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Beauty sleep is real, people! Just like the rest of your body, your skin has its own circadian rhythm. As you rest your eyes, your skin goes into repair mode, and skin cells turn over more quickly to produce new ones. So while you may focus on prevention during the day — wearing sunscreen and antioxidants — your skin care should also focus on repair and restoration at night.
For you, that may mean using retinol or applying glycolic acid. However, you should also keep hydration in mind. As we sleep, our skin loses moisture through something called Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), which is a fancy way of saying that the water in our skin evaporates. This actually happens gradually all day long, but the evaporation speeds up at night. If you’ve ever woken up with dry or tight skin, this may be why.
However, that’s also why hydration is so important. Hydrating the skin directly correlates to a stronger skin barrier, which in turn can reduce the appearance of fine lines, reduce redness, improve skin texture and more.
Whether you have dry, oily or combination skin, these five best-selling night masks and creams are worth trying. They can help you hydrate and retain moisture, so you wake up with plumper, healthier skin.
1. Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, $29
You may know Laneige for its super popular lip sleeping mask, but it makes a few great nighttime skin care products, including this Water Sleeping Mask. It contains squalane, a hydrating ingredient, and a probiotic-derived complex that, according to the product description, supports the skin’s moisture barrier while giving skin a hydrated glow.
People with oily, dry or combination skin can use it. It has a soft gel-like texture that’s so lightweight that it feels like water on your skin. The brand suggests using it over your regular face cream twice a week or applying it before bed as a regular nighttime moisturizer.
2. Olay Luminous Gel Overnight Mask, $9.99
This gel-based mask seeps into the skin overnight, so when you wake up, your skin looks “bright” and “pearlescent,” according to Olay. The Luminous Gel Overnight Mask contains vitamin B3 (niacinamide), vitamin E, vitamin B5 and humectants. Humectants attract water from the air and the skin to help bring moisture to the skin. Over time, the night mask can help even skin tone and help your skin retain moisture as you sleep.
That said, about 75% of reviewers on Olay’s website give this night mask a five-star rating and call it things like “wonder in a jar.”
“My face feels so wonderfully soft in the morning,” wrote one reviewer. “I look more refreshed, and my skin has a nice glow. Plus, the product itself comes in a nice size jar. You get a lot for your money. So worth it.”
Fenty Skin makes this non-comedogenic gel-cream moisturizer that, according to the product description, Rihanna created specifically for her bedtime routine. Have you seen Rihanna’s skin? You already know it’s good.
If you need more convincing than a celebrity founder, take a look at the ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, aloe, niacinamide and Kalahari melon oil. Hyaluronic acid locks moisture into the skin; niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that helps reduce the look of dark spots and fight excess shine, while the melon oil is rich in antioxidants to nourish the skin. Additionally, in a consumer study involving 56 women, 100% agreed that it revitalizes, revives and renews skin.
Once you’ve finished the 1.7-ounce jar, you can purchase refills for a slight discount at $38 as well.
If you’re struggling with extremely dry skin, you need to give Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Face Mask a shot. It has a fragrance-free balm-to-oil texture that melts into the skin with ingredients that strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and prevent moisture loss as you sleep. It contains 10.5% squalane and something called glacial glycoproteins, which are proteins derived from sea glaciers that offer deep hydration.
After using a gentle cleanser, apply this mask and pat any excess — don’t rinse it off. Then, wear it overnight. According to the instructions, you can wear this overnight three times per week. Although, some happy Sephora shoppers say they use it more than that in the reviews.
5. EltaMD Skin Recovery Night Mask, $50
EltaMD launched its Skin Recovery line nearly two years ago with a toner, serum and moisturizer. However, the brand added a night mask to the line on Aug. 1. The goal of the entire line is to improve the skin’s natural barrier with a patented mix of hydrating ingredients (the brand calls it their AAComplex). By strengthening the skin barrier, EltaMD says you could reduce the appearance of redness, improve hydration, wake up looking more rested and potentially strengthen skin against things like UV damage.
[Editor’s note: I have been using this for two weeks after applying a strong retinol, and it’s helped prevent the dreaded “uglies” like flaking skin and breakouts.]
The EltaMD Skin Recovery Night Mask is super lightweight and should be used as the last step in your skin care routine. However, beyond the formula, the packaging is great. Instead of digging your fingers into an open jar, this one has a push top — press down, and it dispenses the perfect amount of product.
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