There is a certain population of people who, when learning that I have been reviewing a series of sleep masks for Sleepopolis, want to tell me all about their favorite masks. Far and away the largest and most vocal group of these people are the fans of the Brookstone NapForm® Eye Mask. One friend, a long-term sufferer of insomnia, has said that the mask is one of the only things that can help her sleep. Another received the NapForm mask from a relative and has since bought the NapForm mask for several people. So at almost $40, would this pricey mask live up to the hype? Check out my full review below.
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After all I’d heard about the wonders of the Brookstone NapForm Eye Mask, I had to laugh when I saw the photo on the box. The peacefully resting woman looks like she’s traded her eyes for a fly’s—or possibly a frog’s. The mask looks much flatter in the photo on the back of its box, so that bulging shape is probably a result of how the mask fits when being worn.
Out of the box, the NapForm is smaller, lighter, and less bulky than I was expecting. The blue NapSoft® fabric that covers the front and back of the mask is pleasantly soft and feels somewhere between a terrycloth and a velour, and it almost immediately began collecting cat fur. That was one strike against it; the second strike came when I noticed that mask adjusts with Velcro—meaning that I was faced with a mask that would collect my pets’ hair and a strap that would collect mine.
Still, with all of the praise I’d heard about the mask, I had to experience it for myself.
It was very challenging for me to get the NapForm mask on. The top strap, which features the rough, hook side of the Velcro, is also elasticized, and as I stretched the elastic across the back of my head and tried to match the hooks to the loop side of the Velcro, I kept getting it caught in my hair. Just when I finally thought I had pulled the strap tight enough and lined it up properly, I let go of the strap and it slid several inches down my head and over my ears.
This might not have been as much of an issue were the strap thinner or less bulky, but at more than an inch wide, there was really a lot of strap holding my ears down. (And trying to move the strap behind my ears was even worse.)
But, once I was able to get the cat hair off the mask, and get the mask adjusted well around my head (the sliding never stopped, but after a few attempts, I was at least able to line the Velcro up properly), I found it to be quite comfortable. The NapForm is filled with Brookstone’s special BioSense® memory foam, and the bulging I noticed on the front of the box seems to be caused by the padded lower third of the mask both pushing the mask away from the eyes and also forming a close seal below them while also creating space over the eyelids to avoid pressure. Whether you have high cheekbones or low, deep-set eyes or eyes that bulge out a bit, my guess is that the memory foam in the NapForm will accommodate the shape of your face and form a good seal.
I had to keep my eyes closed while putting the mask on, but once it was in place, I was able to open them and appreciate the near darkness the mask afforded. Some ambient light seeped in from the very upper corners of the mask, but because the NapForm’s straps start further toward the back of the head (the mask tapers, but the NapSoft fabric wraps past the ears), the leakage was minimal.
I was skeptical that the mask would be comfortable while lying on my side, given that the sides of the mask are still bulky and go over the ears, but I was pleasantly surprised to settle in comfortably. The mask didn’t push my pillow away from my face or force me to angle my neck uncomfortably in order to stop the mask from shifting or squeezing my nose shut, and I had to do very little re-adjusting to the mask after I lay down. The lower third of the mask, where the foam is thickest, did press a bit into my lower lids, but it wasn’t too unpleasant and I’d imagine that if I had worn the mask enough to allow the foam starts to take the shape of my face, this problem would go away completely.
I did have a bit of trouble removing the mask without pulling my hair when I woke up the next morning, but overall slept much better in the NapForm than I was expecting to.
Napping with the Mask
Knowing that there had been a little ambient light leakage in the NapForm mask when I wore it overnight, I wasn’t sure if it could stand up to a daytime nap, but fortunately, the light leakage was no worse with sunlight streaming through my bedroom windows than it was with the street lights shining through the gaps in my mini blinds. It was easy to settle in for an hour’s worth of downtime, and it didn’t take long at all before I fell asleep.
However, I did have to do some makeup touching up when I awoke. The thick padding on the lower area of the mask, as I mentioned before, presses a bit into the lower lids, so it rubbed my mascara and eyeliner a bit. (The upper lids were mostly fine.) I’ve said before and I’ll say again that while this isn’t a concern for everybody, makeup-wearers who like to take the occasional daytime nap should know that they’ll need to budget a few minutes for touch-ups when selecting a sleep mask.
- Comfort: 7/10
- Adjustable strap: 6/10
- Blackout: 9/10
- Good for side-sleepers: 9/10
- Wear with makeup: 6/10
- Price: 3/10
Common Praise and Complaints
Five Star Review: “I was initially disappointed with this eye mask. It’s too bulky, the memory foam is too stiff. But all that changed after a couple of nights wearing it to bed when the memory foam softened and truly conformed to my face. Now I love this little mask! Give it a chance for the memory foam to warm up and confirm to your face. It’s worth it!”—This comment seems to confirm my guess that some of the issues I experienced with pressure and rubbing might go away with repeated use. I haven’t worn the mask enough times to see this benefit, but having used other products with memory foam in the past, I absolutely believe that it’s a possibility.
One Star Review: “I could feel the cloth when my eyes were shut and certainly with my eyelashes rubbing against them when I opened my eyes. It is bulky and no good for a serious side-sleeper. Also, the Velcro fastener is HARSH and will tangle in long hair.”—While I felt some pressure on my lower lids, overall I found that the mask sat far enough away from my eyes that there wasn’t any pressure—and I have long eyelashes. I’m also a serious side-sleeper, and didn’t have any problems in that regard, so I wonder if there’s any change in comfort based on the type of pillow you use. But as to the Velcro—I agree. I’ll probably never stop criticizing that feature on any sleep mask.
- Price: $37.95 on Amazon; not currently available direct through Brookstone
- Sizing Options: None
- Color Options: Blue only
- Materials Used: BioSense® memory foam; NapSoft® polyester fabric; elastic; Velcro
- Comes With: Nothing (but be sure to throw away that silica gel packet in the box)
- Other Options: None
- Return Policy: Standard Amazon return policy applies; Brookstone provides a limited one-year warranty
- Manufactured In: Undisclosed
I found the Brookstone NapForm Eye Mask to be comfortable and effective, but despite that (and my many friends’ recommendations), it’s hard to justify spending $40 on a sleep mask that doesn’t deliver everything you want. Maybe if the strap adjusted with a slider instead of Velcro, I’d find it to be worth the price tag. For now, I think there are better, cheaper options available.