Get Beautiful in Your Sleep

The Style Glossy: Hair Studio

Get Beautiful in Your Sleep

By Valli Herman for The Style Glossy

In the movies, the heroine always wakes up looking perfectly refreshed and gorgeous. Sure, she may have movie-making magic on her side, but the rest of us have a potent beauty weapon, too: sleep!

It turns out, there really is such a thing as beauty sleep. “Sleep allows the body to go into several stages of non-REM and REM cycles for restoration of body functions,” says research dermatologist Vermén M. Verallo-Rowell, M.D. Further, the emerging science of chronobiology, which studies the impact of biological rhythms and their effects on the body, has uncovered subtle differences in skin behavior at night. The skin is more permeable, oil production is lower and skin expends fewer defenses against daytime’s free radicals, pollution and sun damage.

Here’s a guide to the types of treatments and products that work their magic in the dark.

Hair Conditioners

Sometimes called deep conditioners or reparative masks, these temporary leave-on hair products can work even better when they’re allowed hours, not minutes, to absorb deeply into the hair shaft. Before bedtime, massage the mask along ends and mid-shaft of dry hair and comb through. Rinse and style as usual in the morning.

Heavy-duty Moisturisers

Quick-absorbing, lightweight hydrators with built-in sunscreen are perfect for protecting the skin during the day and providing a satiny base for your makeup. Nighttime is when you’ll want to slather on the thicker, richer, more emollient moisturisers that may look greasy, but provide more reparative moisture benefits. This deeply penetrating moisture can have a carryover benefit into the daytime.


Dermatologists suggest that patients use over-the-counter and stronger prescription retinoids (tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene) only at night because these topical forms of vitamin A can degrade in light and make the skin more vulnerable to sun damage and likely to burn. “They have become the gold standard of what dermatologists recommend to help exfoliate, lighten brown spots, stimulate collagen production and clean out pores,” says D’Anne Kleinsmith, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist. 

Active Treatment Products

Many treatment products work best when they’re not competing with layers of cosmetics and sunscreen, says dermatologist Patricia Farris, M.D.. What’s more, active ingredients such as salicylic acid, which exfoliates dead skin cells, as well as peptides (tiny proteins), which stimulate collagen to help reduce the signs of aging, are most effective when they’re not being diluted by perspiration or fending off daytime environmental stressors like pollution and sunlight. The increased blood flow to skin at night, along with nocturnal water loss, may help these ingredients better penetrate the skin’s barrier layers.

Rough Skin Erasers

Products made to soften rough skin on the feet or hands are likely to get the best results if they’re applied at bedtime. Many include alpha hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic and citric acids) that penetrate the outermost layer of skin to promote exfoliation. Or, try this softening treatment suggested by C. Ralph Daniel III, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology: Soak hands and feet in room temperature water for up to five minutes. Apply an extra thick moisturiser. For the best overnight penetration, pull on a pair of light cotton gloves or socks.


Some extra-strength antiperspirants are specially formulated for nighttime use, but a regular formula can also be more potent during the night’s optimum conditions. “For people who have problems with excessive perspiration, it makes a lot of sense to apply an antiperspirant before you go to bed,” says Dr. Kleinsmith. “When you’re not already perspiring, you can block the sweat glands more easily and let the medication work more effectively.”

With a passport and scads of beauty products in tow, veteran journalist Valli Herman has covered international fashion, beauty and travel for many print and online publications.


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  • Wice says
    Let's take this to extremes... It may help you become more beautiful during the day, but I shudder to think how my body would feel wearing all those products at night. My mind boggles at the thought of my face covered in mud, hair covered in avocado, gloved hands and feet, the white residue of anti-perspirant blushing from the armpits!

    I would rather go to bed and just let sleep do its own magic. I can't imagine going to bed covered in creams and potions from 'hair to toe". Imagine what your sheets and pillowcase would look like in the morning!

    For me there is nothing as relaxing as a clean body slipping between clean sheets - just feels so good.

    As for wearaing anti-perspirant to bed - well that's really going over the top. Why not just sleep under a sheet or on top of the bed or go naked if you get so hot and sweaty!

    I can just see hubbie’s face and hear his comments! But then again, each to their own :-)
  • Hope says
    I read an article about the benefits of couples sleeping in separate rooms...this would be number one reason why, but not the perfect answer to a great relationship!!
  • kiwigypsy says
    Sounds like I need to be a more pro-active sleeper, taking the time to address all these issues so that not only is my body rested, but my hair and skin look and feel better too!!! Good to know, as I need all the help I can get!!!
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  • New Member says
    I'm a web designer on and freelancer so I'm used to having a deprived sleep routine. But after couple of years, my husband and friends were really concerned about how bad I was looking. And I realized that I forgot to be attentive to myself with all those tasks and home stuff.
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