Overnight sensation

It’s easy to become a sleeping beauty with specially designed beauty products that work while you slumber



The overnight beauty market is booming; products designed to work while users sleep not only save precious time, but also capitalise on the regeneration that happens at night for enhanced results.


In the evening, the sleep hormone melatonin is produced. This powerful antioxidant helps protect the skin, cells and body against free radical damage. Once asleep, stress-related chemicals in the body, like noradrenalin, get switched off – this is the only time, day or night, that this happens. Immune, nervous and musculoskeletal systems are restored. As for skin, its metabolic rate speeds up and many of the body’s cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins. These are the building blocks needed for cell growth and for the repair of damage from factors like UV rays. Daytime naps will give a boost, but they’re no substitute for a good night’s sleep, since the energy needed for tissue repair is not available during daylight as the body uses it elsewhere.

Bedtime skincare formulas are designed to optimise the cell renewal that happens naturally at night, explains Michelle Doherty, owner and director of Alpha-H: “They can accelerate the skin’s in-built repair mechanisms during the restorative phase. Ingredients are delivered into the skin, triggering the self-manufacture of collagen and hyaluronic acid, while also reducing inflammation. This renders the perfect environment for self-hydration from within.”

Treating skin at night means more potent formulas of glycolic- or retinol-based products can be used without the risk of sun sensitising the skin. Products can be in contact with skin for longer, which is especially good for blemish treatments, and richer or thicker formulas can be used since they don’t need to work under makeup and may be washed off upon waking. An additional major benefit is the time saved with products that can generally be a bit of a faff to do in the morning, such as deep conditioners or sunless tanners.


Treat not only the face, but also the hair, hands, feet and body to the benefits of an all-nighter.

Exfoliate: Alpha-H Liquid Gold Rose (RRP £37.50), described as ‘an aromatic sleep-in facial’ with rose, orchid and glycolic acid, performs best when used on its own on alternate nights.

Rejuvenate: Super Facialist Vitamin C Sleep & Reveal Night Cream (RRP £16.99) has antioxidant vitamin C, liquorice and tomato extract to help skin recover from ageing and environmental damage.

Minimise lines: Elemis Peptide4 Night Recovery Cream-Oil (RRP £49) uses a newlycultivated ‘super botanical’ – an oil from the night-scented stock plant that’s rich in vitamin E – to nourish and hydrate, so skin looks smoother and refreshed by morning.

Treat blemishes: Smooth Witch Overnight Clearing Serum (RRP £5.99) all over the face, or target individual spots with cult product Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (RRP £15.50).

Moisturise: Perricone MD Multi-Action Overnight Treatment (RRP £89) is a rich cream that provides intense hydration as well as antiageing benefits, allowing users to wake up radiant.

Soften: Seal in an emollient hand cream like E45 Repair & Protect Overnight Hand Cream (RRP £3.99) by slipping cotton gloves over it to intensify the softening benefits. The same goes for foot lotion plus socks.

Tan: James Read Sleep Mask Tan Body (RRP £35) is colourless to protect bed linen and can be used nightly to build up a light, sunkissed colour. It contains aloe vera, hyaluronic acid and algae extract to leave skin hydrated and ensure the tan lasts longer and fades evenly.

Tone: Dr. Ceuticals Overnight Sculpt Treatment (RRP £19.99) contains slimming red algae and cooling menthol to help target cellulite and tackle stubborn fat areas such as thighs, buttocks and waist. Nip + Fab Bust Fix Night (RRP £16.25) claims to firm the décolletage overnight, thanks to bee venom extract.

Curl: The Aurora Band Night Roller (RRP £12.99) lets you wake up with wavy locks without the discomfort of sleeping in rollers.

Condition: Lee Stafford Arganoil from Morocco Night Repair Serum (RRP £12.99) regenerates hair fibres with vitamins B5 and E, and nourishes hair without leaving a greasy residue on the pillow. Percy & Reed Wonder Overnight Recovery (RRP £20) is applied to dry hair at night and shampooed out in the morning. It’s formulated with natural protein that improves the hair’s ability to retain moisture, plus conditioning agents to combat frizz and boost shine. Sachajuan Overnight Hair Repair (RRP £35) builds elasticity, strength and shine.


Share the following tips with customers who struggle to
get a good night’s sleep:

Wind down:

Have your last coffee no later than 4pm; sip a sleep-enhancing tea like Yogi Bedtime Tea instead. Allow at least three hours between dinner and bed

Switch off:

Avoid screens for an hour or two before bed, since the light from them is stimulating. Use an alarm clock instead of your phone, which can be put away in a drawer

Cool it:

Turn off the central heating; 20 degrees celsius or cooler is better for skin and a lower body temperature leads to deeper sleep Massage Apply your products of choice using a relaxing massaging technique

Cover your eyes:

Wear an eye mask such as the failsafe Occles (RRP £22) or the luxurious, lavender-filled Holistic Silk Eye Mask (RRP £52) to minimise disturbances


Those who do it swear by it for calming the mind. Visit www.willwilliamsmeditation.co.uk to get started.



“When we sleep, our skin restores and regenerates itself. However, with interferences such as blue light pollution and travel, and imbalances caused by caffeine, alcohol and sugar, sleep cycles can easily be disturbed,” says Noella Gabriel, co-founder and creator of Elemis Therapies. This is why a bedtime ritual is so important, especially if deep sleep is elusive. It not only optimises the chance of sleep, but also helps you also reap the beauty benefits. Recommend the following rituals to help customers make the most of their beauty sleep:

Bath spa: The cooling process that gradually happens after stepping out of a hot bath is thought to stimulate the release of sleep hormone, melatonin, while adding salts (magnesium) to the water relaxes muscles to facilitate sleep. Recommend Cowshed Sleepy Cow Calming Bath Salts (RRP £16) or Tisserand Sweet Dreams Bath Oil (RRP £10.99), with lavender, jasmine and sandalwood.

Mist your pillow: Advise customers to use an aromatherapy sleep spray with ingredients like lavender and chamomile to boost sleep, such as This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (RRP £18) or Neal’s Yard Good Night Pillow Mist (RRP £15). Alternatively, dab pulse points with Anatomicals Cruisin’ for a Snoozin’ Sleep Balm (RRP £2.49).

Soak your feet: A warm footbath is a soothing way to prepare for bed, says Lucy Wakefield, founder of Calmia: “By drawing the circulation to the feet, we draw niggling thoughts and stress away from our heads. Run the water as hot as you can tolerate and add a few drops of essential oils – I recommend lavender, ylang ylang and sandalwood. If you haven’t got any, that’s fine; just the act of sitting still and soaking your feet will still help you to relax. Remain here for at least five minutes.”

Sleep on silk: Reduce wrinkles and keep hair smoother with a silk pillow case. Iluminage Rejuvenating Pillow Case with Copper Oxide (RRP £50) claims to reduce the appearance of wrinkles in just four weeks.


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