The 8 Best Overnight Face Masks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
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We tested 23 overnight face masks in search of the very best.
Overnight face masks make the most of our nightly downtime, infusing a powerful punch of science-informed ingredients designed to address a range of skin concerns effectively while you sleep. From dull skin revamps to acne solutions, there’s a targeted formula out there for everyone. But the sheer number of options, and their often-lengthy lists of components, can quickly make for confusion at the beauty counter. That’s where our real-world testing comes in.
The team at InStyle — with a range of skin concerns and types, from oily to dry to acneic — tested 23 of the most popular overnight face masks currently available. We scrutinized the masks' efficacy, application, and overall feel over the course of two weeks. We ranked the effectiveness and worth of each product based on our results and whether the mask delivered on its promises and lived up to its hype. We also considered other important factors, like fragrance, texture, and how well it plays with our other skincare products. The end result: A definitive guide to the top overnight face masks of the year.
Related:The 12 Best Face Masks of 2023, Tested and Reviewed
Youth to the People Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask
What We Love: Thick and buttery sans any oiliness, this mask balances deep hydration with almost-immediate absorption.
What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t come with an applicator tool, so you may lose out on some product without additional help (aka a q-tip) to scoop it all out.
Deep-reaching and grease-free hydration is any moisture-starved skincare buff’s dream come true, and Youth to the People’s Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask delivers in a package that pleases skin of all kinds, earning top accolades for normal, dry, combination and even oily skin types. For its immediately nourishing effect and ability to be used across skin types and textures, it earned our top position as best overall.
Within a week, we noticed our skin looked and felt much more hydrated, to the point where a morning application of moisturizer wasn’t even necessary — a formerly unbelievable notion in the world of dry skin. But the real kicker was the two-week result: Brighter, more moisturized, and dewy (not oily) skin. We also loved its shockingly low-maintenance nature — it glided on just as easily (if not moreso) than a creamy moisturizer — meaning that those of us who are averse to the feel of a heavy, wet product will be extra pleased by its unique texture and feel.
The Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask is a study in contrasts: Its fresh citrusy scent is appealing even for those who don't typically like fragranced products. Loaded with moisture, it’s absorbed almost immediately, unlike many typical nighttime face masks, so you won’t need to stand around your bathroom waiting for it to soak in before going to bed (and getting it all over your pillow).
Price at time of publish: $52
Active Ingredients: THD ascorbate, squalane | Best for: Dry skin | Texture: Cream | Fragrance: Citrus | Size: 2 oz
Burt's Bees Hydrating Overnight Face Mask
What We Love: At a great price, it’s the perfect entry-level product for those looking to begin an overnight mask repertoire.
What We Don’t Love: Clearer instructions on how to use the mask would be helpful for both beauty newbies and skincare aficionados alike.
The Burt’s Bees Hydrating Overnight Face Mask is a high-hydration product with a refreshingly low price tag. A jolt of moisture kicked in immediately on our very dry skin. After about five minutes, it absorbed fully into skin and did not leave any residue on either our face or the pillow.
We diligently applied it every night (as directed) over our two-week testing period and saw a dramatic jump in moisture and overall radiance. This is a solid entry-level mask for those who are new to the skincare game, or are seeking a one-size-fits-all solution — and with the inclusion of avocado oil, you’re also getting a solid supply of microbiome-supporting prebiotics.
We are also happy to report that what it doesn't include in its dermatologist-tested formula, however, are any pesky parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum or synthetic fragrances (although naturally, you can pick up a hint of avocado oil in the aroma).
Price at time of publish: $15
Active Ingredients: Avocado oil, prebiotics | Best for: Dry skin | Texture: Cream | Fragrance: Fragrance-free | Size: 2.5 oz
Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment
Best for Acne
What We Love: It gets to work fast, with smoother skin visible the very next day.
What We Don’t Love: Those with sensitive skin may want to ease slowly into making this mask a part of their routine, as it's a powerful exfoliant that may prove irritating if used too frequently.
