Taping your face overnight might sound weird, but I’ll just come out and say it: I’m hooked. As a beauty writer, I had heard of brands like SiO Beauty, which makes medical grade silicone patches that supposedly help fade fine lines from head to toe, but I had never considered trying such patches out for myself—until I needed to, that is.
I suppose “need” is a strong word, but my ever-deepening smile lines have always bothered me. Then, a couple of months ago, after someone at a beauty trade show felt the need to comment on their existence, I decided it was a sign for me to look into more serious laugh-line fading methods. My retinol serum clearly wasn’t cutting it (hey, I like to smile!), but I wasn’t ready to commit to (or pay for) fillers. What else is there?
After an Internet/Amazon review rabbit hole, I landed on wrinkle patches. The concept makes sense: Taping a sticky patch your wrinkle-prone areas tight for 8 to 10 hours a day will help relax lines over time and smooth them over. What’s more, there are even more benefits in the patches themselves—whether they work to simply seal in moisture (and temporarily plump lines) or are coated with microneedles that deliver targeted ingredients, like hyaluronic acid (that also work to temporarily plump lines). The best part? They work while you sleep.
I had never considered that I could be sleeping in weird positions or making facial expressions that could lead to wrinkles, but apparently, this is very much a thing. “When your face is pressed up against a pillow while sleeping, the skin can be creased, leading to permanent lines and wrinkles,” says Ohio-based dermatologist George Skandamis. “People should not expect these patches to erase their wrinkles overnight, [but] a slow improvement from collagen production for fine lines can be a long-term benefit.”
That’s enough for me. As one Amazon reviewer aptly put it, “These are the poor woman’s Botox!” I’m not entirely sure about that, but I do think that with overnight wear, wrinkle patches do help to temporarily fill in my laugh lines. I noticed more hydrated, plumped-up skin with each of the overnight patches I tried, with the area under the patches noticeably more hydrated than the rest of my face (sometimes, it would even feel dewy). As we all know, hydration is the ultimate goal of any quality skincare routine, and I experienced such good results with the overnight wrinkle patches that I became determined to try all of them. Some were amazing, others were prickly, and another was straight-up bizarre. Keep reading for my reviews on each one.
Created in 1989, Frownies claims to be “the original wrinkle patch,” so I obviously couldn’t leave them off of this list. Since they are the OG of wrinkle patches, I wanted to like these—I really did—but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how they really work, or how to keep them from falling off of my face.
The instructions say to wet the shiny side of the patches (which are basically just brown strips of paper) with the included rosewater activator spray, then pull your skin tight (but not too tight) and adhere the patch onto the desired area and hold it there until it dries. It feels like a paper mâché for your face, only much more uncomfortable and stickier than would be ideal. So sticky, in fact, that it was extremely difficult for me to keep these on through the entire night. All I wanted to do was rip them off and scrub my face clean from the goop—which is precisely what I did, come morning. All in all, for lack of a better way of putting it, these were my least favorite of the entire bunch.
These patches are actually coated with tiny needles, which are infused with hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and peptides and dissolve into the skin as you wear them. NYC-based dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali is generally a bit weary of wrinkle patches, but he does like the microneedling versions. “The cones are usually made of hyaluronic acid and when you apply at night, the heat of the body melts the HA into the skin—results have been impressive,” he explains.
Of all the patches I tried, these are my favorite—although I wish you got more than two disposable pairs for the price. They are the perfect small size and the feeling of the needles pushing into your skin makes me feel like they’re really working. They’re also very sturdily made, so they don’t fall off in the middle of the night or even slide around if you’ve got some moisturizer on underneath. The best part: My laugh lines were noticeably plumper after 8 to 10 hours of wear.
“Silicone provides an epidermal barrier to prevent water loss and create a moisture-rich environment to help keep skin hydrated, plump and promote healing and repair,” Skandamis explains. When you wear these overnight, you can actually feel this happening: Every morning, my skin in the areas that were underneath the patches was noticeably moist—more so than with any of the other patches. They are also reusable—although they stick less and less well with each wear. Overall, these are my second favorite option, and I plan to test them out on other areas as well (they also make patches for the chest, neck, hands and even knees).
These are a bit on the pricey side, yes, but you do get what you pay for: These patches are covered in tiny dissolvable microneedles that are filled with active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin c. “These patches, in addition to the moisturizing environment produced by the patch, also have a collagen-stimulating microneedling component, which can help with fine lines and wrinkles with long term use,” Skandamis said. They feel more needle-y than the Dr. Jart patches, which I actually liked, and they’re also a bit bigger in size. The only reason I can’t give a full five-star rating is the price—the package says you’re supposed to wear them for 12 days straight, but it only includes four sets of patches for a whopping $75. You do the math.