How to Build a Night Time Skincare Routine
Trust us: the concept of beauty sleep is no myth. Let Liberty help you curate an effective night time skincare routine that’ll make the most of your skin’s most productive hoursRead more
There’s a reason experts extol the virtues of building a dedicated night time skincare routine. While you’re busy sleeping, your skin gets to work undoing the effects of all that the day has thrown at it. “It’s when skin cells are at their most active and cell turnover is quicker,” explains Daniel Isaacs, Director of Research at Medik 8. “That makes it the optimum time for repairing damage and rebuilding cells and tissue to improve and restore overall skin health and appearance.” While skin is pretty industrious on its own, a well-curated routine chock-full of powerful ingredients will only aid the complexion in this restorative mission. Unsure where to start? Liberty surveyed the experts for practical advice on building a night time skincare routine that works.
Double Cleanse the Day Away
Before you even think about pulling out your best pyjamas, head to the sink. A deep, rigorous cleanse is vital to rid the skin of the harmful bacteria and pollutants it collects through the day and double cleansing is considered the best course of action. It involves first using a balm, oil or micellar water cleanser to peel back makeup and melt SPF, and then following up with a cream, gel or foaming cleanser to rinse away dirt.
Dr AJ Sturnham, GP specialising in dermatology and founder of Decree, made Decree Deep Cleanse, £55, for this very task. “The combination of pore clarifying fruit acids, salicylic acid and lactic acid are a dream team for your night time cleanse,” she explains. “It also contains detoxifying clays and anti-inflammatory zinc and sulphur to remove pore congestion and debris.” The Seated Queen's Cold Cream, £39 makes for a suitably refreshing second cleanse, with skin-softening seed oils and fatty acids.
Exfoliate for Softer Skin
While exfoliation is brilliant for prising dead, complexion-dulling cells away from the skin’s surface, this step should be approached with caution. “Many people overdo the exfoliation step,” Dr Sturnham warns. “I often meet patients who are double cleansing, then using strong acid fruit toners and serums and causing inflammation and dehydration in their skin.”
If your cleanser contains exfoliants (look for terms like AHAs, BHAs and enzymes to be sure) skip the exfoliating toner. If not, opt for a gentle formula (something like Ren's Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic, £28 will do) every other night, and save your strongest skin exfoliators for a once-a-week treatment, tops. Decree’s Weekly Decree, £120, is a two-step at-home peel system that provides a marked difference in radiance, while Biologique Recherche’s P50 Lotion, £111 is the cult-formula that provides a powerful hit of exfoliating acids.
Treat Skin to a Potent Serum
The serum step is the chance to charge your nighttime skincare routine with the most powerful of active ingredients. “At night, your skin enjoys ingredients that act as building blocks for the repair process,” Dr Sturnham explains. “These include peptides and stem cells, pigment-stabilising ingredients, such as alpha arbutin and resveratrol, and hydrating ingredients such as vitamin E, hyaluronic acid and squalane.” But there’s one ingredient in particular that’s widely considered the pinnacle of PM skincare: vitamin A.
Isaacs concurs: “Vitamin A is the unequivocal gold standard for anti-ageing concerns and promotes healthy, happy skin so I would, without a doubt, recommend using a retinoid, preferably retinaldehyde as it is a revolutionary form of vitamin A and proven to be 11x faster-acting than the classic form of vitamin A, retinol.” You’ll find it in Medik8’s Crystal Retinal 10 Night Serum, £83, a does-it-all formula that also contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and glycerin.
Replenish Moisture With a Night Cream
The last step before you climb into your perfectly bedscaped bed? Moisturiser. “Moisture loss increases at night so it’s important to feed cells the nutrients they need to keep skin hydrated and plump,” Isaacs explains. “Look out for humectants, emollients and occlusives – the trifecta in delivering intense hydration.”
That doesn’t mean you need to necessarily invest in a specific night cream, particularly if you’ve opted for a powerful serum, but Dr. Sturnham advises that you give yourself options. “I recommend everyone is armed with a light textured and rich textured moisturiser,” she says. “Be your own skin expert and select the texture of the moisturiser that you feel your skin needs on the day. Most skin types will benefit from a lighter moisturiser in the morning and a thicker, barrier restorative moisturiser at night.” Decree's Peptide Emollient Veil, £115 is a perfect lighter option, while Augustinus Bader's The Rich Cream, £215 is suitably thick and cosseting.