How many steps are in your skincare routine? If you’re like a lot of people, especially women, today, the answer is likely five or more, but all those steps may not be necessary, especially at night. Nighttime is primetime for skin healing because you’re not touching your face or wearing makeup, making it the perfect time to focus on rejuvenation. Rather than undertaking some elaborate practice with a dozen products – Healthline even outlines an 11-step skincare routine – nighttime skincare should be all about simplicity. Moreover, it definitely shouldn’t be confusing.
Before you start your nightly cycle of washing and exfoliating, it’s time to dig a little deeper into what makes evening skincare work. For maximum effectiveness, you need both the right products and the right order. Do away with the excess and pare back your routine to the bare necessities.
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A Blank Slate
The first step to your nighttime skincare routine is to strip your skin down so that it’s a blank slate for all the other products you use, and to get there you need a great cleanser or makeup remover. Whether you need both depends on your preference, as well as how much makeup you wear. Some skincare gurus recommend using makeup remover first and then using your cleanser, but others feel confident that a cream cleanser will both remove your makeup and keep your skin hydrated.
Switch To Serum
Once you’ve removed your makeup and washed away the grime of the day, it’s time to move on to your serum treatment. Before you apply, though, it’s important to know that serums can be a bit abrasive, providing the benefits of an exfoliant, which is why most experts recommend applying them at night. Your bare, nighttime skin also allows the serum to penetrate more deeply, and as those with acne or other skin issues can tell you, these problems get worse with poor sleep.
When choosing a serum, you’ll want to consider the ingredients carefully. Glycolic acid-based serums are most popular but they can dry out your skin – this is why a cream-based cleanser is so important. For those who already have dry skin, a combination product with glycolic acid and other, more hydrating ingredients can treat acne and dark spots and shrink pores without leaving skin irritated.
Rehydration Before Rest
If you find the most beneficial serum for your skin is rather dehydrating, you can opt to keep your drying product and simply introduce a rehydrating element after the serum, and there are plenty of products that can do this. Some opt for a hydrating mask, while others target specific areas with eye cream. Then there’s the school of thought that says these extra products will just trap dead skin and other debris on the skin’s surface overnight. Your skin is actively regenerating and shedding old layers overnight, and you’re just going to have to wash that all away in the morning anyway. How much you need an additional cream or hydrating element here, then, depends on your individual skin chemistry.
Make A Mask
If you want to give your skin a final boost before you go to sleep at night, make the last step of your skincare routine a simple DIY mask. Masks don’t have to be a trendy sheet mask or heavy clay product; they can actually be just about any full-face coating your leave on for an extended period. For an overnight mask, mix vitamin E with aloe or coconut oil and tea tree oil. These will provide any extra hydration your skin needs, soothe inflammation, and even kill acne-causing bacteria so that your skin is looking your best when you wake up.
You don’t need a dozen steps to have great skin, but you do need to be mindful of what products you use and when you choose to use them. Nighttime skincare is about wiping away the debris of the day, while the products you use in the morning should protect your skin from the sun, dry air, and other environmental hazards. Most importantly, all your products should make you look and feel your best.
Images by Arved Colvin-Smith for Design SCENE