8 Beauty Tricks That Work While You Sleep

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This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

Sleeping Beauty had the right idea: Get your much-needed rest and wake up looking amazing (with a handsome prince just waiting to cater to your every whim when you arise, natch). And while we may not have fairy godmothers looking out for us, we do have a stable of in-the-know beauty pros ready to dish out their own version of skin, hair, and nails magic. 

The ultimate in lazy-girl beauty, these overnight tricksrequire nothing more than a teensy bit of prep work, a comfy bed, and a willingness to take beauty sleep very,very seriously. Read on for your new bedtime beauty routine — these tips, treatments, and product picks will ensure you wake up looking amazing, without having to actually do anything in the a.m. Let’s see S.B. pull that off.


If you’re a busy, multi-tasking gal like us, you know how hard it is to find the time to keep your hands and feet looking smooth, pretty, and hangnail-free when you can barely find the time to clean your apartment. According to celebrity nail pro Jin Soon Choi, the secret to the low-key beautification of your hands, feet, and nails overnight is a quick exfoliation, followed by moisturization. 

“Soak your hands and feet in warm water, with Epsom salts if you have some handy, to initiate the exfoliating process — five minutes is all you need,” says Choi. “Next, use exfoliating gloves to remove dead skin and soften your hands and feet. Although this may seem extreme, after exfoliating, I recommend applying a generous amount of heavy hand & foot cream and then wearing cotton gloves and socks overnight. The moisturizing payoff is incredible! I learned this from my mother when I was growing up in Korea; it will totally rejuvenate your hands and feet better than anything else I know of. ” Et voilà: smooth, moisturized feet and hands that’ll look so pretty, you won’t even need polish. 

The Body Shop Bath Gloves, $5, available at The Body ShopL’Occitane Hand Cream, $10, available atSephoraDr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution, $6, available at Overstock Drugstore. 

Photo: MCV Photo


Global color ambassador for Butter London, Katie Hughes has a great tip for preventing annoying hangnails: “To hydrate cuticles overnight, apply a generous amount of cuticle oil to both fingers and toes, letting any drips run onto your skin.” To help the oil absorb, Hughes recommends exfoliating first with a homemade and all-natural scrub: “I mix honey, sugar, and a little water and scrub away. This gives your hands and feet a Hollywood glow!” Believe us, you may not be prancing around in sandals anytime soon, but your S.O. will appreciate your cared-for tootsies. 

Butter London Handbag Holiday Cuticle Oil, $18, available at Butter London. 

Photos: MCV Photo; via King Arthur FlourShowupfitness.com.


Feeling overdue for a facial? There’s no need to pay a ton of money for a professional treatment, or to spend a ton of time scrubbing and rinsing skin over the sink. According to dermatologist Dr. Megan O’Brien, with the right products you can exfoliate, repair, and moisturize skin — all while you snooze. “Nighttime products should include ingredients that will refresh the skin by turning over the skin cells, stimulating collagen, and providing moisture to the skin to help maintain its barrier fuction.” 

Dr. O’Brien says that the treatment process starts with a clean slate, so wash off dirt, oil, and makeup with a gentle cleanser. Once your skin is clean, simply select the skin-care ingredient that works best for your skin type. For exfoliation and collagen stimulation, Dr. O’Brien likes products with alpha-hydroxy acids, although she warns that these ingredients can be irritating: “If your skin is sensitive or prone to dryness, avoid concentrations higher than 5% in the colder months as they can lead to irritation and dryness. I like the Physicians Formula Deep Wrinkle Corrector Day and Night Cream.” 

If you’re looking to treat or prevent wrinkles, dermatologist and author of Skin Rules, Dr. Debra Jaliman recommends products containingretinol, which will repair your skin and encourage cell turnover while you snooze. But no matter which treatment you choose, both derms stress that it’s key to seal in your treatment with a thick moisturizing cream containing hyaluronic acid or ceramides (look for one that’s non-comedogenic if you’re at all prone to breakouts). For an extra dose of skin-plumping moisture (and to avoid waking up feeling parched from indoor heat), keep a humidifier going while you sleep. 

Vicks UV Germ Free Humidifier, $91, available at Soap.comBare Escentuals Bare Minerals Purifying Facial Cleanser, $20, available at Sephora. 

Photo: MCV Photo


Just think of how awesome it would be to naturally wake up looking bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (Diane Kruger, we swear you have magical powers), with nary a dark circle in sight. To prevent unsightly puffiness and darkness around the eyes, Dr. O’Brien recommends applying an eye cream with caffeine before bed to help encourage circulation around the eye area. Bonus points if you do a nice, minimassage to work the cream in before hitting the hay — it will get the bloodflow going and help drain the excess fluid and flush out toxins. 

Both Dr. O’Brien and Dr. Jaliman stress that the type of pillow you sleep on can affect the way that your skin looks in the morning. Dr. O’Brien recommends sleeping on a stack of pillows (tough life, right?) to keep your head elevated and in turn prevent puffiness. Dr. Jaliman stresses that to wake up with Sleeping Beauty-worthy skin, you’ll want to swap your cotton pillowcase for one made of silk or satin, which will prevent lines and those weird sleep creases. If you really want to go all-out with the princess treatment, Dr. Jaliman recommends “beauty pillows” that are not only made of satin, but are also U-shaped to keep your pretty face perfectly elevated all night. 

Whichever pillow or sleep position you choose, it’s still unanimous: if you want to wake up looking pretty, you’re going to need to get your 7-9 hours, so no cheating! 

Kiehl’s Eye Alert, $22, available at Neiman MarcusDr. Brandt Glow Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracrème, $65, available at Sephora. 

Photo: MCV Photo


If you want to wake up with already-luscious locks, the first step is to make sure that your strands are in peak condition. Philippe Barr, creative director at Frédéric Fekkai Palm Beach, recommends maximizing on those eight hours to repair your hair with a fortifying mask. Upon waking, all you’ll have to do is rinse to get silky strands and air-dry or give yourself a quick blowout — no need to spend time with a flat iron when your hair is all shiny and moisturized! 

The next night, protect your sleek blowout by applying a small amount of serum to dry hair and cover your mane loosely with a silk scarf to prevent any frizz or tangles from forming while you toss and turn. Also key to prevent your hair from fuzzing out while you sleep: getting your chill on. As much as you may love feeling cozy at bedtime, sweat can cause small curls to form around your hairline. 

Frédéric Fekkai Ageless Overnight Hair Repair, $195, available at Nordstrom; Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum, $25, available at Ojon. 

Photos: MCV Photo; via Photo Dictionary.


Sleeping beauties with curls have a double challenge: preventing frizz from forming while also trying to keep the spring in their coils. According to Barr, friction causes frizz, so if you decided to sleep on a satin pillowcase for your skin, you’ll be happy to hear that your curls will enjoy it as well: “Soft satin pillowcases reduce friction and are pretty luxe to sleep on as well!”

To keep ringlets intact and defined overnight, Barr advises applying a small amount of smoothing cream to your hair in sections, allowing the product to soak in overnight: “If you are worried about the product, loosely tie on a scarf or handkerchief to protect your hair and keep it off of your pillowcase and sheets.” Maybe not the sexiest bedtime ensemble, but to avoid the whole wash/scrunch/twirl routine in the morning, we’d say it’s worth it to sport the scarf. If curls look at all limp,just add a little bit of curl spray to bring back the spring factor. 

Redken Fresh Curls Curl Boost Spray Gel, $22, Redkenfor salons; L’Oreal Professionnel Liss Extréme, $26, available at Sleek Hair. 

Photos: MCV Photo; via Shop Bedding


If you’re a fine-haired lady that’s hoping to preserve some volume in your ‘do overnight, Barr recommends washing your hair prior to going to sleep and towel drying as much as possible (we like to add a bit of volumizing spray to ensure some extra lift at the roots). Then, “apply a few hot rollers on big sections of the hair and sleep in the rollers — soft foam rollers are great here — and in the morning you will wake up with volume and bounce that isn’t not out of control.” 

Once you wake up in the a.m., remove the rollers, give your strands a nice shakeout with your fingers, and finish with a light spritz of hairspray. Flip your head over and spray underneath your roots as well for maximum oomph. 

Paul Mitchell Extra Body Firm Finishing Spray, $7, Paul Mitchell for salons; Phyto Phytovolume Actif Volumizer Spray, $28, available at SephoraConair Foam Rollers Set, $9, available at Soap.com. 

Photo: MCV Photo


No matter what hair type you may be — curly, straight, fine, or somewhere in between — Barr has an overnight styling tip that’ll help you get out the door in no time: “Apply a bit of product to just-washed hair; either a styling cream or gel, depending on your hair type. Then, section your hair into three parts and braid your hair from the roots to the nape of the neck. French braids are great, but regular braids work too. In the morning, undo the braids and you are done!” 

Talk about the path of least resistance: runway-ready mermaid waves while you lounge! We’ll definitely be trying this one out tonight…possibly with some of our favorite wave spray for some extra-cool surfer attitude. 

Nexxus Exxtra Gel Super Hold Styling Sculptor, $14, available at WalgreensOribe Aprés Beach Wave and Shine Spray, $25, available at Barney’sCopiousSpectrum Set of Hair Ties, $4, available at Copious. 

Photo: MCV Photo

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