Everything You Need To Know About Overnight Face Masks

Overnight sleep masks, which are masks that are applied before bed and washed off in the morning, are a hot new trend in beauty. The trend, which took off in South Korea, is not only fun, but a great way to take care of your skin. But like any trend, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. How exactly should you use a sleep mask? What products are the best to use? What even qualifies as an overnight sleep mask? Well, set your worries aside. Here are some answers to your biggest sleep mask questions. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What is a sleep mask?

According to Jordana Mattioli, an esthetician with Complete Skin MD in New York City, a sleep mask, or sleeping pack, is a mask that is left on the skin overnight. These differ from clay masks and sheet masks, as clay masks must be rinsed off, and sheet masks are removed after a certain time period. These sleeping packs can contain different formulas and compounds depending on the type of skin issue you want to address. 

What are the benefits of using sleep masks?

Different masks will have different ingredients that are designed to target specific skin concerns. But at the end of the day, all masks have the same goal—hydration. Mattioli says that one benefit of using a sleep mask is to hydrate the skin and lock in other products that have been layered under the sleep mask. “Creating this seal with a sleep mask makes anything underneath penetrate more effectively,” she says. As a bonus, sleep masks tend to be less rich than night creams, so there isn’t any mess left on your pillowcase!

Related: The Mask You Should Add To Your Skincare Routine, Based on Your Skin Type 

How do you use a sleep mask?

Mattioli says you should use a sleep mask after cleansing and exfoliating. Additionally, you should apply serums and essences, and then use the sleep mask to lock everything in. The masks can be used every night, but at least should be used two to three times a week. Mattioli also says that those living in drier climates should use them to take advantage of the hydrating benefits. Claire Biggerstaff, a junior at Davidson College, is a big fan of the trend: “Sleeping masks are awesome,” she says. “Especially during the cooler months, it’s so important to keep your skin from getting dry and flaky.” As the winter months approach, now is the perfect time to start using sleep masks. Start using them once or twice a week to see if they work with your skincare routine. If you like the results, you can progress to using them multiple times a week. Your skin will surely thank you!

What should you look for in a sleep mask?

You should pick your mask based on any skin concerns you have. So, for example, if you want to brighten your skin tone, look for a sleep mask that has ingredients to help with brightening. Mattioli also recommends “going for sleeping masks in an airtight container instead of a jar so the ingredients stay potent and active longer.” There are so many products out there, you are sure to find the perfect mask for your specific needs. 

Related: 7 Holy Grail Skincare Products Every Woman Should Try

Are there any drawbacks or safety concerns to using sleep masks? Is there anyone who shouldn’t use sleep masks?

Mattioli says that any skin type that needs moisture should use a sleep mask, with some exceptions. “Very oily skin or skin types with a lot of active acne [shouldn't use them]," she says. "A sleep mask essentially locks in everything underneath, and with very oily skin [you] don’t want all that oil getting trapped.” Bottom line: if your skin is flaky, a sleep mask will work great for you. But, if your face constantly feels oily, you may want to skip the sleep mask, and check out another skin care product.

What are some product recommendations?

The specific product recommendations that Mattioli likes provide more benefits than just hydration. The masks can be used on their own without adding anything else underneath. The Allies of Skin Overnight Mask “contains a gentle form of retinol to increase cellular renewal which softens fine lines and brightening antioxidants, it's great for fine lines and brightening dull skin.” Additionally, Claire likes the Tony Moly Sleeping Packs. She says, “It’s basically a thick gel type mask that sinks into your skin as you sleep.” With a variety of products at a wide range of price points, it’s easy to find the perfect mask for your skin (and your budget!).

Sleep masks are a great way to amp up your skincare routine. With almost no drawbacks, nearly everyone can use a sleep mask to get better looking, healthier skin. Remember, if you take good care of your skin today, your future self will thank you!