Sleep is a time for comfort, complete with cozy covers and cushy pillows. And having dry skin just doesn’t jive with it. You can’t get your best, most comfortable night of sleep when your face feels tight and your complexion is flaking. At the same time, nighttime is your skin’s chance to repair itself. This makes it easy to see why ‘how to cure dry skin overnight’ is a customer query we’ve heard more than once—you don’t want to spend night after night (or day after day) with dry skin, and your sleeping hours are your opportunity to take action.
The truth is, there aren’t magic cures or instantaneous solutions for skin concerns. Nightfall may signal a time to refresh and renew, but you’ll need to put in the work to make it happen. Introducing your complexion to an overnight skincare routine, complete with one of Kiehl’s best night creams for dry skin, is key to getting your beauty sleep. Here, we’re giving you lessons on dry skin—what it is and why you have it—then sharing our expert tips on how to help dry skin while you sleep.
What Is Dry Skin?
Dry skin is a condition that occurs when there is a lack of moisture on the skin’s surface. Likely indicators of dryness are flaking, itching, cracking, or redness. Your skin can also be varying degrees of dry. Normal-to-dry skin has a comfortable T-zone but taut cheeks and may experience flakiness. Straight up dry skin feels tight and may be flaky, while very dry skin feels parched and taut and can flake.
Why Is Your Skin So Dry?
When your skin is uncomfortably dry, it’s only reasonable to want someone or something to blame. Many factors can contribute to dry skin, such as harsh soaps, chlorine, long hot showers, and even aging. One general theme: Dryness occurs when skin doesn’t produce enough sebum. The skin barrier normally prevents moisture loss, but this can be compromised by various things, including skincare mistakes and low humidity.
Skin tends to be driest in winter months due to temperatures dropping and humidity levels falling. Being outdoors in cold temperatures makes it difficult for skin to retain the essential moisture it needs, causing it to appear dry. A lack of moisture in the air can also leave skin more susceptible to drying and flaking. Be mindful of how long and how often you’re in cold temperatures, and remember to protect your skin with the help of an effective moisturizer.
How To Help Dry Skin Overnight
If you have dry, flaky skin, there are several overnight skincare steps you can take to help improve the look and feel of your skin while you catch some Z’s. Enhance your nighttime skincare routine with Kiehl’s hydrating formulas and pro tips, so you can wake up to healthier-looking skin.
Tip #1: Try A Nighttime Facial Oil
Using overnight creams is logical when you have dry skin, but a night oil should be on your radar as well. Midnight Recovery Concentrate replenishes skin at night—when it’s most receptive to repairing itself from daily aggressors. The oil does quite a bit during the hours you’re asleep; it helps visibly reduce fine lines, refine skin’s texture, and boost radiance in just one night. The formula with distilled botanicals, including lavender essential oil, evening primrose oil, and squalane, has a lightweight texture that absorbs easily, so you won’t be leaving oily face prints on your pillowcase.
Tip #2: Trap Moisture After a Nighttime Shower
If you shower at night, there’s a moisture opportunity you may have been missing out on. When you hop out of the shower, don’t rush to dry off with your towel. Instead of wiping away every last water droplet, you can trap that moisture on your skin by applying moisturizer before it dries. Smooth Ultra Facial Cream—which can be used anytime of day but makes an amazing night cream—onto damp skin post-shower. The formula provides lasting hydration for soft, smooth, healthy-looking skin.
As for the rest of your skin, that’s a job for Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter. In the morning, when you have 10 seconds to throw on your outfit, you might not make time to apply body butter and let it soak in. When your day is wrapping up, however, you can make it part of your night routine to hydrate skin all over. Apply the indulgent body butter with shea butter, jojoba butter, and honey to damp skin after bathing or showering to maximize its moisturizing benefits.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: Speaking of your shower routine, make sure you aren’t turning the temperature on too high. Steaming H2O may feel spectacular against your skin in the moment, but one thing is for sure: It isn’t the secret to how to cure dry skin overnight. Rather, hot water can dry out your skin further. Instead, wash with lukewarm water.
Tip #3: Help Your Dry Skin With Glycerin
If you don’t pay attention to the ingredients in your overnight skincare products, it’s time to start. Looking at the ingredient list can tell you a lot. For example, if you see that a moisturizer or serum has glycerin in its formula, there’s a good chance it’s a hydrating product. Glycerin is known for helping with skin hydration and is one of the most popular moisturizing ingredients.
To introduce your dry complexion to this ingredient, apply Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate before your moisturizer. It features 15% glycerin and shiso leaf extract for a serum that intensely hydrates to help visibly plump skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines.
