Patch Me Up: Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Eye and Lip Patches
You may not need (or have time for) lip and eye patches every day, but when you do use them, oh, the glorious hydration and smoothness! Here, how to make the most of your eye and lip patches.
When I say K-beauty has something for every possible skincare need you will ever encounter, I’m not kidding. From tiny, ultra-thin hydrocolloid patches for pimples to sheet masks that include an extra flap for our often-neglected necks, there are so many options that even I can’t fit all of them into my daily routine. It’s the difference between essentials and extras. We all have to draw that line somewhere.
My line happens to be eye and lip patches. When I do use them, however, I almost always remember how much I like them.
What are eye and lip patches?
Eye and lip patches take the sheet mask concept and shrink it down to the size and shape of your under-eye or lip area. Soaked with a hydrating essence that often includes ingredients meant to treat specific issues like dullness or dark circles, the patches form an occlusive barrier over the area, forcing the essence to absorb into skin instead of evaporating into the air.
Eye patches can be made of inexpensive cotton or more premium hydrogel material. On the other hand, all the lip patches I’ve seen are hydrogel. There are advantages to both materials: I find cotton and pulp eye patches adhere better upon application and can hold more essence, while hydrogel patches sometimes slide around when too juicy but create a better occlusive seal that enables more essence to absorb into skin.
Both eye and lip patches tend to contain less fragrance and fewer potentially irritating ingredients than regular face masks, both to protect the more sensitive eye area and to protect the user from undesirable flavors when using lip patches. You know how getting regular sheet mask essence in your mouth usually tastes bad and leads to reflections on where you went wrong in your life to end up in this situation? Lip patches get around that with pleasant scents and flavors.
The basic benefits of eye and lip patches are similar. The generous dose of essence and the physical occlusion of the patches allows for intensive hydration, softening and plumping up dry lips and smoothing out the under-eye area to temporarily reduce the appearance of fine lines. Many eye patches also contain anti-inflammatory and brightening ingredients to shrink puffiness and address dark circles.
And, of course, I’ve got my favorite ways to use both. Here they are!
Getting the most out of eye patches
I use eye patches once or twice a week. I like to use them on mornings when I have extra time — they seem wasted when I use them at night, since by morning the best of their effects has faded. The reason for that is simple: The skin around our eyes is thinner and loses moisture faster than the rest of our faces. So for maximum effect, I use eye patches the same day I want to show off their results.
I prefer eye patches that come in tubs of 60, giving 30 uses per tub; I particularly enjoy JayJun’s Roselle Tea eye patches, which aren’t too slippery and give my under-eyes a nice ironed-out effect. Here’s how I maximize their benefits.
1. Keep eye patches in the fridge. Chilled patches will de-puff and reduce redness even better than room-temperature ones.
2. Use after cleansing and applying hydrating toner. Dab some of the hydrating toner right under your eyes. The eye patches will help it absorb in addition to the patch essence, for an extra dose of hydration.
3. If your eye area is very dry and in need of extra help, dot a half drop of facial oil onto your under-eyes just before applying the eye patches. I’ve been doing this for years and have always seen spectacular smoothing results.
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4. Wear the eye patches for 15 to 20 minutes. If they’re still wet after that, feel free to leave them on even longer.
5. Once you remove the eye patches, follow up right away with some eye cream to seal the goodness in. My favorite eye cream is actually COSRX Advanced Snail 92 All In One Cream. I fell in love with this product as an eye cream at the beginning of this year and haven’t wanted to try anything else since.
And as a final, lazier tip: If you like to hit the snooze button, keep the patches by your bedside instead. Put them on the first time your alarm goes off and go back to sleep. Once you’ve hit snooze enough to justify dragging yourself out of bed, take them off and proceed with your usual skincare routine. The results won’t be as pronounced, but your under-eyes will still get a nice boost!
Getting the most out of lip patches
I don’t use lip patches nearly as often as eye patches. In the first place, I’m not that preoccupied with my lips. As long as they’re not flaky or dry and cracking, they’re fine. I don’t even wear lip color usually. And in the second place, I feel the need to sip from a beverage every 5 minutes or so all day long. No, not always an alcoholic beverage. Sometimes just soda or water. Yes, really. Anyway, lip patches get in the way of that. (This is also why I usually cut myself a mouth hole in the mouthless but otherwise delightful 23 Years Old Cocoon Willow Silky Masks.)
Still, there are a few occasions that justify a lip patch to me. Special dates, for example — I’m not that preoccupied with my lips myself, but sometimes I want someone else to be extra preoccupied with them. Special or formal occasions where I plan to wear lipstick are the other occasions. Lip color always goes on so much more beautifully when lips are in perfect condition.
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Naturally, I have a whole ritual for these, too.
1. Gently exfoliate your lips first. If you have a lip scrub, now’s the time to bust it out. I use Papa Recipe’s Real Sugar Lip Scrub, which will last me until the end of time basically. Even if you don’t have a lip scrub, however, you’ll be fine. A damp washcloth or even a clean, wet toothbrush will work just fine, albeit less fancy.
2. Dab some simple but humectant-rich hydrating toner onto your lips after you dry them off. I absolutely love the Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Lotion for this, but anything with plenty of water, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid (and without any unpleasant-tasting fragrance) will do. This will pack extra plumpness into your lips.
3. Use the lip patch for 15 to 20 minutes or longer. I just leave it on until I can’t stand not sipping on my beverage anymore.
4. Follow up immediately with your choice of lip balm. If you’re doing the lip patch at night, a nice lip sleeping mask makes a perfect sealing step! When it’s time for makeup, blot the excess off of your nice lush lips, and enjoy.
Do you ever use eye or lip patches? Which are your favorites? Tell us in the comments!