I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
I used to be one of those weird teenagers with irrational
neuroses who would put myself to bed at 10pm on the dot every weekday. I also
had to wake up at 6:20 to get ready for school, which, nearly a decade later,
I’m like "What are people thinking making teenagers learn things at 7:55am?”
That is literally an insane thing to do.
Now that I am a full-grown woman-person who juggles a bevy
of freelance jobs, I can wake up (almost) whenever I want! It is truly a
blessing disguised in poor time management and groggy indulgence. I succumb to the grog more than I’d like to
admit, but that is only because I’m really bad at putting myself to bed at a
And then I learn about overnight masks and suddenly I am
psyched to conk out come midnight.
So what you masks are telling me is that I can attain MOAR BEAUTY in my sleep? Do the beautifying powers increase the more sleep
I get? I am willing to test that.
Here’s the thing, though. Overnight masks are typically heavier treatments than your regular 10-minute masks. They mostly act in the realm of “vitalizing” and “rejuvenating” and
“moisturizing”--all things that kind of happen with a good sleep schedule
Being that I have gotten increasingly dry in the face and my precious vitality
will only further deplete in the twilight of my 20-something years, I figure if I can sleep my way to a
future sans Rip Van Wrinkles, why wouldn’t I give it a go?
Marci bestowed upon me four overnight masks that were lying
around the xoHQ, which means I caught at least four nights of pretty good zzzs. Augh, you girls keep me young!
Here's what I took away from using them.
AMOREPACIFIC MOISTURE BOUND SLEEPING RECOVERY MASQUE
first ingredients in AMOREPACIFIC's Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque are phyllostachys bambusoides juice (bamboo juice for
moisturizing) and panax ginseng root extract (for the anti-aging). The box
tells me it will “replenish moisture as you sleep. Helps accelerate skin
turnover cycle. Awaken to fully recovered, vibrant skin.”
I was pretty psyched
about this one since Korean brands are usually on top of the skincare game. If
there’s one thing I will note being half-Korean, it’s that Koreans are
obsessed with their skin. A glowing, clear complexion is pretty much the only
beauty goal; everything else is just ornamental. The few times I’ve been to a
Korean spa in my parents’ neighborhood in Queens, the ladies were sweetly blunt
that “You have wonderful skin naturally… except for your chin. That’s a mess.”
I paid you to slather expensive weird creams on my face and pick my zits, not
to shatter my ego, thanks very much!
I’d rather stick to treatments in bottles than painful extraction sessions, so I’m pretty hyped about this sleeping
mask. After washing my face at night and putting on all my normal serums and
spot treatments and stuff, I generously squirted this lightweight cream in my
hands and applied it like a moisturizer. It smells divine and feels a bit
slick, but half of it seems to absorb into your face within five minutes and
the other half kind of just sits on top with the tell-tale sheen of “I have stuff on my
I tried not to roll around too much in bed, lest it smears all over my
pillow, but it actually stays pretty much on my face.
Upon waking and rinsing
(I didn’t wash it off in the morning, just rinsed with lukewarm water), I
noticed that my skin felt a lot moister. The slick feeling on my face
when I was rinsing it off dried to a nice, plump, velvety texture. I didn’t have
to apply as much daytime moisturizer.
SULWHASOO OVERNIGHT VITALIZING MASK
Next up, was Sulwhasoo’s Overnight Vitalizing Mask, from another
Korean brand. I haven't been vitalized in a minute, so it's about time!
It has the same creamy texture as the AMOREPACIFIC one, and a
nice herbal scent--very spa-y. Most of the ingredients are all herbal/plant-based extracts. Personally, I was
sold upon spying squalane and camellia in the mix, but seriously, the first maybe
20 ingredients are some extract of a plant. I like plants. I prefer them to
But don’t be fooled by all science-y sounding terms. For
instance, this one has a bit of hyaluronic acid, which is a substance already
found in your body, to cushion and lubricate connective tissue. It is, however, vulnerable to bad diet and bad habits (smoking, ahem), which is why
you probably notice that people who’ve been smoking for decades have turtle
Was I necessarily “vitalized” after sleeping in this mask
(pretty much the same method as the last one)? I mean, sort of. Nothing crazy. My
skin felt softer and my dry patches were nowhere to be seen. But to be fair,
this was only the first time. It’s
recommended you use this mask once or twice a week.
