Beauty sleep is no fairy tale. Like your trusty highlighter or the lipstick that always does the job, sleep is one of your best friends in beauty. While we doze, the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest and digest functions) has a chance to repair and balance our skin. When we regularly miss out on adequate sleep, skin is at risk for increased dryness and inflammation (in the form of wrinkles and blemishes) and decreased collagen repair.
Although there is no substitute for getting enough sleep, we can adopt pre-bed beauty rituals that maximize skin (and hair) health while we slumber. Not only are the following practices beauty boosters, they’ll also help you unwind before hitting the sheets.
1. Thoroughly cleanse your skin.
Removing the day’s makeup, sweat, and pollution is a must if we want to give skin a chance to repair itself overnight for a few reasons. First, serums and moisturizers you apply after cleansing are more likely to penetrate skin if there’s no residual makeup in the way. Second, throughout the course of our day, our skin comes into contact with various pollutants that can contribute to premature aging and other forms of inflammation. Properly cleansing your face at the end of the day gives skin a breather. Finally, sleeping with your makeup is a recipe for dull, congested skin.
Be sure you’re washing your face the right way. Don’t use anything hotter than lukewarm water. If you’re wearing a heavy layer of water-resistant makeup, try double cleansing. To do so, massage face with an oil blend designed for cleansing (like Amore Pacific Treatment Cleansing Oil for Face & Eyes) or use an organic carrier oil (like Argan oil). This first stage of cleansing helps dissolve excess oil and heavy makeup. Next, wash your face with your regular cleanser. Ursa Major Fantastic Face Wash strikes the perfect balance between removing residual makeup and leaving skin’s moisture barrier intact.
2. Apply a multi-tasking treatment.
After cleansing skin, apply any desired treatment(s). Most of us have multiple skincare concerns: Perhaps you’re fighting breakouts, but you’d still like to use anti-aging treatments, or maybe you’d like to fade sun-spots and target fine lines while you’re at it. Luckily, there are many multi-tasking products on the market. Generally speaking, any antioxidant-rich product will address concerns about both aging and acne—ditto for products with retinol or a liquid exfoliant (containing AHAs or BHA). DeVita Optimal Rejuvenation Serum with DMAE with Alpha Lipoic Acid combines antioxidants with amino peptides to soften fine lines and encourage cellular turnover. Another multi-tasking product to try is Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Serum, which works to brighten skin discoloration while infusing skin with antioxidants CoQ10 and Vitamin C.
3. Hydrate and moisturize.
After cleansing and applying any desired skin treatments, moisturize your face with lotion, cream, or face oil. Although those with oilier skin types may gravitate towards a lighter formula, oily skin can benefit from a dry oil to help balance sebum (natural oil) production. Adding a few drops of a dry oil formula like Poetic Blend Hero Oil to your regular moisturizer makes a luscious moisturizing cocktail. Those with dry skin may benefit from a richer moisturizer like Evan Healy Rosehip Treatment Serum. Finally, consider seeking moisturizing formulas that contain hyaluronic acid, a vital ingredient that helps skin retain moisture and look its plumpest. (Try DeVita Evening Rich Nutritional Moisturizer.)
4. Give yourself a mini facial.
The benefits of face massage are extensive. From firmer, clearer, more glowing skin to reduced puffiness and fine lines, there’s no shortage of nice things that massage does for your face. Spending a few minutes (or longer) massaging your face every night is a great way to enhance product absorption and relax any areas where you hold tension (including the jaw, corners of the mouth, area between the eyebrows, or forehead).
Although you can massage your skin at any stage of your pre-bed beauty routine, while you moisturize may be the best time to really get into it. Using a product that allows your fingers to easily glide along your skin will minimize the chances that you’ll accidentally tug or stretch your skin.
Here’s a massage technique to add to your arsenal: face tapping. Just like exercise strengthens the bones in your body, applying gentle pressure to the bones in your face promotes bone density, which may help prevent your cheekbones and jaw line from losing definition over the years, according to beauty therapist Roxy Dillon. Simply make a loose fist and tap your knuckles along jawline, cheekbones, forehead, and brow bone.
5. Massage your scalp.
Got a headache after a long day? Try a scalp massage. Not only does scalp massage help you unwind before bed, it also encourages healthy hair. Like facial massage, scalp massage increases blood flood, and in the case of your mane, stimulates hair follicles, encouraging strands to reach their full growth potential.
You can massage your scalp with or without oil. Massaging your scalp with oil provides a deep conditioning treatment, but this option is probably best reserved for shortly before you shampoo since oil can transfer to your bed linens—and you don’t want that.
Whether or not you use oil, massage your scalp by moving the pads of your fingers along your scalp. The movement should be deep and slow. Give your hair a final brush and pin into a loose bun. Sleeping with your hair up will help prevent any hair products or natural oils on your strands from transferring to your skin.