There's mountains of truth to that old "beauty sleep" saying. So much so, in fact, that sleeping may be one of the most effective steps in your pre-wedding beauty regimen. The nighttime is when skin repairs itself, and in order to reap the benefits, you should sleep for eight hours per night—especially between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. "We've conducted studies that have shown those hours are the skin's golden time to regenerate and repair," says Giovanna Coluccio, the Senior Marketing Manager for beauty brand Amorepacific. "And it's not a cumulative process; you can't sleep only for a few hours during the week and catch up on the weekends. It has to be nightly."
To ensure you're getting quality sleep (if you're waking up or tossing and turning, you won't be fully rested and rejuvenated), prep yourself and your environment. Make sure your room is dark and cool, as those are the ideal sleeping conditions, and stay off your iPhone, tablet, computer, and other electronic devices because the light emitted suppresses melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep cycle. "If we think about how much time we spend readying ourselves for a party—picking out an outfit, doing our hair and makeup—it makes sense to apply the same ideology when getting ready for bed," Coluccio says. "If you have a nice pair of pajamas you sleep in, put those on. Put on soft slippers to get you into that rest and relaxation mode." You can also sip a cup of caffeine-free chamomile or lavender tea to calm yourself and get your body ready for rest.
Then turn your attention to your skincare regimen. Start with a great cleansing ritual. For thorough but gentle results, Coluccio recommends double cleansing: Start with an oil-based cleanser, like Erborian Solid Cleansing Oil, to get rid of dirt, makeup, and sunscreen, then follow with a foaming cleanser to soothe and refresh, like Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser.
Hydration is the next step, and for that, you can use an essence, a serum, or a lotion. (Or all three, if you love the Korean multi-step beauty regimen.) Our current favorites are Dr. Dream Dream Age Radiance Powder Essence, Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Repair Serum, and Biologique Recherche Creme Dermopurifiante. Then finish with a sleeping mask a few nights per week, like Amorepacific Time Response Skin Renewal Sleeping Masque, which is designed to be worn all night long and amplify your body's skin-healing benefits.
"Between those hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., your skin tries to produce hydration, it tries to become more elastic and firm, it tries to reduce oxidative stress, wrinkles, and dark spots from the sun, so when you wear a sleeping mask that adds hydration and moisture, for example, your skin can focus on brightening and reducing oxidative stress instead of hydrating and moisturizing," says Jeong Han (Mark) Choo, Director of Research and Innovation for Amorepacific. Using a sleeping mask is especially helpful the night before your wedding, because moisturized, hydrated skin is the perfect base for great makeup application. Try using it after your bachelorette party, too: "I like to use it as a post-party helper, because after you've had a few drinks, and put it on, you'll wake up looking like you didn't," Coluccio says.