We all have a routine we go through before getting into bed each night. If a proper skin treatment hasn’t made its way onto your nighttime priority list - this year’s the year to start. Whether you love heavy makeup or just an SPF moisturizer and some Chapstick, it’s important to give our skin a chance to breathe at night by actually removing any foreign residue from your skin and moisturizing enough so your face wakes up feeling as rejuvenated as you do.
Step 1: Makeup Eraser
Removing makeup and any environmental pollutants that we naturally run into day-to-day should always be the first step in any skincare routine. Using a double-sided makeup eraser cloth (we often choose this one from Sephora because it last super long) gives you a soft, short fibre side to gently wipe off makeup as well as a long fibre side that doubles as an exfoliator. You know we love a 2-in-1 kind of deal in our products. Just rinse the cloth in warm water and then it gently wipes your face clean of any makeup without chemicals or waste that may be in traditional makeup-removing wipes. One cloth can be machine-washed up to 1000 times and can replace about 3,600 disposal wipes in its lifetime - so you're helping the environment, too.
Step 2: Cleansing Gel
Now that your skin’s surface is clean and clear, it's time to tackle the deeper oils and pollutants lying dormant below the surface. A cleansing gel should be applied directly to your damp face. Use your fingertips to gently spread the gel throughout your face in circular motions. Cleansers, especially gels, are designed to clear the skin of impurities without affecting your skin's natural moisture - which we know is an important thing to consider regardless of age or season. If you’re in the market for a good cleanser that doesn’t dry out your face, right now we’re loving this one because it’s not super heavy but still gets the job done!
Step 3: Hydrating Cream Cleanser
A cream cleanser is a good idea to bake into your nighttime skincare routine because it conditions your skin for a good deep clean without stripping your face of natural oils and drying it out. Choose a cleanser that is good for all skin types (especially if you have more sensitive skin). If you’re looking for recommendations, Valeria uses this one specifically because it’s made with electrolyte-rich cactus water. The seed oil also melts away residual makeup or debris on your face while offering that conditioning effect. Your skin should immediately look and feel softer and replenished even if you were spending the whole day in dry winter air or covered in sunscreen.
Step 4: Face Mask
Whether you’re trying to battle those visible signs of aging, blemishes, or just want to keep your skin looking dewy and healthy, we always recommend investing in face masks. Sheet masks like Valeria's doning above work wonders for your skin (and for your self-care routine) but in drier, winter weather specifically, we tend to use an ultra-hydrating one that contains hyaluronic acid because it’s specifically designed to hydrate skin and replenish moisture levels - a winter savior if there ever was one.
Simply lather the gel in your hands and then apply directly to your face, allowing 10-15 minutes for full permeation. Wiping off the mask is a great opportunity to use your reusable makeup remover cloth again. Although we wouldn’t recommend exfoliating every night, once or twice a week you could use the long-fibre side to gently exfoliate your face in the removal process.
Step 5: Hydrosol Toner Spray
Pictured: Extracting Aloe Vera Gel, addon.life
Any toner spray is going to penetrate deep into your skin and brighten and even out your complexion, but they have a bad reputation for also drying your skin out. When it comes to this step, if you’re purchasing a toner it’s worth it to pay close attention to the ingredients. Look for witch hazel (a shrub that multiple Indigenous peoples have used for medicinal uses for sore muscles and skin inflictions long before colonized North America) and aloe vera (which is well known to treat sunburns and has about a hundred other uses).
Witch hazel is used often in astringents to purify and clean and aloe vera helps trap moisture on the skin. Try a toner that is alcohol-free so it minimizes the appearance of pores but still has hydrating agents like aloe vera. Long gone are the days of sacrificing moisture for toned, younger looking skin. Also, look for hydrosol, which is the water collected from plants after they are extracted for their essential oils. This diluted solution is better for sensitive skin than concentrated oils, and definitely better than other alcohol-based toners.
A lot of toners are available in liquids that you have to use a cotton pad or cloth to wipe across your face - but that’s too much for a nighttime routine. Because you’re heading to bed, you don’t have to be super heavy with products like toners since a more oily complexion isn’t a big deal. A toner spray helps regulate how much liquid goes on your face (and helps the product last longer). If you’re using this toner in a morning skin routine, you can spray more depending on how oily your skin gets.
Step 6: Serum & Overnight Recovery Oil
Serums work best after cleansers but before any moisturizer creams. They contain tiny molecules specifically intended to deliver potent active ingredients to the skin. One of the most common purposes of serums is to reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles - or smile lines as we affectionately call them. Our skin experiences an array of stressors and pollutants every day causing inflammation, which is a huge contributor to signs of aging. Just a few drops are all you need, and the anti-inflammation elixir is going to work with your skin's own ability to retain and release moisture as needed. We’ve found that a good serum investment is La Mer’s concentrated one. It’s a higher price range but will last you a long time, since again, you only need a few drops per evening.
An alternative to a traditional serum is recovery oil. Recently we’ve used Kiehls’ product which is made with lavender oil, primrose oil, and squalane (a lipid derived from olives). These combine to help us relax and get ready to sleep, while replenishing our skin’s natural barriers to pollutants. Look for oils that advertise that they absorb easily into skin. No more oily residue!
Step 7- Retinol Cream
Retinol is a word that’s thrown around a lot in skincare jargon but how many of us really know what it means? Retinol is made from vitamin A and it is designed to penetrate deep into your skin and help your body produce collagen and elastin - the proteins that keep skin tighter and younger looking. Some retinols can be irritating to skin if you’re more sensitive so look for one that specifically has an added moisture component. Also, retinol doesn’t have to be applied every night; two to three times per week is plenty. Keep it for your nighttime routine rather than your morning one since it can make your skin more sensitive to sun. So as you should be anyway, always wear sunscreen (even if it’s winter).
Lately, we’ve been using this Retinol 0.5 because it has that blast of moisturizer that minimizes any skin irritation.