A Perfect Nighttime Skincare Routine For Every Skin Type


From energy levels to general mood, everything is better after a good night’s sleep – including the skin. At night is when the skin (along with the rest of the body) shifts into repair and restore mode, so making the most of the time you spend asleep – around eight hours if you’re getting enough – is a simple way to encourage healthier, happier skin come morning.

Speaking with some of our clients recently, it has become apparent that many are just repeating their daytime routine at night. Whilst an identical routine will still aid in skin health and rejuvenation, there are some products we advise against using in the evenings such as Vitamin C, creams containing SPF ingredients and perhaps the addition of a slightly heavier moisturiser for nighttime. 

As such I thought it might be a good time to post an article defining a “best practice” nighttime skincare routine. If you are having difficulty deciding which products would best suit your skin for your daytime and nighttime routine, just speak with our skincare specialist when you next book an appointment.

Is a nighttime skincare routine important?

A nighttime skincare routine provides an opportunity to wind down the day and give your body the best chance at proper rest. Aside from the positive structure of evening routines, our skin’s dermis and the substances it contains operate differently during sleep. This means developing a night face routine can provide unique opportunities to enhance skincare efficacy and improve the overall appearance of skin.

You may have heard of the circadian rhythm – the mental, physical, and behavioural changes that occur during our sleep cycle. To achieve essential functions throughout the day, physical changes in the digestive system, hormones and skin come into effect as we rest. For skin, this means a couple of things. Firstly, cell regeneration occurs mostly at night, replacing ageing cells with fresh skin. This evening regeneration then makes skin more permeable – allowing topical skincare products to absorb better into skin layers.

Since nighttime is when the skin shifts into repair mode, it’s helpful to use formulas that support and enhance this process and help skin cells on their way. It’s also the perfect time to undo the day’s free radical damage. Said damage occurs because of exposure to everything from pollution to sunlight. Plus, it’s also important to cleanse away the day’s make-up and surface grime, to prevent clogged pores, congestion and irritation.

What is the best nighttime skincare routine?

To ensure that pollutants and stressors from the day are cleared and efficacious ingredients are applied correctly, there are universal steps for every night-time skin care routine. The best night serum, cream and mask for your skin goals can be viewed below.

The most effective nighttime skincare routine should be focused on regeneration because at night the skin isn’t using precious resources to defend itself against UV, so there’s lots of bandwidth for repair. It is also better able to absorb topically applied ingredients, so if the aim of daytime skincare is to protect, at night it’s all about treating your skin concerns. The skin also suffers increased transepidermal water loss – or dehydration – during the night, so at the very least, it’s important to prevent this by locking in hydration.
How to create the ideal nighttime skincare routine?

Here’s a run-down of the five key steps that can be adapted based on your skin’s needs – plus how to effectively layer all your skincare before bed.

Step 1. Cleanse

Whether you wear make-up or not, cleansing away the day’s accumulated grime, surface pollution and so on is key for healthy skin. A gentle cleanser which won’t disrupt the skin barrier (too much – all of them do to some degree), is your best bet, especially if two cleanses are required to thoroughly remove make-up and then clean the skin.

Our Favourites – Click on the images below to Learn More or Purchase

Aspect Purastat Cleanser
Aspect Gentle Clean
Aspect Gentle Clean
Aspect Dr Deep Clean
Aspect Dr Deep Clean
Aspect Dr AHA BHA Cleanser

Step 2. Toner

Toner may have dropped out of your skincare routine in recent years, but it is important to use a balancing formula post-cleanse to reset the skin pH (which should sit between 4.7 and 5.75). When we cleanse and use water, the skin’s natural pH – and barrier – is impacted. Just ensure the toner you opt for doesn’t contain alcohol.

Our Favourites

Cosmedix Purity Balance Toner

Step 3. Eye Cream

If your work involves long days spent staring at a screen, you’ll be familiar with the concept of eye strain. Since the evening allows us a little more time to perform a more thorough skincare routine, pair your night eye cream with a gentle massage, to ease out any tension and work the product into skin.

Our Favourites – Click on the images below to Learn More or Purchase

Aspect Eyelift 3
Aspect Eye Lift 3
Aspect Dr Eyelift
Aspect Dr Eyelift
Cosmedix Opti Crystal Eye

Step 4. Vitamin A (Retinoid) and Vitamin B Serums

Here’s where you make a choice based on your specific skin concerns and the products you enjoy using. As many of us know, at night is the ideal time for using retinoid products, mainly because the majority don’t marry well with sunlight. It is at this point in your routine that you would apply one, whether retinol or tretinoin. Retinoids do so much – the term ‘gold standard’ is well deserved. And there’s one for every skin type.

After you’ve found the right one for you, it’s important to apply it consistently for the best results. Ingredients like retinoids stimulate the production of key structural proteins, such as collagen, and this takes time – so expect major benefits, like fewer fine lines, from six weeks and beyond, using a retinoid as a single power step (followed by a barrier repair hydrator) at night is enough for super healthy skin.

If you don’t get on with retinoids, apply another serum at this point in your routine. Vitamin B as well as exfoliating acids are a great way to boost cell turnover in sync with the skin’s regenerative cycle, although depending on your skin type, they might be best used once every couple of days to maintain the integrity of the skin barrier. Meanwhile, if your skin is often irritated or sensitive, it might be wise to incorporate a soothing serum – containing calming ingredients such as niacinamide or aloe vera, for example – to help it. Whatever your skin issue is, seek out formulas that work to improve it.

Whatever you do with your nighttime serum, the expert advice is always the same: always introduce one active ingredient at a time – it helps reduce the risk of irritation and boosts the efficacy of your skincare products.

Our Favourites – Click on the images below to Learn More or Purchase

Cosmedix Bakuchiol Complete
Cosmedix Bakuchiol Complete
Aspect Dr Exfol A Plus
Aspect Dr Exfol A Plus
Cosmedix Serum 16
Aspect Retinol LGS
Cosmedix Refine Plus

Step 5. Moisturiser, Face Oil or Overnight Face Mask

The final step is to lock it all in using an occlusive formula. Moisturiser, face oil or an overnight mask, just pick what’s best for your skin type – the important thing about this step is to lock in your treatment step and ensure the skin stays hydrated overnight, so if you want to use more than one product here, that’s up to you.

The best night cream for the job won’t necessarily be specifically labelled as a night cream, either. You can use the same moisturiser you use for the day, although mostly it’s wise to opt for a slightly thicker formula come evening to support the skin barrier and ensure you wake up glowing. Ingredients to look out for? If you want a good occlusive formula, look for shea butter, squalene and niacinamide for that.

And for those in need of a little extra oomph, overnight masks can help to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin. The use of masks is a way to retain radiant skin, we suggest applying a moisture-infused face mask once a week to every fortnight. Especially rich in texture and formula, face masks help your skin to achieve an optimal level of hydration. To lock in moisture overnight and wake up with plump, elasticised and brightened skin.

Our Favourites – Click on the images below to Learn More or Purchase

Aspect Phytostat 9
Aspect Phytostat 9
Aspect Super Moisturising Complex
Aspect SMC Super Moisturising Complex
Aspect Dr Resveratrol
Aspect Dr Resveratrol
Aspect Hydrating Mask
Aspect Hydrating Mask
Aspect Probiotic Mask
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