The Perfect Nighttime Skincare Routine

The Perfect Nighttime Skincare Routine

We all deserve nights off to rest up — but your skincare routine doesn’t get any breaks. One of the most important parts of a skincare regimen is consistency, and that doesn’t just apply to washing your face when you wake up. 

“Your nighttime routine isn’t just a form of temporary self-care — if you do it right, it can help preserve your skin for years to come.” 

- Shani Darden, Esthetician

Your nighttime skincare routine is equally as important as your morning skincare routine. It can help refresh your skin after it’s been exposed to all of the dirt, pollution, and impurities you encounter throughout the day, and it can give you an opportunity to address specific skincare concerns while you sleep. 

So let’s talk about how to create the perfect nighttime skincare routine for your skin.

Why Is Evening Skincare Important?

You’ve heard about beauty sleep, right? It’s not just a turn of phrase. 

Sleeping can do a lot for you and your health, from giving your body a chance to heal and recharge to repairing sun damage and rebuilding collagen. In fact, poor sleep hygiene can actually have a negative impact on how quickly your skin ages.

This makes nighttime the perfect opportunity to give your skin everything it needs to glow. As your skin's natural repair process kicks in, you can encourage that process by using products that can help hydrate, nourish, and repair your skin. 

Whether or not you’re interested in putting together a full nighttime skincare routine, I can’t stress enough how important it is to wash your face at the end of the day. 

Your skin can accumulate all kinds of grime throughout the day. If you have oily skin, you may also see a build-up of sebum or natural oils, which can settle into your pores while you sleep and lead to breakouts.

This is especially true if you wear makeup or sunscreen daily. These products should be safe for your skin, but they’re not meant to be permanent. Washing your face is, as always, the one non-negotiable when it comes to your skincare routine.

What's Different About a Nighttime Skincare Routine?

At night, your skin is in repair mode and focused on rejuvenation. It’s a great opportunity to use any specific ingredients or treatments you’d like to use to help address specific concerns. 

The main difference between your nighttime skincare routine and your daily skincare routine is the lack of sun exposure.

There are certain ingredients, like retinol or other retinoids, that can increase your skin’s photosensitivity. This means that using retinol can make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage from UV rays. Because of this, it’s best to steer clear of ingredients like this during the day.

Additionally, some skincare products simply don’t work when combined with one another. Combining multiple active ingredients can either render them ineffective due to how they affect your skin’s pH balance or lead to potential skin reactions.

By maintaining a morning and nighttime skincare routine, you’re able to work more ingredients into your routine and get the most out of all of your products. For instance, you can use one serum for protection in the morning and another in the evening for repairing the skin to help reduce the chance of any side effects.

What Is a Good Nighttime Skincare Routine?

Putting together a good nighttime skincare routine can be just as complicated as planning your morning routine in some ways. But once you have your morning routine down, your evening routine should be simple.

While you absolutely can mix it up and use entirely different products in your evening routine (after proper patch testing, of course), you can also just modify your morning routine. Both routines should feature similar steps aside from your morning SPF.

1. Cleansing

The first step in any skincare routine is cleansing with a gentle cleanser. It's essential to remove makeup, dirt, and impurities from your skin before going to bed to help prevent skin irritation. 

Double-cleansing with a makeup remover like micellar water is often a good idea in the evening, especially if you wear makeup during the day. Even if you don’t, these cleansers are great for removing oil-based build-ups like sebum and sunscreen.

I like to keep my cleansers light and oil-free to give your skin the feeling of freshness without being stripped of necessary moisture. This is especially important if you have dry skin or sensitive skin. 

My Cleansing Serum is a lightweight face wash that helps remove build-up and impurities gently and easily. 

Formulated with super-hydrating hyaluronic acid and glycerin to fight dryness, olive and chicory extracts to help reduce visible irritation, and oat bran extract to help strengthen your skin barrier, this facial cleanser can help prepare your skin for the steps ahead.

Plus, this cleanser is free from harsh scrubs and other physical exfoliants, which makes it a great option for those looking to promote a healthy skin barrier and avoid irritation. 

If you have oily skin, you may want to use a toner after cleansing to help remove additional oil and excess build-up.

2. Serums

This step is where you can incorporate any serums or spot treatments to address specific skincare concerns. If you’re not sure where to start, I like to recommend beginning with a retinol serum.

Retinol is a powerful anti-aging skincare ingredient, so I like to use my Retinol Reform to help address skincare concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots, as well as any other visible signs of aging. Retinol also has antioxidant activity, which means it may help protect your skin against the effects of free radicals.

If you do choose to use retinol, just make sure to stay away from vitamin C for your skincare routine. While I love a vitamin C face mask or lotion to encourage brightness, vitamin C and retinol have pH levels that can cancel each other out if you apply them too closely together. Instead, it’s a good idea to use vitamin C in your morning routine for daily defense and retinol in your evening routine for skin renewal.

A lactic acid serum is also a great option for this step. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), like lactic acid and glycolic acid, and beta hydroxy acids (BHAS), like salicylic acid, are chemical exfoliants. These ingredients can help to slough away dead skin cells, support your skin’s natural cell turnover, and can even help with brightening an uneven skin tone.

3. Moisturizer

A good moisturizer is essential for keeping your skin hydrated and nourished. I like my Weightless Oil-Free Moisturizer, which is a great option for those with oily skin types. 

You can further support your skin’s hydration by adding an eye cream to your routine to help brighten your under-eye area, reduce puffiness, and combat dark circles.

Lastly, if you have dry or sensitive skin, you may want to try adding adeeper moisturizer such as my Hydration Peptide Cream to your evening routine. While the ceramides, peptides, humectants, and other moisturizing powerhouses you can get from a good moisturizer are helpful, occlusives can help seal these nourishing ingredients against your skin overnight.

The Bottom Line

A nighttime skincare routine is just as important as a morning skincare routine. A proper routine can help remove makeup and impurities from the skin, hydrate and nourish the skin, and even repair and rejuvenate the skin. 

Remember to always consult with a dermatologist before making changes to your skincare routine, especially if you have specific skin concerns. With a proper nighttime skincare routine, you can achieve healthy, radiant skin from the moment you wake up.


Does Poor Sleep Quality Affect Skin Aging | Wiley Online Library

Photosensitivity Due to Retinoids: Clinical and Laboratory Studies | National Library of Medicine

The Relation of pH and Skin Cleansing | National Library of Medicine


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