A delicate texture belies the Watermelon Glow AHA Night Treatment’s acne-addressing power. Requiring just a small, quarter-size dollop to do its job, the mask is designed to be used two to three times per week, and we could feel it working right away — our skin felt a pleasant rush of warmth upon application. We could visibly see results the very next morning.
The mask’s unique blend of ingredients, including a 2.5% pH-balanced AHA complex, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, quinoa peptides, and watermelon enzymes did their duty: Noticeably smoother skin replaced our formerly dull and rough texture.
Satisfyingly, in addition to the gentle exfoliation, the product also delivered on hydration and brightening effects by fading dark spots accrued from acne scarring, evening out bumpy spots, and infusing plumpness after just two weeks of testing.
Our only gripe is that it doesn't come with an applicator tool, which would make it easier to extract as much product as possible.
Price at time of publish: $40
Active Ingredients: AHA complex, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide and quinoa peptides, watermelon enzymes | Best for: Acne | Texture: Gel | Fragrance: Fragrance-free | Size: 60 mL
Sisley Paris Velvet Sleeping Mask
What We Love: Easy to apply and effective, this mask is ideal for anyone who craves hydration.
What We Don’t Love: The heavy floral scent may not be best for sensitive skin or anyone with allergies.
Light, silky and infused with gentle lavender notes, Sisley's Velvet Sleeping Mask with Saffron Flowers worked a veritable miracle on our parched skin, offering a high level of hydration over the course of our two-week testing period. In a delightfully surprising twist of fate, it also completely cleared up a sudden breakout as well along the way.
An easy-to-spread formula that doesn’t require much rubbing, the mask plumped and hydrated our skin — two benefits that are likely linked to some of its plant-based ingredients that are famous for moisturizing skin, including macadamia and cottonseed oils, Kokum butter, Japanese Lilyturf and Padina pavonica extracts. Plus, saffron flower isn’t just the mask's pretty namesake; it’s also an ingredient that has been linked with anti-inflammation properties.
As an added bonus, you can use the residue-free product in a pinch as what Sisley calls an "SOS mask," applying for just 10 minutes when any dreaded dryness arises.
Price at time of publish: $160
Active Ingredients: Saffron flower extract, shea butter, thyme honey | Best for: Dry skin | Texture: Cream | Fragrance: Lavender | Size: 60 mL
Sulwhasoo Timetreasure Invigorating Sleeping Mask
What We Love: Lush cream and a plush applicator brush make for a downright luxurious at-home experience.
What We Don’t Love: The mask takes about two minutes to fully sink into skin.
Applied with one of the softest applicator brushes we've ever seen, our skin drank up this mask like it had never seen moisture before. And while it didn’t leave any residue behind, it did take about two minutes for the mask to resolve its initial sticky feeling. What it did leave behind, however, was a smoother, more firm skin tone along with a reduction in skin congestion and blackheads, along with generally calmer, more balanced-looking skin upon awakening. Though designed for dryer skin, the product also pulled its weight in the anti-acne category, too, with a significant decrease in breakouts detected over the two-week testing period.
Price at time of publish: $200
Active Ingredients: Korean red pine and apricot kernel extracts | Best for: Dry and mature skin | Texture: Cream | Fragrance: Fragrance-free | Size: 80 mL
Typology Firming Night Mask with Organic Prickly Pear Oil
What We Love: Nearly entirely natural ingredients deliver extraordinary firming and hydrating results.
What We Don’t Love: It leaves a slight tacky touch to the skin, though this does dissipate within minutes of application.
It’s first and foremost a firming favorite, but the decadent buttercream frosting-like consistency pairs with the benefits of nature-derived ingredients to make Typology’s Firming Night Mask with Organic Prickly Pear Oil a double winner for its brightening properties.
