I’ve always had genetically dark circles – it comes from being a medium-olive woman with a few ethnic groups in my ancestry that are notably prone to dark circles – but in the past few years, the problem has become much more noticeable. I have a few theories about why this is, which I’ll discuss more in-depth under the cut, but today I am going to talk about the one topical product that, while not a complete miracle worker and not a total solution, has definitely provided much more noticeable improvement to my dark circles compared to ANY other product I’ve tried thus far. The billion and one eye creams that I’ve tried wish they were as effective and worthwhile (and so does my past wallet, frankly – I feel like eye creams always have their price so inflated compared to other skincare products).
Everybody, meet the Pink Blur Hydrogel Eye Patches by G9Skin. Our relationship is getting pretty serious, and I think we may be in love!
Now, I have to admit that these are the first consistent-use hydrogel eye patches that I’ve tried. To clarify what I mean by that, I’ve used undereye sheet masks and hydrogel eye area sheet masks, but they are more of an “every so often, before a special date” kind of deal due to their pricing.
Not so with the Pink Blur Hydrogel Eye Patches. These are meant to be used daily, and they’re cheap and easy enough that I often use them day and night. I definitely see the best improvement from 2x daily usage, but even using them once a day in the morning (usually I slap them on while I’m doing something else like putting on body lotion or making coffee or even taking the dog out because my neighbours are all lovely and I know they won’t judge me for having vaguely shimmery undereyes when we’re all just half-awake and picking up dog poop) makes a difference.
The Dark Circle Struggle
Why my undereye circles are so severe seems to be due to several intersecting reasons, none of which with super easy solutions:
First, I am extremely prone to what is called an “allergy shiner” – in other words, when I have sinus/allergy issues, my dark circles get even more pronounced. The best that I can do here is try to avoid allergens and keep well-stocked on allergy meds that work (I’ve yet to find any non-drowsy allergy meds that are even remotely effective, sadly), but more and more it’s starting to feel like I am suddenly allergic to Ohio as a whole – summer, autumn, winter, and spring all seem to bring some new allergen that makes my nose run like crazy and my dark circles deepen. I’m currently trying out Muira Puama Root due to some anecdotal evidence that it helps with chronic allergies (as well as potential benefits for neurological health and alleviating joint pain); we’ll see how that goes.
Second, as I’ve been dealing with chronic migraine over the past several years, my sleep quality has gone down while my stress level has gone up. Unfortunately, until this situation is a bit more sorted, that’s not something I can solve beyond making sure that my ADD is treated as it definitely exacerbates any anxiety/stress and allows it to keep me up at night, as well as use my WHOOP band to monitor any other elements that may consistently affect my sleep quality metrics.
Third, I’m now in my 30s and the normal collagen loss that happens in your face as you age – while I generally really like how it’s changed my face and emphasized certain features a bit more – has manifested in my suborbital area, so the fact that I do have higher cheekbones and somewhat protruding eyes causes a deeper natural shadow on my undereye area. One could potentially pursue undereye fillers for this, but I’m not totally sold on this yet – frankly at the moment I’m more interested in botox solely as a migraine treatment and any other procedures would be left on the table until later as health issues in America tend to be quite expensive. I suspect that this is the reason these hydrogel patches actually address – just like a normal sheet mask does for the overall facial skin, these eye patches add hydration and essentially ‘plump’ the skin under the eyes, making the skin look a bit smoother, younger, fuller, and making the undereye hollow temporarily appear less severe.
Lastly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine and face mapping, dark undereye circles can be a symptom of some sort of imbalance or issue in the liver. I’ve been recently through a few blood tests looking for autoimmune disease hints, and what do you know: my liver enzymes and BUN/creatinine levels are out of whack. Why exactly this is the case is something we’re still trying to nail down as there’s no obvious cause, but I am making an effort to supplement milk thistle (this is the exact supplement that I’ve been taking) as it’s an established and safe natural supplement that can moderately aid liver function. I have noticed a slight improvement with this, to be honest – when I am consistent and take this supplement 2x per day, I do notice that my circles are a bit less severe. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still pretty pronounced compared to most people, but I am saving a bit on peach corrector and undereye concealer usage compared to before I started this supplementation, so that is somewhat promising!
