They say nothing great happens overnight, but I’m here to tell you that this is simply untrue. In fact, there’s a whole beauty product category that takes the concept of “sleeping beauty” quite literally—polishing, softening, smoothing, and plump-ifying your face, your hair, and sometimes your bod while you sleep. I spent a week sleeping with a few of the most hyped-up overnight beauty products, to determine which ones are the equivalent of Christmas morning and which ones are just that—hype.
The Creamy Face Mask That’s Like Fancy Chip Dip for Your Face
This evolved sleeping mask exfoliates, hydrates, and “anti-ages,” with PHA (a gentle chemical exfoliant), retinol, and, obviously, avocado. Retinol products are always a bit of a Minesweeper situation for me—I think I’m fine using them multiple times a week, and then my skin suddenly gets upset and rashy after one too many applications.
The application: This rich, creamy formula sinks into your skin invisibly—no green face to speak of.
How I went to bed: Nicely buttered-up, but no obvious-looking or -feeling goop on my face.
How I woke up: My face felt nice and soft, not “plumped” per se, but certainly more velvety. I think this is the type of thing you have to do more than once a week to reap noticeable benefits, but for the purpose of a one-time trial, it’s definitely promising.
You should get this if: You suffer from dryness combined with breakouts.
The Shower Caps That Are the Beauty Product Equivalent of Every Makeover Montage Ever
A recovering bleach-head, my natural hair texture is thick, coarse, and always dry on the ends. I also have two face-framing flaps that are still fully bleached, so those are dry and porous as well. With four packs to a box, this hair treatment comes with a packet of conditioner and a reusable shower cap, which is lined with an essence-like hair treatment. And while it doesn’t technically tell you to sleep with it in, you totally can, and many people do.
The application: This takes a bit of planning if you’re particular about when you wash your hair. I’m a night-showerer so it was pretty convenient for me—I just washed my hair like usual, but instead of conditioning, I towel-dried and then smeared this in my hair, smooshing it all into the shower cap. Sexy.
How I went to bed: It wasn’t exactly uncomfortable, but I had slight anxiety that the shower cap would slide off my head, then I’d be buttering up my silk pillowcases all night. (Easy fix: I put a towel over the pillow.)
How I woke up: With the shower cap still fully on my head. (Phew.) Rinsing this off, my hair felt incredibly silky. Air-drying (the true test) yielded a calmed-down head of hair, which was super-soft instead of bristly and slightly wiry. You know how freshly washed hair looks a bit like a cat puffing up? None of that! I tend to wash my hair two or three times a week, and I’d definitely keep this in my regular rotation.
You should get this if: Your hair is damaged beyond repair, and you don’t have the time or patience to wait around all day to do a treatment.
The Overnight Lip Mask That’s Your Tireless Defender Against Inflamed, Itchy, Dry Lips
The Product: Bite Beauty Agave+ Nighttime Lip Therapy, $24
My lips get SO thirsty come bedtime, so my nightstand is a repository for lip treatments, should I need them. This one stands out as it’s got stamina, and I mean that in the most earnest, non-entendre-way possible.
The application: It’s a lip balm, so that’s pretty self-explanatory. Since it’s in a pot, the brand decided to include an adorably teeny spatula… which I ditched pretty early on, since using the spatula to smear it on my lips wasn’t too different than smashing my digit in there and smearing it on (it’s not like I’m sharing it, what?). Keeping a spatula in a pot of lip balm feels too chaotic for me.
How I went to bed: My apartment tends to make my lips uncomfortably itchy and dry. However, I lately fell victim to a rash from some lip product that has betrayed me, so things have been especially dire.
How I woke up: The lip balm itself either absorbed fully or dissipated throughout the night. What I did notice in the morning was…nothing—no itchiness, no parched, tight feeling that usually has me reaching for any kind of grease to soothe my inflamed lips. Wow. Huh. This is what peace feels like.
You should get this if: You, too, suffer from compromised lip issues. This is a decadent, effective treatment — and it’s vegan and cruelty-free, if that’s your thing. (Lots of the good balms have lanolin, which isn’t technically vegan, even if it is cruelty-free). Yes, it is $22 (I know), but it’s also generously portioned and majorly soothing and moisturizing.
Sleeping yourself beautiful is a great “lazy girl” hack for waking up feeling like you did something gorgeous and productive all night. But like many beauty tasks, it can be tedious as well—especially if you tend to zone out doing your nighttime routine and autopilot through it, completely forgetting to use your special night products! (I do this often because I’m easily distracted.)
I do really enjoy waking up looking a bit more zhushed than usual, but as an indulgent side-sleeper, these overnight face masks can be a bit tricky. I’ll definitely keep all three of these items in my rotation. I don’t think I could do those hand or feet masks where you have to wear plastic bags over them—so claustrophobic! Overnight beauty is a brilliant idea, but I have my limits.
What do you do or use to sleep your way beautiful?