My Five Favourite Overnight/Sleep (or Flight) Masks

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I absolutely love good overnight face masks, often now called, ‘sleep masks’.

Sleeping and skincare are my two favourite hobbies so it’s not surprising that combining these joint passions is a marriage made in heaven for the likes of lazy old me. 

But it’s not just me who is buying into the sleep mask trend. It’s certainly one of the beauty lover bunch’s latest skincare obsessions. 

Your favourite brand has probably introduced an overnight mask in the last couple of years and the chances are I’ve tried your favourite brands sleep mask! 

They range from reasonably priced to moderately expensive and from the entirely useless to the utterly fantastic. The good ones aren’t a luxury extra, rather a rather clever investment, given that they are kind of souped-up-intensive-night-creams-on-steroids, but often come in at a much lower price bracket that great night creams, yet perfectly fulfil the intensive treatment brief. You get more bang for your buck with a good sleep mask than a night cream in my opinion, which is one of the reasons I’m a fan. 

Designed to be applied before bed and rinsed after you’ve got your all-important beauty sleep, the one common goal of the different formulas is to moisturise deeply.

The purpose is to create a barrier-like, permeable seal on top of your skin that enables anything underneath it, such as serums, oils or treatments, penetrate deeper into the lower-stories of the skin. This means you can go to town treating your face then lock in all down with a super-mask. 

Another thing that sets overnight masks apart from night moisturiser is they tend to be thicker in consistency and are designed to stay on all night long. Sometimes, this is bad news for your pillow but good news for the skin as its treatment to at least eight hours of dream-time soothing, hydration and plumping. 

My five favourite dream-masks (isn’t that such a nice name – nicer than overnight or sleep mask for sure! I should be in charge of naming these bed-fellows!) all go on clear in colour or white that blend to clear so not only won’t you frighten your kids or partner, but you can also use them on flights. 

Flight masks are a brilliant way of looking after your skin while you get dehydrated on your way to holiday-land. So many masks are prohibitive in colour for public use but these are all perfect in performance and colour and will do you the world of good while you’re in air transit. 

Whether you’re travelling the world or just to the land of nod… here are five of the very best masks to accompany you. 

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Kiehls Overnight Hydrating Masque, £29Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque

The packaging of this is so nondescript, boring and uninspiring but don’t let that put you off. 

It reminds me of the 16p packet of ibuprofen in boots versus the shiny Nurofen packet at 300 times the price, containing the same ingredient that works equally well. This cheap looking white tub unfortunately isn’t 16p but at £30 it works as well as masks that are well over double the price – though the packaging still doesn’t inspire any joy within my pretty-packaging-loving heart. 

It’s a functional product with a functional name in a functional pot, but defies its no-frills look and demeanour. It’s a clear transparent watery gel that smells a bit like acetone to me. Not something I’d usually enjoy putting on my fizog but it works very well and defies its unassuming nature on any shelf.

This is so lovely and gel-like and light feeling, more like a watery serum like jelly than a creamy mask. It’s really cooling. So gloriously cooling that I thought, “if I kept this in the fridge it would be insanely good to use”, so I did… and it was! 

It contains fountain plant, which is a plant native to Asia, that’s able to survive in drought conditions – which apparently my skin is forced to do too: it’s that dry and dehydrated. In traditional Chinese medicine, this is a primary herb used to treat yin-deficiency and to clear heat and irritability. This mask is filled with humectants (substances that attract and hold water molecules, attracting them from the surrounding environment) and glycerin and urea to hydrate intensely and prevent moisture loss. It contains fragmented hyaluronic acid, which comprised of smaller molecules than traditional hyaluronic acid (something found in any great hydrating product), penetrates deeper and is known to facilitate the diffusion of water and nutrients on skin’s surface helping to maintain hydration very well. 

The ingredient list is a combination of science and nature, unicorn-tears-and-butterfly-dream style faff and chemical ingredients and I’m happy with that. The axis between science and nature, proven results and wishful thinking is my happy place. This is my happy mask. 

Origins Drink-up Intensive Overnight Mask, £24Origins Drink Up-Intensive

This mask is such a delight to use. It smells like peaches for a start. It’s perfect. If you don’t fancy a face-full of artificial peach perfume, steer clear. 

This fruity beauty (poetic, don’t you think?!) is formulated with hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids, this cream moisturizes while forming a protective shield on skin to lock in all the moisture and is one of my favourite ever products across the board. 

Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask does feel like a giant healthy drink for your skin. It contains plant glycerin, which extracts water from the local environment and encourages the skin to trap this excess moisture, like any good humectant. It also contains the old favourite, hyaluronic acid, a crucial tool for trapping hydration. Toss in Japanese seaweed and fatty acid and antioxidant-filled apricot kernel oil, avocado oil and mango butter to sooth, protect and build up moisture levels as well as reduce inflammation.  

