Maybe you really do have trouble sleeping unless it’s really dark, or maybe you’ve just read that science says the darker the environment, the better the sleep—but either way, you’re looking for something that will provide complete darkness without investing in blackout blinds. Does The Total Eclipse Sleep Mask by Dream Essentials deliver? Keep reading!
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The Total Eclipse Sleep Mask comes in a clear plastic bag without any instructions or labels. The mask’s name is printed on it, above the promise of “INSTANT TOTAL DARKNESS”—the same promise made on the mask’s product page—but otherwise it would be impossible to distinguish this mask from some others at first glance.
The mask is comprised of a sturdy faceplate made from cardboard or a light plastic. A clear sheet of plastic lamination has been applied over it, and it’s peeling at the edges, which gives the mask a cheap, unfinished look. Fortunately despite their rough appearance, the edges are smooth and will not bother you if they touch your face (which they likely will not, due to the foam lining).
The backside of the mask is lined with high-density foam with cut-outs for your eyes, which allow you to open them with the mask on. To my delight, the Total Eclipse’s head strap adjusts with a slider*, meaning there wouldn’t be velcro getting stuck in my hair.
*The Total Eclipse Sleep Mask seems to have been updated since we ordered ours at Sleepopolis. The current listing for the product features a slightly different strap, with pockets to hold earplugs and a velcro adjuster.
The Total Eclipse Sleep Mask offers what I think is one of the coolest sleep mask features available: the front of the mask stands away from the face far enough that you can open your eyes while wearing it and still get to experience total darkness. (If only masks like this had been available for childhood pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey games—there’d have been much less cheating.) The strap sits a little low for my tastes, just on top of the ears so that it pushes them away from the head. I was able to angle the strap up a bit higher but it took a few tries to do so successfully without shifting the mask.
Unlike some other blackout masks, the Total Eclipse isn’t absolutely enormous. The sides of the mask easily wrapped to my temples so that when I slept on my side, it wasn’t pushing the pillow far beyond my face and creating an uncomfortable crater where my head should have been resting. I still had to make a few adjustments to the mask to keep it from pushing the pillow or pressing against my nose, but they were accomplished in a matter of seconds. I slept pretty well and never felt compelled to pull the mask off in the middle of the night.
There was one problem with the Total Eclipse that I wasn’t expecting: a thin layer of cloth that I didn’t notice upon my initial inspection of the mask covers the foam, and this cloth picked up a lot of cat hair. I have four cats, all of whom like to snuggle come bedtime despite my being allergic to them—and as much as their shedding is unavoidable, I’m a fanatic about keeping their hair out of my eyes. (For example, at bedtime I’ll pet them with one hand and keep the other hand under the blankets so that if I need to rub my face at any point, I’ll have a clean hand with which to do it.) Getting cat hair stuck in something that was going to sit so close to my eyes all night is a less than ideal scenario for me, so when I used the mask, I had to first use a tape roller to make sure I had removed the fur and dander from the fabric covering. If you have pets that shed—even if you’re not allergic—you’ll definitely want to do the same.
Napping with the Mask
As a side sleeper, the mask did push a little away from my face when I used it—and during a daytime nap, this meant that a little light did seep in. It wasn’t enough to bother me, and once I closed my eyes it was completely undetectable.
I say this in every review, but I’ll say it again: if I’m going to take a daytime nap with a sleep mask on, I need to be reasonably confident it won’t smudge my makeup. I’m very, very good at falling asleep on trains and planes—this is also when I’m personally most likely to use a mask in my real life—and if I’m traveling for business, I’ll probably have to go straight from there to an office. I don’t want to have to re-apply makeup in order to be presentable. The Total Eclipse made this easy. My makeup was largely unsmudged when I awoke, and I didn’t have to do any touching up in order to rejoin the world.
- Comfort: 7/10
- Adjustable strap: 10/10
- Blackout: 9/10
- Good for side-sleepers: 8/10
- Wear with makeup: 10/10
- Price: 9/10
Common Praise and Complaints
Five Star Review: “I’ve tried others before, but they press on my face and against my eyelids. This is the only one that actually feels comfortable and I can fall asleep in.”—I haven’t found that other blackout masks press too much against my face (or press at all against my eyelids), but I certainly thought this mask was more comfortable than some of the others on the market.
One Star Review: “Was very cheap looking for one and I honestly could have made a better mask myself from home.”—No disagreement here on the appearance. As you can see in some of the photos, the Total Eclipse’s rough edges gave the mask a loving-hands-at-home feel. But I doubt many people can make a better mask at home unless they have the tools needed to laser-cut foam.
- Price: $14.95 on Amazon; $17.98 direct from the Dream Essentials
- Sizing Options: One size fits all
- Color Options: Black or white
- Materials Used: Laminated, flexible plastic or cardboard; high-density foam with a layer of fabric over it
- Comes With: The version I received didn’t come with anything, but the versions currently on sale come with earplugs
- Other Options: None
- Return Policy: Amazon will accept a return according to its standard policies if the product is unopened. As the maker of the mask, Dream Essentials offers a 45-day satisfaction guarantee and will accept returns and exchanges within that window, minus the cost of shipping.
- Manufactured In: Unknown
For roughly fifteen dollars, the Total Eclipse offers comfortable, complete blackout conditions as long as you don’t mind the aesthetics. It’s not perfect for side sleepers but is better than other similar masks on the market. Just be sure to clear any pet hair off of it before you wear the mask!
Jillian Ashley Blair Ivey
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