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Is It Bad to Sleep With Makeup On?

Is It Bad to Sleep With Makeup On?

Makeup removal is an essential step in the evening beauty ritual. This operation allows cleaning the epidermis and to find a clean and clear skin. Removing makeup before going to bed is essential to keep the skin healthy and ensure a radiant tomorrow. Why not skip this step and sleep with makeup on? Is it also bad to sleep with mascara on? What skin care products should you use? Here are some answers.

Published June 23, 2021, updated on January 30, 2024, by Sandrine, Scientific Editor — 6 min read

Why Remove Makeup Before Going to Sleep?

The bedtime ritual must imperatively include the makeup removal step, necessary for the beauty of the skin. Made up all day, the skin needs to be literally cleaned before bedtime to regenerate itself during the night. Moreover, a makeup removing routine is still recommended even if you have not applied makeup during the day. In fact, to sleep with make up on can alter the skin's cellular regeneration process. Moreover, if you skip makeup removal every night, you will quickly notice undesirable effects on your skin: pimples, wrinkles, lack of radiance… Here are the reasons why you should better not skip the makeup removal:

  • Makeup removal is used to rid the skin of all traces of impurities: Not only does it remove the cosmetic products applied in the morning (foundation, powder, mascara, lipstick, etc….), makeup removal is, in fact, a real cleaning that must be done every night. All day long, sebum, pollution particles, sweat, dust, and allergens, clog the skin. So if you don't clean your face at night, and sleep with your makeup on, all this mixture remains on the skin. However, in order for the cells to regenerate at best and to preserve your skin, you must clean it with an adapted care before sleeping.

  • Makeup removal helps to avoid clogging pores: foundation, eye shadow, powder, etc., coupled with dead cells and accumulated dirt, create an opaque film on the surface of the skin that will clog pores and prevent the skin from breathing properly while you sleep. Eventually, lacking oxygen, the skin becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. In reaction, the skin will create redness, inflammation, dilate the pores releasing more sebum, which will promote the appearance of imperfections such as acne and blackheads.

  • Not removing makeup weakens lashes, eyes, and lips: Sleeping with mascara also means treating your lashes badly. However, during sleep, lashes are shiny and nourished with naturally secreted sebum. By going to sleep with your mascara, you deprive your lashes of this moment. The lashes then become dry and brittle, causing them to fall out in clumps.

    However, in more extreme cases, mascara residue can slip under the eyelid and cause corneal infection or conjunctivitis. As in the case of a 50-year-old woman who confessed to having used mascara for 25 years and never having properly removed her eye makeup. She then found herself with tiny pieces of mascara accumulated on the inside of her eyelids.

    Similarly, lipstick can be harmful. Uncleaned lips tend to dry out during the night, which can lead to chapping.

  • Sleeping with makeup on dries out the skin: The evening is the only time of the day when the skin regenerates without being exposed to external aggressions. However, makeup, as well as the impurities accumulated during the day, disrupt this nightly regeneration. Not to mention that makeup will clog pores, preventing the skin's natural self-hydration, but also prevent facial care products from penetrating and acting. The result: dry skin.

  • Not removing makeup dulls the skin's radiance: If the face is not cleansed, the dead skin accumulated during the day remains trapped under this layer of foundation, preventing the skin's cellular renewal. The skin then loses its radiance quickly and the complexion slowly becomes grayish. In addition, the skin is unable to absorb other skin care products because of this asphyxiating mask that covers the face.

  • Sleeping in makeup ages your skin: Clean skin is less prone to premature skin aging and the appearance of wrinkles. However, by not removing makeup, your skin does not breathe, is not purified and becomes dehydrated. As a result, wrinkles set in.

What Products Should I Use?

In order to not sleep with your makeup on, its removal is an essential part of your skincare routine, even if you don't wear makeup. To get the results you need, choose makeup removers adapted to your skin type. You can pick either a watery, balm or oily texture. Makeup remover oil, micellar water and makeup remover balm are suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin. These products effectively remove makeup residue and surface impurities. Moreover, these makeup removers respect your skin, even the most fragile.

Afterwards, it is essential to go through a second step to leave your skin perfectly clean (double cleansing). In addition to the makeup remover, the use of a cleanser is also important. It will lightly penetrate and remove impurities, bacteria, pollution residues, etc… that have gotten into the pores. Although the cleaning of the skin is supposed to be done before bedtime to remove the dirt of the day, it is also a gesture to be done in the morning. Indeed, during the night, the skin produces sebum, sweats and renews itself, actively causing the detachment of dead cells. In addition, it will prepare your skin for your daily skin care routine.


  • ROBAEI D. Subconjunctival mascara deposition. Ophthalmology (2018).


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