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Sleeping in Makeup: Why You Should Stop it and How to Remove Makeup

Does this sound like you? You come home from a long sunny day or a night out dancing and drinking, you get to your room, and there it is; your bed, looking so comfortable just calling you to lay on it. You give in and crash into a deep sleep. The morning after, you wake up, and half your eye won’t open. You zombie-walk to the bathroom mirror, and your reflection scares you. You look like a horror movie character; mascara stuck to your lashes hence why your eyes won’t open, lipstick and eyeliner smudged all over. Does this sound familiar?

For some people, this has probably happened once or twice, but this is almost a routine, especially when you are too tired to stand in the bathroom and wash off the day’s look. You silently wish someone would come up with makeup that took itself off. Lol.

You have heard that it is a crime against your facial skin to sleep in makeup, but you’re not quite sure what the effects are. Let me tell you, ladies, they are scary. We will highlight the impact of sleeping in makeup and are kind enough to bring solutions and steps to follow in the effective removal of makeup.

What Happens When You Sleep in Make-Up?

Countless problems are caused by sleeping in cosmetics: skin dullness, inflammation, pore congestion. Not good stuff.

One slip-up of forgetting to clean out your face before bed may not affect your complexion; however, when this slip up becomes a habit, then there is cumulative damage caused over time. Here is what happens to your skin when you go to bed without a thorough face clean up.

  1. Dull Skin

As I have mentioned time and again, the term “beauty sleep” has a lot of truth to it. This is because during the night, while you are sleeping, the skin kicks into the cell regeneration mode. While you are asleep, the growth hormone stimulates skin cell renewal, which triggers the skin’s turnover process where damaged and dead cells are replaced by new and healthy cells.

All this sounds so good. Well, makeup that you sleep in interferes with this process by trapping the dead cells. When the skin cell turnover process is stalled, dead cells do not get removed efficiently, leading to accumulation on the skin surface. The result? Dull and luster-less complexion. When you do not exfoliate or remove the dead cells on the surface, the light fails to reflect on the skin as nicely as it would when the skin is clean and properly exfoliated.

  1. Premature Aging and Collagen Degradation

After spending a whole day exposed to pollutants, dirt, and dust, your skin accumulates oxidative stress. Makeup traps the dirt and environmental contaminants in the skin. This kind of environmental stress exposes you to free radicals.
Free radicals are highly unstable molecules that attack healthy cells. These free radicals are trapped by makeup and they prevent the repair of skin cells during the night. When free radicals cling to makeup they cause numerous skin issues such as collagen damage. The destruction of collagen and elastin results in the appearance of visible signs of aging on your skin.

  1. Clogged Pores, Breakouts, and Acne Flare-ups

You have probably experienced breakouts the morning after sleeping in your make up. That’s not a coincidence; dear friend, prolonged wearing makeup, especially in your sleep, causes your pores to clog. This, in turn, results in acne flares. Acne is a result of a situation where oil, bacteria, and dirt combine and cause inflammation and in friction. Wearing makeup overnight traps all these under your skin, skyrocketing your chances of waking up to a breakout (or two).

A specific type of acne is exclusively caused by makeup; it’s called acne cosmetica. Acne Cosmetica is caused by makeup clogged pores and presents itself in the form of tiny bumps and whiteheads on the forehead, cheeks, and chin. If you are waking up to breakouts, take note if you slept with make up or didn’t cleanse properly, because not only are you making it impossible for the breakout to clear but are also causing it.

  1. Dry Skin

As mentioned earlier, sleeping in makeup interferes with the natural shedding of damaged and dead cells or natural skin exfoliation. This results in your skin looking dry and coarse since the sebum produced for natural moisturization does not reach the surface.

  1. Inflammation and Irritation of The Eyes and Skin

Cosmetics are often made up of synthetic ingredients and fragrances that can be irritating to the skin, especially when worn for a long time. Makeup forms a barrier over the skin, locking in these skin irritants. Eye makeup such as mascara can harbor harmful bacteria, which results in inflammation in and around the eyes. Inflammation is the skin’s way of defending itself against stress caused by external factors. When the skin experiences harmful stimuli, its immediate immune response is to rush blood to the area. This is aimed at speeding up the healing process; however, it can also cause discomfort such as redness, swelling, and heat.

