As a time-poor (read: would rather procrastinate by lying around staring at my phone rather than do anything of value) person, I’m always on the lookout for ways to cut corners and do things quickly, like one-step overnight skin treatments that I don’t have to think about. These people who have 12-step skincare routines at night? I’m happy for you, truly I am, but who can be bothered? Not me.
The pickle is, I still want to look amazing at all times. So I recently made it my mission to track down a bunch of products that really put in the work for you. And they do it overnight while you’re sleeping, so you don’t even notice anything is happening. You simply wake up and look glorious (in theory).
So I tested a bunch of overnight skin treatments — from night creams to sleeping masks to eye creams and even a self-tanner — to see if you really can look like a 12-step kinda person without doing much at all. I must warn you, lazy-ass beauty does not necessarily come with a cheap price tag, but these bad boys are worth the investment. Here are the must-have secret overnight weapons I discovered:
Despite his name, Dr. Dennis is not gross. In fact, he makes incredible skincare — I’ve been addicted to his peel pads for a long time, so I was keen to try out his overnight treatment serum. It was the first product I used in my road test, and two of my colleagues said I looked “really glowy” the morning after I used it, without me even prompting them. I definitely felt like the ferulic acid had a smoothing effect, so ta for that Dr. DG!
I have to admit, I didn’t quite know how to handle this serum the first time I used it. Unlike other serums which come out clear, it’s kind of milky and has a different kind of consistency. But that meant my face wasn’t all sticky when I put my head on my pillow. Massive bonus! Also a bonus was waking up with much brighter skin the next day. This overnight skin treatment serum just takes all the dullness and chucks it away while you sleep.
Overnight Eye Gels
I decided to test these out because I was going to bed far too late and had a Zoom call with a hot footy player the next morning for an article I was working on. I couldn’t possibly show up to that looking like the living dead, could I? So I popped these overnight treatments on the night before – you don’t leave the pads on all night, just 5 minutes before bed (I multi-tasked by brushing my teeth while they did their thing). Once you take them off you gently rub in the product that is left over, and that’s what does the work overnight for you. I woke up looking much fresher than I deserved to, but the joke was on me — it was just a Zoom call with no video.
As soon as the humidity was sucked out of the air by Autumn this week, I dug this guy out because I just can’t deal with the thought of sleeping with oil on my face during summer. I feel like I sweat it off and it doesn’t work, so I wanted to properly test this out in cooler weather. It’s got a decently hefty price tag but you literally use a couple of drops, so this overnight skin treatment lasts for bloody ages. It feels really luxurious and I was particularly curious to see if it would sort out some redness I was dealing with on my jaw, which it did. It’s a miracle!
I have to admit, I’ve been low-key alarmed by the word “peel” every since that Sex and the City episode where Samantha scares smalls children with her red-raw face. So I was a little nervous to try this out, especially because it does tingle a bit once you apply it, but I put my trust in GOOP because Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t let her skincare hurt me, would she? Thankfully I did not wake up looking like something out of a horror movie after using this overnight skin treatment. In fact, my skin was noticeably smoother and much, much glowier. This peel is legit.
This product is almost too genius for words — a gradual self-tan for the face that also has skincare properties. I actually never self-tan my face because I’m scared it will turn orange or yellow or way too brown and there’s no covering THAT with a long sleeve t-shirt, is there? But for the sake of this experiment, I gave this product a go. It’s really easy to apply and the bottle promises no streaks (uh-huh, I’ve read that before). You just put a few drops on your hands and use circular motions to apply it all over your face. I went to bed fully expecting to wake up to a brown-stained pillow and streaky face, but I got neither. Instead I actually looked sunkissed and hydrated. I have a feeling this will be a go-to prod in winter.
I stupidly applied this lush mask from K-beauty brand Laneige, and then read a particularly emotional post on Humans Of New York and pissed so many tears I had to reapply. So the first time I tried it I couldn’t be sure if it was the double application that made my skin feel so plump and nourished the next morning. In the interest of fairness I tried it again a few nights later and deliberately avoided any sad internet content. And whaddya know? Still woke up feeling plump in the best kinda way.
This cult sleeping mask is cult for a reason. I didn’t need to test it for this experiment because I’m a long-time fan, and have been ever since I first used it. Not only does it smell like a watermelon lolly, I have seen first-hand that this overnight skin treatment works. I noticed my skin feeling a little rough, slathered this bad boy on, and was actually shocked to wake up to smooth skin. This prod is like magic and I use it at least once a week to keep my skin baby’s bum-soft.
Overnight Eye Cream
My eyes have become a real problem area of late. I feel like the rest of my face looks okay, but my eyes are those of an 80-year-old woman. Sometimes I feel like I’ve got one of those novelty “old people” filters on, but it’s just my own face after a bad night’s sleep. The eyes are unforgiving! So I’ve been hunting down a really hydrating and repairing eye cream for awhile. I’ve tried a few, and have found this overnight cream (sorry, but as a rapidly ageing person I can’t go past a brand called Youth to the People) with its three-pronged smooth/hydrate/firm attack is making some slow progress on my dark circles and wrinkles. A big plus? The natural ingredients and vegan, cruelty free ethos.
While technically not an “overnight fix” type treatment, the sudden cool snap sucked all the moisture out of my face with one zap, and I needed a good moisturiser to slather on after these serums I’d been trialling. Enter this Supernatural cream, from New Zealand genius Emma Lewisham, which first piqued my interest because it’s named after my favourite TV show. But there’s nothing ghosty or mystical about this cream, it just bloody well WORKS. Seriously. I used it three days ago and my face still feels hydrated. I’m actually shocked because usually I feel like skincare brands just pick a random number out of the air and claim their product works for this long? I’m putting it down to the fact that Emma Lewisham products are entirely clean beauty — 100% of total ingredients are naturally derived or nature identical. So I don’t even feel bad for slathering it on my face.