Sooo, you want a night skin care routine for glowing skin that won’t break the bank? I got you!
While it may seem like a lot of work at first, a nighttime skincare routine can be a relaxing and enjoyable end to your day that has big benefits for your skin.
In this post, I’ll explain the differences between a morning routine and a nighttime routine. I’ll also show you how to structure a nighttime skin care routine for all skin types.
Morning vs. Night Skincare Routine
One aspect of skincare that many people overlook is the difference between a morning skincare routine and a night skin care routine.
The primary focus of your morning skincare routine should be protection. This means using products with antioxidant ingredients like vitamin C and applying sunscreen. This will protect your skin from free radicals from UV rays and sun exposure.
In contrast, the primary focus of your daily night skin care routine is to let your actives work overnight. This is when you can use ingredients like exfoliants and retinoids. Applying them overnight will allow you to wake up with healthy skin.
Overall, the vast majority of facial skincare should be done in the evening before bed. Morning products should be limited to just a few. This also gives you some leeway in case you’re rushing to get to work in the morning.
By taking the time to moisturize, hydrate, and care for your skin before bed, you’re giving it the best chance to repair itself while you get your beauty sleep. Plus, you’ll be cleansing away all the makeup, sweat, dirt, oil, and other substances that accumulate on your face throughout the day.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into a night skin care routine for glowing skin!
The first step in any skincare routine is cleansing. This is an important step because it removes dirt, oil, and other impurities from your skin, leaving it feeling clean and refreshed.
I typically suggest cleansing with lukewarm or cold water as hot water can dry you out.
There are several types of cleansers to choose from, including:
- Hydrating cleansers
- Foaming cleansers
- Exfoliating cleansers
Some women may also benefit from a skin care product like cleansing balm or micellar water as makeup remover. You can include either of these with the cleansers listed above in a process called double cleansing.
This kind of gentle cleanser is great for people with dry or sensitive skin. You’ll typically find hyaluronic acid, green tea, and aloe vera in these products as they help your skin retain moisture.
These cleansers usually have a creamy or milky consistency and are gentle on the skin. As the name indicates, you will often find this as a water based cleanser.
These cleansers slough off dead skin cells and get rid of clogged pores. They usually contain exfoliating acids like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
Exfoliating cleansers are great for people with oily skin or dull skin. If you deal with stubborn skin texture, this might be the right kind of cleanser for you.
Another popular option! As the name suggests, this type of face wash creates a lather when mixed with water.
They are ideal for getting rid of all the dirt and sweat you accumulate throughout the day.
Foaming cleansers are great for people with oily or combination skin. In my opinion, this is best option as the second step in double cleansing.
After cleansing, the next step in your nighttime skincare routine is toning.
To be fair, toners may not be a necessary step for everyone. However, they can be a great addition to your skincare routine if you’re looking to boost hydration and protect your skin barrier.
So, what do toners do?
Essentially, toners help to balance the pH of your skin and prepare it for the next steps in your skincare routine.
They can also help to remove any remaining impurities or traces of makeup that your cleanser may have missed.
Some toners even contain ingredients like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents that can help to improve the overall health and appearance of your skin.
To use toners in your night skincare routine, apply a small amount to a cotton pad and swipe it over your skin after cleansing. You can also pour a small amount into your palms and pat it into your skin if you prefer. The latter is what I do!
One of the most important benefits of toners is that they can increase your skin’s ability to absorb your other skincare products, such as serums and moisturizers.
So, if you’re using active ingredients like retinoids or exfoliants, adding a toner can help to ensure that these products are able to penetrate the skin effectively.
Depending on your skin type, you might not react well to a toner. Make sure to patch test anything new before you try it!
If you’re serious about anti-aging, retinoids should be a key part of your nighttime skincare routine.
Retinoids are derivatives of vitamin A that can:
- Stimulate collagen production
- Improve the texture of your skin
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
There are several types of retinoids to choose from, including retinol, adapalene, and tretinoin:
- Retinol: an over-the-counter form of retinoid that is widely available in a variety of skincare products. It is a less potent form of retinoid, but it can still be effective at improving the appearance of the skin.
- Adapalene: The only over-the-counter retinoid. It is more potent than retinol and specifically targets acne.
- Tretinoin: a prescription-strength retinoid that is even more potent than adapalene. It is often used to treat more severe cases of acne as well as to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
To use these skin care products in your night skin care routine, apply a pea-sized amount to your your face and neck after your cleanser and/or toner. Gently massage it in until absorbed.
If you’re new, make sure to start with a low-strength retinoid and gradually increase the strength as your skin becomes accustomed to it. You may also want to start by using a retinoid only 2-3 times per week and gradually increase the frequency as your skin becomes more tolerant.
