Here’s Why You Should Never Sleep With Mascara on

After a long day, probably the last thing you want to do is take your mascara off before going to bed. But is it okay to sleep with mascara on? Here’s what the experts have to say.

Photo Credit: Ground Picture/Shutterstock.

Main Takeaways

  • You should not sleep with mascara on
  • Could cause eye infections, styes, irritation, and damaged lashes
  • Use oil-based makeup or natural oils to remove mascara
  • Give yourself a break from mascara every few months
  • Use an alternative such as Vaseline


Can You Sleep With Mascara On?

According to medical aesthetician, & skincare expert Cassandra Bankson, it is not a good idea to leave mascara on while you sleep. Doing so can potentially cause problems like eye irritation, eye infections, lash loss, and damage to your eyes.

It’s always best to thoroughly remove mascara before going to bed to keep your eyes and eyelashes healthy.

What Happens If You Sleep With Mascara On?

Although sleeping for one night with mascara on is unlikely to do you any harm, it is not recommended you get into the habit.

It can in fact be very harmful to your eyes if you sleep with mascara night after night.

There have been cases that have shown how sleeping with mascara every night can lead to clumps building up under the eyelids, causing irritation and scratches to the cornea.

Sleeping with mascara on can be especially problematic for those with sensitive or dry eyes, blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid), or eczema.

Here are some of the problems you could run into if you sleep with mascara on:

1. Eye Irritation

Eye irritation can be caused by small particles of mascara getting into your eyes.

The mascara may crumble and rub off on your pillow as you sleep. These particles may get into the eyes, causing redness and irritation, and they may even scratch the cornea.

2. Eye Infections

woman poking her finger at her eye

Not removing your mascara before bed can lead to the tiny glands and pores of your eyelid becoming blocked, leading to inflammation and infection.

This could also easily happen if you rub your eyes while you sleep.

Not cleaning your eyelids or washing your face can easily lead to a build-up of dirt and oil that could become trapped and lead to eye infections and styes.

3. It Can Dry Out Your Lashes

Wearing mascara excessively and not removing it before bed can dry out your lashes and cause them to become thin and brittle.

Dry lashes are less likely to grow and can break off.

Mascara can also cause lashes to break off as it dries and clumps overnight.

Give your lashes a break from mascara so they can breathe and go through their natural growth cycle uninterrupted.

4. It Can Harm Your Eyeballs

Eyelashes or flecks of mascara can get into your eyes while you sleep, causing irritation and even scratches to the cornea.

It’s not uncommon for people to rub their eyes while they sleep, making this a much more likely occurrence. Minor corneal scratches can be irritating and can take a few days to heal.

5. Concretions

Not removing mascara at night on a regular basis can lead to concretions forming under the eyelids.

These are solid masses of old mascara flecks that can cause a range of problems. They can become embedded in the eyelids, cause eye pain and irritation, erode the cornea, and even lead to blindness.

That’s why it’s important not to get into the habit of leaving your mascara on overnight.

Also read: Is Mascara Good For Eyelashes?

How To Remove Mascara Properly

Luckily, removing mascara doesn’t have to be hard.

There is a wide range of eye makeup removers available that will do the job.

Oil-based eye makeup removers, or natural oils such as coconut or castor oil, are great at removing makeup while caring for your lashes.

If you have oily skin, you can opt for water-based eye makeup removers instead, such as micellar water.

Simply soak a cotton pad with your chosen eye makeup remover and press it to the eye for about 20 seconds.

Then gently wipe away the mascara, being careful not to tug at the delicate skin around your eyes.

Remember to wipe with gentle upward strokes as well as downward strokes to get all the mascara off your lashes.

You may find you need to use more than one cotton pad for each eye to thoroughly remove the mascara.

Is It OK To Wear Mascara Every Day?

It’s a good idea to take a break from mascara now and then to let your lashes ‘breathe’.

Using mascara frequently can dry out your eyelashes and make them more fragile and prone to breakage.

You can help negate this effect by using Vaseline, coconut oil, or castor oil on your lashes to condition them.

Can I Take A Nap With Makeup On?

Taking a quick power nap of under an hour shouldn’t be an issue. But if you’re planning to nap for longer than this – say, through the afternoon, it’s best to remove your makeup.

Your skin goes through a natural repair mechanism while you sleep and makeup hinders this process.

Sleeping with makeup on can also lead to breakouts, clogged pores, and wrinkles.

What Can I Use Instead Of Mascara?

Vaseline makes a great, natural mascara alternative. As well as slightly darkening your lashes, it provides them with instant lift and makes them look fuller and glossier.

Alternatively, you could try coconut or castor oil. If you want a more dramatic effect, you can try false lashes, eyelash extensions, or eyelash tints.

Check out our post on Alternative Substitutes For Mascara for more ideas.

So, Can You Sleep With Mascara On?

You should avoid sleeping with mascara overnight as it can cause an eye infection, irritation, and damaged lashes.

You should always use makeup remover to clean your lashes before going to bed as this will ensure your eyelashes stay healthy and in good condition.