ginseng masks), but the price tag is affordable and I would purchase these. If you’re looking for fragrance-free I recommend the Swanicoco ones, but if you’re happy to just use a bog-standard eye patch, then these are fine.
Disclaimer: this mask was sent to me as part of an unboxing review package from Althea Korea. All opinions are my own.