People are often confused about nighttime skincare. Your body needs beauty sleep and so does your skin. These ten tips will give you maximum results for your skin while making you look fresh and rested when you wake in the morning.
For the best nighttime skincare habits, cleanse your face every single night
Did you know that touching your face all day long, without intentionally doing so, makes your face one of the dirtiest parts of your body? As an esthetician, I still hear from so many people who say they don’t wash their face consistently at night.
Clean skin will give the following benefits.
- Reduce the spread of acne bacteria that may increase more breakout activity.
- Gives your face a clean palette for applying your nighttime skincare products for maximum performance.
- Your skin will look brighter and clearer in the morning.
I certainly understand the discipline and effort it takes to perform your nighttime skin care routine diligently, especially when you’re exhausted. However, you really must do it. This is skincare 101.
Washing your face earlier in the evening is better than later at night
Too tired to wash your skin at night? Try performing your nighttime skin routine earlier in the evening, instead of waiting until right before you go to bed. Why? According to this study, skin cells have clocks. Research shows that the natural repair processes of the skin happen when the sun goes down. Stem cells in the epidermis reproduce largely at night and are responsible for creating new skin cells. For the best beauty sleep, apply your nighttime products earlier rather than later.
Never skip moisturizer at night
Some people avoid using a night cream to let their skin “breathe” while they sleep. This is a false assumption because the skin doesn’t have a respiratory system—there is no overnight “breathing” happening. Avoiding night cream does not benefit the skin. In fact, when your face is bare, the skin’s moisture evaporates more, resulting in dry skin cell build up. This then makes the skin look dull and tired. It’s important to use a moisturizer (one suited for your skin type) because at night when your skin is at rest, the skin’s permeability may be at its highest since it’s not in defense mode protecting against the environment. This allows the active ingredients of a moisturizer to absorb even deeper within the skin which will benefit your skin cells greatly.
Use products with performance ingredients
During the day your skin requires ingredients that protect it from the environment like vitamin C and sunscreen. At night when your skin is at rest and regenerating, you should use nighttime products geared toward repair, exfoliation, and anti-inflammation. Firm + Repair Overnight Serum is loaded with all the best ingredients that your skin needs for optimal nighttime skincare restoration and skin firming. If you’re looking to smooth the skin and make enlarged pores, fine lines and crepiness less noticeable over time, then using a well-formulated retinol serum is the way to go. For quick surface smoothing, exfoliating acid serums are best.
Change your pillowcases frequently
Why? Bacteria and oil may be reintroduced to the skin when you sleep. Especially for people with acne-prone skin, it’s best to sleep on a fresh, clean pillowcase. You can always flip over the pillowcase and get an extra night’s use. Read how I sleep on my pillow to reduce premature wrinkles.
Sleep with your head elevated
Keep your head elevated by sleeping on two pillows to reduce under eye puffiness. This helps to reduce fluid retention in the eye area so you’re less puffy in the morning. If you’re prone to morning puffiness like I am, you’ll also want to drink a lot of water throughout the day and evening and avoid high sodium foods for dinner. When you wake up in the morning, dab on a refreshing eye cream gel like Vitamin C Eye Brightener. It will help a lot with making eyes appear less tired. Read more tips for helping undereye puffiness.
Use baby washcloths for a gentler cleansing experience
Even if your skin is not sensitive, it’s always a good idea to treat it gently. Regular washcloths can be too aggressive, so instead, opt for gentler baby washcloths. (My mother taught me this one. Thanks, Mom!)
Avoid applying eye cream too close
It’s important to avoid applying eye cream too close to the lash line because it can actually eventually end up in your eyes. Every time you blink, your eyelash hairs can lift microscopic amounts of product off the skin. This product is later deposited into the eyes. Anything that enters the eyes can be an obvious irritant and cause unnecessary puffiness.
If you’re prone to clogged pores and bumps, avoid using greasy hand creams
If you sleep with your hands on your face at night, you may suffer from a condition I like to call “hand cream acne.” Most people apply hand cream right before bed. If you sleep on your side with your hands on your face, the cream can get into the skin and clog pores resulting in little bumps that can eventually lead to breakouts. If you think this might be happening to you, try sleeping with cotton gloves after you have applied hand cream or just wear hand cream during the day.
Get beauty sleep to keep the skin glowing
There is no doubt that getting enough sleep every night offers many skin benefits. Most noticeably, a lack of sleep can make the skin appear dull and lacking a glow. When you are in an upright, vertical position throughout the day, gravity pushes fluids and blood flow downwards away from the face. A good night’s sleep with 7-8 hours will help to balance it back out due to the flat, horizontal nature of the body from sleeping in a bed. When you don’t get much sleep, there is less time for the skin’s circulation and fluids to get corrected which results in tired-looking skin. Also, lack of sleep and increased stress can aggravate all skin conditions, including acne, eczema, and psoriasis.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider at night when it comes to keeping your skin in optimum health. Be sure to tend to your skin—the right way—every single night.
Read my favorite 3-minute trick I do at bedtime to get my skin to glow.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”