Since I posted my current morning skincare routine a few weeks ago, I thought I’d go ahead and post my updated nighttime skincare routine too.
It’s no secret that I live for my skincare regimen. I’ve turned it into a ritual and the whole thing has become kind of a meditative experience for me.
It’s a very literal version of *self care* and I NEVER miss a day. In fact, one of my best talents is being able to completely wash my face and do my full regimen no matter what state I come home in (this was, of course, particularly impressive in college).
And this tweet that went around for a while? The most “me” thing I’ve ever seen.
Anyway, take this as your sign to invest in your skin and find a nighttime skincare routine that works for you! I think everyone should give their face (and neck! And chest! Don’t forget.) a little love at night.
Similarly to my morning routine post, I am going to include everything I use and try to explain how I use what on certain days. I’ll add a few more affordable options too, and hopefully this will be a helpful resource if you’re looking to update your own night time skincare routine.
One thing I’d like to say quickly before we begin: in terms of clean beauty, I do my best but I don’t lose my head over it. This is kind of how I approach “clean living” in general. I think we’ve gotten to a point where we are all so wound up about toxins and such that I wonder if the stress is even worth the benefits, you know? Listen, I try to buy clean products most of the time, but sometimes I want to try something for a while that isn’t “clean” (looking at you retinol, ILY). And that’s OKAY. The dose makes the poison, anyway, right? Don’t come for me.
We *love* a double cleanse. Hear me out: I view it like cleaning a floor. First, you vacuum all the dust and crumbs, and then you mop to attack the dirt and grime.
Once my face is totally clean, I use a cotton pad to apply Glossier’s Solution Exfoliating Toner. This product saved my skin from breakouts in my early twenties, and now I just use it on my nose and chin–or if I have a “problem” area. I use it more sparingly now because it has salicylic acid in it which can be drying but it still works wonders on my clogged nose pores, etc. (gross but you feel me).
After my toner has had a minute to set in, I apply a serum. I have a couple of different active serums that I rotate through each week, and I consider this the most impactful step of my nighttime skincare routine.
I’ve always said that the most worthwhile use of your skincare funding is in a serum. The consistency of a serum allows those active ingredients to soak into your skin at a molecular level (as opposed to a moisturizer or an oil which have more of an emollient function–still important but not going to “change” your skin the way a serum will).
It’s important to pay attention to what time of the day you’re using those serums. Hyaluronic acid and vitamin C are great for mornings–these help brighten, protect, and hydrate your skin in preparation for the day ahead (check out my daytime regimen here if you missed it). Retinols and exfoliants are better for night time since they can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
I’ve been using this retinol serum from Dr. Dennis Gross all year and have been really impressed with it. I use this 3-4x per week. I personally did not have any issues adjusting to this product, but–fair warning–it can be common to experience redness when first using a retinol product. Retinol (aka Vitamin A) kind of does it all: boosts collagen production, fights breakouts, evens tone and texture of skin. It’s a “big gun” if you know what I mean.
(Deal alert! This set is the same price and also includes 14 mini peels which I’ll talk about more below).
Note: Retinol isn’t recommended for those pregnant or breastfeeding, so I’d look for products with bakuchiol in it–this is said to be a natural alternative to retinol. I used this one from Herbivore.
On the nights I don’t use retinol, I apply an exfoliating serum. My favorite is Farmacy’s Honeymoon Glow Resurfacing Serum. I’ve been using this product for YEARS and consider it to be a holy grail item. This is a chemical exfoliant, meaning it helps turn over dead skin cells and clarify pores over time. I will say that this product can feel a little intense–it does tingle in a semi-jarring way when you apply it.
Another option for this step is Osea’s Seaglow Overnight Serum–this has a similar active ingredient profile but is much more gentle.
The moisturizer step is really a choose-your-own-adventure moment because we all have varying levels of dryness. Personally, I run very, very dry, so I don’t mess around here. I have made it my life’s work to try as many night creams as possible, so I’m going to share a handful of favorites here:
I have always loved the True Cream Aqua Bomb from belif. It’s EXTREMELY hydrating but absorbs really well so you don’t feel sticky after. Farmacy’s Honey Halo is fantastic too and has a pretty clean formula if you care about that. I also like the Ultra Repair Cream from First Aid Beauty for “sensitive skin” days. Lastly–and I’ve mentioned this product many times, I know–I swear by Weleda Skin Food. This is a VERY intense cream that is so thick that it feels like a mask. It’s intense, and I love it, lol. You can’t beat the price point either.
If I don’t look like a wet seal by the end of my skincare routine, then I’ve done something wrong. As a finishing step, I love to apply an oil all over my face, neck, and chest to really lock everything in. I’ve been loving the Biossance Squalane + Rose Oil this year, but a more affordable option is Acure’s Argan Oil. (If you have oily skin, you can probably skip this step).
Since I don’t regularly get facials, I like to dedicate a little extra time once in a while and do an “at home spa night.” On those evenings, I’ll use my trusty Amazon facial steamer along with a mini peel pad from Dr. Dennis Gross–I absolutely swear by these. They are such a treat.
Or, I’ll use a face mask. Here’s a list of my favorites. I do my spa night “extras” before I apply my normal regimen.
It’s a pre-weekend pick me up: just a little note with links to the latest blog posts, what I’m reading lately, and products I’m obsessed with. Think of it as a friend dropping off a surprise latte in the morning--you know?