KIEHL'S ULTRA FACIAL OVERNIGHT HYDRATING MASQUE
Kiehl’s offers what they have
dubbed the Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque. That the name is in all caps on the jar seems to tell me that they mean business, though it’s probably more just
keeping consistent with brand packaging.
It boasts that it is formulated with
Ophiopogon Japonicus, AKA "Fountain Plant." Can you guess what it does? (I will
let you guess; I won’t tell you. OK, I'll tell you. It moisturizes.) This formula also name-drops "Desert Plants," so
you know it means business. If cacti can remain moist and alive in a desert,
theoretically their essence will allow you the same ability, no? Granted, I am
not sleeping in a desert, which is great, because I hear they’re freezing at
After water, glycerin is the main ingredient, which, duh, is an awesome humectant.
I’ll slather straight glycerin on my face any day. This one also has squalane (shout out to my fave
The texture is way more goop than cream with absolutely no
fragrant frills. It smells like chemical because I guess that’s what it is.
Does it moisturize overnight? Hell yeah it does. Possibly TOO moisturizing? My
face was stuck to my pillow in the morning, and it required a little soap to
rinse off enough to lose the “I have goop on my face” feeling.
That said, you know
what this is also great for? A hands/feet overnight mask! The next night, I
slathered it on my feet, stuck some socks on, and woke up with gloriously
baby-soft feet. No overnight masque left behind!
PETER THOMAS ROTH ROSE STEM CELL BIO-REPAIR MASK
OK, this one isn’t technically an overnight mask, but Peter
Thomas Roth’s Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair
Gel Mask totally says on the package that you can wear it overnight.
Also, it has rose stem cells and smells like roses, so I’m like “Yeah, get on
me!” Who doesn’t want to wake up not smelling like roses? Me (double negatives--tricky)!
The idea behind using “five perfect reparative rose stem cells”
(including rose commiphora, desert
rose, damas rose, pale rose and white rose) is that roses are apparently
really good at self-repair and preservation. Another bid for team anti-aging
and cell repair, fighting fine lines, wrinkles and dullness. It also claims to
brighten, nurture, regenerate, rejuvenate, firm and tone your skin--a tall order
for what appears to be transparent pink gel.
I will say, the best
part of this mask is the smell. The texture is thick--sleeping required a bit of
choreography to not get it all over my sheets. Honestly, I’d probably not sleep
in it, but I reallllly want those rose stem cells to get to work. Can stem
cells even get anything done in less than eight hours? I imagine they’re like
union construction workers, sticking to a rigid schedule of always being over budget and
My skin felt nice the next morning, but considering I’m not quite yet
suiting up for the losing battle against aging, it may just not be for me. Perhaps
in the future, we’ll get the lock on whatever technology was keeping that rose
fresh in Beauty and the Beast. Oh wait, pretty sure that was a gypsy curse…
So, should you invest in one of these? If you’re a responsible person, you probably clock eight
hours of sleep a night, take your vitamins, eat right and don’t smoke or do
bad face-wrecking drugs. You are probably an ageless beauty who doesn’t even
need makeup and I hate you but in that complicated way where I also want your
attention and approval.
It is nice to know that I can still surf the net until
2am every night and slather on a miracle potion that will make me look like
said non-insomniac. The thing
with overnight masks is that
you probably need to consistently use them before you see strong results.
They’re also their strongest when the rest of your skincare game is also upper-level. I’m of the belief that there isn’t really just one miracle product that
you can use and eschew all other treatments; it’s best to find the routine that
works for you.