The ingredients list are as follows:
Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Chondrus Crispus Powder, Ceratonia Siliqua Gum, Blackberry Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sambucus Nigra Fruit Extract, Blueberry Fruit Extract, Raspberry Fruit Extract, Cranberry Fruit Extract, Cornus Officanlis Fruit Extract, Wild Cherry Fruit Extract, Punica Granatum Fruit Extract, 1,2-Hexanediol, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Ethyl Hexanediol, Brassica Napus Extract, Freesia Refracta Extract, Evening Primrose Flower Extract, Forsythia Suspensa Fruit Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Broccoli Extract, Tomato Fruit Extract, Cabbage Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Origanum Vulgare Leaf Extract, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower Extract, Ivy Leaf Extract, Myrciaria Dubia (Camu Camu)
For the sake of brevity, I used the common names for some of the flower and fruit extracts, but if you’d like to see their full latin names as well as the individual role of each ingredient, please check the Skincarisma page for this product here.
This product is largely a glycerin and butylene glycol-based plumping/hydrating product (if you’re a sheet mask user, you probably already know and love these ingredients) as well as containing a mix of conditioning fruit and flower extracts. Chondrus Crispus Powder is an algae powder that becomes a jelly when boiled and can retain up to 20-100x its weight in water, so as you may have guessed, this is likely the hydrogel patch itself.
Berry extracts in skincare are picking up a lot of steam lately, with even the infamously picky Paula’s Choice brand developing products including various berry extracts. From their post entitled “Berries for Skin: Everything You Need To Know” here is an excerpt that explains just why skincare brands and fans are getting so excited about topical berry extracts:
The main reason a wide range of berries, including acai, goji berry, blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, and elderberry are good for skin is because they’re chockful of potent antioxidant compounds known as phenolics. These powerful compounds, often referred to as polyphenols, are primarily found in the fruit and seeds of berries. Their job is to help the plants withstand environmental stressors in the wild, and they can do this for your skin, too.
Polyphenols have several sub-categories, each with distinct benefits for your skin. The main types of polyphenols include:
Flavonoids*, including anthocyanidins (plant pigments that give blackberries and other dark berries their color)
Lignans, a type of plant fiber found in seaberry, strawberries, and blackberries
Phenolic acids, such as ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in pomegranates, raspberries, and strawberries
Polyphenols go beyond antioxidant ability to protect the skin from various triggers that cause signs of aging (including wrinkles, dullness, uneven skin tone and loss of elasticity) to appear or worsen. Even more exciting, these phenolic antioxidants help visibly repair environmental damage and revive skin’s natural defenses so it looks fresher and healthier.
Additionally, calls out the anti-inflammatory properties of many berry extracts such as Elderberry (included in these patches).
The one ingredient that does give me pause is the Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, but as it’s so far down on the ingredients list, I personally am not too concerned about it – it’s one of those ingredients that has beneficial effects (thus its inclusion) but can also sensitize some skins. For me, it does not seem to be troublesome in the amount present here, but I still wanted to mention it for anyone who may already have an established sensitivity.
How To Use
The hydrogels are packed inside the container, with a small plastic spatula provided for you to ‘scoop’ out the individual patches. You will absolutely want to keep and use the spatula rather than giving in to temptation and trying to use your fingers, because the hydrogels are relatively delicate and even minor contact with your fingernails can and will tear them. Similarly, the serum/essence on the patches is much more likely to adhere to your skin versus the plastic spatula. Lastly, it’s just way more hygienic to only have the spatula in contact with the unused product – 120 patches will last you a decent amount of time, so you want to avoid introducing any bacteria as much as possible.
I also suggest keeping the seal/under-lid with the pull tab. As you can see in the photo, it gives a nice place for your spatula to rest in between uses without getting extraneous (and thus wasted) serum on its surface. Keeping the spatula clean will make picking up the patches significantly easier. My other pro-tip is to store the entire container upside-down; this will ensure that the hydrogels at the top are always the most coated in serum.
