so, how's it really?

Makeup You Can Sleep In Is A Thing — But Is It Good For Your Skin? An Investigation

Dermatologists everywhere are screaming at the concept of this story, because there are three rules they've have been preaching for years: 1. Wear sunscreen. 2. See number one. 3. DO NOT SLEEP IN YOUR MAKEUP!
Alas, I will admit to not being great at not sleeping with makeup on. I actually had to make a rule that as soon as I am home, I must wash my face. There have been far too many evenings where I wake up looking like Lupita N’yong'o's other in Us and my bed is covered in tiny black caterpillars — my fake eyelashes. Of course, once in a while isn't too bad, we're all human, and we get super tired watching reruns of The Golden Girls until 3 a.m. and don't want to disturb the sleeping people in the house.
The problem with sleeping in your makeup isn't the makeup itself — which makes sense, because you’re wearing it on your face for hours at a time — but rather, the not washing your face that's actually doing harm, explains esthetician Renée Rouleau. Going an extended period of time without washing your face can cause dehydration, irritation, and clogged pores. Plus, think about all the pollutants your skin is exposed to throughout the day — it can't be good to keep any of that on your skin or your pillowcase. 
In recent years, we've seen the rise of "skin-care-ified" makeup, with brands like Ilia, Tatcha, LYS Beauty, and Jones Road marketing makeup with skin-care benefits. Then, there's Charlotte Tilbury’s famous anecdote that her husband has never seen her without makeup (because she sleeps in it). Really, it was only a matter of time until a brand finally came out with makeup designed to be slept in. Enter: Youthforia.
You’ve likely seen Youthforia all over your FYP. It's the brainchild of founder Fiona Co Chan, who created a skincare-forward makeup line, full of good-for-your-skin oils and ingredients like aloe, willow bark, jojoba seed, rosehip, and sunflower-seed oils. Chan, along with her husband, tested all of Youthforia's products before bed for months to test their effectiveness. After wearing the BYO Blush to bed for two months straight, Chan says her skin actually became smoother and softer. I had to try it.
The first night, I had to record a friend's Saturday Night Live podcast, so I had to have my makeup done, and given that recording started at 1:15 a.m. and wrapped around 3 a.m., I knew I was going to collapse into my bed — perfect time to test out the Youthforia makeup. I decided, for this first try, I would do my normal routine, integrating the Youthforia products where I could.
I started by applying the Pregame Primer with a bit of my Smashbox Photo Finish Silkscreen Primers for an added glow, followed by my two favorite concealers: Catrice Cosmetics True Skin High Cover Concealer and Anastasia Beverly Hills Magic Touch Concealer. Next, I contoured with Makeup by Mario SoftSculpt Shaping Stick, and applied a soft, eyeshadow look with a few of the Threads Beauty eyeshadow sticks and the MAC Liquidlast, an eyeliner I will never shut up about! Ever!
Blush came in the form of Youthforia's hero product: the BYO Blush. And y’all, let me tell you, when I saw this blush, I yelled, "What in the Shrek?" Makeup that adapts to your skin's pH comes around and around time and time again, and I will always embrace it with my full chest. It's like the mood ring of the beauty world, and I love it deeply. Remember Lipstick Queen? Bring her back. 
The Youthforia BYO Blush is a bright, shamrock green oil in a neon-orange bottle, and its hype is real and justified. What was giving Elphaba in Defying Gravity in the tube wound up being a dreamy, natural peach on my cheeks — so good my mother threatened to take it from me. This was an instant must-add to my routine, day or night. I finished my look with a bit of dibs Status Sticks (a 2021 Refinery29 Beauty Innovator Award winner!) and sprayed the hell out of my face with a Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Setting + Refreshing Spray, determined, more than ever, to make this shit last.
Seven and a half hours of sleep later, I woke up bleary and delirious, but determined to see what my face looked like. And it looked…like I slept in my makeup. Points were lost on longevity, but I will give massive kudos to one thing: I didn’t feel like I slept in my makeup. Usually when I go to bed without doing a solid double cleanse, my skin feels dry and achy, making it even harder for me to want to wash my face off in the morning out of fear I’m only going to make it worse. No, something about the Pregame Primer helped keep my skin moisturized and soothed. 
How am I so certain it was the primer? Oh, because the next night I misplaced my moisturizer, and so after applying my retinol, I used the Pregame Primer instead. I found my face didn't feel as dry the following morning, which can happen if I don't use a proper moisturizer, or a moisturizer-oil combo. The Pregame Primer may not be my go-to primer when it comes to makeup longevity, but do I love it as a moisturizer? Yuuuuup.
Nights two and three, I kept it simple — the Youthforia primer and blush again, setting my brows with a clear gel, Kosas Air Brow Clear + Clean Lifting Treatment Eyebrow Gel with Lamination Effect, and a little bit of the Milk Makeup Sunshine Under Eye Brightening Light Coverage Concealer. If I ever feel the need to do a 'bedtime face,' this would be the routine. I don’t need a full smoky eye to get to bed; I’m a rather violent sleeper, so a ton of makeup would be lost on me.
The next morning, I looked great! Still, I don’t know if I'm going to test sleeping in makeup for two months straight, like Chan did. But I will say this: My cheeks were still rosy in that natural way — not like I had nightmares about someone torturing me A Clockwork Orange-style with "Scott's Tots" — and my skin felt good. It was moisturized, soothed, and still appeared bouncy.
All in all, I'm not condoning sleeping in your makeup regularly — not in the slightest. But do I love the idea of a primer-moisturizer and an oil-based blush formulated to help your skin? Absolutely! It may just be your secret weapon.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

More from Beauty

R29 Original Series