The Nighttime Skincare Formula I Always Follow

As you’ve come to know from reading this blog, I will complete my nighttime skincare routine come hell, high water or questionable bathroom. My skin needs a twice-a-day cleanse and the right formula of ingredients to keep her happy and no matter how tired I am, I get it done. There’s no excuse for sleeping with makeup on.

Now, if you saw my morning routine, it was pretty extensive in terms of time-consuming steps. The masking, tools, those all typically come out in the morning. I like to do the heavy lifting then so if I’m extra sleepy in the evening, I can get to bed faster. This also helps me stick to all of the products I know work for my skin because consistency is everything.

But when it comes to nighttime skincare, I’m less about the pampering and more about the action. I bring out my strongest actives so they can go to work while I’m sleeping. That does not, however, mean I’m using anything that doesn’t feel good on my skin. I don’t want to be kept awake by itchy, irritated skin or wake up to any unwelcome surprises.

Are we short on steps? Not really. But my evening skincare routine doesn’t involve any lengthy wait times for treatments so I can get it done pretty quickly.

Here’s the product breakdown:

First Cleanse — I have been double cleansing forever. I’m not sure it was a conscious decision, I just always used a makeup remover of some kind first. In my teen years there were wipes (ugh), then I moved on to balms and oils. In my 30s, I’ve come to love cleansing milks as a first step, with Lait U from Biologique Recherche topping my list. I can use it all over my face and it even gets rid of eye makeup. A damp cloth is my preferred way to remove it.

Second Cleanse — After the cleansing milk, I like a foaming cleanser, something to gently exfoliate so my skin is fully prepped for my topicals. Lately, I’ve been loving powder enzyme cleansers, like the Rice Polish from Tatcha. I’m almost done with the jar, so stay tuned for a full review.

Tone — I love a toner. Love love. At nighttime, I usually go for a more gentle option since I’m using P50 in the morning, but lately I’ve been using a stronger formula, Glow2OH™ Dark Spot Toner from Ole Henriksen (kindly gifted) and am pretty pleased so far with the results.

Eye Cream — Now, during the daytime I would consider an eye cream an extra, but not at night. This is the time to hydrate and treat this sensitive area since you don’t have to worry about layering makeup on top or rubbing your eyes (which you shouldn’t be doing anyway). I like a thicker formula for nighttime and my all-time favorite is still La Mer’s Eye Concentrate. But I’m determined to get through all of my samples before splurging on another jar.

Serum(s) — First, I start off with a healing serum like BR’s Placenta. Five nights a week, I’m following that with retinol to help with acne and the early signs of aging. My favorite is Retinol Reform from Shani Darden. It’s important to note my skin is accustomed to using AHA/BHA products and retinol at the same time, which is why the stronger toner is fine for me. This is not the case with everyone. I first started doing this about 8 years about under the guidance of my dermatologist to combat acne. But if I’m using a more intense glycolic serum or peel, I’ll use that on a separate night, typically twice a week.

Moisturizer — My skin is oily but dehydrated so I like to reach for a gel or gel cream moisturizer to finish my routine. Never skip the hydration. I’ll give the retinol a few minutes to absorb before I apply it to my face and neck. I just finished the BIO GEL from Neocutis so I’ll include it in my July empties post.

Lip Balm — Dry lips are annoying. The Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is my current solution, although I use a pretty thin layer. Too much and my lips feel too sticky in the morning.

Extra: Face Mist — So, I wrote about the iS Clinical Copper Firming Mist back in January as a pass, but I’ve since changed my mind about it. Does it do some serious heavy lifting? No, not like a serum would. But I’ve found it acts like a “booster” to my nighttime routine, doing more than your average mist thanks to the copper PCA and my skin looks refreshed and happy in the morning after I use it. I’ll also spray it on as soon as I get up to refresh my products for a bit before I do my morning skincare routine.

Extra: Spot Treatment — If I have something extra angry, I’ll dab some Hexomedine on top or apply a pimple patch like these. I’ve also used patches like these from Dr. Jart for post-acne marks.

Moral of the story? Take advantage of your sleeping hours by bringing out the big shots in your skincare routine. It doesn’t have to be a million things, just make sure your skin is clean and hydrated before you hit the pillow and you’ll set yourself up for a much better morning.

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