How to Remove Makeup & Undo the Damage of Sleeping with Your Face On
Kim Kardashian and makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury may sleep in their makeup on the reg, but even just a few nights can do serious skincare damage
Kim Kardashian crowned Charlotte Tilbury Makeup Artist of the Year at the first-ever InStyle Awards last week-and let us all in on the her own dirty little makeup secret.
"Charlotte Tilbury is my hero because she has never let her husband see her without makeup on. She sleeps with her makeup on," Kardashian said while introducing Tilbury. "She's my idol. She's inspired me when I am really lazy and I can't do my makeup the next day, so I'll sleep in my makeup. I know that's probably the worst advice, but she has all the magic creams to put on the next day to make up for it."
Hold the phone. Besides supposedly shielding their husbands from their makeup-free faces, we're supposed to believe both ladies regularly sleep in their makeup-committing the number one skin-saving sin? Why would Kardashian-someone who publicly declared she avoids smiling to stave off wrinkles-confess to such a harmful habit? And, more importantly, are stars harboring "magic creams" we're not aware of?! (At least we're in on these 10 P.M. Skincare Products That Work While You Sleep.)
Chances are, not removing your makeup has more to do with late-night, post-girl's night out pizza and less about hiding your face from your husband. Regardless, something just isn't adding up. We've been taught all our lives that taking off your makeup before bed is the key to young, clear, beautiful skin, yet both women seem to have flawless complexions. To get our questions answered, we hit up Rachel Nazarian, M.D., New York-based dermatologist at the Schweiger Dermatology Group.
First, Nazarian confirmed what we believed to be true all along: There are no "magic creams."
Bummer? Yes. But she also gave us the lowdown on just how bad sleeping in your makeup actually is and what steps you can take to minimize the damage done after a late night slip up. (And find out how you can Sleep In-and Wake Up with Perfect Hair!)
What's the Damage?
Sleeping in your makeup leaves you with more than just a pore-clogging mess. Nazarian rattles off consequence after consequence: "Makeup prevents pores from being cleaned out, leaving them larger and more noticeable. Lashes become brittle and dry when mascara is left on and slept in, so washing off your makeup will leave your lashes healthier and help maintain their length."
Eye infections, acne (duh), and rosacea flare-ups are also probable outcomes of makeup-removing laziness. Plus, choosing to forgo this step in your nightly routine interferes with the cell renewal process and encourages the breakdown of elastic fibers and collagen in your skin, Nazarian explains.
"The makeup and the dirt, oil, and bacteria that have mixed with it during the day blocks the skin's ability to refresh and heal itself while the free radicals of the products cause premature aging," she says.
Think about it like this: Our time to rest is also our skin's time to renew. You know that feeling when you wake up refreshed after a good night's sleep? That is exactly how your skin feels each time you remove your makeup (and ideally wash your face) before hitting the hay. If you opt out of that one step in your routine, you're guaranteeing a cranky complexion (and thinner, older looking skin down the road). (Learn 9 Things Women with Good Skin Always Do.)
While skipping out on one night of diligent makeup removing won't cause obvious or noticeable aging upon waking, Nazarian emphasizes the damage is cumulative. This means every night counts-even if it's just once every few months. Basically, the more nights you skip, the earlier signs of aging will begin to appear on your skin. For most of us, adding up every late night from our college years is cringe worthy enough, let alone every unnecessary skipping of the sink since.
As for Kim K, we can only imagine the damage done from sleeping in your makeup every. Single. Night.
Your Morning-After Game Plan
We get it-sometimes your pillow is calling your name so hard you skip the sink. So if you do accidentally fall asleep in a full face of makeup, you need to do damage control. (And while we're at it, here's The One-Day Cleanse Hangover Cure.)
"Your goal is to achieve a deep cleaning and use a skin cocktail of antioxidants and skin-soothing products to help counter the damage created overnight," Nazarian says.
The first step is to, obviously, remove your makeup. Nazarian is a fan of Neutrogena Make-up Remover Cleansing Towelettes ($9; ulta.com), because they effectively wash away your toughest, longest-staying products. (Bonus: They're great for keeping next to your bed for when you're feeling especially unmotivated to make the pillow-or-sink choice.)
Next, wash your face with a gentle, soothing cleanser like the Dove Beauty Bar ($3; target.com). To remove any dead skin cells sitting in your pores, move on to a deep glycolic chemical wipe, like Peter Thomas Roth's Gentle Complexion Correction Pads ($40; sephora.com). Rinse your face, pat dry, and you're ready for the final steps. To help nourish, repair, and promote the healing of your skin cells damaged by free radicals, Nazarian recommends an antioxidant rich gel or serum, like Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Gel ($162; skinceuticals.com), followed by an extract-rich lotion, like Revision DEJ Face Cream ($99; skincaresolutionsstore.com).
So while we will be forever grateful to Kim for teaching us about contouring and Tilbury for her great products, their ritual of sleeping in their makeup is one we're going to have to group with waist trainers and heels during pregnancy-a hard pass.