What Really Happens If You Wear Makeup To Bed

by Ko Im

Aside from taking my pants off, the first thing I like to do when I get home is scrub off any makeup and glob on the creams. I pride myself on having good skin — my mother lovingly hounds me on great skin care, which has paid off. It has to be credited partly to genetics for having a smooth base for any application of foundation.

One of the more buzzworthy moments of this season's The Bachelor was when Chris woke up contestant Britt in the middle of the night for an early morning balloon ride. As he and the bright lights of the cameras entered the mansion, she was already ready to go. Why? She knew she could be swooped up at any time of day, so she wore her makeup to sleep. As you do. The impressed farmer boy cluelessly commented on how great she looked, just like she does on a group date or at the cocktail party.

Sure, most of us have done the thing where we have an unexpected sleepover with someone new, so, while they're still asleep, we sneak away to the bathroom and put on mascara or blush to look fresh as if we #wokeuplikethis. Speaking from a straight chick's point of view, I've always wondered if guys even notice or care about the extra effort. They're always going on about how they prefer us au naturale, but do they mean it? Even looking "natural" can take a little work.

More importantly, though, how bad is it to sleep with makeup on?! We have it on all day to meet and greet people, but what happens when we don't take it off for prolonged periods of time?

In the name of beauty journalism, I put on bronzer before bed and braced for a breakout. My mom would not approve of the experiment, but read on for the results.

Day 1

It's almost midnight and I'm reapplying my makeup. I remember this feels vaguely familiar because I used to be on the overnight/morning TV shift... except this time I'm getting shut eye and not reporting on a shutdown, so concealer replaces eye cream. I'm worried about rubbing mascara into my corneas or getting lipstick on my pillowcase while trying to get some beauty rest.

Day 2

In the morning I look in the mirror and think it's kind of nice to wake up ready. I've heard rumors Missy Elliott gets her makeup done while she sleeps and I realize it's because doing your own face and hair takes a lot of freaking time. I feel one pimple maybe forming. I start thinking about what this experiment will to do more to my self-esteem than my skin. I used to like getting lash extensions so I would look perky when I woke up next to a guy but now I wouldn't dream of wearing falsies to bed.

Day 3

On set, a professional makeup artist doesn't believe that I put any makeup on. It is nice to have a real MUA work your look. Surely The Bachelor girls must have someone on deck for primping and putting gel in Chris' hair. It's reality TV, but it's not Survivor. I've had this makeup on an all day shoot and all I want to do is go to bed. Which I have the excuse to do. (Brilliant Idea: Are there any sprays or creams to put on after you put on makeup with the goal to keep your skin healthy not your makeup game strong?)

Day 4

Uh oh, in the morning I find somehow the blue smudge from my upper eyelids is gone. I reapply and think, what (else) would Britt do? Nothing like a bold lipstick can't fix. Then I take a look in a full-length mirror and even though it's a weekend of errands ahead, I convince myself you never know when someone will look at you so I switch out the baggy sweatpants for more fitted jeans and put my hair in a braid.

Day 5

Despite only a few hours of gym sweat and shower steam time to open my pores, I have no problems to report. Perhaps it's because it's winter-dry or I am just blessed, there has not been that bad of a short-term effect on my skin. Still, I cannot wait to exfoliate and put on a refreshing mask. Uplifting jar of night essence, here I come!


In the end, I didn't see any horrific changes in my skin after a week wearing makeup to bed. Still, a couple pimples developed and my face felt incredibly dehydrated. I certainly wouldn't recommend re-applying your makeup before you go to sleep, even if you are on some insane reality show.

We inhale and exhale all the time without thinking about it, but the breathing gets deeper when we're in an unconscious state. That has to be the same for the skin which is our biggest organ that needs rejuvenation, too. After all, if Britt's natural selfie is any indication, she doesn't need to be plastered in makeup 24/7 to be totally gorgeous:

I have a weekly masking ritual, which I will follow while watching the Tell All episode and this season's finale. Also, my money's on Britt for Bachelorette.

Images: BrittKarolina/Instagram; Ko Im