So, you did it. The cardinal sin, the big mistake, the great felony–you fell asleep with your makeup on. Perhaps the party ran long, perhaps you typed away on your laptop until your eyes couldn’t stay open, or perhaps you simply did not feel like taking off your makeup because life gets tiring and also who the hell cares.
Instead of putting you in adult timeout (which, by the way, means not getting to watch this week’s episode of The Bachelor), I’ll remind you that everyone (even adults) make mistakes. Sometimes one too many glasses of Pinot or an all-night study sesh might result in waking up with your foundation and mascara still stuck to your face (and maybe on your pillow). Don’t panic: your skin just needs a little extra TLC (and maybe your pillow needs a wash). Here are 10 tips that will help reverse the damage:
1. Double (or triple) cleanse
Start with an oil or balm cleanser to take off makeup and grime. If your pores are feeling extra clogged (or you didn’t get all the makeup off the first time), consider washing twice. After, use whatever gentle cleanser you prefer. For bonus points, cleanse with a tool like a Clarisonic or charcoal sponge, which pushes the cleanser deeper into the pores to get out more gunk (satisfying, right?).
Your skin may have gotten dull from a night’s sleep with makeup on, but there are more benefits to exfoliation than glow. Exfoliating can prevent the formation of blackheads because dead skin cells seal pores, making oil, dirt, and any other debris stuck. Exfoliation allows your other products to penetrate deeper into the pores, as well as boosting a glow.
Try chemical exfoliation (or formulas with chemicals like AHAs, BHAs, or fruit enzymes like papaya), since physical exfoliation (using small grains or a tool to exfoliate dead skin cells) may be too harsh if your post-makeup skin is sensitive, and can cause micro-tears. If you do have sensitive skin, you may want to skip this step or talk to your dermatologist about the best exfoliation option for you.
3. Put on a mask
Leaving makeup on overnight can affect various skin types differently, so identify how your skin feels and then mask up accordingly. If your skin feels dry, look for a mask with hyaluronic acid or glycerin for intense hydration. If your skin feels irritated, try a mask with CBD, aloe, or oatmeal to soothe it. If your skin is oily, clogged, or breaking out, try a mask with clay or charcoal to detox the skin.
What’s most important is that you base your product choice (or DIY formula) on what your skin needs, not just what you have available. Just any mask won’t necessarily save your skin, but one with ingredients that target your skin’s reaction will. You can even “multi-mask” by adding a detoxing mask to oily areas like the T-zone and a hydrating mask everywhere else.
4. … and then another mask
Depending on whether you’re rushing to get to the office by 9am or nursing a hangover with a Netflix binge, if you have time to apply a sheet mask or set of eye patches, do it. Finishing off with a sheet mask locks in ingredients, and can soothe and nourish skin (especially if you went a little ham on the cleansing and exfoliating). If your under-eye area needs more TLC, eye patches will hydrate, de-puff, and boost circulation (bonus: keep your eye patches in the fridge for extra de-puffing).
Your skin’s been through a lot between the harsh makeup seeping into pores (you can apologize to it now), and the cleansing/exfoliating to correct the damage. A sheet mask is a soothing way to add a dose of ingredients to damaged skin. If you’re a skincare pro and ready for a real challenge, run an ice cube or jade roller over your sheet mask for extra anti-inflammatory and de-puffing benefits.
5. Restore the pH level
Another effect of sleeping with makeup on is that it disrupts the skin’s pH balance, which can cause acne, irritation, or even premature aging. But don’t feel too bad; a lot of factors in modern day lifestyle can also affect your skin’s pH balance—like harsh water, pollution, and sun damage. Our skin is made up of mostly water and it slides either up or down on the pH scale, depending on what we put on it or what it’s exposed to. Control what you can by adding in a toner or essence to restore the skin’s natural acidity (ideally a pH level of 4-6, if we’re getting technical).
6. Take a break from makeup
If it’s possible, consider going I woke up like this for the rest of the day (you actually did wake up with makeup on, so I hope the irony is not lost on you). Reapplying makeup after you tried to reverse the effects is just adding more fuel to the fire, or more irritation to your skin. Part of the importance of removing makeup before bed is giving your skin a break from cosmetics that can clog pores and irritate the skin to let your skin heal itself, so make up that missed time for the rest of the day.
7. Facial massage
Facial massage works to de-puff by draining lymph and has immediate effects in boosting blood flow (which is good news for your sad, dull skin). To restore even tone and all-over glow, grab a facial oil and go to town just using your hands (try a DIY video like this), or for a little extra help, you can try facial massage tools like Gua Sha, a jade roller or a Clarisonic massage head.
8. Avoid common irritants
While you should be conscious of common skin irritants anyway, make an extra effort to avoid things like hot water or products that contain alcohol. Check your skincare product labels, and as tempting as it might be, avoid taking a hot shower or cleansing with hot water, which can dry out and irritate the skin.
Make sure you wear SPF when you leave the house (the #1 skin irritant is the sun), and consider blue-light protecting skincare since blue light from your phone or computer may promote stressors and inflammation in the skin. Avoiding as much additional irritation as possible will allow your skin the time it needs to heal and revive.
9. Exfoliate the body with a dry brush
Not only does dry brushing exfoliate the skin, but it also detoxifies the body by increasing blood circulation, promoting lymphatic drainage, and stimulating the nervous system. Anything that gets blood circulating and promotes lymphatic drainage boosts healthy complexion throughout the body, giving you an all-over glow. Side note: dry brushing is not a beauty or wellness fad. It’s known as “garshana,” and is an ancient practice that has been used for centuries in Ayurveda to stimulate the skin and release toxins.
10. Eat your greens
I would be remiss if I did not mention a beauty-from-the-inside-out methodology, as I believe what we eat makes more difference than what we put on our face. “My number one tip is absolutely my favorite skincare tip: Drink a green juice every day. It will transform your skin in a matter of days,” Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Spa and Skincare, told Byrdie. “The ingredients in the juice help oxygenate the skin and stimulate lymphatic drainage, so it’s de-puffing too!” DIY a green juice, add spinach to your pasta, or have a fresh salad for lunch to get your skin back to its best.