best overnight mask 2019

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Overnight face masks — masks that you apply before you go to sleep and don’t rinse off until the morning — are an enigma. On the surface, they might seem like glorified night creams. After all, many of them claim to be hydrating, and they tend to be thicker in texture than your average daytime moisturizer. But they are so much more than that.

I usually use overnight masks (or “sleeping masks” as they are sometimes called) once or twice a week in place of my usual night cream when my skin needs that little something extra, though you can apply it on top of another moisturizer if you’re really dry.

My sensitive, normal-to-oily skin loves formulas that contain hydrating and soothing ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. If you have dry or blemish-prone skin, you might prefer to use one formulated with actives like vitamin C or AHAs to exfoliate, boost radiance, and fight the signs of aging.

Some overnight face masks feel tacky and wet for a few minutes after you first apply them, but they should eventually dry down so you won’t end up with goop all over your pillow. I’ll admit that I was intimidated by sleep masks before I tried them — even beauty writers get overwhelmed by all the categories of skincare out there — but now that I’ve found a few favorites, I won’t be turning back.

Here are the best overnight face masks:

Updated on 3/30/20 by Remi Rosmarin: Updated formatting and pricing.

The best overnight face mask overall


The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is silky smooth, hydrating, and will leave you beaming first thing in the morning. 

I am not a morning person. I actually thought I was, until I met my husband, who is an actual morning person — someone who wakes up before the alarm and doesn’t immediately bury his face under the pillow and steal every last second of shut-eye before it goes off. When he’s not home, I hit snooze so many times that I’m not sure why I bothered to set an alarm in the first place.

Because of my aversion to waking up, I tend to resemble Oscar the Grouch at 7 a.m., but Laneige Water Sleeping Mask helps. It’s a delicious, bouncy gel that liquefies on contact, delivering plumping moisture to your face. I love the texture, which is like a thicker version of my favorite summer moisturizer, the Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Cream. It has all the hydrating goodness you crave without that greasy dipped-in-French-fry-oil feeling.

Laneige packs each blue jar with Hydro Ionized Mineral Water, a technology called Moisture Wrap that ensures the mask is performing at maximum capacity the entire time you’re asleep, and “Calming Sleepscent” — a soothing blend of orange flower, rose, and sandalwood.

In the morning after using it, my skin looks so dewy that you might mistake me for someone who hops out of bed at sunrise greeted by a team of singing birds to help me get dressed. Still on the fence? It won the Allure Best of Beauty in 2017.

Pros: Hydrating, lightweight, gentle enough for sensitive skin, leaves skin plump and dewy in the mornings

Cons: Doesn’t have exfoliating or anti-aging ingredients$25.00 FROM SEPHORA

The best drugstore overnight face mask


Even if you buy Bliss What A Melon De-Stressing Overnight Mask for the sweet scent, you won’t be disappointed, because it brightens and replenishes the skin.

Iconic spa brand Bliss is everywhere once again, thanks to an exciting relaunch, complete with adorable packaging, cool new formulas, and drugstore prices. I was most excited to try the brand’s What A Melon De-Stressing Overnight Mask because, well, it smells like watermelon candy. I’m only human, and I have a sweet tooth, okay?

I wound up loving this mask for a lot of reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with its effect on my olfactory system (though it does help).

According to the brand, the mask “creates a nutrient-rich veil to bring tired, stressed-out skin back to life” and “[r]emoves dead cells and toxins.” These kinds of products sometimes aggravate my skin, but this one did just the opposite. I have a small patch of rosacea on my jaw that flares up if I apply too many active ingredients at once, and Bliss What A Melon calmed it down after just one use.

Thanks to the inclusion of Timiron Halo, the brand’s trademarked “radiant strobing powder,” the product also helps boost radiance without leaving visible sparkles on your face.

What A Melon is a little less hydrating than the Laneige or Missha masks, so I use it on top of a cream, but it worked like a charm as far as brightening and “de-stressing” my skin, thanks to ingredients like watermelon extract, rice bean extract, and sodium hyaluronate. You also can’t beat the price!

The mask has a 4.4-star rating at Target and a 4.3 rating at Influenster.

Pros: Affordable, brightens and revives skin overnight, smells delicious

Cons: Not as hydrating as some of the other options on this list$15.99 FROM CVS$12.99 FROM TARGET

The best cell renewal overnight mask


Don’t let the name scare you away — Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask is an awesome mask that moisturizes and evens out your skin tone while you sleep.

