We all have the best intentions when it comes to getting ready for bed. After all, there are countless articles out there preaching the benefits of nighttime beauty routines. They sure are inspiring, but sadly, not always practical.
If we had the time, and lived in a perfect world, I'm sure we'd follow these beauty checklists to a T. Step one, wash face well before feeling tired. Step two, float around the house in a silky robe. Step three, smooth lavender oil on pillows. Step four, fall asleep at 8 p.m. to the soothing sound of ocean waves. Can you imagine how refreshed and relaxed everyone would be if these things were possible every single night?
But of course none of this ever happens — at least not on the regular. On any normal day, I bet you fall asleep around midnight in front of the TV while your cat eats crumbs off your chest. It's normal, and way easier than any "routine." And yet, bad habits like these don't exactly set you up for a great night's sleep, or a dewy and refreshed look in the morning.
If you think you've adopted some not-so-great nighttime beauty habits, then it may be time to tweak your routine just a bit. You don't have to float around in a robe, but do take note of a few things you should avoid doing at night for the sake of your skin, your hair, and your health.
1. Not Washing Your Face Before Bed
Passing out with your makeup on is a tale older than time. We all do it, and the world does not stop turning. But if you want fresh, acne-free skin, this should be the first bad habit you break.
According to an article by Mi-Anne Chow on Refinery 29, sleeping in makeup is just about the worst thing you can do for your skin. All day long you are exposed to dirt, pollution, sweat, and grime. Add in the makeup, and it all gets trapped on your skin, leading to bacteria build up, breakouts, and enlarged pores. So do yourself a favor, and scrub your face before bed.
2. Skipping Your Moisturizing Routine
While you sleep, the body repairs itself from all the damage done throughout the day. Take advantage of this, and moisturize from head to toe. Put on eye treatments, face lotions, and thick hand creams on your dryer bits. It may seem tedious when all you really want to do is go to sleep, but you'll be happy when you wake up with the most moisturized skin ever.
3. Never Switching Your Pillowcase
A pillow case is pretty gross when you think about it. We smear our oily, drooling faces all over them at night, and then use them for weeks on end. Yuck. But what's even grosser is that these oils and bacteria can get into your skin, and cause all sorts of problems, noted Sciara. To prevent pillow-induced acne and blackheads, be sure to switch out your pillowcase once a week.
4. Putting Your Hair In An Incredibly Tight Top Knot
I get it, a top knot is the best way to keep your hair from being annoying all night long. It can also lead to some pretty great waves when you undo it in the morning. But As Aparna Anand noted on BeautyGlimpse.com, "Tying your hair tightly in the night causes your hairline to recede. If you must tie it, then do so in a loose braid and sleep without any tugging or tension in your hair."
5. Having One Too Many Nightcaps
Everyone's touting the benefits of red wine, so it makes sense to down a few glasses before bed. I mean, if you knock a few back, not only will you sleep better, but you'll bask in the benefits of all those delicious antioxidants. Right?
Well, I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it won't exactly work out that perfectly. In fact, alcohol messes with your sleep, which in turn can mess with your skin. As Faith Xiu noted on Byrdie.com, "... [one] study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research found that students who drank alcohol before bed showed more slow-wave sleep, but an increase in frontal alpha power, which is thought to be a sign of disturbed sleep. Disturbed sleep is bad news for your skin, which...needs uninterrupted sleep cycles to rest and recover from the day." So if you want to wake up all glowing and dewy, don't rely on booze to do the trick.
6. Playing With Your Phone Until You Fall Asleep
Since everyone uses their phone as an alarm, it's normal that they're within arm's reach all night. When that's the case, you're pretty much guaranteed to scroll through Instagram until you fall asleep. But the bright lights and distractions don't exactly lead to the best night's sleep.
As Jaclyn Sciara noted on StyleCaster.com, "Studies have shown that looking at a bright screen so close to your face less than two hours before you go to sleep puts your brain into a state of not being able to shut off ... Plus, you’ll get less sleep and wake up with bags under your eyes, so it’s a bit of a lose-lose situation." Do yourself a favor, and get a real alarm clock, or put your phone on the other side of the room. You'll get better sleep, and wake up looking and feeling refreshed.
OK, so maybe you can't stick to the most perfect bedtime routine. But you can work to change some of your more unpleasant nighttime beauty habits. With just a few changes, you can sleep all you want, but still wake up looking great.
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