It all started when I received a “beauty rest”–themed package from Urban Outfitters a few weeks ago. Filled with products including everything from Therapy Sleep bath salts and a CBD Dreamwell roll-on oil to a satin eye mask, the contents of the box seemed to offer me some solutions I didn’t know I needed to an issue I’ve always had — getting a good night of rest. I mean, beauty and skin care products just for sleeping? And even some with active calming effects?! I was intrigued to say the least.
I decided to do an internet deep dive, and lo and behold, I came across an abundance of recent stories on this very same topic. From Shape to Forbes and PopSugar to InStyle, everyone seems to be on the hunt for products that will help you get your best beauty rest. Naturally, we at Teen Vogue decided we needed to discover why this trend is happening, and also find out how you can best care for your skin at night.
First off, what’s behind the rise of sleep-centric beauty and skin care products?
Nighttime beauty and skin care products have been around for some time, but seemingly have most often been used by older adults looking to preserve their skin and prevent aging. However, interest in all things sleep is growing. In fact, Melissa Hago, vice president of beauty at trend-forecasting company Fashion Snoops, says, “The importance of sleep and slowing down has been trending for a while, and it keeps growing as consumers learn more about how sleep affects well-being.” As anxiety levels are reportedly rising, it’s no wonder people are having trouble sleeping and trying to figure out how to sleep better.
This is particularly true for today’s teens, who are busier than ever launching their careers earlier than ever through apps like TikTok and Depop while, you know, simultaneously trying to save the planet. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, believes that “younger patients are working harder and sleeping less” and that due to this, many may want to enhance their skin care while they are sleeping. Plus, since sleep has so many health benefits, people see it as another opportunity to capitalize on maximizing their beauty products and results.
When we’re busy and spread thin, it’s not totally uncommon to skimp on our routines. In this case, sleep-focused skin care products, and even some with calming effects baked in, just make sense (and make our lives that much easier!). And now, a recent wave of products are filling the void, including Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, which encourages a “deep recovery,” and Green Releaf Therapeutic Sleep Cream Skin Protectant, which calms inflammation and nourishes irritated skin thanks to its oatmeal, retinoid, and CBD ingredients.
Algenist’s Genius Sleeping Collagen is another new product harnessing the power of sleep through vegan plant collagen and Mary Thistle plant, which claims to help hydrate and nourish skin while we catch our z’s. There’s also Murad’s Night Fix Enzyme Treatment, which works overnight to combat visual indicators of sleep deprivation — think dryness, fine lines, and dullness — while Moonlit Skincare is an entire brand focusing on repairing the skin during the sleep cycle with well-made products. For example, its Sleepy Spritzzz Facial Toner & Sleep Mist is both a mist and a toner, containing “calming chamomile” and lavender essence that the brand says “encourages relaxation.”
With all of this said, Urban Outfitters’ new “beauty rest” box is a sign that brands catering to younger folks are noticing that teens have an interest in these things too. The brand tells Teen Vogue that they recognize that stress and sleep are part of their customers’ lives. As Laura Zaccaria, a merchandise manager for beauty at Urban Outfitters, says, “With so many stresses on each individual’s life, it’s essential to turn off and set aside time for yourself. These are the products that help you do that!”
Okay, but why do nighttime skin care routines and products matter?
As Zeichner says, “The evening is a time of rest and repair, [so] we want to make sure that we support the natural functioning of the skin with appropriate skin care products.” Dermatologist Dendy Engelman, M.D., adds, “When the body is in a deep, restful sleep, the skin’s metabolism increases and cell turnover and renewal escalates. Not getting enough sleep results in poor water balance, leading to puffiness, undereye circles, and rapid aging.” Still, she believes that today’s teens are looking to improve their health and beauty in as many ways as possible — this being just one of them.
“Skin regeneration is at its height between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., so this is the best time to help the skin repair,” Engelman says. “During deep sleep, the rise in growth hormones allows damaged cells to repair.” But when we don’t enter the deeper phases of sleep (due to shortened or interrupted periods of sleep), this process cannot occur. However, Engelman asserts that we can supercharge our body’s rejuvenation process “by supporting our bodies with antioxidants, ceramides, peptides, hyaluronic acid and more.” Another factor to consider, according to Engelman, is that we lose water when we sleep as the body’s hydration rebalances. Through sleep, skin is able to recover moisture, while excess water in general in the body is processed for removal.
At night the skin is working to repair and restore itself, says dermatologist Sejal Shah, M.D. “When you consider this, it makes sense why some ingredients/products are better for day and others for night.” She believes younger people are looking to slow the signs of aging and maintain healthy skin and that “they want to prevent rather than correct later on down the line.” Due to this, it's helpful to incorporate products that work while you sleep to maintain the skin and potentially reverse some damage.
So how should you best take care of your skin at night?
If you want to take care of your skin before you go to bed and while you sleep but don’t know where to start, don’t fret. We’ve got all the insight you need to get started. Firstly, Engelman says, “I recommend not rushing your regimen but taking the time to evaluate your skin and pay attention to what it needs for that night.” After you’ve figured out what your skin needs, Zeichner says, “It is important to wash your face at night before you go to sleep. Cleansing in the evening helps remove dirt, oil, and pollution that accumulate on the surface of the skin during the day.” Look for gentle, hydrating cleansers that will not strip the skin of essential oils.
Engelman agrees, saying, “In the evening, it is about removing the day’s grime and gunk off your face.” Though, she recommends a double-cleansing routine. “Step one involves removing the day’s cream, makeup, and dirt with a nutrient-rich towelette/cotton pad to erase every trace of eye makeup with a liquid remover. Next, draw out sebum and bacteria using a gentle oil cleanser and lukewarm water. Oil eliminates impurities without drying out your skin.” Shah also points out that even if you aren’t wearing makeup, “other debris and oils can accumulate on the skin and can negatively impact its health if they are left on overnight.”
“Make sure to apply a moisturizer at night. We know that skin hydration levels decrease towards the second half of the day,” Zeichner says. According to Shah, moisturizers not only replenish the skin’s moisture, which is often lost when washing the face, but the skin also naturally loses moisture at night, so using moisturizer at night can help restore this.
“Consider adding a collagen-stimulating ingredient like retinol or peptides. These ingredients help rev up production of collagen to strengthen the foundation of the skin,” adds Zeichner. “Retinol can be used by anyone, so long as you are not pregnant. In fact, younger patients use topical retinoids on the skin regularly to treat acne. When it comes to skin aging, I typically do not recommend retinol until the late 20s or early 30s because the skin cells produce collagen very well below that age and retinol may not be necessary.”
He also recommends sleeping masks because they’re highly potent moisturizers and help form a protective seal over the skin to enhance its hydration. Engelman agrees, saying, “Overnight masks are usually thicker than most creams, sitting on top of the skin, locking in moisture. By the morning, you can see the benefits.” Another recommendation Zeichner says is to use products with hyaluronic acid serums before bed as “they act like a sponge to pull in hydration to moisturize and plump the skin.”
Shop some of the best skin care products for sleeping below.
$36.00, Urban Outfitters
$15.00, Urban Outfitters
$35.00, Urban Outfitters
$30.00, Urban Outfitters
$14.00, Urban Outfitters
$42.00, Glow Recipe
$32.00, Moonlit Skincare
$34.00, Moonlit Skincare
$.00, Glow Recipe
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue