Beauty Tricks That Work While You Sleep

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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At this point, we feel like we could teach a master class in lazy-girl beauty. But, the truth is, as much as fun as primping can be, we all want to find ways to spend minimal effort to get the prettiest results. Taking your time getting ready on a Saturday is awesome, but on any given Tuesday, there’s no way we’re spending an hour with a curling wand or face-contouring kit. Hey, we’re lucky if we make it to our first meeting of the day in one piece! 

Enter: the overnight beauty routine. If you think strategically about your nighttime primpers, you can wake up with half of the work done for you. Seriously. Ditch that clumsy morning body scrub for smoothing peel pads, place a couple of key foam rollers in your locks, and damn, girl — you will have taken the path of least resistance to hotness. 

To round up the sneakiest beauty tricks that work while you’re getting in your quality pillow time, we reached out to dermatologist Marina Peredo, esthetician Candace Noonan, and hairstylists Travis Speck and Jen Atkin. Our pros delivered with their very best hands-off tricks — read on for your ultimate prettiness cheat sheet! 



For an effortlessly pretty mug, choose products and ingredients that will give you the most bang for your buck — whether you’re looking for brighter, smoother, or clearer skin.


Lesson one in lazy-girl skin care, according to Dr. Peredo? One word: retinol. This vitamin A derivative increases cell turnover, which means that your skin will end up perfectly smooth. Interesting factoid: Retinol is to be used at night, since it can actually make skin more sensitive to sun damage. 

Arcona PM Acne Lotion, $52, available at Arcona.


To wake up with brighter peepers, reach for an eye product in the evenings that contains green tea, such as this luxe pick from Givenchy. According to Dr. Peredo, green tea packs a one-two punch by increasing blood flow and circulation to the eye area, while also decreasing inflammation. Meaning: You wake up looking more rested and refreshed than ever before. 

Givenchy No Surgetics Plasti Sculpt Eye Lifting Gel, $81, available at Sephora.


If you suffer from acne, keeping it in line can mean multiple products — and way too much time spent layering them on. The path to least resistance? Stash towelettes packed with witch hazel, which will gently treat your acne without adding even more irritation to your stressed-out skin. Bonus: You can wipe away with abandon, even while in between the sheets. Win-win! 

Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes, $3.99, available at Walgreens.


If moisture is what your skin craves, you’ll want to give it all of the hyaluronic acid you can. It may sound harsh, but this ingredient is anything but. It draws moisture right into the skin and locks it in, for plumper skin immediately and a healthier complexion over time. 

Peter Thomas Roth VIZ-1000 75 percent Hyaluronic Acid Complex, $65, available at Sephora.


One of the biggest bummers about morning skin? A dull, flat complexion that’s anything but bright. To fight dark spots and uneven skin tone, Dr. Peredo recommends a non-hydroquinone serum, like this luxe pick by AmorePacific, to even things out. You’ll wake up with a prettier mug and less of a need for your luminizing foundation. 

AmorePacific Luminous Effect Brightening Serum, $160, available at Sephora.



Sure, you could spend a ton of $$$ — and time — on a day at the spa. Or, you could follow our tips for getting smooth from head to toe with as little effort as possible. Seriously.


For rough spots such as elbows and feet, try swiping them with a glycolic acid treatment pad before turning in. No messy, greasy body scrub — those ashy areas will be smooth after a few two-second treatments. 

Cane + Austin Retexturizing Treatment Pads, $60, available at Cane + Austin.


After applying an exfoliating product to dry spot, a balm can work wonders. (That ol’ slather-it-on-and-wear-socks-and-gloves-to-bed trick? It makes a huge difference.) Just be sure to pick a natural product packed with nourishing ingredients, such as the tangerine and olive oils in this salve — ointments with petroleum will only coat the skin. 

Jurlique Love Balm, $6.50, available at Sephora.


For smoother skin all over, try a lotion with lactic acid, advises Candace Noonan, master esthetician for Environ (a crazy-effective South African skin care line), such as the brand’sDermalac lotion. Follow with a vitamin-infused body oil for extra moisture. 

Environ Enhanced Body Oil, available at DermaConcepts.


If you shave or get waxed in the evenings, Noonan advises applying tea tree oil to any irritated areas. It’ll disinfect and soothe skin at the same time. We know, it’s kind of an overachiever. 

DermaE Tea Tree and E Oil, $10.99, available at Walgreens.


Whoops — fell into bed and forgot to moisturize? Stash this oil pen by your bed, scribble it anywhere you feel dry, and zzz… 

Hourglass N° 28 Lip Treatment Oil, $42, available at Sephora.



Raise your hand if you would do almost anything to have a Hairdo Fairy visit your home every morning so you never had to wield any kind of hot iron by your face at 7:30 a.m. ever again. Yeah, we agree.


First, waking up with bouncy locks in the morning starts with healthy hair. That’s why we’re into this high-tech hair repair potion. Use it three times a week on dry hair to make damaged, brittle strands totally luscious. 

Phyto Secret de Nuit Hydrating Regenerating Night Treatment, $38, available at Nordstrom.


For girls with curls, hairstylist Travis Speck recommends applying a curl cream to damp hair and setting hair into two low buns. In the morning, unwind and shake out for “chunky,” frizz-free swirls. 

Devachan DevaCurl Set Up & Above, $19.95, available at Devachan.


Yes, it’s a little retro, says celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, but for truly effortless waves, nothing beats a few strategically placed sponge rollers. The stylist recommends setting only the “mohawk” section at the crown of your head in rollers — run your fingers through in the morning for a hit of major volume. 

Goody Dent-Less Waves Large Foam Rollers, $10.49, available at Target.


For almost any hair texture, both Speck and Atkin advise braiding hair before bed. Straight-haired girls will wake up with waves, and curlier ladies will get a looser, frizz-free curl pattern. Then, simply spritz hair with a styling spray in the morning and scrunch to make the curls less uniform. 

Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Refresher Spray, available at Sephora.


To add serious curls to straight-as-a-board locks, Speck advises creating rag curls with pieces of an old, cut-up T-shirt. The soft cotton material will keep hair smooth — all you’ll need in the morning is a spritz of a light-hold hairspray, since those curls were locked in all night long while you were snoring! 

Living Proof Flex Shaping Hairspray, $15, available at Sephora.

Illustrated by Sydney Hass

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