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How to use an Overnight Facial Mask

How to use an Overnight Facial Mask

Hey there! Overnight facial masks, also called sleeping masks or sleeping packs are skincare products that are gaining a lot of popularity nowadays. If you’ve heard about these masks but you’re wondering what they do, and how they differ from just normal moisturiser, check out this post! I’ll be breaking down the benefits you’ll get from overnight facial masks, sharing my fave sleeping masks and explaining how they differ from other moisturising skincare products. Most importantly, I’ll let you know if they’re a gimmick or not.

Before we get any further, hey there! My name is Jazmin and I’m a skincare blogger and I manage a skincare Instagram account (or skinstagram hahaha) where I regularly post skincare reviews. Feel free to check this out or ask me some questions over there! I love skincare so much and after having struggled with acne for years I’ve developed an appreciation for all it can do.

So, what are overnight facial masks? And how are they used?

Sleeping masks are skincare products which are applied as the last step of your skincare routine, and worn overnight. Sleeping masks can be a lot like normal moisturiser, but they are applied your gel or cream moisturiser. Most sleeping masks are designed to be a bit thicker or occlusive so they stay on your skin overnight and form a protective, moisturising layer. Overnight facial masks have a range of different benefits, but they’re not a necessity; I view them as a luxury! For me, they’re an additional skincare step that gives my skin a boost of hydration and moisture.

What do overnight facial masks do?

Sleeping masks mainly serve as an intense hydrator and moisturiser to help you get additional skin caring benefits out of your skincare routine. As I already mentioned, sleeping masks tend to be quite thick and form a layer over the skin which lock in all the hydration and moisture from your other skincare products to leave your skin very moisturised. If you’ve got dry skin, or you’re using harsh ingredients such as retinoids and benzoyl peroxide to treat acne, I think you will enjoy using an overnight facial mask. Currently, I’m using prescription strength retinoid which leaves my skin dry and peeling. Using a sleeping pack overnight helps to keep the flakiness at bay, and helps to restore my skin’s natural bounciness and softness.

If you have skin which is sensitised (made sensitive because of some environmental trigger such as over exfoliating or cold weather for example) or irritated, you could use a sleeping mask with additional skin healing and soothing benefits. Ingredients to look out for are cica, also referred to as centella asiatica or madecassoside, propolis and oat derivatives. These ingredients have been found to help soothe irritated or inflamed skin. I’ll share my skin soothing/healing overnight facial mask recommendations below!

Another benefit of overnight facial masks can be exfoliation. This type of sleeping mask will make use of AHAs, or chemical exfoliators. For more information on what these are and if they’re good for your skin type, check out my skincare guide! Using exfoliating sleeping masks is a really handy way to get some exfoliation in because you can just put the mask on and go to sleep, and wake up to softer, brighter skin. If your skin doesn’t usually tolerate AHAs or chemical exfoliators well, it might enjoy sleeping masks with exfoliating benefits because they’re applied over a layer of moisturiser, which will help buffer the exfoliating ingredient, allowing for a gentler skin resurfacing effect. Below, I recommend a great exfoliating sleeping mask.

Are they really that different to moisturisers?

At the end of the day, overnight face masks are just moisturising products that add an extra layer of hydration and moisture to your skincare routine. Some sleeping masks are virtually indistinguishable from moisturisers because brands can call their products whatever they want. Although using a moisturiser is essential after cleansing for a healthy skin barrier, sleeping masks are an extra, pampering step. If they make you feel good, go ahead and use them! But if you want a simpler routine, or you don’t have a lot of money, don’t feel bad at all to skip this step.

For example, I’m currently using a sleeping mask which I’m loving for the way it’s soothing and protecting my skin from my retinoid. However, I could easily get this benefit from a soothing or calming serum instead, used before my moisturiser. So, if you have a particular skincare benefit that you’re looking for, you might be able to get this from sleeping masks (but don’t forget these aren’t the only way to get happy, bouncy skin).

Sleeping masks that I love

Skin soothing and healing

Okay, here are the recommendations I’ve promised. If you’re looking for soothing, healing and nourishing overnight facial masks, I recommend the Lineage Cica Sleeping Mask and the COSRX Propolis Honey Overnight Mask. Both of these help my skin when it’s really dry and irritated (either because of using AC, heating, or other skincare products which have annoyed my skin). The Laneige sleeping mask is very thick and has a slightly oily finish which feels super nourishing. This mask contains cica, or madecassoside to soothe the skin, but I didn’t find that it reduced redness; it simply forms a nice, moisturising barrier for my skin to heal overnight. My skin feels much restored the day after using this mask, and it’s so soft even after cleansing.

how to use sleeping masks

The COSRX mask is my favourite overnight facial mask because it leaves my skin feeling super soft the following morning, even once I’m done with all my skincare. Propolis is an ingredient which promotes wound healing, so it is great for irritated skin. Using this when my skin is super dry really helps to restore my skin. Unlike the Laneige mask, this one doesn’t leave any noticeable finish on the skin so it’s a very comfortable mask.  

One of the reasons why I think these two masks are great for grumpy skin because they’re unfragranced, meaning that there are unlikely to further irritate the skin (fragrance is a known irritant).


When it comes to exfoliating masks, I don’t have a personal favourite. Buuuut, one which lots of people claim gently exfoliates and helps get bright, glowy skin is the SOME BY MI Yuja Niacin Brightening Sleeping Mask. This mask exfoliates but also contains niacinamide, an ingredient which helps to brighten the skin and fade dark spots. Because this is a sleeping facial mask, it contains moisturising ingredients to give your skin an overnight boost, and it helps improve skin texture with vitamin C. Like the COSRX mask, this is the kind of product that sinks into the skin and doesn’t feel sticky at all.


Overnight facial masks can be really great for dry or dehydrated skin types, but don’t feel like you need to have them. A good moisturiser will help keep your skin both hydrated and moisturised. But if you want that boost, you can definitely try sleeping packs to see if they work for you. Personally, I’m hooked on the COSRX Propolis Honey Overnight Mask and I’ll definitely be posting a full review of that one soon here and on my Instagram.

So, what’s the verdict? Are sleeping masks going to become a staple in your daily skincare or not?


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