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Overnight face masks are one of the most indulgent ways to pamper your skin before you sleep, not to mention a clever way to wake up to radiant skin if you can’t be bothered to do a full-on routine in the morning. But how to choose the right one for you? Well, that all depends on your skin goals. The best overnight face masks typically come in two forms: nourishing, moisturizing masks that are akin to amped-up night creams, and exfoliating masks that, similar to a face peel, resurface and purify your skin while you sleep.
You should apply your overnight face mask as the last step in your p.m. routine., after cleanser and any other products you use, like toner or serum. If you’re using a moisturizing mask, there’s no need to apply night cream as well, but with exfoliating masks, you can put a night cream on top if you think your skin would benefit from an added layer of moisture. In the morning, rinse your face with water (or your cleanser of choice), and proceed to go about your a.m. skin care routine as usual — or not, if you have limited time.
Cheat your way to pampered, refreshed-feeling skin with any of the best sleeping masks, ahead.
1. The Cult Favorite
This overnight mask from K-beauty brand COSRX has a cult-like following both on the internet and in real life. The star ingredient of the formula is rice, which has been used in Asian beauty in both its water and extract forms for centuries, as it has all sorts of skin care benefits, from calming inflammation to restoring hydration to soothing irritation and more. Beyond rice water, this mask is also rich in niacinamide — another skin care superstar that addresses inflammation, dryness, and uneven skin tone, among other things — while moisturizers like glycerin and sunflower seed oil work to keep your skin hydrated and soft. This mask also has two other things going for it: a reasonable, under-$20 price tag, and squeeze-tube packaging, which helps keep the product fresher and eliminates the risk of you contaminating the bottle with your hands.
2. Tie: Best For Very Dry Skin
If you have dry or dehydrated skin and love rich, thick moisturizers, then you’ll love Naturium’s Intense Overnight Sleeping Cream. If you have oily, acne-prone skin and despise the feeling of rich, heavy creams, however, this is not the product for you. Assuming you fall into the former camp, since you’re still reading, this night cream/sleeping mask hybrid will make a wonderful addition to your beauty arsenal. Formulated with squalane, glycerin, triglycerides (a type of fatty acid), honey, and hyaluronic acid, this nourishing cream is excellent for providing heavy-duty hydration as you sleep, so you wake up to plumper, softer, more radiant-looking skin. Being an occlusive, it’s also great for locking in any other active-rich products you’ve applied underneath, like a retinol serum or AHA peel, as it’ll help counteract dryness or flaking.
3. Tie: Best For Very Dry Skin
Another great (albeit slightly more expensive) choice for dry, dehydrated skin, belif’s Aqua Bomb Sleeping Mask is the amped-up version of their best-selling, now-iconic Aqua Bomb moisturizer. Its ultimate goal is to give you a rephrased, dewy glow when you wake up in the morning, thanks to a blend of herb-derived ingredients like lady’s mantle and Scottish heather, which have hydrating and soothing benefits, respectfully, while plenty of other botanical extracts round out its nourishing formula. What people really love about this mask, however, is its unique, jelly-like texture, which feels lightweight and refreshing on dry skin, as opposed to greasy and heavy.
4. Best Exfoliating Mask
If you’re more interested in an overnight exfoliating mask, you can’t do much better than DERMA E’s Overnight Peel for the price. In this formula, a blend of AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) work to exfoliate and resurface your skin as you sleep, which offers both immediate and long-term benefits: an immediate glow and smoother complexion when you wake up, and a more even skin tone over time (so it’s a great choice for anyone with unwanted hyperpigmentation). Be sure to be especially diligent about wearing SPF in the morning whenever you use this peel, as AHAs can cause your skin to be more photosensitive than usual.
5. Best Mask With Probiotics
Lately, I’m obsessed with probiotics in skin care products. Anything that can even potentially help make my skin stronger — sign me up! I’m especially keen to try Babor’s Cleanformance Overnight Renewal Mask, as it contains both prebiotics and probiotics, as well as plenty of other nourishing ingredients my skin loves, like shea butter, glycerin, and several plant-derived oils. And again, I love any skin care product packaged in a tube for both practical and hygienic purposes.
6. Best Mask With Vitamin C
Thanks to Trilogy’s Glycablend complex and vitamin C — the two hero ingredients in this formula — you’ll wake up to brighter skin and achieve a more even complexion over time if you use this mask regularly. There’s also something called L22 in here, a skin strengthener and hydrator derived from plant-based oils, as well as hyaluronic acid for even more hydrating benefits. Though it’s not cheap, a little of this product goes a long way — just a thin layer is all you need. Also justifying its $40+ price tag: It’s NATRUE-certified for transparency and sustainability, so you know it’s made with the highest quality ingredients using fair manufacturing processes, and it comes all the way from New Zealand, where the brand’s products are made. Worth spending a bit extra for, if you ask me.
7. Best Mask For Acne-Prone Skin
Acne-prone skin types may want to try The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Skin Clearing Night Mask, which is made with tea tree oil and salicylic acid — two powerful ingredients that are commonly used to treat blackheads, whiteheads, and other forms of acne. Salicylic acid helps treat acne because of its pore-clearing abilities, while tea tree has all sorts of natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits. This mask looks and feels like a gel, so it feels decidedly refreshing instead of heavy or sticky, and despite its green tint, it goes on clear and won’t stain your pillows. Bonus points for being 100% vegan and made using Community Trade tea tree oil sourced sustainably in Kenya.
8. Best Splurge
For the ultimate in luxury, pick up True Botanicals Moisture Lock Overnight Mask, if your budget allows. An Allure Best Of Beauty winner, the MADE SAFE-certified mask is made with sustainable, naturally derived ingredients and made without waxes that can clog your pores, unlike a lot of other moisturizing masks and night creams out there. Noteworthy ingredients in here include squalane, mango butter, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, and peptides, which work together to promote stronger, firmer, more hydrated skin. A splurge to be sure, but a delightful one at that.