May 23, 2024


My last article focused on your rise-and-shine regimen, but today’s article will give you all the info you need to design the perfect night skincare routine for your skin type.

If you don’t already know me, my skin type is dry, sensitive, and aging. I’m a skinimalist and a clean, green beauty advocate, so that’s where I’m coming from, although my advice is applicable to all. 

Nighttime skincare routines have special priorities you can’t focus on during the day. Caring for your skin doesn’t end when the sun goes down.  The importance of a dedicated night skincare routine can’t be overstated. Keep reading to find out how to make the best nighttime skincare regimen for glowing results. 

Morning vs Nighttime Skincare Routines - infographic by bareLUXE Skincare

Importance of Nighttime Skincare

When we sleep, our bodies work hard to repair and rejuvenate, and our skin is the largest organ of our body. The nighttime benefits for our skin are numerous, with skin cells regenerating much faster. This provides the perfect opportunity for active ingredients in our skincare products to work their magic.

Skin repair is one of the key reasons why an evening routine is so essential. As our skin cells regenerate, they incorporate these active ingredients more efficiently, leading to improved skin health. This process can address specific cosmetic concerns, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.

Hydration is another critical component of a good nighttime routine. Using the right products enhances our skin’s hydration, firmness, overall complexion, and skin tone. This overnight hydration ensures that we wake up with skin that’s healthier and more radiant.

Incorporating a consistent nighttime skincare routine is an investment in your skin’s health. It’s a commitment that yields visible results over time.

How Night Skincare Differs from Morning Routines

Nighttime skincare differs significantly from morning skincare due to the way our cells work to heal themselves. While we sleep, our skin undergoes overnight regeneration, making it the ideal time for targeted treatments.

While morning routines focus on protecting and preparing our skin for the day, night skincare routines focus on two main goals: repair and rejuvenate. Nighttime skincare is all about treatment and recovery.

Bedtime is when I take advantage of the most active ingredients like bakuchiol and peptides, which offer maximum effectiveness under the cloak of night. I also focus on deep hydration and moisturization by using heavy products that otherwise might be too much for daytime use. I usually go to bed looking like a glazed donut!

Understanding Skin’s Nighttime Behavior

As darkness falls, our cell biology kicks into high gear, initiating its repair processes. This nocturnal activity enhances skin elasticity, restoring firmness and resilience to our largest organ.

Sleep is a time of intense cellular regeneration. 

Circadian Rhythm

Because of vasodilation, our core body temperature drops at night. This results in increased bloodflow to our skin and increased skin temperature. Not surprisingly, the rise in skin temperature at night enhances the absorption of our skincare products, making our nighttime routine all the more vital.

Vasodilation causes increased bloodflow to the skin, which amplifies cell regeneration, replacing aged or damaged cells with fresh ones. At the same time, the rate of collagen production peaks. This nighttime synthesis of collagen aids in replenishing skin’s elasticity, helping to improve plumpness and a youthful bounce.

Autophagy is a cellular process where cells break down, destroy, and recycle damaged components. At night, this process is heightened in skin cells, aiding in the removal of cellular debris and the repair of damaged proteins and organelles. This natural cleanup process can significantly impact skin health, reducing signs of aging and improving skin clarity.

Exploring the Skin Microbiome

The skin microbiome experiences changes during overnight that affects skin health and skincare product effectiveness.

  1. Shifts in Microbial Activity: At night, the skin’s pH levels tend to rise, creating a more hospitable environment for certain bacteria. This shift can affect the skin’s barrier function and its ability to combat pathogens. Nighttime is also when the skin is less exposed to environmental stressors like UV light and pollution, allowing for a different microbial dynamic that focuses on repair and regeneration.
  2. Interaction with Skincare Products: Heavy night creams and occlusives can alter the microenvironment by trapping moisture and affecting the local microflora.
  3. Night Bloomers: Certain bacteria are more active at night, contributing to skin’s natural repair processes. Leveraging probiotic skincare that supports these beneficial bacteria can enhance skin health.
  4. Moonlit Microbes: Studies suggest that microbial diversity on the skin can vary between day and night, with night showing a propensity for regenerative and restorative microbial activities.

Key Steps in a Nighttime Skin Care Routine

Each product serves a specific purpose, from the initial cleanse that removes all the impurities of the day to the application of toners, serums and treatments.

Pay attention to the routine order of things, however as long as you cleanse first, the main priority will be achieved.

