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The Real Difference Between Sleeping Masks and Moisturizers

While you’d be forgiven for thinking a moisturizer and sleeping mask are basically the same thing, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The two are, quite literally, night and day. Yes, they are both products you slather on for a complexion boost before you hit the pillow, then rinse away when you wash your face in the morning. So why do you need both? Isn’t the whole sleeping mask thing just a marketing gimmick?

In short, no. Let’s use a non-beauty example to demonstrate the difference. You know drinking water every day is good for you, but, after a particularly hard day/night/week/life, your body needs more replenishment than what good ‘ol H2O on its own can give you. That’s when you reach for something like coconut water or green juice instead — something that not only hydrates but re-charges and nourishes you back to peak performance with a little extra something something.


Sleeping masks work in much the same way. While your moisturizer provides your daily dose of skin hydration, subbing in an overnight mask packed with active ingredients a few times a week (or every night, depending on what your skin needs and can handle) gives your complexion an extra surge of moisture, plus anti-aging, brightening, and pore-refining benefits. And, since we know that your skin uses that nightly sleep cycle to repair the damage you’ve done to it during the day (whoops), it makes sense that a sleeping mask would supercharge that natural function by actively helping your skin heal while you slumber. Basically, sleeping masks do what your average moisturizer cannot.

Another big difference between the two is the texture. A standard moisturizer is usually a lotion or cream, which feels clutch for nourishing parched skin, but the gel-like consistency of most overnight masks helps actives penetrate more deeply and efficiently. They go beyond hydration to treat your skin with a sophisticated blend of active ingredients that can be customized to your skin needs — all without feeling heavy or sticky.

It’s that customization that makes sleeping masks so unique. They can do multiple things at once, eliminating the need for a ton of different products to get the same effect. When we created our bestselling Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask and Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask, we wanted to give people the ability to transform their skin while they slept so that they could see an immediate improvement when they looked in the mirror the next morning. To do that, we hand-picked the most beneficial ingredients to create sleeping masks that solve the most common skin woes:

“My skin looks dull and congested all the time — where’s my glow?”
A sleeping mask with alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid will slough away dead skin cells, even out texture, smooth fine lines, fade dark spots, and clarify pores. Our Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is also brimming with watermelon extract and hyaluronic acid to deeply hydrate and soothe skin, plus fight off damaging free radicals. Hello, glow!

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“I use moisturizer twice a day, but my skin is still parched.”

This creamy, nourishing mask is formulated with antioxidant-rich, nourishing avocado, exfoliating PHA, and the most gentle form of retinol, encapsulated retinol. The Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask works overnight to reveal smoother, hydrated skin with each use. It also is packed with matcha and chamomile, two soothing ingredients that help to calm irritation.


We dare you to swap out your night cream for a sleeping mask a few nights this week and see the difference an eight-hour snooze (or six, for the sleep-deprived out there) can make for your skin.

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