Evocative of an earthy, natural product one might find at a health co-op, this lightweight mask is applied by hand, which can be somewhat messy, but all was forgiven when we woke up on the very first morning to a noticeably brighter, more even complexion, and smaller pores (most likely thanks to the strawberry leaf extract's impact).
It does take a few minutes to absorb; it made our skin feel slightly tacky before it fully settled into skin. We also like that French-made formula is vegan, certified organic and composed of 99 percent naturally derived ingredients, making the proverbial (prickly pear) juice worth the squeeze.
Price at time of publish: $45
Active Ingredients: Prickly pear oil, shea butter, immortelle essential oil | Best for: All types | Texture: Cream | Fragrance: Fragrance-free | Size: 1.69 oz
Saturday Skin Yuzu Vitamin C Sleep Mask
Best for Glowing Skin
What We Love: It acts fast, reducing lines and hydrating skin seemingly on contact.
What We Don’t Love: The packaging seemed mismatched: The mini-sized applicator was smaller than we'd like it to be yet the overall look bulkier than we’d prefer.
A veritable facial within a bottle, this product gets the glow on with its fast-acting ingredients, designed to not only hydrate, but also tackle signs of aging, dullness and visible pores. Our skin was left with such a radiance that we skipped our usual daily application of highlighter.
Brewed with yuzu, a citrus fruit with East Asian origins that boasts an outsized portion of vitamin C, this bright-yellow overnight mask from Saturday Skin also wowed us with its fresh smell that dissipated within minutes. The three part punch of ingredients, including skin-protecting antioxidants and vitamins, niacinamide, which reduces the appearance of pores while improving both tone and texture, as well as retinol to refine the skin’s texture and tackle any evidence of aging.
With a thick, wet consistency, the mask did leave yuzu particles on our skin, yet we didn’t find that bothersome, likely because our results were just so impressive. The mask left us with brighter and softer skin and less noticeable fine lines within just one use.
Price at time of publish: $29
Active Ingredients: Niacinamide, retinol | Best for: Dry or dull skin | Texture: Jelly | Fragrance: Citrus | Size: One mask
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Augustinus Bader The Face Cream Mask
What We Love: Such markedly noticeable skin improvements had people asking if we'd recently gotten Botox or filler.
What We Don’t Love: The application process isn't ideal, with a too-small applicator and a slightly slimy feel at first touch.
This mask is a true workhorse and we found that it will absolutely deliver what it promises. Some of those promises? Reduction of fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, and support of skin's elasticity.
Overall, our skin felt bouncier, brighter, and overall just…better. The mask also showed itself to be adept at reducing dry patches, tamping down on excess oil, and firming up skin's texture by the end of our two-week trial. Plus, we were so wowed by its impossibly effective hydrating properties — our skin felt more supple straight from the get-go — that we ignored the directions to use it three nights a week and instead used it nightly.
The few downsides include a slightly messy application process; we found it easier to apply the product by hand versus using the enclosed hypoallergenic applicator, which the brand says helps to cool and depuff the skin but in our experience, it led to wasted product (and at this price, we need every last drop). Additionally, the mask dries very quickly, making it more efficient to use fingertips to apply.
Aside from the noticeable skin improvements, perhaps most satisfying of our trial were the compliments and inquiries we were receiving along the way: Had we had Botox or fillers? Nope, but keep those compliments coming.
Price at time of publish: $215
Active Ingredients: Swiss grape and polysaccharide complex, ginseng extract, vitamin C | Best for: Mature skin | Texture: Jelly | Fragrance: Fragrance-free | Size: 50 mL
What to Keep in Mind
The Right Formula for Your Concern
Certain ingredients should be embraced, or avoided, based on your unique skin. New York-based board certified Dr. Carin Gribetz weighs in on the different types, although she mentions that dry skin is the most straightforward to treat. “Dry skin looks more wrinkled and duller than skin that’s hydrated. What I like best for dry skin are creams that have hyaluronic acid, which binds water,” she says. “It’s not about adding moisture as much as it is about trapping moisture. I also really like products that have ceramides, which are really good hydrators.” Among our top picks, consider the Sisley or Typology masks for their heavy hydration focus.
