Feeling stressed and dry? There’s a face mask for that. Need something that doesn’t require you to sit idly for 20 minutes and lets you slip into bed right away? Come meet your new beauty staple: The overnight mask.
You may have seen these jars around under other names, such as sleeping packs, sleeping masks, or leave-on masks — it’s a product that makes your skin feel like its floating in a sensory-deprivation tank made of your favorite serums, and the results show for it too. Dr. Dendy Engelman, a dermatologic surgeon in NYC, aptly describes them as “a supercharged night cream.”
Here’s everything you need to know about sleeping with your skin care on — or rather, how to pull a beauty overnighter.
Designed to help ingredients penetrate more deeply as you sleep, an overnight mask works both as a barrier and sealant. A light coating of this product prevents dirt and dust from closing in on your pores and locks in your other active products, letting all the goodness work more effectively without evaporating away.
“It’s designed to last longer on your face, [be] more potent, and deliver strong results over the course of the night, like intense hydration, brightening, and calming,” says Dr. Engelman. Scientifically, there’s also a few reasons as to why an overnight mask works so beautifully.
Secondly, it locks in moisture by sitting on top of your skin rather than getting immediately absorbed. “While you’re sleeping, the body’s hydration rebalances. Skin is able to recover moisture, while excess water... is processed for removal,” notes Dr. Engelman.
Hydration is an extremely important factor in the aging department, specifically with wrinkle development. As you age, your skin’s
Dr. Engelman suggests looking for a mask with peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid. These ingredients help “support collagen production, which can smooth fine lines and wrinkles and lock in moisture for eight hours.”
While most overnight masks tend to be formulated on the gentle side, you still want to be careful with this trend as the product stays on your face for a long time. If your skin is super sensitive, ask your dermatologist for a direct recommendation.
Most people use overnight masks once or twice a week, and they’re not as messy as they might sound. You just apply them as you would a regular cream: Scoop a nickel-sized dollop, spread over your face, head to bed, and then wake up and wash off to reveal brighter, smoother skin. While it should be the last step of your night routine, be sure to apply it to clean skin and with clean hands (use a spoon to prevent contamination).
Waiting until about 30 minutes before bedtime will also help it absorb and prevent staining your pillowcase, though you can toss a towel down if you’re worried about things getting messy.
While an overnight mask may not be a time-turner in a jar (hey, nothing is!), it could prove a worthwhile addition to your skin care repertoire. You may have already starting seeing these jars pop up in their own special section at Sephora, Walgreens, or even on your Facebook ads — so is it just a fad? Unlikely.
This sleeping beauty is charming its way up the skin care ladder as more experts and beauty gurus swear by them — including Dr. Engelman, who recommends them to clients because of their efficacy. And with a history that can be solidly traced back to South Korean skin care (like so many of the other great advancements in the skin care world these days), overnight masks may become one of the most essential skin care investments ever.