Cleansing: Importance of Removing Pollutants and Makeup

At the end of the day, cleansing is crucial for removing makeup, sunscreen, and impurities. This allows active ingredients to penetrate deeply into the skin. Our skin is exposed to various environmental pollutants throughout the day, and a proper facial cleanser will remove these harmful substances.

Clean skin ensures a canvas for the rest of your evening skincare products, improving their penetration. 

Using a gentle cleanser is important. It helps maintain the skin’s natural oil balance, preventing the overproduction of oil, which can lead to breakouts. Remember, over-cleansing can strip your skin of its natural oils, disrupting this balance.

Bedtime is the best time to do a deep cleanse using the 2-step cleansing method. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin and choose to refresh using only water (and no products) in the morning skincare routine. 

The oil cleansing method is especially effective if you use waterproof makeup. It can be accomplished using a simple facial oil.

Toning: Preparing and Balancing the Skin

Toning balances the skin’s pH and enhances the absorption of active ingredients. It helps maintain hydration and primes the skin for better product penetration.Toners infused with hyaluronic acid not only hydrate but also contribute to pore minimization. They work gently by removing any lingering impurities after cleansing. This process reveals a smoother skin surface that is ready for treatment products.

If you have dry skin, using a hydrating toner is a good idea. Another option is to use a lactic acid or polyhydroxy acid (PHA) toner for gentle chemical exfoliation.

Serums and Treatments

Having set the stage with a thorough cleanse and toning, you’re now ready to tackle specific skin concerns using targeted serums. The options for skin care products is enormous, but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to get beautiful skin.

Identify the main skin problem you want to tackle and focus on that for your treatment products. It can be overwhelming because there is a face serum out there for everything from acne treatment to wrinkles to hyperpigmentation.

The treatment stage is when you would use your retinoid unless you’ve decided to use a retinol alternative like bakuchiol. Treatments containing peptides can boost collagen production, firming your skin and giving it a supple, healthy look.

Chemical exfoliation during the night helps shed dead skin cells, revealing a vibrant complexion beneath. As I mentioned above, some chemical exfoliants are too harsh, so going with PHA or something more gentle will be kinder to your skin barrier overall. 

Spot treatments for acne are also applied during the serum/treatment stage of your routine.


Like eye cream, masks are somewhat optional. However, they’re good additions to your treatment regimen when you have the time. They can provide very concentrated delivery of ingredients. Doing a mask at night is usually best because you’re winding down your day and not rushed for time.

The perfect mask takes just as long to work as it takes to drink a cup of chamomile tea. 

Eye Cream

I have always debated the importance of eye cream. Some ingredients are known to benefit this area specifically. However, taking good care of the eye area can sometimes be achieved with the same serums and moisturizers you use for the whole face. If you do choose to use an eye cream, use it sparingly and apply it without too much rubbing or pressure. 

My preference is to use an eye cream during my daytime morning routine so that I can use one that’s been chilled/cold to help reduce puffiness as I start my day.

Moisturizing: Lock in hydration and support the skin barrier

Deep moisturization is a critical component of the night skincare routine. Your product choice could be any favourite moisturizer or night cream. Using a face oil is a great way to moisturize at night. Something like jojoba oil is a good choice because of it’s occlusive properties.

For those of you with normal or dry skin, night is a good time to experiment with heavy creams or occlusives (also called “slugging”), although we prefer natural occlusives over petroleum-derived ones. 

Oily skin types might want to stick with a gel moisturizer or a lighter lotion. If you have oily skin, it’s best to lightly moisturize at night and stick with less intense hydration during the day.

Regardless of your skin type, moisturization is very important for the skin barrier, especially since so much healing is done at night. 

Special Ingredients for Nighttime Use

Retinoids and peptides are two power players that offer significant benefits when used during the evening hours.

Retinoids are best used at night because they can increase redness, irritation, and sun sensitivity. They can dramatically boost collagen production and promote cell turnover, paving the way for a smoother and more youthful complexion. 

Personally, I prefer to use bakuchiol instead of retinol. I’ve written a comparison of the two ingredients. Bakuchiol won’t cause the same amount of cell turnover though, so that’s why I like PHA toners so much.

Peptides play a pivotal role in maintaining skin elasticity and firmness by boosting collagen production. I’ve been a fan of peptide benefits for years, particularly for their role in collagen stimulation. By sending specific signals to our skin cells, they encourage the production of more collagen and elastin, key proteins that support elasticity and firmness.