Tip #4: Don’t Forget Your Eyes
When you don’t care for the area around your eyes before bed, you’re doing future-you a disservice. The delicate skin around your eyes is so thin that it’s often the first place to look tired or show fine lines. That’s why you may not wake up looking your most well-rested. Give this skin the attention it deserves. For an effective nighttime solution around your eyes, turn to Midnight Recovery Eye. This restorative cream helps you achieve younger-looking eyes by morning, working to diminish the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.
Tip #5: Use an Overnight Face Mask
You don’t need to be awake to pamper your skin. It’s one of life’s small joys that you can smooth on an overnight skincare mask and let it do all the work while you’re sound asleep. Using an overnight mask—meaning a mask that’s specifically formulated to be worn while you sleep and washed away in the morning—is the easiest form of TLC you can ever show your skin.
Try Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Mask for a major dose of nourishment. It replenishes skin’s moisture reserves for long-lasting hydration. For anti-aging benefits and moisture, Ginger Leaf & Hibiscus Firming Mask gets our vote. The sleep mask has an air-whipped, velvety texture that melts onto skin, leaving it with a smoother appearance when you wake.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: If you’re wondering how often you should use an overnight cream or mask, let us fill you in. It’s important to moisturize every night (and morning). Apply a night cream daily. As for masks, it can vary from product to product. For our Ultra Facial Mask, we recommended using it twice per week, while our firming mask is best used five times per week.
Tip #6: Wear Non-Irritating Clothes To Bed
When your skin is dry, even pajama pants can seem irritating. Try washing clothes with laundry detergent labeled "hypoallergenic" or free of dyes or perfumes, which could aggravate dry skin. We also recommend reaching for ultra-soft, non-irritating fabrics when it comes to your pajamas; cotton, silk, or flannel sleepwear may feel less abrasive against your skin at night.
Tip #7: Hydrate Dry Hands and Feet
Dry feet rubbing against your sheets is akin to nails on a chalkboard. Because your feet and hands are two of the most active parts of your body, they’re receptive to becoming dry. It’s important to take the necessary steps to moisturize them.
For your hands, we recommend using a heavy-duty hand cream to help soften and soothe them. Ultimate Strength Hand Salve, which is formulated with avocado oil, eucalyptus oil, and sesame seed oil fits the bill. The salve helps soothe, moisturize, and condition skin. This blend of select ingredients allows skin to draw and absorb water from the air, forming a "glove-like" protective barrier to prevent moisture loss without feeling greasy.
As for your feet, apply a foot cream or body lotion all over them before bed. Give yourself a little foot massage to make this a moment of self-care. Then, slip a pair of socks on to keep the lotion from ending up all over your sheets instead of your skin.
Kiehl's Expert Tip: For extra dry hands, you can elaborate on the same idea: Put on cotton gloves after your hand cream to trap the moisture where it belongs.
Tip #8: Treat Your Lips
Your lips are entitled to an overnight mask of their own. Buttermask For Lips helps repair the lip moisture barrier to visibly restore your pout overnight. Intense hydration means lips are soft and supple by morning. The lip mask stars coconut oil (in addition to wild mango butter), which is an occlusive moisturizer that helps protect against moisture loss. This is key, as lips can dry out overnight, especially if you sleep with your mouth open.
Tip #9: Boost Moisture With a Humidifier
Another way to help dry skin while you sleep is to use a humidifier to increase the amount of water vapor in the air. When humidity is low, the air becomes drier, which can lead to dehydration, and as a result, dry skin. This can be especially common during the winter when not only is the air outside dry, but indoor air is dry as well, thanks to indoor heating. We recommend placing a cool-mist humidifier by your bed and turning it on at night after you moisturize and are ready for bed.
Tip #10: Remove Makeup Without Drying Out Your Skin
Having dry skin can make you averse to cleansing and makeup removal, but it shouldn’t. What often happens is that those with parched complexions go to remove their makeup, only for the process to leave their skin feeling extra tight and dry. While this is no good, it doesn’t eliminate the need to take off your makeup. Instead, it means you should be careful about how you do it.
Wash away the day, including your foundation and mascara, with Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil. The oil cleanser effectively dissolves dirt, oil, and hard-to-remove makeup while leaving skin soft and replenished—just what your dry skin needs.
Tip #11: Pay Attention To Your Pillowcase
Sheets and their coordinating pillowcases aren’t solely for your bedroom aesthetic. The fabric of your pillowcase can actually play a role in overnight skincare. The wrong material can soak up the hydrating overnight creams and masks you’ve so diligently applied, and can even be rough against your skin. We recommend silk pillowcases, which not only feel extremely luxurious but are gentle on your skin, too.