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The Nourishing Nighttime Skincare Routine

Help your skin become an overnight success.

During the day we ask a lot from our skin. From makeup to sunscreen to N-95 masks, the name of the game for daytime skincare is to protect against all the elements. But at nighttime, your skin needs something else entirely. Are you giving your skin what it needs to rise and shine? Read on to see how you can unlock your skin’s potential while you sleep.

Why do I need a nighttime routine?

Morning skin care should protect your skin from the elements. Nighttime skin care doesn’t have to worry about protecting you from much (unless you’re snoozing in full sun). Instead it should be focussed on replenishing and nourishing what was lost during your waking hours.

The reason for this is that while you’re out like a light, your skin puts in overtime. Your skin cells regenerate twice as quickly at night. Here are just a few of the other benefits that happen while you’re in bed:

  • Blood flow increases
  • Collagen rebuilds
  • Damage from UV rays are repaired
  • Wrinkles are relaxed and reduced
  • Cell turnover happens more quickly

Applying products that support these sleep mode activities can help you beef up the “beauty” in beauty sleep.

Nighttime skincare routine to wake up radiant

Because your skin cells turn over more rapidly, what you use before you snooze is always doing double duty. How do you take advantage of this biological hack? The trick to effortlessly healthy-looking, supple skin is what you do before you hit the pillow. Here are the steps to wake up ready to glow.

1. Cleanse the day away

The first step of every strong nighttime routine is to remove all of the makeup, sunscreen and grime of the day. We love removing our makeup first with a water or oil based formula. As tempting as it is to stop at step one, we always follow up with a gentle cleanser to remove the oil and makeup-melting chemicals left behind.

2. Tone to prep the skin for pampering

Toner helps prep the skin to receive all the goodness we’ve got planned in later steps. If you plan to treat for specific skin care concerns, toning can make those treatments go even further. Spray or swipe a bit of a non-irritating toner onto partially damp skin. Some dermatologists recommend this step both day and night.

3. Put eye puffiness, fine lines and dark circles to bed

The skin around our eyes is thinner than pretty much anywhere else. To protect it from too much treatment and take advantage of the wrinkle-reducing quality of sleep, we use our ring fingers to gently tap, tap, tap an eye cream high in hydrating and anti-inflammatory elements. The nightmare of puffiness and fine lines will be put to bed. Eye creams also high in antioxidants can reduce the dark circles from too many sleepless nights.

4. Treat your way to dreamy skin

Since our skin is twice as active at night and requires less protection from outside elements, nighttime is perfect for specific concerns. It’s also a great time to address any skin issues that come up during the day. Worried about wrinkles, acne or dullness? This step is perfect for your retinol, acne treatment, brightening agents and exfoliants. But do your natural moisture barrier a solid and keep it to just ONE treatment a night. If you find you’re waking up feeling rougher, skip this step for a few nights.

5. Moisturize — the major key we don’t want you to skip

If you take away one thing, let it be this. The nighttime skin care game is all about a rich moisturizer. The biggest thing skin has to worry about is losing hydration while it renews cells at double speed and you snooze. It’s a bummer but transepidermal water loss happens even in the sleep cycle. But rich doesn’t mean thick or greasy. Plenty of moisturizers deliver deeply nourishing hydration in quick-absorbing, non-greasy formulas. More on that below.

More on the best nighttime moisturizer

The moisturizing step in our routine is so important we needed to break it down further. Those eight hours you spend horizontal could do a lot for the quality and health of your skin.

While you can get away with a one-note moisturizer during the day, at night we need to really refill the tank. Our skin’s natural moisture barrier runs on lipids (fats like cholesterol, fatty acids and ceramides).

Look for moisturizers high in skin restoring ingredients like ceramides, moisture magnets like hyaluronic acid and hydrators like squalane that mirror what your skin makes naturally.

When you turn the lights out, your moisturizer steps into the spotlight. Make sure she’s all dolled up with the right ingredients to maximize your moisture by morning.

Do I need a “night” cream or sleep mask?

Though our skin needs slightly different things from a.m. to p.m. don’t stress about making sure your skin care tells you it’s for “nighttime.” The ingredients described with sleepytime language are often just as effective when the sun is out and vice versa.

Just like us, what’s in the products is way more important than their labels. But if you find a ceramide that can tell time, do let us know.

Night night. Sleep tight.

The key to finding your nighttime routine holy-grails is to focus on treatment, hydration and nourishment. You’ll thank us in the morning.

Next Up: Strengthen Your Skin’s Moisture Barrier With Three Key Ingredients