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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, 13 overnight face masks for every skin woe–from dryness to breakouts.
Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask
Should you skin be flaky and chapped, this oil-free, yet creamy formula replenishes lost moisture.
$35 at Ulta
AcneFree Therapeutic Sulfur Mask
According to Dr. King, those with very oily and acne-prone skin will benefit more from a regular mask (not an overnight mask) with sulfur and clay, like this one.
$11.99 at Amazon
Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque
Made with glycerin, squalane and Fountain Plant, this cold weather mask amplifies and intensifies the effectiveness of your morning moisturizer.
$35 at Sephora
Perricone MC Brightening Overnight Treatment
In addition to addressing elasticity, this luxe mask’s main function is to diminish dullness and up your skin’s radiance with the help of vitamin C.
$99 at Perricone MD
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask
There’s a reason this K-beauty mask keeps selling out. It’s made with a powerful mix of AHAs, watermelon extract and hyaluronic acid to moisturize and exfoliate as you sleep.
$45 at Glow Recipe
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.
$48 at Sephora
Too Cool for School Pumpkin Seed Sleeping Pack
This gel formula is packed with pumpkin fermentation extract and papaya extract, an enzyme that gently removes dead skin cells.
$20 at Ulta
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
A quick-absorbing gel mask for dry skin that needs a tall glass of water.
$25 at Laneige
belif Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask
A jelly pudding made with Lady’s Mantle, a moisturizing herb, and Scottish Heather, an anti-inflammatory herb.
$34 at Sephora
Pacifica Wake Up Beautiful Super Hydration Sleepover Mask
No-rinse and non-sticky, this creamy mask is meant to heal sun-damaged skin and re-hydrate with lipids, antioxidants and natural extracts.
$15 at Ulta
Nyakio Chamomile Soothing Sleep Mask
Made with chamomile exported from Egypt, this cream mask is a gentle wash of moisture for sensitive skin.
$35 at Ulta
SheaMoisture Bamboo Charcoal Detoxifying Sleeping Mask
If that deep cleanser wasn’t enough for your clogged pores, this overnight mask utilizes charcoal to further clarify, as well as aloe to soothe and nourish.
$12.99 at SheaMoisture
CosRX Ultra Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask
Made with 65 percent rice extract and niacinamide, this gentle hydrator softens and smooths skin while you sleep.
$18 at Ulta
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