While we sleep, our bodies get to work repairing damage and rejuvenating skin cells. A nighttime skincare routine can boost your body’s damage control, as the products you apply at night can absorb better during slumber. But choosing the right routine can get tricky. With all the skincare buzz out there right now, it may seem like anything less than a 12-step skincare regimen is subpar. However, according to research, those seemingly endless routines may actually do more harm than good. Not to mention, we’d rather not spend our entire paychecks on skincare products. Instead, we’re showing you how to establish your very own simple nighttime skincare routine. Don’t worry — there are only four steps (with some bonus steps to do on occasion).
Step 1: Remove Makeup
If you wear makeup, removing it should always be the first step of your nighttime skincare routine. Sleeping with makeup on your face can lead to clogged pores, dryness and breakouts. Removing your makeup will get your face in good shape so it can reap the full benefits of the rest of your routine. It will also help your cleanser be more effective, according to Nurse Practioner and Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist Jordan Haper. We suggest using micellar water for makeup removal, such as this Bioderma option, which is gentle yet effective. (Bonus: It can double as a cleanser. More on that below).
Step 2: Cleanse Skin
Once your face is makeup-free, it’s time to cleanse your skin. This is a vital step in everyone’s skincare routine. However, the kind of cleanser you use will depend on your skin type. Those with oily skin will want to use a cleanser that fights oils and helps prevent breakouts. On the other hand, those with dry skin will want to use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t remove too much of the skin’s natural oils. Micellar water, which we mentioned above, can be a great cleansing option for those with dry skin. It’s very gentle on the skin and removes dirt and oil without drying it out. If you’re using it as a makeup remover and a cleanser, you’ll want to apply it twice — once to remove makeup, and once more to cleanse your skin. For combination skin types, you can play around with different cleansers to see what works best.
Step 3: Apply Essence
Next, we recommend applying an essence to your face. When you use essence on damp skin, it will lock in the moisture from your cleanse. This will help to repair your moisture barrier if it’s been damaged and keep it healthy if it’s in good shape. Applying essence is an especially crucial step as we get closer to the cold-weather season when dry skin becomes more of an issue for many of us. Essence will give you that “dewy” look we see all over Instagram these days, and it lays the foundation for the next step in your nighttime skincare routine.
Step 4: Moisturize
The next (and arguably the most important step in your nighttime skincare routine) is to moisturize your face. Keeping your skin hydrated can boost your skin’s overall appearance and help protect it from bumps or flakes that result from dry skin. The good news is you don’t have to get fancy with your face lotion to see results. Cerave is a skincare cult favorite, and it does the trick at a low price-point.
Retinol: Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that helps speed up the skin’s natural renewal process while boosting collagen production. It can help combat signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, and it can also fight acne and other common skin issues. Because it can help with a broad spectrum of skin problems, it’s a great product to have. However, it can lead to some initial flakiness, because it causes your skin to shed (think of a snake shedding his old layer of skin). The dryness should subside after a few weeks, though. For those with sensitive skin, it might be best to use retinol just once or twice a week. Talk to your dermatologist about the right products for your skin and budget.
Vitamin C: You may be familiar with the benefits Vitamin C can provide to the immune system. But in a concentrated form, it’s a great topical application for skin, too. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant that helps defend against free radicals, like sun damage. When applied to the face, it can help even out your skin tone and improve skin texture.
Masks: Sheet masks are another skincare item that’s grown in popularity as of late. They’re a lot of fun to wear (we’ve all seen the #selfcare photos), and they offer different benefits depending on the brand and type of mask you choose to wear. Sheet masks aren’t necessary every day or even every week. But, they are a fun way to give your skin an extra dose of hydration when it’s feeling particularly tired or dry.