Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know by now how bad sleeping with your makeup on is. It can clog your pores, cause breakouts, and exacerbate wrinkles.
It’s not hard to understand why sleeping with layers of foundation or powder on your face can be problematic for your skin.
But what about mascara? What’s the harm in leaving my lashes coated and curled while sleeping?
Sleeping with mascara on may not seem like a big deal – but it’s actually a whole lot more harmful than you might expect.
Touch your lashes when before you’ve applied any mascara.
They should feel soft, flexible, feathery…right?
Now, touch your lashes after a few coats of your favorite mascara.
I’m guessing they feel hard, brittle, and stiff. Don’t worry – that doesn’t mean that your mascara has gone bad. That’s just how mascara works.
The whole point of mascara is to coat your lashes with a lengthening, thickening, or plumping material. Once applied, it keeps your eyelashes looking fabulous all day long by adhering and hardening onto them.
This is great for long-lasting daywear. Not so great if you happen to fall asleep with mascara on.
Sleeping with mascara on can damage your lashes in two major ways…
1. Sleeping With Mascara Can Cause Your Lashes to Break Off
Lashes without mascara are soft and bendable. Lashes with mascara are hard and easily breakable1. Think of your lashes like pasta. Cooked pasta is bendable and doesn’t easily break. Dry pasta can easily be snapped in half.
When you head to bed with stiff, mascara coated lashes, you have a much better chance of rubbing your eye and snapping your lashes right off!
Are you going to break all of them off at once? Probably not. But in my opinion, no amount of lash breakage is worth it.
2. Sleeping With Mascara Can Dry Your Luscious Lashes
It’s easy to forget that to keep your lashes healthy they need to breathe and they need to be moisturized – just like our skin and hair. Wearing mascara to bed is NOT the way to do either of these things.
Sleeping with mascara on basically suffocates your lashes. And suffocated lashes mean dry lashes.
Think about it – you probably condition the hair on your head every time you shower, right? That’s because no one wants dry, frizzy looking hair. Conditioning your hair keeps it healthy and lush.
And the same rules apply to your lashes. Okay, they aren’t necessarily going to look frizzy when they get dried out. But dry eyelashes tend to look brittle, skimpy, and have trouble growing.
Not only that, but dry lashes tend to fall out at a much faster rate. This leaves you with thin, barely-there lashes. Ever seen someone with no eyelashes? It’s a weird look.
You may be thinking, “But my mascara promises to improve my lashes with all the nourishing vitamins and conditioners!”
Great! And you can let those amazing ingredients indulge your lashes all day long. But at night, your lashes really need to be free from any mascara in order to breathe and rejuvenate.
The whole reasoning behind letting your lashes breathe at night without mascara is similar to why sleeping with hair product like wax, gel or pomade isn’t a good idea. Your hair – even the ones lining your eyes – need to be free from all products to grow and renew overnight.
Your best bet is to apply a little Vaseline along your lash-line before bed to moisturize lashes overnight. You can also try a little castor or almond oil to moisturize lashes overnight.
And if there was one mascara ingredient to watch out for? Ethel alcohol.1 This common mascara additive is highly drying to lashes, day or night. And as we covered above, dry lashes are brittle lashes.
Sleeping With Mascara Can Injure Your Eyeballs
Sleeping with mascara-coated eyelashes can injure your delicate eyeballs.
I know it sounds far-fetched. But it happens.
We already discussed how your eyelashes become like little hardened daggers once you put mascara on. Well, imagine one of those little daggers stabbing you right in the eye while your sleeping.
It’s not uncommon to unconsciously rub or scratch at your eyes in your sleep. And if you have mascara on, those lashes are much more prone to break off and end up in your eye.
A loose, stiff mascara-clad lash can actually scratch your cornea while you’re asleep. And I’ve had a scratched cornea before. Trust me – it causes an ungodly amount of pain.
Avoid painful eye injuries by removing all mascara before bed.
Sleeping With Mascara Can Cause Other Eye Issues
Just like sleeping with fake eyelashes on can cause eye infections, irritation, or vision problems, sleeping with natural eyelashes covered in mascara can too.
We’ve all experienced that awful feeling when a fleck of dried mascara makes its way into your eye. Even if you manage to fish it out quickly, it can cause itchiness and irritation.1
And that’s during the day!
Imagine what happens when dried mascara-bits seep into your eyes while you’re asleep. Those crusty flecks end up lingering in your eyes for hours and hours. This can have you waking up with red, irritated eyes.
Not worried about mascara-bits making their way into your eyes overnight?
What about infection-causing bacteria and dirt?
Dried mascara acts like a magnet for dirt and bacteria throughout the day. Sleeping with that caked-on bacteria can quickly lead to nasty eye infections. You don’t want to face the next day with pink eye just because you skipped taking your mascara off the night before!
Plus, sleeping with dirt-ridden mascara on your lashes means that you’re spreading it to your pillowcases and sheets. This turns your bed into a breeding ground for infections. And let’s face it, we really don’t clean our sheets, pillows or mattress as often as we should anyway.
That means that even if you diligently remove your mascara before bed tonight, but forgot to last night – you can easily pick up leftover infectious debris from your bedding.
When it comes to sleeping with mascara, just don’t do it. Keep your eyes and eyelashes healthy by removing all makeup, including mascara, before bed!
Do you sleep with mascara on? What side effects have you experienced from sleeping with mascara on? Let me know in the comments below!