Bedtime Beauty: 7 Products To Put On If You’re Not Getting It On

Sex may make your skin glow, but it ain’t gonna whiten your teeth.

One of the best things about being single is not having to share the bed with another person. I sleep in awkward, outstretched positions, and my two dogs sleep on the bed, so I don’t even know where I’d fit a whole dude.

Also, my dogs aren’t going to give me a weird look if I put on ALL THE PRODUCTS before bed.

See, just sleeping doesn’t mean you’re getting so-called "beauty sleep." You could be taking advantage of these private, unconscious hours with treatments that transform you literally overnight. Sure, some take repeated use to see a difference, and some don’t look very cute when applied; but the results are cute if you’re willing to commit a few minutes to personal care before bed.

Let’s start with the obvious…


Some say the only legit over-the-counter anti-aging ingredient is retinol, and those people are kind of right. There are lots of ingredients that can nourish your skin and make signs of aging look cosmetically better and help prevent future damage, but retinol truly, madly, deeply makes a noticeable, long-term difference.

Remember the Indonesian “Tree Man” who had bark-like warts covering most of his body? You may have heard that he was prescribed vitamin A. Yeah, vitamin A is retinol.

If you’re not already using a retinol product, consider working Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream into your nighttime regimen. It helps diminish two of the most complained-about symptoms of skin again: wrinkles and discoloration. You may even find that it helps clear up mild acne without an over-drying effect. (It contains a moisture-locking seaweed extract.)

Retinol increases photosensitivity, which is why it’s wise to not only use it at night, but to be especially vigilant about using sunscreen during the day. It can also cause irritation (most retinol users say it’s totally worth it), so you may want to alternate it with a product like Murad Overnight Soothing Gel.

This formula reduces redness with a fancypants blend of anti-inflammatory ingredients that make skin feel cooler. It also contains antioxidants, which definitely won’t undermine your efforts to stay eternally youthful.


I don’t know about you, but my skin is itchier at night. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m lying in bed with nothing to distract me from the tiniest discomforts or if there’s something in my circadian cycle that tells histamines to go haywire after dark, but it’s really annoying.

A few years ago, I discovered Aveeno Skin Relief Overnight Cream, which eased both my body and my mind; my body because its oats-and-dimethicone combo really does soothe skin, and my mind because it assured me I wasn’t the only weirdo scratching herself in bed.

Speaking of itching, nighttime is also a great opportunity to lessen the look of scars, which can be really itchy in the early stages. In addition to your body already being in a heightened state of healing while you sleep, you can wear ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets to help flatten scars--new and old--and do whatever the opposite of “redden” is.

These patches are weirdly comfortable, and can even be washed and re-worn a few times. And there are no drugs or anything in them. It’s actually the silicone that does all the work.


I was reluctant to try Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Overnight Hair Rescue. First, I’m suspicious of any hair product that considers itself “anti-aging.” Hair is dead--it’s not getting any younger. Also, I was worried that it would saturate my pillow, which is where I put my face, and I don’t want my face to get all hair-product-y.

But just like an expensive product like this ought to, it does what it promises: stays on your hair and, more importantly, makes it looks pretty freakin’ fabulous when you wake up, thanks to peptides, vitamins and a slew of things-from-nature extracts. Granted, you can’t just wake up and go--you do have to wash it out first. But it’s totally worth taking one of those god-awful showers everyone’s so crazy about.

Hair Rescue works well on all hair types, but if you’ve got curly hair and prefer using products made specifically for curls, give Kinky-Curly Midnight Miracle a try. The formula isn’t as loaded as Alterna’s, but it has similar instructions (put it on before bed, rinse it out in the morning). Also, it’s FOAM! Foam’s just fun.


Brushing your teeth at bedtime with a whitening toothpaste is an obvious must-do when you want Guy Smiley teeth. (Wait. I just realized Guy Smiley didn’t have teeth. WTF?!)

Why stop there, though? You obviously don’t want white teeth badly enough. Oh, you do? Prove it: wear whitening strips to bed.

“But Marci, aren’t you supposed to take those off after, like, a half hour?” you ask, unsure of why I’ve been so aggressive about tooth-whitening in the last couple of paragraphs.

Yes, you’re supposed to take whitening strips off... unless they’re Rembrandt Stain Dissolving Strips. (As for the aggressiveness, I don’t know; I'm cranky because I haven’t been sleeping well this week, ironically.)

At first, I was like, OK, these dissolve stains, which they do. But they also JUST PLAIN DISSOLVE. After about 15 minutes, they disappear!

They don’t have to be worn at night, of course--I wore them on the subway once. But I just like the idea of drifting off to sleep with whitening strips on my teeth and waking up with nothing in my mouth but slightly whiter teeth and a cloud of stank breath.

Do you have a nighttime beauty regimen? Do you wear an eye mask like the one I’m wearing in the picture? Ugh, HOW?--it’s so annoying.