After you’ve removed your hydrogel patch, just place it in the hollow under your eye. The larger patches will cover your entire undereye area and tail out to your smile line area as well; the smaller patches will cover the undereyes alone. The smaller patches are also nice to use for any other dry patches you may have – when I started taking Inderal for my migraines, my skin became much more dry and the skin around the sides of my nostrils and right above my lips started to display a flakiness that I’d never before experienced. Sheet masking could keep it in control, but as a daily sheet mask can become expensive very quickly, I found it to be much more cost-effective to just use the small hydrogel patches in that area in the morning. It helped smooth out and plump the skin as a stopgap measure while I figured out how my routine needed to change in order to solve the flakiness at its root (for me, it turned out to be that I no longer needed the Clindamycin from my Curology prescription – its continued presence was simply too aggressive for me now. Switching to a different retinoid without the antibiotic eliminated my chronic flakiness almost immediately – just a PSA for anyone else who may have a similar Curology prescription and experiences something similar after a few months/years).
Leave the patches on for 15-20 minutes (or longer, if you’re prone to getting distracted and wrapped up in Twitter/Reddit/YouTube while waiting like I am, lol) and then remove them, discard the patches, and gently tap in any remaining essence. Congratulations, you’re done!
I personally saw the most benefit when I used the patches day and night, but if you’re pressed for time, you should still see improvements even with once daily usage.
As I alluded to when discussing the collagen loss aspect of my undereye circles, the G9Skin Pink Blur Hydrogel patches work in a way very similar to a sheet mask. The long-term exposure and the hydrogel patches themselves help to amplify absorption of the serum, so that your skin “drinks” as much of the product as it can during that time, and that will almost always be more product and thus hydration than you get with any reasonable application of eye cream. Since that medication change I mentioned before, I’ve noticed that my skin and undereyes often absorb all of the essence on these patches or from sheet masks – my skin is THIRSTY!
The essence itself will hydrate your undereye area, which makes the skin look smoother, more youthful, and plumper. This causes a temporary effect that makes the hollows under your eyes appear less pronounced.
That’s it. That’s the whole trick. You may of course see long-term benefits from any ingredients in the serum, but the biggest ‘benefit’ will simply be that most classic of skincare solutions: your skin looks better when it’s adequately hydrated. This is why I think more expensive undereye patches will largely be bunk – the important mechanism here is not something that requires rare or expensive or instagram-trendy ingredients. What’s more important is the brand itself being trustworthy (the product is going near your eyeballs, after all), the patches being of a decent quality and actually adhering to your face for the full treatment time, and the serum containing a solid mixture of moisturizing ingredients as well as NOT including anything that will cause irritation to an area comprised of delicate skin that’s also right next to your eyes. The ‘glitter’ here is not actual glitter that can get into your eyes and cause serious side effects – once again, this comes down to how much you trust the company to fully disclose their ingredients, including the ingredients of the hydrogel patches themselves.
Speaking of cost…
I purchased my jar from a well-established K-Beauty ebayer called biz-inside for $12.30 (shipping included) for a jar of 120 patches. Each jar contains a mix of larger undereye patches and smaller-sized patches that can be used either below the eyes, on smile lines, around the nose, or wherever you so desire (so far I’ve been saving them for calming breakouts or any skin irritation, but once I run out of the large patches I’ll begin using them in the undereye area as well). I’m about 2/3 of the way through the larger patches and have probably 75% of the smaller patches left. This is with mostly consistent use, alternating between 2x daily and 1x per day depending on how busy I am, how tired I am at night, etc. Considering that I find these to be very effective for both undereyes as well as general redness/blemish/dry patch soothing, I see this as a very cost efficient product.
Where To Buy
- $14.99 at Amazon
- From $12.90 on eBay (use eBates for an additional 2% cash back)
- $31.90 at YesStyle (?????????? bruh)
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