I've Had Dark Under-Eye Bags My Entire Life, but These Retinol Patches Erase Them in Minutes

They work fast and well.

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Benefiance eye mask
Photo: Courtesy Shiseido

Blame it on chronic allergies or oddball genetics, but I've been plagued by under-eye bags for most of my life. Even as an angelic-looking toddler, I had dark bags that made me look like I'd hosted a rager in the kiddie pool the night before. It wasn't until my 20s that I realized I sometimes looked exhausted even when well-rested.

However, about four years ago I discovered the cosmetic wizardry of Shiseido's Benefiance Retinol Smoothing Eye Masks. At $70 for 12 pairs, they're a bit pricey, but my eyes have never looked better. Infused with pure retinol, hyaluronic acid, and a soothing antioxidant blend of plant extracts, the masks work to smooth fine lines and reduce puffy eyes. They work fast — immediately after using, my former dark circles match my skin tone, and my crow's feet and fine lines look smooth for the next few days. For me, the results are cumulative; the more often I use the eye patches, the better the results.

Shiseido Benefiance Eye Mask

Shop now: $70; nordstrom.com

I use the eye patches a few times a week, usually when I'm applying makeup (they double as a useful accessory for eyeshadow fallout). The masks are crescent-shaped with one wider side that goes toward the corners of your eyes. After removing each patch, I pat in any extra essence; I have hyper-sensitive skin and have never had any kind of reaction. As a bonus, they can be used on lines near your mouth, too.

So, is it possible that these eye patches can make such a difference? Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, tells InStyle that eye patches work so well because they hydrate and almost immediately reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and puffiness by delivering highly concentrated ingredients.

In the case of my treasured Shiseido eye patches, it's the retinol doing most of the work. Dr. Engelman explains that retinol "prevents and helps reverse signs of aging and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin." As for the hyaluronic acid in these patches, Dr. Engelman says it "helps plump and push skin up, creating a firmer, youthful effect." While you can use eye masks daily, you have to be careful, according to Dr. Engelman. She says it's "important to start slowly, as retinol is a strong and often harsh ingredient that can cause dryness, redness and irritation."

I'm not the only superfan — the Benefiance Eye Masks have over 1,500 reviews across online retailers, with shoppers saying they've taken "10 years off" of their face. As one person said, "you have to see it to believe it." I concur. Snag your own pack of Shishiedo's eye masks at Nordstrom to experience the magic yourself.

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