Scottish Daily Mail
Can sleeping in your make-up be good for your skin?
MAKE-UP has always been my obsession — I’ve worn a full face of it daily from the age of 11 — but in one aspect I have always been saintly. So long as I have been sober, and not in the throes of passion, I have always removed it before bed.
It’s something automatic, like brushing my teeth. If not, my pores would become clogged, my face would crack into wrinkles and I’d break out in suppurating boils — or that is what old wives’ tales have conditioned me to believe.
Even a cursory Google search comes up with the consensus that sleeping in makeup spells doom. Cosmetics increase exposure to free radicals in the environment, causing the breakdown of collagen, resulting in fine lines. Blocked pores lead to acne. Permanently mascaraed lashes spell styes, conjunctivitis and eyelash shedding. Not pretty.
And so it is with trepidation that I accept the challenge to sleep in my slap. Why? Because the make-up artist and cosmetics guru Charlotte Tilbury recommends it. Charlotte, 41, whom I have had the pleasure of meeting, is a Titian-haired beauty who claims no one sees her without her signature feline flicks.
As she has declared: ‘I sleep in my make-up. I’m never, ever seen without it. My husband has never seen me without make-up. It comes off, and goes back on again.
‘At night I take everything off my face and moisturise — because you have to let your skin breathe a bit — then I put everything right back on again. A little under-eye brightener, then the eye make-up goes back on, and maybe a little tint on the cheeks.
‘My mother told me: “You have to keep the mystery alive.” ’
Come morning, Charlotte pops some moisturiser on top of her make-up, touches up her look and is good to go. It is a routine she has recommended to famous faces she works with, among them Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and the cakedin cosmetics Kim Kardashian (imagine that pillow).
Fans of this policy benefit from less time in front of the mirror. And it’s not just celebrities, but what Elizabeth Hurley would refer to as ‘civilians’, too: surveys reveal that a third of British women sleep in their make-up twice a week.
Some even claim their skin looks better this way. So it’s time to put sleeping in slap to the test.
By 11.30pm I am staring ruefully at my evening face — foundation, concealer, three eye-shadows, liner, mascara, brow make-up, highlighter, blusher, powder and my favourite shiny lipstick. Tonight, none of it is coming off.
I am sporting Charlotte’s mascara (£22) and liner (£19). I have teamed them with YSL Beaute’s Fusion Foundation (£31.50) and Armani Eye & Brow Maestro, which is water and pillow-proof (£27). The rest is my usual fare: Guerlain eye shadow and highlighter, Bobbi Brown concealer, YSL blush and a Lipstick Queen pout. Usually, I would erase the first layer with wipes, then use eye make-up remover, face oil, and another turn with face oil and my Clarisonic brush, before taking off any residue with micellar water — an obsessivecompulsive quadruple hose-down.
Next, I’d apply serum, eye cream and moisturiser.
Tonight, my bedtime ritual is a cinch: I remove my contact lenses, brush my teeth and that’s it. It all feels faintly unsanitary.
Still, at least my boyfriend isn’t around to kiss off my Norma Desmond-style mask. I lie on my pillow wondering whether to sleep on my back to stay cosmetically pristine. After five minutes, I give up and adopt my usual position — on my front, head to the side.
I wake at 8am, on my back, and expect my eyes to be glued together. They’re not. Neither is my pillow in the horrendous state I’d expected. And my face isn’t too bad. There is smudging about the eyes, my lashes are bent and my nose is unflatteringly shiny.
However, my skin looks passable, my blusher is almost intact and my lips aren’t chapped.
THEN I do the Charlotte Tilbury touch-up, removing my panda eyes with a cotton bud and applying her Magic Cream moisturiser (£70), the wonder product she has been using for 20 years.
It’s soothing, and another layer of slap glides on smoothly. The photographer tells me I don’t look that different from the night before. Alas, to me my make-up looks tired and ageing.
My eyes itch a bit, and I miss my wake-up ritual of a shower, then settling down with a cup of tea to create a new face for the day. Still, I’m out of the house within 20 minutes, as opposed to an hour.
By noon my eyes have acquired a minxish, lived-in guise that a male colleague tells me is ‘sexy as hell’. Still, I feel grubby. By evening, after two sweaty commutes, I feel festering.
My eyes are gungy and my eyelashes ache. I can’t take it any more and cancel a hot date to hurry home and strip the whole thing off, almost weeping with relief when my skin is returned to its virginal state.
But I do not look blooming. I’m dry and blotchy, and my pores haven’t been as cavernous since I was 14.
It’s clear that if I continued with this soap-dodging my eyes and lips would be raw at the corners, my cheeks and forehead parched.
Skin specialist Dr Michael Prager says that real caution is required: ‘We’re talking clogged pores, harbouring the day’s bacteria, environmental poison, dirt, dead skin cells and all sorts of unhealthy ingredients sanctioned by the EU regulation on skincare ingredients.
‘The skin is going to take a hell of a hammering. It might equate to ageing yourself by as much as ten years in 30 days.’ The horror!
Sleeping in slap is all very rock chick, but at 44 I want to look like a civilised human being. This kind of thing may work for Kate Moss, but then, Ms Moss has always struck me as someone who looks as if she needs a good wash.
If I sound prissy about this, I am. My cleanser isn’t going anywhere.