Snail extract may sound gross to the uninitiated, but it’s a powerhouse ingredient that is not nearly as disgusting to apply as it sounds. Missha Super Aqua Cell Renew Snail Sleeping Mask is a great snail starter product for the timid among you because it feels like a moisturizer (i.e. not slimy at all).

It has a unique formulation containing the aforementioned snail extract, baobab tree extract, and deep seawater that hydrates, evens out skin tone, and smooths out texture. I found that it applied smoothly and felt more like a traditional moisturizer than other picks, so it’s a great choice if you don’t like the wet feeling other overnight masks leave on your skin before drying down.

Super Aqua helped diminish the redness on my cheeks, but the best part was how smooth my face was in the morning. I’m talking cashmere sweater or velvet couch smooth. I basically turned into a Patrick Bateman-style weirdo who couldn’t stop stroking her own forehead, even after I washed my face.

The mask has also been featured by Refinery 29 and Allure. Allure says, “what sets this treatment apart from the other in our list is the fact that this one is part sleep mask, part essence. And maybe that this goo contains 15-percent snail slime extract.”

Pros: Soothing and moisturizing mask that evens skin tone and helps with texture issues, doesn’t take as much time to dry as other masks

Cons: Not for people who want to avoid snail extract

The best soothing overnight mask

Dr. Brandt

Dr. Brandt Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask soothes stressed skin with ceramides, fatty acids, and peptides.

We’ve all had those times when our faces freak out. Whether it’s after a day spent in the sun or an ill-conceived experiment with a new chemical exfoliant, sometimes your skin gets red and inflamed, and you just want to rub something soothing and gentle on it. Meet your new best friend for these moments — the Dr. Brandt Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask.

This stuff looks like aloe and it feels just as nice on the skin. It has a slight cooling sensation, but not the kind that lingers long enough to sting my rosacea-prone cheeks. It soothed and hydrated my skin with manuka honey and yogurt powder, ceramides, fatty acids, and peptides.

I found this mask stayed tacky longer than other masks, so I was worried about getting it on my pillows, but there was no residue when I woke up so it must have dried down. You also only need a tiny bit to cover your whole face, which is great news, because one jar costs $52.  

I’m far from the only fan of this product — Dr. Brandt Hydro Biotic Recovery Sleeping Mask has a 4.6 rating on Sephora, based on over 1,000 reviews. Many of the reviewers noted that they found it gentle enough to use as a nightly moisturizer, and I agree.

Pros: Soothing, helps with redness, hydrating, gentle enough for sensitive skin

Cons: Expensive, though a little goes a long way

The best exfoliating overnight face mask


Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask includes AHAs that gently exfoliate your face overnight, so you wake up with newly vibrant skin.

Before watermelon became a trending skincare ingredient, it was the star of the K-beauty hit Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Overnight Sleeping Mask. There’s a lot to love about this mask, which is packed with watermelon extract, smells like candy, and comes in an alluring shade of Instagram pink.

Watermelon Glow is rich in hyaluronic acid, brightening peony root, and exfoliating AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids, specifically). That last bit is what drew me to Watermelon Glow in the first place because I have a hard time with chemical exfoliants. They often irritate my face, even if they’re meant for sensitive skin.

This mask certainly is gentle enough for me to use without courting inflammation. Hydrating and soothing ingredients balance out the AHAs, giving my skin all the nourishment it needs to ward off irritation and redness. Once a week or so is probably enough exfoliation for someone with sensitive skin like mine, but if you have a heartier dermis, you can probably use this more often.

While not as hydrating as most night creams, it keeps my skin happy on warm nights. In the winter, you might want to pair it with something heavier. On really hot evenings, you can pop Watermelon Glow into the fridge for a cooling effect when you apply. I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s moving to the top of my to-do list as temperatures climb.

Watermelon Glow has more than 2,000 Sephora reviews, and The Cut’s Kathleen Hou is a big fan. She writes, “I applied the bouncy, millennial-pink gel liberally all over my face, tried to take a nap during my eight-hour flight to Europe, and, despite a fitful sleep, woke up with skin that felt soft and smooth, and even looked decent in the bad overhead lighting of the customs hall.”

Pros: Gentle exfoliating formula, contains AHAs, smells like watermelon

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