So you’ve got your skin care routine set up just the way you like it—products that are right for your skin type, meet your needs, and don’t cause irritation. And your assorted paraphernalia and treatments are set up just the way you like them, ready to be applied day and night for maximum benefit.
There’s one more thing you should be thinking about, and that’s whether you should be applying the exact same products to your skin for every routine. Some steps are a no-brainer when it comes to this, such as oil cleanser which you only need at night, or skin care remedies that are specifically prescribed for nighttime use. The truth is that your skin’s needs are totally different for nighttime than they are during the day. Here’s how to do it.
What Your Skin Needs During the Daytime
During the day, your focus should be on providing your skin with enough hydration to last through the rigors of the day, as well as protection from environmental stressors like bacteria, UV rays, and free radicals. You might not realize it, but your skin is exposed to so much during the day, touched by your hands, cell phone screens, and whatever molecules that might be flying through the air. And so it’s important to make sure that it’s well-equipped to play defense.
During the day, your focus should be on hydrating your skin, as well as protection from environmental stressors like bacteria, UV rays, and free radicals.
1. Cleanse & hydrate
Your AM routine should of course start with a cleanser, to take off the previous night’s products, overnight oil production, and the dead skin cells that you shed while you slept. Follow it with a toner to create a fresh foundation upon which to layer your serums, moisturizers, and SPF protection. As mentioned previously, feeding and protecting your moisture barrier is one of the most important things to do for your skin during the day, so reach for a hydrating essence, serum, or ampoule after you have patted in your toner.
2. Add in antioxidants
To ensure that you have all your bases covered, feel free to layer on a second serum or essence with antioxidant properties like resveratrol, CoQ10, or niacinamide. This is especially important if your hydrating product doesn’t contain any ingredients that offer protection from free radicals.
3. Seal with a moisturizer
Follow with some eye cream and a light moisturizer. Even if you have skin that falls more on the drier side, your daytime cream of choice should be lighter than the one you use at night so that it absorbs fully and plays well with the other products layered over or under it. Also, a lot of oily skin types fare better with gel-type creams that provide moisture without contributing to the amount of oils in the skin.
Your antioxidant protection could also take this form instead of being added as a second serum. And if you’re worried about providing your skin with enough hydration and locking it in so it lasts through the day, add a few drops of a lightweight oil or a propolis serum into your moisturizer for a boost.
4. Finish with sunscreen
Last but not least, make sure to apply the right amount of sunscreen on your face, neck, and chest. Your sun protection should be at least SPF50 and preferably exist as a separate step rather than being built into your moisturizer. That way you can be sure of an even layer of UV protection. Also, you should be wearing sunscreen every day no matter what the skies look like. UV rays penetrate cloud cover, so skipping out on the sunscreen because it isn’t sunny out is the same as not wearing sun protection on any other day.
What Your Skin Needs During the Nighttime
Nighttime skin care is the time to play offense as your skin naturally regenerates during this time. Asleep in your bedroom, you’re protected from the environmental stress and pollutants that your skin is exposed to during the daytime, allowing time for recuperation and repair. This is the best time to apply products that offer healing and deep nourishment as they can work uninterrupted, hand-in-hand with your body’s rejuvenating cycle. There’s a reason why you wake up the morning after a great sheet mask or sleeping pack with skin that looks softer and less inflamed.
At nighttime, apply skin care products that offer healing and deep nourishment so they can work hand-in-hand with your body’s rejuvenating cycle.
1. Double cleanse
Start your PM routine by cleansing correctly, using an oil cleanser first if you have makeup on, and following with a foaming cleanser to ensure that every stitch of dirt, makeup, and oil comes off.
2. Time to exfoliate
Depending on what kind of exfoliating products you use, you might need to apply before or after cleanser. Some products like mild chemical peels and certain AHAs might need to sit for a while on clean skin before a second rinse or simply continuing with the rest of your routine. Other skin resurfacing treatments work just as well towards the end of your routine. It’s best to follow the directions for each product as advised since there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to take.
3. Be sure to repair
Anti-aging serums are a great choice for nighttime use as they supplement the reparative work your skin is already performing while you sleep, boosting cell turnover to unearth youthful skin. While you may think that using high potency treatments night and day is the right move because consistent habits usually yield great results, you may receive greater benefits by using your hardest working products at a time when your skin is at rest and can fully accept and utilize them.
4. Hydrate with a sheet mask
However, this doesn’t mean that you should skip out on hydration as it’s still very important that your skin has adequate moisture to complete this important task. You can meet that need with a 15- to 30-minute sheet mask, which will do the double duty of hydrating your skin and can serve as a pre-bedtime relaxation session. In the summer, sheet masks can also serve as a way for you to cool off at night. Stick one in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour, then enjoy the soothing sensation while you read a book.
5. Finish with a night cream or sleeping pack
The moisturizer that comes after your application of eye cream can serve a varied purpose depending on its star ingredients. A collagen-rich moisturizer, for instance, will work to lift skin and reduce wrinkles overnight, while one with niacinamide will brighten and reduce the look of dark spots. As opposed to a lighter moisturizer for daytime use, consider a thicker, heavier cream for nighttime use for greater moisture retention and occlusivity. A denser cream will compensate for the moisture you might lose from rubbing against your bed linens, or indoor climate conditions that leech moisture from the air and your skin. Whether your PM moisturizer is a cream or a sleeping pack, feel free to add a few drops of face oil if you think you need it.
Are your day and nighttime skin care routines different?