Ask a Glow Pro: What Should I Know About Overnight Masking?


In an ideal world, we’d wake up with Energizer bunny-level stamina, wash-and-go hair that looks professionally blown out, and clear, non-puffy skin that glows. Not much we can do about the first two things, but we can help with the skin situation. Here, everything you need to know about the secret beauty solution that improves skin while you snooze.

Q: Is There Actually a Difference Between Regular Masks and Sleeping Masks?

A: Overnight masks are regular masks on steroids that give you almost instant facial-like results. They’re super-concentrated, problem-solving formulas powered by active ingredients that are designed get sh*t done while you sleep so you can wake up looking more rested—even when you’re not. Most of them contain ridiculous amounts of ultra-hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and brighteners like vitamin C to help combat the inevitable signs of life (dullness, dark circles, puffiness, breakouts, and general haggardness). They’re also formulated to be pillow-proof, which means you can slap one on and hit the sack within seconds without messing up the sheets.

Q: I’m Perpetually Sleep Deprived. Can I Use an Overnight Mask Every Single Day?

A: Always play it safe by starting off slowly; use yours a few times a week to make sure your skin can take it without freaking out from the high doses of actives. Some exfoliating ingredients like AHAs (found in the Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask, $45, along with vitamin-rich watermelon extract, which helps you wake up looking more even, smooth, and hydrated; pro tip: give it a good mix for a few seconds until its bouncy and smooth before applying) help break down all the gunk that makes skin dull and sad and allow other ingredients to penetrate better, but can sometimes cause sensitivity, so be careful you’re not doubling up with an AHA cleanser or serum. We know it’s a magical skincare superhero that gives good glow, but more is not more when it comes to this exfoliating acid. While light peeling can happen for some people (you are, after all, sloughing off dead skin cells), overdoing it will likely result in redness, peeling, and inflammation. If that happens, back off immediately until your face is back to normal (soothing formulas with centella asiatica like Yuri Pibu Asiatica Calming Lotion, $36, help A LOT). (AHAs also make skin more sensitive to the sun, so if you’re using them, you best be slathering on the SPF every morning!) If the coast is clear after a few weeks, by all means, go forth and use your sleep mask every single night.


Q: How Should I Prep My Skin for a Sleeping Mask?

A: Use in this order at night: Cleanser, toner (try the 7-skin method), serum, and then sleep mask. If yours has a potent combination of proven ingredients (we’re talking niacinamide, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and antioxidants, all of which are packed into the J.One Black Jelly Pack, $47), no need for a serum underneath.

Q: If I Have Oily Skin, Can I Still Add One to My Routine?

A: YASSS! When you hear ‘overnight mask’ you might think of something thick, rich, and pore-cloggy. But there are tons of options that aren’t any of those things. An ace pick if you have oily skin that’s prone to breakouts? Make P:rem Radiance Peeling Sleeping Pack ($30). It’s full of lactobionic acid, which is less irritating than BHAs and AHAs to help deep clean and keep pores clear. We also love the LJH Probiotics Sleep Cream ($48), a lightweight gel cream that tackles dryness and sops up excess oil with soothing glacier extract and pore-minimizing probiotics. Try them—you’ll see!


Q: What Do I Do When I Wake Up?

A: Look in the mirror and gloat in the glory of glowiness. Then cleanse with a gentle, hydrating formula (like the Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser, $34) and rinse your face with lukewarm water. While skin is still damp—don’t even think about towel drying—apply your toner (have we mentioned how obsessed we are with the 7-skin method???), serum, moisturizer, and SPF. Swipe on some makeup if you wish or go hard with a bare, radiant face, because with the magical sorcery of overnight masks—the choice is yours.

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