Is it really that bad to sleep in makeup?

Short answer: yes. It really is bad, and you shouldn’t do it. We’ve all been there – you get home late at night and the last thing you want to do is go through your whole skincare regime before you jump into bed. We’ve been told time and time again to never leave our makeup on, but one night can’t hurt right?! Well, here’s exactly what happens when you don’t take your makeup off before bed…

When we neglect to wash our face at night, our pores are unable to breathe because they are clogged with makeup and grime from the day. Vital restoration and regeneration cannot take place, resulting in breakouts, fine lines, blackheads, dullness, and puffiness and dark circles around the eyes.

One night of sleeping in makeup is unlikely to cause long-lasting skin damage. And while that is good news for those one-time offenders, bear in mind that each night you do sleep in your makeup results in your pores becoming more clogged leading to the development of pimples and acne.

Thinking longer term, sleeping in your makeup can lead to premature ageing (gasp!). During the day your skin accumulates a lot of oxidative stress. When you sleep in your makeup you are not giving your skin a chance to recover from those insults, which can result in skin ageing quicker than normal. Dr Schweiger, founder of the Clear Clinic, notes that “free radicals from the environment (often in the form of pollution) remain on the skin when you do not clean your face properly at night. Free radicals cause collagen breakdown over time, which results in the development of fine lines and prematurely aged skin.” That is the last thing we want, especially in a world where we are encouraged to look younger not older!

It’s not just foundation and heavy powders that do the damage. While sleeping in your eye makeup will not cause fine lines or acne, it can still cause problems. “Mascara and eyeliner can be rubbed by your pillow and end up in your eyes, which can lead to significant eye irritation”, says Dr Schweiger. “Sleeping in eye makeup repeatedly may result in the clogging of the tiny hair follicles and oil glands on your eyelids. When these areas become clogged, bacteria can build up and cause inflammation. As a result, small bumps called styes or hordeolums can form. These bumps may resolve on their own, but many require treatment from your doctor.”

So next time you are tempted to forego your normal skincare routine after a late night, think twice. In the short-term you run the risk of waking up with pimples and dry skin, in the long-run you can cause permanent damage to your skin and age prematurely.

To give you a head start, the experts have provided some tips for cleansing to make sure all of your makeup is removed, giving your skin the best chance to repair overnight:

  1. Always tie your hair back beforehand: Although it seems like a no-brainer, putting your hair in a ponytail is pretty important when it comes to removing your makeup. By getting all the hair out of your face, your hairline will be exposed, which is essential since a lot of makeup residue tends to build up there.
  2. Makeup remover wipes aren’t enough: While makeup remover wipes may seem like a quick and easy way to remove your makeup, they don’t do the job completely. Makeup remover wipes will only remove product from the surface of your skin, which isn’t sufficient enough when it comes to makeup removal. If you’re going to use makeup wipes, use them as a first step to take most of your makeup off, but always go in with a cleanser afterwards.
  3. Invest in a good-quality eye makeup remover (such as our Soothing Eye Makeup Remover), and a natural cleanser that is gentle on the skin (such as our Skin Refining Cream Cleanser or Purifying Cleanser)
  4. Make sure to double-cleanse: When you’re cleansing your face to remove makeup, two-timing is the way to go. The first wash is to remove the makeup, and then the second is to properly clean the skin. Plus, your second cleanse should also be used to massage your face to boost circulation, which will keep your complexion healthy and glowing.

So get cleansing, and enjoy skin that is clean, fresh and clear!