It Happened to Me: I Slept in My Makeup and Woke Up With Angel Skin

Ruby Feneley tries the marinated makeup trend (by sleeping in her makeup)

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Marinated makeup popped off on TikTok late last year and has since generated 1.9 million views, with everyone keen to get in on the slick and sexy look. 

What’s it all about? Marinated makeup is deconstructed, sweaty, post-club beauty. Think your Saturday-night beat 24-hours later, possibly worn when you’re skipping down the street after a sleepover at a new special friend’s place.

At the People’s Choice Awards last year, Olivia Wilde provided a how-to on the trend. Her tousled locks looked damp to the touch, and her oil-slick smoky eye seemed to seep from her waterline.

We’ve seen sweaty, glazed skin all over the runways. TikTok’s number one viral product is blush. Our favourite break up-It Girls Megan Fox and Emily Ratajkowski have been flying the just rolled-out-of-bed party girl flag for some time.

As Dazed recently flagged, this “post-shag” deconstructed beauty trend is here to stay, but it’s evolving. No longer reserved for Tumblr-core quasi-goth beats, marinated makeup is running the gamut. Whether it’s blurred lips and smudged smoky eyes, as seen at Prabal Gurung, F/W 23 or the fresh, sweat-soaked complexions spotted on the Karoline Vitto AW23 runway, what’s important is a deconstructed vibe.

Supriya Lele FW22, Image Credit: Instagram @farahomidi

What Is Marinated Makeup?

TikTok tutorials for marinated makeup generally involve a whole lot of setting spray to “damp down” a beat. Other tutorials involve spot concealing (an excellent technique for cutting down on the amount of product on your face) and artfully blended smoky eyes accented with a touch of gloss. 

@shaaynemarie Reply to @theoceanatyourdoor this is def an old makeup trick but it’s very fun to declare it as ~marination~ #concealerhack #makeuphack #voguebeautysecrets #nomakeupmakeup #hot ♬ Crazy – Patsy Cline

I’ve been marinating my makeup since I was 14. My all-girls Catholic school had a strict no-makeup policy. That’s no makeup, not “no makeup makeup” for those playing at home. I had places to be (the bus) and people to see (the boys from other schools on my bus). Not to be defeated by a school policy, my strategy for slaying the school bus involved carefully applying loads of $4 black eyeliner and plenty of mascara the night before bed. Then in the morning, I’d grab my homemade makeup remover — sorbolene on toilet paper — and scrub it all off. The crunchy residue provided natural definition and smokiness and, no matter how hard I was told to scrub my face in the art room sink (sometimes with hand soap), the concoction was so deeply embedded in my lashline and tear ducts it was going nowhere. 

Natural marinated makeup at Karoline Vitto
Image Credit: Instagram @karolinevitto

Trying Marinated Makeup

I’ve since worked in the beauty and skincare industry for close to a decade and am terrified of sleeping in my makeup. I wince when I recall the rough treatment my under eyes received. But, recently, jet lag got the better of me, and I fell asleep in a full face after work. When I woke up, I was surprised to find my complexion looked… phenomenal?

It was like a soft focus lens had been applied. Suddenly, the admittedly very natural foundation I’d been wearing was completely undetectable, and my cheeks and lids had a cherubic flush to them not seen since my days at kindergarten. There were no remnants of the woman who’d popped off a red-eye and headed straight to the office a few hours before. I realised I’d successfully, if unintentionally, marinated my makeup.

Rock and roll marinated makeup at Prabal Gurung
Prabal Gurung, Fall/Winter 2023-2024 Image Credit: Getty/Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho 

Perplexed and a little frightened, I turned to an expert for help. Katie Moore, a full-time editorial MUA, tells me sleeping in your makeup is, at least in the short term, a no-brainer.

“As you sleep, the natural oils produced by your skin are coming through,” Moore explains. Beyond this, your body cools overnight and the excess heat is transferred to the materials around you, like your sheets and pillows. This combo basically acts as “a second round of blending, softening areas like the cheeks where people tend to apply too much product.” That explains the seamless, glowing base I noticed in the mirror after hauling my jetlagged body out of bed.

Moore says the marinated makeup trend is bang on the current zeitgeist of imperfect, feral, and slightly chaotic beauty. “It’s all about slightly less rigidly placed makeup right now,” she tells me. “It’s really the Coco Chanel ‘take one thing off before you leave the house’ vibe — you don’t have to have everything done to a tee.” She does want to make it very clear, she does not recommend sleeping in your makeup (I on the other hand, absolutely do).

Avoiding a Complexion Crisis When Marinating Your Makeup

My first brush of makeup-marinating-napping didn’t bring that familiar dry, tight feeling I attribute to waking up in your makeup. Maybe it was partly the absence of a hangover, but I’m also attributing it to the products I wore that day.

These included a few “makeup as skincare” besties: Westman Atelier, Vital Skincare Complexion Drops ($113), a brand new addition to my beauty lineup with a legitimately high concentration of skin actives, from Tsubaki and avocado oils to ginseng and pomegranate extracts. I’d topped this up with the new, uber-creamy Charlotte Tilbury, Matte Beauty Blush Wand in “Pink Pop” ($60) and had coated my lashes in Rose Inc, Ultra-Black Lash Lift Serum Mascara ($46), a lengthening, super black mascara with argan oil and goji berry extract to thicken, and peptides to lengthen.

While I wouldn’t recommend clocking your nine hours in a full beat every day of the week, I will now be scheduling my pre-night out naps (yes, they’re essential) post-makeup.

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