Your Sleep Mask Might Be Damaging Your Lashes — Here's How

Plus, how to take care of your eyelashes at night.

Getting your beauty sleep is a real thing that everyone should prioritize. As you sleep, your skin undergoes a rejuvenation process where it sheds dead skin cells and produces healthy, new ones. And there's no denying that a sleep mask can help improve the quality of your sleep because it can help the brain recognize it is time to shut off.

That said, if you're someone who experiences weak, sparse, or misshapen eyelashes, your sleep mask may be the hidden culprit. So how can you ensure you're getting a goodnight's rest without sacrificing your lashes? We tapped industry experts to find out how a sleep mask disrupts your lashes and how to protect lashes (natural and extensions) overnight.

Sleep Masks and Eyelashes

Sleep masks have tangible benefits.

Studies show that when you get sufficient and restful sleep, it can offer anti-aging benefits. According to Eric Nofzinger, MD, a psychiatrist and sleep medicine expert, the key to restful sleep is a quiet and dark environment. "Light is one of the most potent signals to our brain to remain awake," says Dr. Nofzinger. "So keeping light out is essential in signaling to the brain that it's time to sleep." This lights-out effect when wearing a sleep mask might outweigh the negative impacts on your lashes.

However, it's important to note that, yes, it is possible for a sleep mask to harm your natural lashes and extensions. Here's how.

Eyelash extensions can lose their shape.

According to Clementina Richardson, a celebrity lash expert and founder of Envious Lashes, a sleep mask can cause eyelash extensions to lean and lose their shape from being pressed against your eyes all night. Fiona Stewart, the founder of Slip, a brand known for its coveted silk sleep products, agrees and adds that sleep masks can also cause lash extensions to clump and get tangled.

Natural lashes can weaken and fall out.

In addition to lash extensions, if you aren't using a gentle fabric or are incorrectly wearing a sleep mask, the pressure of a mask can cause natural eyelashes to weaken over time. This weakening could cause your lashes to fall out more often and lead to overall thinning and shortening of your lashes. A sleep mask could also offset the effects of a lash lift.

How to Minimize Lash Damage at Night

  • Purchase a loose-fitting sleep mask.

    The risks sleep masks pose for your lashes is the pressure of them sitting on your eyes overnight. Richardson says you can avoid this by ensuring the mask isn't too tight on your face.

  • Opt for a sleep mask that is designed for long lashes.

    "Look for sleep masks that are adjustable or designed for lash extension wearers. There are many affordable options nowadays to choose from," says Richardson. The Slip Lovely Lashes Contour Sleep Mask ($55; is specifically designed to protect delicate lashes because of its shape that sits away from the eyelids.

  • Protect lashes with extensions and lash serum.

    Additionally, Richardson recommends investing in eyelash extensions and taking care of your lashes throughout the day to protect them. "If applied correctly by a licensed and certified professional stylist, all your lash services should stay intact while wearing an eye sleep mask," she says. "Make sure to be gentle with your extensions, avoid rubbing your eyes, and use a conditioning lash serum."

So, do you need to give up your sleep masks to ensure beautiful lashes? Probably not, but it's worth implementing these tips to support the look and feel of healthy, strong eyelashes.

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