Makeoffing, Part 2: Why NOT to Sleep in Your Makeup

 In How to, Products

Photo: David Pankratz. Makeup by Liz Washer.

One of the most effective ad campaigns I’ve seen in recent years was for a popular mineral makeup company with the tagline, “Makeup so pure you could sleep in it.” Quite a selling point, right?

Unfortunately, there’s a difference between marketing claims and good advice.

The truth is that, while occasionally failing to thoroughly wash your face before bed may not have negative consequences, it’s not a good habit to get into for the following reasons:

1. Foundation, concealer, powder… these complexion enhancing products were not designed to be worn for days at a time. No matter how lightweight they are, they can block pores, leading to a breakout (yes, even the all-natural, mineral, or noncomedogenic varieties can adversely affect your skin when they’ve been ground against your face and a pillow all night!)

2. Removing mascara and eyeliner isn’t easy, especially if you used waterproof formulas (as you would for a wedding or any special event where you expect to shed a few tears!) Gently but thoroughly cleansing the skin surrounding the eyes is a necessary step, as leftover eye makeup can irritate your eyes and the skin around them (which can result in bloodshot eyes, styes, and other blemishes). I like a gentle oil-based cleanser to thoroughly dissolve stubborn eyeliner and mascara: just saturate a cotton swab and hold it against the stubborn makeup until it softens enough to rinse away easily.

3. Leaving makeup on for more than a day at a time is very drying – especially if you wear a lot of powder products (whether mineral or not, they are drawing moisture away from your skin) or longwearing lipsticks. By failing to remove the makeup, you’ll miss out on the benefits of applying a good moisturizer at night, and if you skip this step consistently, you may develop wrinkles earlier than you would otherwise.

4. Even if makeup itself doesn’t tend to break you out, it’s not the only thing that will be on your skin at the end of the day. The world is a rather dirty place (this goes double for urbanites), and accordingly, your face is subject to free radicals throughout the day. You need to cleanse your skin consistently, daily, to help keep it healthy and youthful in appearance.

5. Did I mention the mess on your pillowcase? Save yourself the laundry frustrations and wash up before bed!



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  • Karrie Welch

    Your advice is always spot on Liz!