The average person spends something like 25 years of their life sound asleep. We know how important relaxation and rejuvenation is for both our physical and mental health, but why stop there? Several studies have shown that cell turnover and renewal happens mostly when we’re in deep REM sleep and that sleep even helps our bodies reverse free radical damage. This makes nighttime the right time to try a few overnight beauty tricks to help our bodies look and feel their best every morning.
Whether your goal is to reduce the appearance of fine lines, zap pimples from existence, get smoother hands and feet or achieve a more winning Hollywood smile, these 8 nighttime beauty tricks will give new meaning to the words good morning.
1. Apply prescription Retin-A or use an over-the-counter retinol. There are about a million products on both drugstore and luxury boutique shelves that claim they can stop the hands of time. We’re sure many are fantastic, but ask most dermatologists and they’ll agree that Retin-A, a form of vitamin A that can only be prescribed by your doctor, has been proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, treat acne and smooth out uneven skin tone. If you can’t get your hands on Retin-A, retinol like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is the next best thing. Because both can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, they should only be used at night. And go easy–your skin needs time to adjust to vitamin A and may appear flaky or irritated when you start using these creams. Hang in there because the results are well worth it.
2. Wear an Invisalign. Ideally, you should be wearing your Invisalign to correct crooked or overcrowded teeth for at least 22 hours each day. Many doctors warn that not wearing clear braces enough will just turn you into an unsatisfied customer who spent up to $8,000 on a tool that isn’t going to work for you. So, no one is suggesting that you only wear them at night, but wearing them to bed will get you that much closer to achieving those perfectly pretty and straight teeth you’ve always wanted.
3. Coat your zits with weird creams. When you feel a zit coming on at 3 in the afternoon, it can feel like a lifetime until you’re in the comfort of your own bathroom before bed and can finally address the problem. And by address it I mean coat it with the strangest creams and natural antidotes known to man. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is one of my favorites because it miraculously dries out whiteheads and even the most tender pimple. It also contains soothing calamine lotion so you won’t irritate your skin in the process. Other zit remedies people swear by include tea tree oil and sulfur-based creams like Malin + Goetz Acne Treatment Nighttime.
3. Wear foot and hand gloves and socks. Our poor hands and feet work hard for us all day long. Give back to them by applying the thickest body cream you can find–anything that contains shea butter, aloe vera and vitamin E does the job–and then immediately wrapping your hands in a pair of nighttime gloves like Borghese Spa Mani Moisture Restoring Gloves and covering your feet with moisturizing foot socks from Earth Therapeutics.
4. Give yourself a warm oil massage before bed. You know how you always forget to apply body oil after your shower because you’re in a rush to get out the door and it takes so long to dry? The solution is to spend about five minutes massaging a natural oil like sesame or almond oil (heat it up for a few seconds in the microwave first) onto your legs, abdomen, arms and chest before bed. In ancient Ayurveda practice this massage is called Abhyanga and the ritual is thought to promote better, deeper sleep and to help eliminate toxins and impurities from the body. Massage a bit of castor oil into your scalp and hair, tie your hair into a top bun and you’re ready for dreamland.
5. Sleep with a humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture back into dry air, which can help reduce your chances of catching a virus like the flu, improve your quality of sleep and keep your skin from drying out, flaking or looking dull as a result of the cold, dry air. Just remember to clean your humidifier at least once a week, change the filter regularly and fill it with distilled or demineralized water.
6. Give your body the easiest workout of its life. The next body beautiful trick is the easiest of all: try a night contouring gel like Phytomer Glycolight Night Contouring Bi-Gel, which is dubbed a “cosmetic topical diet” that contains Sea Absinthium to actually battle sugar and limit excess fat storage at night. Fans of this cream swear it can help tighten skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
7. Switch up your sleeping positions. The gold standard of sleeping positions, at least as far as beauty enthusiasts are concerned, will forever be sleeping on your back, which reduces pillow pressure on your face and makes it a lot less likely you’ll develop lines and wrinkles while you sleep. But if you find that impossible, try switching the side you sleep on each night.
8. Use nighttime-specific skincare products. It’s not a marketing gimmick (pinkie promise): skincare products that call themselves nighttime-specific skincare products should be used before bed because they either contain ingredients that should not be exposed to sunlight or all of those hours of sleep help them work more effectively. Vie Collection Peeling De Nuit is an honest-to-goodness nightly chemical peel–don’t worry, it’s gentle–that contains glycolic acid to exfoliate skin. Ecco Bella Natural Eye Nutrients Cream is an organic nighttime eye cream made with essential oils and vitamins E and C, lycopene, and CoQ10. And Miss Spa brings us one of the most fun and innovative skincare regimens that will make you look forward to bedtime: Overnight Gel Masques, which are left on the face overnight, come in five varieties, and address skin issues like dull skin, dry and dehydrated skin, aging skin, sensitive and irritated skin, and clogged pores.
For more beauty tips and news, check out why you’re not too young to use night cream and the benefits of showering in the morning versus at night.
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