This product is yet another must-have to add into your nightly rotation. I can’t often bear to consume a green juice but never tire of reaching for this green tube of goodness to quench my skins thirst. ‘Drink up’ is the perfect name for a pretty perfect mask… and it’s such incredible value for money, too! 

Liz Earle Superskin Overnight Mask, £42Liz Earle Superskin Overnight Mask

The skin-care brand that has brought us a host of brilliant night time routine stalwarts (cleanse and polish I’m looking at you!) and amazingly effective wash-off, ten minute, ‘day’ masks, from ‘nourishing’ to ‘brightening’, is also set on owning your night time mask routine, too. 

Formulated with hyaluronic acid and essential fatty acids, this cream moisturizes while forming a protective shield on skin to lock in all the moisture. 

This product is yet another must-have to add into your nightly rotation. But what sets this treatment apart from many others is that it’s so hardcore, sticky, intensive and packed with radiance-boosting Persian silk tree extract, antioxidant pomegranate fruit extract and emollient buruti, borage, rosehip and cranberry seed oils, among countless other skin actives. It’s a mix of skin super-foods that does actually give you super skin. 

It’s a big pot of botanically lovely smelling magic potion. You’ll wake up with a bit of tack still on your face and a lot of hydration beneath the surface. Your makeup will go on like a dream, which will make you grin and bear the stickiness even if that’s not your regular jam. 

And to be honest, this is practically as sticky as jam… 

ARK Hydration Injection Masque, £35Ark Skin Perfecto Hydration Injection Masque.jpg

This guy is a real catch… a ‘dreamboat’, if you will. (Sorry). The perfect date for flights and overnight treats. 

Ark is a wonderful skincare brand that I was introduced to via Susie Amy, who is a brand ambassador for them. They have brilliant products in perfect airtight packaging, as well as a great ethos and incredible ingredients. The products I’ve tried work just as well, if not better than the skincare giants and I don’t hesitate to recommend them. 

Like all their products, this masque (what’s the difference between a mask and a masque… anyone!?) smells very botanical, fresh and clean. In the same family of smells to the Liz Earle product but more subtle and gentle. It’s not at all pungent, even to someone repelled by botanical scents but it is a little ‘perfume-y’ which some people will want to avoid.

Although it’s supposed to be washed off after ten to twenty minutes (dependant on age) it actually works brilliantly overnight, unlike most ‘day’ masks. I’ve found many masks that say they need to be washed or tissued off fairly quickly, really do work better if you follow the instructions. They can congest skin otherwise, but this one doesn’t. It does what it says on the tin and appears to inject moisture deeper into the face than other products, leaving it looking and feeling smoother than ever. 

 It is full of gorgeous ingredients including; Vitamin A to help keep skin supple and healthy looking; Vitamin B5 for smoothness; Vitamin C for brightening and Vitamin E for important antioxidant protection. Abyssinian oil and sugar beet will nourish while Hyaluronic Acid Booster will drench skin with much needed moisture and long-lasting hydration, optimising the circulation of water through multiple skin layers. 

After evening cleansing, smooth on some of this gloopy hydrating seal – which actually absorbs into skin pretty fast, making it feel amazing before you’re even done counting sheep – and then wake up to a gorgeous hydrated face… and thank Ark (and me) that the lovely post-facial looking skin belongs to you.

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, £30Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask

The beauty giants Moisture Surge range is jam-packed with an array of other pink packaged hydration heavy-hitters, and this one fits right in. In fact, it’s the queen bee if you ask me. Its Moisture Surge stable-mates are all pretty impressive but this lightweight mask packs a deceivingly strong punch of hydration. After you ‘knock out’ this will work tirelessly to ensure you get back up with subtle, plumped up, glowy skin. 

It’s not the most exciting mask in the world, with no “wow” copywriting or crazy ingredients, but it does truly work to deliver a surge of moisture. 

As with all of Clinique products, this is scentless which makes it kind of joyless to apply for me personally but for many people this is a huge bonus. I just like essential oils and don’t mind a little fragrance. I know they’re not necessary, but I like them. 

The formula contains several potent antioxidants that repair and protect the skin and an array of proven-effective water-binding ingredients that help it to hold in any moisture – all the usual hyaluronic suspects are fixtures on the ingredients list, with no duds present that I can detect. The smooth and creamy texture of the mask feels wonderfully soothing on dry and tight skin and come morning, this one is sure to be declared an undisputed champion.

Links to buy these products:

Kiehls Overnight Hydrating Masque:

Origins Drink-up Intensive Overnight Mask:

Liz Earle Superskin Overnight Mask:

ARK Hydration Injection Masque:

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask: