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 PM skincare routine that’ll make the most of your skin’s most productive hours
There’s a reason skincare experts extol the virtues of building a dedicated night time skincare routine, separate to your morning skincare regime. While you’re busy getting a good night's sleep, 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.
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1. 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.
Formulated with sunflower seed oil, avocado oil and squalene, Jones Road The Cleansing Stick, £34 makes light work of breaking down makeup while The Seated Queen's Cold Cream, £39 will act as a suitably refreshing second cleanse, with skin-softening seed oils and fatty acids.
2. 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 and BHAs or 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, £30 will do) every other night, and save your strongest skin exfoliators for a once-a-week treatment, tops. Biologique Recherche’s P50 Lotion, £89 is the cult-formula that provides a powerful hit of exfoliating acids - and there's one for every skin type.
3. 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 the aforementioned trio: hyaluronic acid, vitamin E and glycerin.
4. Recharge Eyes with an Eye Cream
If you've been staring at a computer screen all day (and a phone screen all evening), then your eyes will be exceptionally grateful for a generous dollop of eye cream. Really the aim of the game here is to rehydrate the thin, vulnerable skin around the eye, but you can also look out for ingredients like retinol to speed up cell turnover, or hyaluronic acid to plump up deflated skin. Dot underneath the eye and around the orbital bone, and use your ring finger to gently pat in – as the finger with the weakest tendons, it'll be the gentlest.Shop Now
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Auto Correct Brightening and Depuffing Eye Contour Cream 15ml
5. 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.” Susanne Kaufmann's Renewing Night Cream, £200 is a perfect lighter option, while Augustinus Bader's The Rich Cream, £140 is suitably thick and cosseting.
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6. Glaze Skin with Facial Oil
As a polarising skincare product, not everyone will be keen to finish their nighttime skincare routine with a slick of facial oil, but if your skin is particularly dry, you'll reap the rewards. A layer of facial oil will help lock in the benefits of all the products that have come before, as well as treating skin to a rich blend of plant and seed oils with added benefits.
Votary's Super Seed Oil, £79 is universally adored for its lightweight texture and mega results. It uses the oils of 22 different varieties seeds to address dryness, redness, irritation, inflammation and also the premature signs of ageing. Simply drop a pipette-full into the palm of the hand and gently pat onto skin. Better still, you can use this as a moment to indulge in some facial massage, one of the greatest at home beauty rituals going.