I warned you that the effects of sleeping in makeup are a bit scary but worry not, I come bearing good news; solutions. You may be willing to clean your makeup before bed but aren’t sure if just wiping off with wipes or washcloth will work. Keep reading; we have some easy to follow steps on how to effectively remove makeup.

How to Effectively Remove Makeup

If you wake up and observe smudges of mascara, foundation, or lipstick on your pillowcase, then your cleansing routine the night before was not sufficient.

  1. Avoid Baby Wipes

Most ladies will argue that babies are sensitive; therefore, baby wipes should be suitable for their face, right? Wrong! A baby’s bum may be sensitive, but it is not covered in makeup, therefore baby wipes are not equipped with unique ingredients to remove makeup. What you are doing using wipes is rubbing the bacteria and makeup residue around your face. Wipes also contain chemicals and preservatives that can cause dryness since they are meant to clean and dry the baby’s bum.

  1. Double Cleanse

Double cleansing is the best makeup removal technique. This technique involves a two-step process: first is using an oil-based cleanser like our Age Treatment Cleansing Oil to break and lift the makeup. Second is using the cleaner of your choice; I highly recommend our Intensive Multi-Task Facial Cleanser to sweep out all impurities. For ladies with oily skin, do not be alarmed by the oil-based cleanser. Because like attracts like, the natural oils will clear out the makeup and lift the excess sebum from the skin’s surface.

Steps to follow:

  • Use a cleansing oil to breakdown makeup. The oil will break the oil-based makeup products like mascara and foundation. Gently warm a small portion of cleansing oil in your hand, then use your fingers to swipe across the lips and eyelids. Using circular motions, massage lightly over your face. Rinse out with clean lukewarm water.
  • Now with the makeup loosened up, you can easily clean out the dirt and grime left. Apply your favorite cleaner to wash the skin deeply. Also, target your specific skin concerns, which could be aging or acne. This process ensures you clear all impurities, those that could clog your pores, dull your skin, and cause premature aging.
  1. Give the Eyes Special Treatment

The eye area is very delicate, therefore it is essential to be very gentle. After the double cleanse, most of the makeup has come off; however, waterproof mascara and eyeliner can be quite stubborn. Avoid rubbing vigorously to clean them, instead do this.


  • Take a cotton pad saturated in makeup remover and hold it over each eye for a few seconds. This allows the breakup and dissolving of the product.
  • Gently wipe off.
  • Use a cotton bud to complete the cleanse in the eye line and inner corners.
  1. Use Steam

Using steam before cleansing can come in handy as it helps soften the skin surface, loosen up the pores, making it easier for the cleaner to penetrate.


  • Place a bowl of hot water in your sink.
  • Cover yourself with a large towel to trap the steam.
  • Hover your face over the steam for a minute or two. We recommend you do this for five to ten minutes. (Ensure you are five to ten inches away from the moisture)

This is probably not something you will do after a night out; however, when you are less tired; it is a good treat for your skin. You could even drop some lavender essence for a special spa day feeling for yourself.

  1. Remember Your Hairline and Neck

It’s easy to forget to clean to the neck and hairline areas, leading to the build-up of makeup residue and eventually clog pores.


  • Pull your hair back using a headband and extend your cleansing process past your jaw and to your hairline.
  1. Get Rid of Any Excess Oils

After the entire cleansing process, make a final swipe over your face using a dry cotton pad to clear out any last bits of excess makeup remover or product. This final wipe will ensure you do not wake up with raccoon eyes due to the leftover mascara or eyeliner.

And there you have it, a clear and complete guide to ensure you wake up looking fabulous and have your skin ready to take up make up for best results. After cleansing, ensure to follow up with your nighttime routine. It is essential to assist your skin in the cell renewal process by providing beneficial ingredients like serums. Commit to following these steps and have them embedded in your memory.

We all have moments that we forget to follow our nighttime routine, making it a personal commitment that makeup removal becomes an absolute must-do.


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