What Exactly Is An “Eye Mask”?

If you type in any search engine the phrase “eye mask” you will get a lot of results, most likely some of the ones you were hoping for and many you had no interest in. In general, we tend to think that the expressions “eye mask” and “sleep mask” are synonymous, but that is not the case. The phrase “eye mask” can mean a lot of things because it has broadened its meaning in the last few years.
While all sleep masks are eye masks, not all eye masks are sleep masks. Some serve a different purpose and have a completely different appearance than the standard light-blocking, re-usable textile cover for your eyes. Bearing that in mind, let’s have a look at all the things that an “eye mask” can mean, to make your internet searches less frustrating and more specific.
1.      The Sleep Mask
The sleep mask is probably the most easily recognisable eye mask. It looks like an oversized, textile pair of sunglasses with a strap at the back. Its purpose is to help you get better sleep, at night or whenever you feel like taking a nap. They may come with additional gel pads, magnets, be infused with essential oils, herbs or copper to help you relax or reduce wrinkles, but their main purpose is to help you get a better sleep.
2.      The Hot/Cold Mask
Some masks have an even more therapeutic purpose. Thermal masks can be cooled or warmed as desired and are meant to reduce eye discomfort, whether that is tiredness, dark circles, dry eyes or wrinkles. Those with beads inside can even be used to relieve sinus pain! Generally speaking, they are made out of gel, maybe with holes for the eyes, but they can also be textile like the classic steam mask. Some can even be connected to a computer through a USB port! There is definitely a lot of choice out there when it comes to this type of mask.
3.      The Beauty Mask
Here is where eye masks get even more varied. The great majority of them are undereye patches infused with various kinds of healing substances, ranging from the standard herbs or collagen to the more strange ones like snail slime and gold. But, besides undereye patches, cosmetic eye masks can also be sheet masks, pads or even creams. So it doesn’t even have to be an eye mask/cover! If you do not know exactly the type of products available in this cosmetic range, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the offer in the beginning. However, the promised benefits are the same as for any beauty product: great-looking skin, hydrated, free of wrinkles and blemishes.
4.      The Costume PartyMask
While searching for a great “eye mask” you are bound to come across this category as well: the party mask. Do you need a classy mask for the Venice Carnival? Do you want to dress up as a superhero or a pirate for a Halloween party? You will be spoilt for choice, even though it is possible that that is not what you were searching for in the first place when looking into “eye masks”.
Of course, there is a  lot of overlap between these categories. And the question still remains: How do you avoid frustration when searching for a particular kind of eye mask if typing the phrase “eye mask” in a search engine proves to be too general? We recommend narrowing down the search or trying some Google Power User shortcuts to omit certain words in the search. For example, if you want to search for a beauty mask, withoug being annoyed by the sleep mask ads, simply type something more specific like “undereye mask”, “collagen mask”, “sheet eye mask” or use a Google shortcut to omit the word “sleep” like: “eye mask –sleep”. Using either of these strategies should yield more desirable results than just searching for “eye masks”

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