It turns out your body can do serious work for you while you sleep—you just have to give it a little help along the way. Try one or all of these treatments to wake up looking refreshed and gorgeous.
1) Remove your makeup—all of it. For real.
The most important thing to do to wake up looking fresh is to remove all of your makeup before bedtime, says Leslie Munsell, founder and owner of the beauty site, Beauty For Real.com. That means leftover mascara, lip color—everything. This ensures that your pores will be clean and your eyes free of leftover gunk.
2) Use two pillows
Prop your head up on an extra pillow to prevent puffiness. You can also prop up the head of your bed on 2- to 4-inch pieces of wood. “This is a time when gravity helps you with lymph and blood flow so fluids won’t accumulate under your eyes and in your face,” says celebrity makeup artist Dimitri James, founder of Skinn Cosmetics.
3) Do a spot treatment…with a purifying mask
You can use it to target acne and rosacea pimples, and leave it on overnight, says dermatologist Diane De Fiori, MD, who practices at the Rosacea Treatment Clinic in Melbourne, Australia. The extended skin contact time brings much better results.
4) Turn on a humidifier
A barrier repair moisturizer (containing ingredients such as ceramides and cholesterol) combined with an air humidifier in your bedroom produces durably hydrated, plump skin which is more resistant to irritants and allergens but also to appearing dry and fine-lined. By working on your skin’s hydration overnight, you can skip daytime moisturizer altogether or choose one that’s lighter since heavier moisturizers don’t tend to wear as well under sunscreen or makeup.
5) Go to town with hand cream
Moisturizing your hands with a thick, plain, somewhat greasy hand cream will keep your hands and fingernails looking their best first thing in the morning. “Hands get dried out throughout the day with exposure to dry air and excessive washing, and few of us apply hand cream with every water exposure as we should,” says board certified dermatologist Jessica Krant, MD, founder of Art of Dermatology. “Night is a chance to try to undo some of the damage, which will also keep cuticles and fingernails moisturized so they will grow longer and stronger and break and peel less.”
6) Sleep on a luxe pillowcase
Wash your hair with a silicone-free shampoo and use a silk pillowcase—sleeping on a silk or satin pillowcase also helps your hair’s overall health. Fibers on most cotton pillows are rough against the hair cuticles. Don’t want to splurge on silk? Changing a cotton or linen pillowcase every one to two days can also bring an improvement.
7) Pin your hair back
Your hair contains oils and dirt that can get on your face and pillowcase and cause breakouts. Braid your hair or pin it up into a bun to keep it off your face as you sleep.
8) Get eight hours of sleep
Catching a good night’s sleep can really effect the way you look. “Sleep can reduce dark circles because a lack of sleep compromises your body’s circulatory system and you get stagnant blood in the vessels under the eyes because it hasn’t properly drained,” says celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. “Lack of sleep also causes your skin to look pale and tired because your circulation has been impaired.”
9) Try a leave-on exfoliator
“While you sleep, the skin is working its hardest to repair itself,” says Teresa Stenzel, the director of education for Bioelements. It’s the best time to apply leave-on exfoliators, to give the ingredients time to absorb and correct daily damage to the skin caused by UV exposure and environmental aggressors.
10) Use eye cream
No doubt you’ve heard it a million times, but eye cream is important. Start using great moisturizers and eye cream at night (even if you’re in your 20s). When the morning rolls around, your skin will be plump and hydrated.