It’s been over a year since a certain you-know-what virus has made (everyone’s) lives difficult. Like it or not, it’s going to stay for a while, which means god-knows-how-long we still need to put up with it.
Now, ever since the pandemic started, most of us have been spending our time working from home. Or WFH, as we like to call it by its nickname. And by working from home, that means we are glued to our screens (read: laptops) more than ever. It could be 8 or 10 hours or even more, depending on your job scope. As you know, a long day staring in front of a laptop or computer can strain our eyes. This, in turn, brings me to a topic that I wanted to talk about: steam eye masks.
What are steam eye masks?
Steam eye masks are exactly what they are: masks that generate heat when you put them on to help soothe your tired eyes. Best of all, these steam eye masks require no electricity and even batteries whatsoever. These are unlike eye massagers sold in massage specialist centres, even though they contain more functions than steam eye masks. Not to mention eye massagers generally cost three figures than the economically-priced steam eye masks.
So, how do steam eye masks actually work?
Some of you might be wondering if steam eye masks do not use electricity or batteries, how do they work anyway? The answer lies in the steam heat technology, as in the case of Kao’s MegRhythm Steam Eye Mask from Japan. From the moment you tear open the pouch, which contains a piece of folding steam eye mask, it will warm or heat up automatically. This is made possible because the mask uses iron powder, which would oxidise and produces heat right after as explained on their website, “the heat-generating pad comes into contact with oxygen in the air”.
Steam Eye Masks: Pros & Cons
Just like any other product, steam eye masks have their own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s find out below.
- They are cheaper, costing less than RM20 for a box of 5
- They are convenient and easy to use
- No electricity or batteries are required!
- Unlike eye massagers, steam eye masks do not have functions whatsoever. In other words, you have to make do with the mask’s self-heating pad, capable of generating heat up to approximately 40˚C. You can’t adjust the heat to suit your preference and some users might experience discomfort since not everyone can tolerate the same level of heat on their eyes.
- Steam eye masks are not reusable. They are designed as disposable products, where you need to discard them once the steam subsides completely.
How I felt using steam eye masks for the first time
The thing is, I found out that steam eye masks have already made headlines a few years back. At least according to what I read on Google. As a freelance writer, I spend most of my time working in front of my laptop day and night. Things like dry eyes and eye fatigue commonly occur since I usually work long hours, sometimes even past bedtime hours. Hours that I spent brainstorming, researching the topics that I plan to write for and of course, putting the words together.
Before I discovered the existence of steam eye masks, I initially wanted to own an eye massager. But I am often put off by its price, even though I can get a discount if I buy them online. Still, discount or not, it’s exactly cheap and the fact that the current pandemic (or is it endemic?) means I have to be more cautious with my monthly spending.
Then one day, I came across the availability of steam eye masks online. Lazada, to be exact (just so you know, this is not a sponsored post since I’m basing this on my own experience). I remember it was sometime around July this year when I shop for online groceries using the Lazada app as usual.
From there, one of the online stores I frequented sell steam eye masks from the Kao brand. They come in different aromatherapy scents, namely lavender, chamomile and citrus. However, if you dislike or even sensitive to some of these scents, they have unscented varieties available too. These steam eye masks only cost RM 14.40 (at the time of writing) and sometimes if there are flash sales or monthly sales (e.g. 9/9), I can get them at discounted prices.
So, in terms of using the steam eye mask, it was pretty straightforward. All I need to do is open the pouch and remove the folded steam eye mask. There’s a perforated line located in the middle, which I need to tear gently to open the mask. The mask has a pair of ear straps, which I found kind of delicate. Finding a comfortable position to put the mask on my eyes, it said on the box that it can last up to 20 minutes.
The first time when I used the steam eye mask, I have to admit I didn’t feel comfortable. There were times I removed the mask for a while because of the discomfort, even though it was nothing serious. Or maybe I’m not really used to using this kind of stuff on my eyes.
On my second round — the following day, that is — I got used to the steam eye mask. So far I’ve only tried the lavender scent since it is well known for its natural soothing properties. It does relieve my tired eyes after using it for around 20 minutes while resting in my reclinable office chair. While I admit that it is not a permanent, one-off solution, these steam eye masks at least provide me with some temporary relief. To purchase them, you can get the steam eye masks online right here or offline via Don Don Donki in Lot 10, Kuala Lumpur.
Tired eyes are a nuisance, but these steam eye masks have done me a great favour, and if you feel like you could use some help, why not give it a go?