Those with oily or acne-prone skin ought to look for non-comedogenic products or masks containing salicylic acid, while sensitive skin types will want to “keep it simple,” says Dr. Gribetz. “Don’t overuse product or use heavy or irritating product. You can hydrate, but in a way that’s safe with a water-based product with the addition of some hyaluronic acid gel to help hydrate the skin without adding irritants or heavy emollients.”
And anyone with dull skin or anti-aging concerns, keep your eyes peeled for masks that include retinoids, vitamin C and ferulic acid (often, vitamin C and ferulic acid are paired together). These ingredients “both protect the skin from future damage and reverse some of the damage caused by the sun and ultraviolet light,” advises Dr. Gribetz. Among her top picks on our list are the Youth to the People and Saturday Skin masks, which boast “really good antioxidants.”
Understand your skin type and you’ll better be able to detect red-flag ingredients. “While everyone's skin has different needs, it's best to look for products containing ingredients such as retinols, alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, resveratrol, ceramides, glycerin and lactic acid,” notes Dr. Dendy Engelman, a board certified dermatologic surgeon at Shafer Clinic Fifth Avenue in New York.
Start slowly, particularly if you have any skin sensitivities, and don’t try too many new skincare products at once. “I’d only try one mask at a time,” shares Dr. Gribetz. “I have many patients, particularly teenage girls and young adult women, who try many new products at the same time and then come in red, inflamed and irritated. It’s hard to figure out which product caused it. Particularly with heavier products that are left on overnight, try one at a time. If something is irritating, scale back, hold it for a few days then start again, using it just 2-3 times per week. Often, it can be tolerated that way.”
As for nightly routines, cleanse first, then apply the mask. Consider forgoing the moisturizer, unless you wake up feeling dry (which simply won’t happen with any of the masks on our list). “Generally speaking, if you feel dry in the morning you can benefit from adding an additional moisturizer the night before in addition or consider switching to a different product,” but most don’t need the extra assistance. In the morning, wash off the mask and begin your morning routine.
Your Questions, Answered
Can I use an overnight face mask every night?
Possibly, but it depends on a number of factors. Explains Dr. Engelman, “Whether you’re able to use an overnight face mask every night depends on your skin type, environmental and lifestyle factors and the type of overnight face mask being used.” It also depends on the ingredients. Try one mask at a time, and scale up to regular use if recommended once your skin has shown its tolerating the new product well.
Make sure the mask you’re trying is designed to be worn overnight and be wary of wearing hyper-targeted face masks overnight, as they’re not intended to work over that length of time. “Face masks such as sheet masks, clay masks, charcoal masks, or any problem-targeting mask are not to be worn overnight as they can clog pores, irritate the skin, cause breakouts and dry out the skin,” cautions Dr. Engelman.
Should I put moisturizer on over the mask?
That would likely be overkill. “Given that overnight face masks are typically ultra-hydrating creams, there is no need to apply moisturizer, as the mask will hydrate and moisturize the skin,” says Dr. Engelman.
Do you wash your face after wearing the mask?
“Overnight face masks are quick to absorb, so you won’t wake up feeling greasy,“ says Dr. Engelman. You can, however, optimize your skincare routine to better incorporate nighttime masks. “If your routine consists of washing your face twice a day, wash your face and apply a daily moisturizer while your skin is still damp to reap the benefits, and retain the maximum amount of moisture,” she advises.
Why Shop With Us
Katy Olson is a beauty buff and professional journalist with pesky combination skin. For this article, she drew on research from the InStyle testing team who scoured the market for the most effective overnight face masks. She also consulted renowned dermatologists, including Dr. Dendy Engelman, board certified dermatologic surgeon, and board certified dermatologist Dr. Carin Gribetz, for their insights into the ingredients and formulas to look for as well as their application tips so you can get the most mileage out of your mask.
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