Why you shouldn't sleep on overnight masks and night creams

The proof is in the potency of active ingredients in overnight masks and night creams

I don’t know about you, but I love sleeping! For almost a decade now, sleep has been a bit of a sport for me. I take pride in preparing for it and getting the most out of the experience. My phone goes on DND at 8 PM every day, so if you have an emergency, call 911 or pray. Whichever works for you. Once I am ready to shut my eyes, I switch my phone off. Why? The blue light emitted from your phone disturbs your circadian rhythm, even as you sleep! If you ever wake up often throughout the night, try sleeping with your phone off for one night. I bet that you will sleep like a baby.  

If you are into skincare as much as I am, then you know that sleep is the most important part of your skincare routine. It replenishes your skin cells and restores your glow, even if you're a skinimalist. When it comes to nighttime skincare routines, most people follow one of these:

  1. Cleanse yet apply zero skincare products
  2. Apply an under-eye or night cream after cleansing, then a moisturizer
  3. The works! They cleanse, then tone. Afterwards, they apply 1-3 serums - two of them may contain active ingredients that work best at night. Then, they seal everything with a sleeping mask, night cream, or moisturizer.

Which one of those nighttime skincare routines do you follow? I will let you guess which one I use most often. Nighttime skincare products with retinol or glycolic acid do wonders for your skin. They speed up skin cell turnover through exfoliation to reveal smooth and supple skin. Of course, if you have more stubborn skin issues, miracles do not happen overnight. But, time, intentionality, and consistency heal all skin issues. 

That brings me to something that we need to settle today. When and how to use a sleeping mask versus night cream. For many people, these two skincare products are synonymous. Yet, real skincare enthusiasts know better! 

Sleeping masks

Also known as an overnight mask, a sleeping mask is a skin treatment that targets specific issues. These face masks have active ingredients in higher potencies than most nighttime skincare products. A sleeping mask may come in a gel or cream formula to ensure that the product penetrates your skin better. Like overnight masks for your hair (IYKYK), you should not use sleeping masks often. Overusing them may result in skin irritation such as dryness, flakiness, itchiness, redness, and all the other -ess skin issues that you can have. 

In other words, a sleeping mask is that extra oomph for your nighttime skincare routine. There is a range of sleeping masks available on the market to suit every skin type. Masktini’s Night Ranger Overnight Renewal Mask is an example of one that we love. It is an anti-aging face mask created to promote skin cell turnover. Lime pearl acids smooth uneven skin texture; while papaya enzymes calm redness and inflammation. If you want more potency, then it will please you to know that this overnight mask contains retinol and hyaluronic acid. The retinol speeds up cell turnover while hyaluronic acid locks in hydration. Should you invest in this gentle sleeping mask? The answer should be obvious.

Night creams

If you never watched your mom slather on night cream every night before bed, did you even have a childhood?! Unlike sleeping masks, a night cream is a nighttime use cream that is a hydrating moisturizer. The average night cream has a thicker formula than a sleeping mask. Because your body's systems work so hard to keep you alive as you sleep, you tend to become dehydrated. Think about how often you wake up feeling hot and thirsty! That's the reason why. A dehydrated body results in dry skin. Night creams penetrate the skin at a slower rate so that you can wake up with hydrated, soft, and smooth skin. 

Some night creams contain active ingredients that you should only use at night. However, their potency may be less than what you will find in a sleeping mask. 

When to use a sleeping mask versus a night cream

The best way to decide this is to frame how you think about sleeping masks and night creams. A sleeping mask repairs and a night cream maintains. Your ideal skincare routine should center around maintenance more than repairs. If you always need to repair your skin, you may need to consult a medical esthetician or dermatologist. Remember, the active ingredients in sleeping masks are harsher than night creams. So you want to make sure that you do not irritate your skin by overusing them. 

Are you using a night cream or sleeping mask right now? If so, leave a comment below and let us know what you think about those products. Until next time!

Meet The Author

Otishka Ferguson

I am a women's fashion and beauty writer who survived 14 straight months of cystic breakouts and now has smooth, clear skin again. So obviously this makes me a skincare expert.

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