Why It’s Not a Good Idea to Sleep In Makeup

Okay, be honest: How many times do you sleep in makeup?
We all know how it feels to want to drop into bed after a long day. The last thing we want to do is go through a lengthy skincare routine.
But before you snuggle under those covers with a full face of makeup, let’s talk about why it’s not the best idea for your skin.
Spoiler alert: it’s not just about the occasional breakout.
Sleep in Makeup: What Happens To Your Skin?
Picture this: your skin, covered in a layer of foundation, concealer, and perhaps some eyeshadow, mascara, and lipstick. You may imagine that it’s not a big deal to leave it on overnight, but your skin begs to differ.
While you’re catching those Z’s, your skin is hard at work repairing and renewing itself. It uses sleep as a time to recover from the various stresses during the day and to shed and regenerate its cells.
When it’s suffocating under a layer of makeup, though, this natural process is disrupted.
Clogged Pores
One of the primary issues with sleeping in makeup is clogged pores. Throughout the day, our skin accumulates dirt, oil, and environmental pollutants, which can get trapped under makeup. When left overnight, these impurities mix with makeup and sebum, leading to the dreaded clogged pores.
This can result in acne breakouts, blackheads, and dullness as your skin struggles to breathe and regenerate.
Disrupted pH Balance
Moreover, makeup can disrupt the skin’s natural pH balance. Many cosmetic products, especially those with long-lasting formulas, contain chemicals and preservatives that can alter the skin’s acidity levels. This imbalance can weaken the skin’s protective barrier, leaving it more vulnerable to irritation, inflammation, and infections.
Your makeup may feel fresh when you first apply it, but think about how it feels as you go through your day. Have you noticed tightness? Itching? Irritation?
That’s because over time, makeup saps moisture from the skin. The ingredients in your mascara and eyeshadow can also separate and dry out, making your skin feel uncomfortable, at best.
Leave all that makeup on overnight, and you’re likely to wake up with skin looking dry and dull and less than refreshed. That will also make any fine lines or wrinkles appear more noticeable.
Photo by Ron Lach via Pexels.
In today’s urban environments, pollution is a major concern for skin health. From exhaust fumes to industrial emissions, our skin is constantly bombarded with airborne pollutants that can wreak havoc on its delicate balance.
These particles—including heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and particulate matter (PM)—can deposit on the skin’s surface throughout the day.
If left to sit overnight, these pollutants can penetrate the skin’s barrier and trigger oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage. This can lead to a range of skin issues, including premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and a compromised skin barrier. Additionally, pollution has been linked to an increase in acne severity and a decrease in the skin’s natural ability to repair itself.
Eye Effects
Leaving eye makeup on overnight can clog the tiny hair follicles and oil glands around the eyes, leading to inflammation and irritation. This can manifest as redness, itchiness, and even swollen eyelids the next morning, making you look tired and puffy.
Additionally, mascara and eyeliner residue can flake off and get into your eyes while you sleep, causing discomfort and potentially leading to eye infections or styes.
The skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than the rest of your face, making it more susceptible to damage. Sleeping in eye makeup can exacerbate this vulnerability, leading to premature aging signs like fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Over time, the repeated friction and irritation from leaving makeup on overnight can contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers, accelerating the appearance of crow’s feet and under-eye bags. So, if you want to wake up looking refreshed and youthful, it’s essential to give your eyes the care and attention they deserve by removing makeup before hitting the hay.
Sleep in Makeup: The Price of Convenience
Skipping your nighttime skincare routine once in a blue moon will probably not have dire consequences. Consistently neglecting to cleanse your skin before bed, however, may lead to accelerated aging.
That’s because prolonged exposure to makeup—particularly overnight—can repeatedly subject your skin to all the problems listed above, including dryness, disrupted pH balance, and free radical damage. Over time, this may result in more visible fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin, prematurely aging your complexion.
Furthermore, sleeping in makeup can exacerbate existing skin conditions, such as acne and rosacea. The combination of occlusive ingredients in makeup and the accumulation of bacteria on the skin’s surface creates an ideal environment for inflammation and flare-ups. This can lead to persistent redness, swelling, and irritation.

Don’t Sleep in Makeup: The Importance of a Nighttime Routine
Prioritize your skin’s health by adopting a consistent nighttime skincare routine. If you’re too tired, we have some tips for that below. But most of the time, try to complete the following steps before bed.
1. Gently Cleanse
Start by removing makeup and impurities with a cleansing oil, makeup remover, or micellar water. Follow up with a gentle cleanser to deep clean your pores and leave your skin feeling refreshed.
If your skin is acne-prone, try a clarifying cleanser. If it tends to be dry, choose a creamy cleanser. Either way, avoid alcohol and fragrances and ask yourself how your skin feels afterward. If it feels tight, you need more moisture in your cleanser. Your skin should feel soft and smooth.
No matter what type of skin you have, it’s also helpful to use a skin brush when cleansing. For sensitive skin, use a silicone facial tool that tends to be gentler on skin. Both help get all the dirt and debris out of your pores.
2. Tone
Restore your skin’s pH balance and prep it for the next steps by applying a toner. Look for alcohol-free formulas packed with hydrating and soothing ingredients. We suggest our Rescue + Relief Spray as it is moisturizing and anti-inflammatory, and will set the stage for your nighttime moisturizer.
3. Treat
Address specific skincare concerns, such as acne or aging, with targeted treatments. Incorporate products containing ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, or vitamin C to promote cell turnover, boost hydration, and combat free radical damage.
4. Moisturize
Lock in moisture and nourishment by applying a rich, hydrating moisturizer suited to your skin type. Opt for non-comedogenic formulas that won’t clog pores or exacerbate acne. Try our Calming Moisture for lasting, deep-penetrating moisture that calms redness and restores the skin barrier, helping you wake to smooth radiant skin.
If You’re Dead Tired
If you’re thinking about heading straight to bed without your nighttime skincare routine, don’t do it! Maybe you can start earlier if you tend to get too tired later.
If you’re too tired to go through your usual routine, try and follow through with at least two steps:

Use a cleansing balm or oil. Apply and rub all over the face, neck and lashes. Then remove with a facial cloth or cotton pad to wipe away excess product, impurities, dirt and makeup along with it.
Follow with our Rescue & Relief Spray. It will provide a multitude of benefits all in one, like moisturizing and soothing, while helping to balance of your skin’s barrier. Its soothing aloe base will help calm skin. Other healing ingredients will promote regeneration overnight. Since it’s non-clogging, it won’t inspire breakouts.

Leave a Calming Moisture by your bed and smoothe some on before your head hits the pillow!
Don’t Sleep in Makeup: Make It a Habit!
Sleeping in makeup might seem harmless at the moment, but it can have detrimental effects on your skin’s health and appearance in the long run.
By taking a few extra minutes to cleanse and care for your skin, you can protect against acne, premature aging, and other skin woes. Your best approach is to make it a habit. Do it every night before bed. That will make it harder to avoid it even on those nights when you’re really tired.
Remember, your skin deserves some TLC, so treat it well and say goodbye to sleeping in makeup for good!
Do you ever sleep in makeup?
Featured image by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels.

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