It’s safe to say our skin care routine gets a lot more extensive during the winter season. Unlike summer, when the hot, sticky air makes us want to wear less–with the exception of sun protection, of course– our face needs the equivalent of a coat, scarf and hat once temperatures drop. And more often than not, that may include an overnight face mask on top of our serums, eye creams and retinol. But we can’t help but wonder (in our best Carrie Bradshaw voice)…are they actually necessary?
First, a primer on what they’re actually meant to do. According to New York City-based and AcneFree Consulting Dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, are simply masks that you apply before bed and wash off in the morning. Though the idea of wearing a product while you sleep isn’t novel, this particular trend can be credited to South Korea. They’re designed to be the final step of your nighttime regimen–yes, even after retinol–to seal in your products, thus making them more effective.
“First cleanse and exfoliate, then apply serums and essences and then use the sleep mask to lock everything in,” says Dr. King. “Different masks will have different ingredients designed to target specific skin concerns but the primary goal of all of these masks is the same: hydration.”
In general, overnight face masks tend to contain more intense hydrators, as well as anti-agers and other ingredients according to your skin type and concern. Given the overall hydrating benefits of sleep masking, those with dry skin benefit most, specifically with ingredients that plump the skin with moisture and help repair the skin’s barrier function, such as ceramides and argan oil.
“Those who tend to have oily or acne-prone skin may prefer lighter moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which hydrates the skin without clogging pores,” says Dr. King. “Those seeking anti-aging benefits may choose a night mask with retinol, which stimulates collagen production and improves the skin’s tone and texture and brightening antioxidants.”
At the same time, those with oily skin may benefit the least since overnight masks are also locking in ingredients from previously-used products, which can lead to excess oil come morning. Certain precautions should also take place for sensitive skin types. This includes avoiding harsh active ingredients that can cause irritation if left on the skin for hours, like glycolic acid or salicylic acid.
Ahead, an assortment of luxe overnight face masks for every skin woe–from dryness to breakouts.
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AcneFree Sulfur Face Mask
Best worn overnight—though it can be used anytime—this anti-acne mask is formulated with sulfur to help combat black heads, cystic breakouts, and decongest clogged pores without over-drying the skin.
PopBeauty ZZZ Sleep Mask
This deeply hydrating mask is the epitome of beauty sleep. Infused with peony, jasmine, and ceramides, the ZZZ mask will give you a glow that not even eight hours of sleep will. It works wonders on all skin types but it’s especially well-suited for sensitive and dehydrated skin.
Pixi SkinTreats Rose Remedy Mask
Treat irritated winter skin with this nourishing rose-infused mask, which soothes redness and flaking and replenishes balanced moisture levels and helps protect the skin’s barrier.
Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask
Should you skin be flaky and chapped, this oil-free, yet creamy formula replenishes lost moisture.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
This watermelon-spiked sleeping mask helps brighten sallow tones and tightens pores overnight. Infused with hyaluronic acid, it leaves skin looking juicy and plump when you rise.
Farmacy Sleep Tight Firming Balm
For those with mature skin, this blackcurrant seed-infused formula works to moisturize and tone the face for less fine lines over time.
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
A quick-absorbing gel mask for dry skin that needs a tall glass of water.
belif Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask
A jelly pudding made with Lady’s Mantle, a moisturizing herb, and Scottish Heather, an anti-inflammatory herb.
Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Overnight Brightening Treatment
For combatting dullness and texture, it doesn’t get better than Vitamin C. This pore-refining formula helps to brighten overall tone, combat texture, and brightens the skin visibly with just one use.