Since birth, I have been a terrible sleeper, but the reason for my sleeplessness has changed. In childhood, I was afraid of the dark. I wanted to live in a world of never-ending light. Now that I live in that world — it’s called New York — I am perpetually wishing for darkness. Instead of installing blackout curtains in my apartment (which tend to give off a serial-killer vibe), I’ve gravitated toward sleeping masks to create my own personal, starless nights since moving to New York in 2008. In my youthful innocence, the only criterion I had for my masks was that they blocked all light, totally and completely. That these products tended to irritate my eyelids and leave my eyelashes permanently crimped was, I believed, a reasonable trade-off.
Then one day, four or five years ago, during a stroll through the Mall of America, near my Minnesota hometown, I came across a type of eye mask I’d never even dreamed of. The Bucky eye mask was a mask that sealed out light without resting on the eyes — instead of pads, it has two “cups,” much like, well, a bra.
Intrigued, I put the mask on and opened my eyes — it was like being inside a sealed cave. The molded-foam material is so lightweight that you barely feel like you’re wearing anything on your face. You are free to blink in total darkness. This liberation of masked eyelids is, I assume, why the mask has become a bestseller for the Seattle-based brand. I’ve worn it on economy class transatlantic flights. I’ve worn it on trips upstate with friends who insist on waking up with the sun. I’ve become an evangelist, sending masks to every sleepless person I know — and, over time, to the vain as well. After getting tiny extensions glued to every single eyelash for a wedding several years ago, I discovered that eyelash extensions seem to last longer on my eyes than everyone else’s. I can’t prove that Bucky is the source of my eyelash-extension longevity — maybe my eyelashes are just stubborn — but at the very least, the mask keeps them from getting smooshed. As someone who requires absolute darkness but also wants beautiful eyelashes, wearing a bra on my eyes at night has been a total win-win.
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