Look for ingredients like Matrixyl or copper peptides in serums or creams for top-notch results.

Tips & Trivia: Enhancing Sleep Quality for Skin Benefits

I’m excited to share these insights, as they show that skincare doesn’t just stop at topical treatments but extends into every part of our lives, including our sleep habits.

Impact of Sleep on Skin Health

As a passionate skincare professional, I can’t overstate the importance of sleep quality for skin health. It’s during deep slumber that our skin regeneration processes kick into high gear.

Lack of sleep can affect the restoration process of your body, resulting in sallow colour changes and eye bags caused by fatigue. The skin around your eyes is very delicate and thin. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin’s ability to regenerate properly is hindered, making it appear even more transparent.

Poor circulation due to inadequate sleep causes an enlargement of blood vessels located in the skin beneath your eyes. The body responds to chronic tiredness by producing hormones such as cortisol to increase energy levels. These hormones cause an increase in blood flow to the skin, which enlarges blood vessels and retains water, leading to darker circles and puffiness.

Tips for a restful sleep that promotes skin health

The mind-body connection plays an important role in this, as stress relief directly contributes to better sleep and, in turn, healthier skin. Here are some effective tips to enhance your sleep quality and promote skin health:

* Cultivate a peaceful sleep environment

* Establish soothing bedtime rituals

* Incorporate relaxation techniques

The role of silk pillowcases and their benefits for skin and hair

Incorporating a silk pillowcase into your bedtime routine can enhance your skin’s health and your hair’s vibrancy, thanks to its unique properties that reduce friction and retain moisture.

Although I do not practice a vegan lifestyle, I’ve never loved the idea of silk due to cruelty concerns. Using a cotton sateen pillowcase instead of a silk one would be a reasonable substitution. However, make sure the sateen is produced by fibers that are natural (ie. cotton), because polyester would contribute to microplastic pollution.

Trivia: The effects of sleep position on wrinkle formation

Believe it or not, even the position you sleep in can affect the health and appearance of your skin, particularly when it comes to wrinkle formation. It’s not just about what products you use or how often you cleanse, but also how you lay your head to rest at night.

Here are a few sleep position-related tips for wrinkle prevention:

* Try to sleep on your back. This position reduces facial contact with the pillow, thereby minimizing skin compression that can cause wrinkles.

* Opt for silk or cotton sateen pillowcases if you can’t sleep on your back. They create less friction than cotton, reducing the chance of developing sleep lines.

* Regardless of position, make sure to get quality sleep. Good rest enhances skin health, leading to a more youthful appearance.

Trivia: The role of melatonin in skin health

Melatonin is produced within your own body and helps protect your skin from oxidative stress, aiding in its defence against aging and environmental damage.

Melatonin does more than just act as an antioxidant. It helps with skin repair at night, leading to a younger look in the morning. It also plays a role in keeping the skin barrier strong, which is important for moisture retention and defense against pollutants for better skin health and glow.

Oral Melatonin Supplements: Improving sleep quality can indirectly benefit skin health. Better sleep can lead to improved skin appearance, as sleep is a key time for the body’s repair processes, including those of the skin. While direct evidence linking oral melatonin to cosmetic improvements is limited, the general enhancement of sleep quality can contribute to the skin’s ability to rejuvenate overnight.

Topical Melatonin Applications: Applying melatonin directly to the skin is a more targeted approach. Recent studies suggest that topical melatonin can act as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from oxidative damage caused by environmental stressors like UV radiation and pollution. This is an up-and-coming skincare ingredient to watch!

Common Night Skin Care Mistakes

Even with the best intentions, we can make mistakes in our night time skincare routine that can sabotage our skin health.

One of the most common errors is over-exfoliation, which can cause more harm than good.

We also need to take into account the use of the right types of moisturizers and not neglect areas like the neck and décolletage, which often show signs of aging first.



In wrapping up, I can’t emphasize enough how essential a personalized nighttime skincare routine is for achieving and maintaining healthy skin. I encourage you to experiment with different products and track your results to find what works best for your skin.

If you’re dealing with specific skin issues, don’t hesitate to consult a dermatologist for professional advice. Ideally following a step-by-step guide like this one in the correct order will result in smooth skin and a reduced appearance of wrinkles.

Your skin works hard while you sleep, so give it the love it deserves. With the right products, a little knowledge, and a dash of dedication, you’re on your way to achieving that enviable morning glow.


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