Why You Should Take Your Makeup Off Before Bed, According to 4 Experts

April 06, 2022
Caitlyn Martyn
By: Caitlyn Martyn | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
why you should take your makeup off before bed

Chances are, you already know that regularly removing your makeup and washing your face before bed is a critical part of keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy. There are some days, however, when you just don’t have the energy to do it all. Skipping one day can’t hurt that much, can it?

As it turns out, it can. We consulted with four experts, including a dermatologist, an ophthalmologist and two makeup artists to find out why exactly you should remove your makeup before bed. Keep scrolling to discover how sleeping with makeup on can affect your skin and eyes (and even your sheets), plus what to do when you don’t have any makeup remover on hand. 

Why You Should Remove Your Makeup Before Bed

Sleeping With Makeup Can Cause Breakouts 

According to New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Dendy Engelman, falling asleep without removing your makeup can lead to breakouts. “Cleansing your face of makeup and other impurities that have accumulated throughout the day is so important,” she explains. “If you don’t, you risk clogging your pores and ending up with breakouts, irritation and inflammation on the skin.”

Sleeping With Makeup Impacts Your Overall Skin Health 

Aside from being essential in preventing blemishes, nightly makeup removal is vital for healthy, balanced skin. According to Terri Bryant, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Guide Beauty, “Sleeping in makeup prevents the skin from being able to benefit and thrive from its natural overnight renewal process,” she explains. “In fact, it does the opposite, leaving skin dull and tired-looking.” 

Sleeping With Makeup Impacts Your Eye Health 

According to Dr. Diane Hilal-Campo, a board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Twenty/Twenty Beauty, sleeping in makeup could also affect the health of your eyes and eyelashes.

“Particles from your makeup — like glitter and mascara — can get into your eyes while you sleep, potentially causing infections and irritation, which can affect your vision.” Plus, as far as eyelashes are concerned, sleeping with mascara on can cause lashes to stiffen, making them prone to breakage. 

Sleeping With Makeup Impacts the Look of Future Makeup

Makeup artist Molly R. Stern swears that skincare is the key to flawless-looking makeup. “Daily cleansing promotes healthy skin and a more even base for makeup” she explains. By taking the time to remove existing makeup before bed, you’re ensuring that your future foundation will go on smoother and your next makeup look will look its best.

Sleeping With Makeup Can Dirty Your Sheets

Makeup can easily rub off on your pillowcase and the rest of your bedding while you sleep. According to Dr. Engelman, aside from just being messy, this can cause your pillowcase, sheets and blankets to accumulate smudged makeup, bacteria and oil over time, which can cause breakouts and inflammation later on — even on days when you go to bed with a clean face.

The Best Way to Remove Makeup Before Bed

Each expert unanimously agreed that the best way to remove makeup is to double cleanse with a makeup-removing wipe, oil or balm and follow up with a gentle cleanser. Some of our favorite makeup removers are the CeraVe Hydrating Makeup Removing Plant-Based Wipes and the Youth to the People Superberry Dream Cleansing Balm

A micellar water, like Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water Waterproof, works too, especially if you don’t have a sink nearby. “Micellar waters are excellent makeup removers,” Dr. Engelman explains. “They help clean dirt, oil, etc. while hydrating and helping to rebalance the skin barrier.”

garnier skinactive micellar water

What to Do If You Don’t Have Makeup Remover on Hand

If you’re away from home and don’t have access to a traditional makeup remover and/or cleanser, Dr. Engelman says olive oil or coconut oil on a cotton round or tissue can help remove makeup, dirt and other impurities in a pinch. 

However, the one thing you should never use to remove makeup is alcohol. Dr. Engelman says that while it can remove the makeup from your skin, alcohol is extremely drying and will leave your skin barrier dehydrated, inflamed and irritated. 

Photographer: Chaunte Vaughn

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