It happens to the best of us. Even if you're religious about washing your face to the point you deliver sermons on the topic to your friends, all of us are bound to fall asleep wearing makeup at least once in our lives. On New Year's Eve in particular, we find ourselves getting our full 8 hours, only to roll over and touch our mascara-caked eye around 2 p.m. and realize—crap, you've done it again, and traces of last night's face are marking your once white pillowcase.
The first logical step? Crawl out of bed and over to a sink. If you have micellar water or eye makeup remover on hand, start by taking off the layers of your smoky eye. "If you do fall asleep without washing your face, removing your eye makeup is the first critical step. Many eyeshadows contain quartz and mica, which are highly irritating to eyelid skin and can concentrate in the fold, releasing dark particles into the eye for days later," explains Dr. S Manjula Jegasothy MD of the Miami Skin Institute. "This can cause chronic irritation to the corneal surface, and cause chronic dry eye. Mascara formula can also crumble and flake into the eye, causing these symptoms as well." Once your eye area is set, wash away your foundation so you can let your pores "breathe."
Avoid scrubbing too hard and steer clear of any aggressive exfoliants. "Your skin is already a little clogged and irritated from wearing makeup ingredients for an extended period of time," Dr. Jegasothy says. "Do not try to self-extract any clogged pores immediately after removing makeup. Wait until the next morning or whenever you're ready." Should you feel one of those underground pimples starting to form, try steaming your face to open your pores. Apply a lightweight serum that allows your skin to interact with the atmospheric air, and follow with an eye cream—Dr. Jegasothy recommends the Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Eye Gel ($50; ulta.com). Ideally, you'll want to keep your makeup off all day to repent for your sins, but if you have somewhere to be that afternoon (you social butterfly, you), wait until the last possible minute, and opt for something super lightweight. Your friends will totally understand if you're late if you just explain that your skin was depending on it.