The Asian Secret for Getting Perfect Skin While You Sleep

Just like the alphabet creams (BB, CC, DD,…) we have Asian beauty brands to thank for the rise of sleeping masks (also known as overnight masks) in the United States. Commonly known as sleeping packs in the eastern part of the world, these products are used as the last step in the nightly regimen to be rinsed off the following morning for smooth, plump skin. Think of how great your skin feels after a facial—that’s the effect of the overnight masks.  

What’s the point of a sleeping mask? Let me ask you a question. Have you ever left a mask on for longer than the directions recommended? The longer it’s on then the better the results, right? The sleeping masks take that line of thinking a step further and encourage you to leave them on while you sleep for maximum benefits.  

With so many serums, lotions and creams available—not to mention regular skincare masks—is an overnight mask necessary? It depends. Overnight masks can be used as a booster when your normal routine is no longer doing the job. They can be a supplement to address specific concerns, or for overall skin health. Since the mask is the last product to be applied, they are typically designed to enhance the benefits of existing products within a brand’s line.

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask claims to help amplify the hydration of a daily moisturizer. While it increased hydration when used alone, their study shows that after a few weeks, the panelists noticed more of an improvement than when using just a moisturizer alone. Sleeping masks focused on hydration contain humectants like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and sorbitol to draw water to the skin while you sleep. You’ll also notice ingredients with a “resurrection” story where the plants appear dead in harsh conditions but flourish when back in optimal conditions. Ingredients such as trehalose and ophiopogon japonicus root are associated with this kind of claim.

Sleeping masks focused on repair are also designed to supplement a regimen similar to a traditional treatment mask. Nightly use of repair masks with peptides and functional botanicals can boost the efficacy of your current repair-centered routine.

Right now there are only a handful of sleeping masks on the market—including overnight masks from Origins (Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, $24), Peter Thomas Roth (Camu Camu Vitamin C Brightening Sleep Mask, $62), Dr. Jart+ (Water Fuse Water-Max Sleep Mask, $48), and most expensively, La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Mask, $300—but similar to explosion of alphabet creams, this will be a new category of product that most brands will likely have in their beauty arsenal.