Be warned that you may experience flaky skin as your initially adjust to it!
Some people may not be able to tolerate retinoids at all in their nighttime skincare routine. In that case, I suggest you consider exfoliants instead!
Exfoliating your skin is an important step in any skincare routine, as it helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. This can improve the overall texture of the skin and help to prevent the build-up of excess oil and impurities that can lead to acne.
There are several types of exfoliants to choose from, including:
- Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs)
AHAs are water-soluble exfoliants that work by dissolving the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily washed away.
Similar to hyaluronic acid, they can bind to water which may give you a hydration boost!
They’re also good for evening out skin tone by getting rid of dark spots.
These are oil-soluble exfoliants that work by breaking down the build-up of oil and dead skin cells in the pores. The most common BHA found in skin care routines is salicylic acid.
BHAs are great for people with oily or acne-prone skin, as they improve overall texture.
These are a newer type of exfoliant that are similar to AHAs, but they are larger molecules that are less likely to irritate the skin.
They are great for people with sensitive skin or those who want to exfoliate gently.
How To Use Exfoliants
To use exfoliants in your night skin care routine, apply a small amount after cleansing and toning.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the product, as some exfoliants may need to be left on the skin for a certain amount of time before being rinsed off.
It’s also important to use a moisturizer after exfoliating because they can be pretty drying.
Which brings us to . . .
While eye cream may not be a necessary step in everyone’s skincare routine, it can be a great addition for people who want a boost beyond night creams.
Eye creams are specifically formulated for the delicate skin around the eyes and can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark circles.
Do you need eye cream in your night skin care routine?
It really depends on your specific skin concerns and needs.
- If you’re dealing with dry or dehydrated skin around the eyes, an eye cream can help to moisturize and plump up the area
- If you’re dealing with fine lines or wrinkles, an eye cream with anti-aging ingredients like retinol or peptides can help
- If you’re dealing with dark circles or puffiness, an eye cream with ingredients like caffeine can be good to reduce blood circulation. However, this is best kept for a morning routine.
To use eye cream in your night skin care routine, apply a small amount to your finger and gently pat it into the skin around the eyes.
Avoid pulling or tugging as this area is so delicate.
Moisturizing is arguably the most important step for skin health. Truthfully, no night skin care routine for glowing skin would be complete without it!
There are several types of moisturizers to choose from, including gels, lotions, creams:
- Gel moisturizers are great for people with oily or acne prone skin as they tend to be lightweight and non-greasy. They are absorbed quickly into the skin.
- Lotions are a more traditional type of moisturizer that tends to have a thicker consistency than gel moisturizers. They are great for people with normal to dry skin.
- Creams are the thickest type of moisturizer and are usually best for people with very dry or mature skin. They tend to be more nourishing and hydrating than other types of moisturizers.
The term “night cream” typically refers to a cream moisturizer that is formulated with retinyl palmitate. You would not want to use a retinoid and a night cream in the same routine.
By applying your moisturizer after a good toner, you’ll help keep your skin hydrated.
To use a moisturizer in your night skin care routine, apply a small amount to your face and neck after cleansing, toning, and applying any active ingredients like retinoids or exfoliants.
Be sure to apply your moisturizer to damp skin to increase absorption.
Similar to a hydrating mask, oils can be a nice addition to a winter routine. There are several types of facial oils to choose from, including argan oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and rosehip oil.
My personal favorite oil is rosehip oil, as it is noncomedogenic, which means it won’t clog pores.
To use oils in your night skin care routine, apply a small amount to your face after your moisturizer has soaked in. You can also mix a few drops of oil into your moisturizer or night cream if you prefer.
While not everyone will need to use occlusives in their skincare routine, they can be a great option for people with extremely dry or dehydrated skin concerns.
Occlusives are products that create a waxy barrier to help lock in moisture. Some popular occlusives include vaseline and lanolin.
To use occlusives in your night skin care routine, apply a light layer around your eyes, your lips, and any other areas where your skin may be dry, dehydrated, or irritation.
Typically, I do not suggest applying occlusives over retinoids or exfoliants. Any time that I’ve done this, I’ve always woken up to some some of unexpected irritation. Your mileage may vary.
There you have it! A complete night skin care routine for glowing skin.
Remember, the most common order to apply skincare in is:
- Eye cream
However, this is just a guide. Depending on your specific products, you may have to change the order up. In general, we apply in order from “thinnest and wateriest” to “thicket and oilest”.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different products and ingredients to find what works best for your skin. And above all, be consistent with your skincare routine, as it takes time and dedication to see real results.
I hope this article has been helpful and has inspired you to take better care of your skin!