Updated 09/01/22. Your body needs beauty sleep and so does your skin! In this post, I’ll share my 10 best nighttime skincare tips. These will give you maximum results so you look fresh, well-rested, and radiant when you wake up in the morning.
10 Nighttime Skincare Tips
1. Wash Your Face Every Single Night
Let’s start off with a very basic (but also very important) nighttime skincare tip, which is to make sure you’re washing your face each and every night. Touching your face all day long, without intentionally doing so, makes your face one of the dirtiest parts of your body. Yet, I still hear so many people say they don’t wash their faces consistently at night.
Washing your face can reduce the spread of blemish-causing bacteria and help your nighttime skincare products penetrate effectively. This will lead to brighter, clearer-looking skin come morning. I certainly understand that it takes effort and discipline to complete your nighttime skincare routine, especially when you’re exhausted after a long day. However, it’s so important to do so. It’s skincare 101.
2. Wash Your Face Earlier in the Evening Rather than Later
Did you know your skin has a circadian rhythm? It acts differently in the daytime than it does at night. Let me explain. In the daytime, your skin produces more sebum, creating a natural film to protect itself from environmental aggressors. It also has improved moisture retention.
If daytime is all about defense, nighttime is all about offense. At night, when your skin isn’t dealing with as many environmental aggressors, its barrier becomes more permeable. Skin cells begin growing and dividing at a higher rate, and DNA repair processes kick in. We used to think these repair processes only occurred during sleep, but we now know that they actually kick in earlier, as soon as the sun goes down! This may mean it’s beneficial to complete your nighttime skincare routine earlier in the evening rather than waiting until right before your head hits the pillow.
The other benefit of completing your nighttime skincare routine earlier in the evening is that you won’t be as tired. You might be more likely to spend the time and effort that’s necessary to complete your full routine. I know it can be tempting to skip steps when you’re ready for bed!
3. Never Skip Moisturizer
Some people skip using moisturizers at night to let their skin “breathe” while they sleep. This is a false assumption. The skin doesn’t have a respiratory system—there is no “breathing” happening at all. So, avoiding moisturizer doesn’t offer any benefit to the skin. In fact, when your face is bare, the skin’s moisture can easily evaporate, resulting in dry skin cell build-up. This can make the skin look dull and tired and it can even contribute to breakouts (read more about why you shouldn’t skip moisturizer).
It’s important to use a moisturizer that’s suited for your skin type because, as I said before, the skin’s permeability increases at night. This allows the active ingredients of a moisturizer to absorb even deeper within the skin, which will benefit your skin cells greatly.
4. Use Skincare Products with Active Ingredients
During the day, your skin requires ingredients that can protect it from environmental aggressors, such as vitamin C and sunscreen. At night, when your skin is at rest, I recommend using products with active ingredients aimed at supporting the skin’s natural repair processes. I personally use the Firm + Repair Overnight Serum. It’s loaded with active ingredients like peptides, algae extract, and fruit extracts, which can improve visible firmness, enhance barrier function, and more.
If you’re looking to smooth the skin and make enlarged pores, fine lines, and crepey texture less noticeable, then using a well-formulated retinol product is the way to go. When it comes to quick surface smoothing, exfoliating acid serums are best.
My advice is to rotate between the three (a hydrating serum, a retinol serum, and an exfoliating acid serum), so your skin gets a little bit of everything. See the infographic below to learn how. And, make sure you read my beginner’s guide to retinol if you haven’t used it before. it will help you prevent dry, flaky side effects.
5. Change Your Pillowcases Frequently
If you sleep on a dirty pillowcase, you could be reintroducing oil and blemish-causing bacteria to your skin while you sleep. This is why it’s important to sleep on a fresh, clean pillowcase every night, especially for people with breakout-prone skin. You can always flip over the pillowcase and get an extra night’s use. (On that note, check out how I sleep on my pillow to avoid premature wrinkles.)
6. 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 avoid high-sodium foods at night. When you wake up in the morning, dab on a refreshing eye cream, like the Renée Rouleau Vitamin C Eye Brightener.
7. Use Baby Washcloths for a Gentle Cleansing Experience
Did you know you should always wipe your skin with a washcloth after cleansing to make sure you’re properly removing makeup? Cleansing lotions dissolve makeup as they’re massaged over the skin, and some of it is washed away when you rinse, but it’s the actual wiping action from a washcloth or sponge that transfers it off the skin. Regular washcloths can be too aggressive on the skin, so instead, opt for a more gentle baby washcloth.
8. Don’t Apply Eye Cream Too Close to Your Eyes
Avoid applying eye cream too close to your lash line. Every time you blink, your eyelashes 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.
The same goes for heavy eye creams that contain oils. These oils can migrate into your eyes and cause puffiness, too. As for an eye cream that I DO recommend, it’s the Renée Rouleau Total Eye Repair Creme. It nourishes the delicate under-eye area without any unnecessary heaviness or greasiness.
9. Avoid Using Greasy Hand Cream If You’re Prone to Clogged Pores
Many 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 your pores, resulting in little bumps that can eventually lead to full-blown breakouts. If you think this might be happening to you, try sleeping with cotton gloves or just wearing hand cream during the day.
10. Sleep 7-8 Hours Each Night
There is no doubt that getting enough sleep can make a world of difference in your body and your skin. As for the latter, a lack of sleep can make the skin appear dull and tired. That’s because, during the day, you’re in a vertical position and gravity pushes blood and fluid downwards, away from the face. Seven or eight hours of sleep will help to balance it out due to the flat, horizontal nature of the body. Also, lack of sleep and increased stress can aggravate all kinds of skin conditions, including breakouts, eczema, and psoriasis. (Check out my favorite trick for glowing skin.)
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. Her hands-on experience as an esthetician and trusted skin care expert has created a real-world solution — products that are formulated for nine different types of skin so your face will get exactly what it needs to look and feel its best. 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.”