Whether you are a loyal fan of the same night cream you’ve used since you were 15 or are always far too tired before bed to do anything other than wash, dry, and slap any old moisturizer on your skin, most of us could use a helpful nudge in the right direction when it comes to kicking our nightly skincare rituals up a notch. At night we give our faces a break from the sun and other elements that contribute to aging and damage, and those precious hours of rest are the ideal time to allow effective ingredients to work their magic on our skin.
But where do you start? With so many skincare options on the market, it isn’t easy to narrow down your choices and create a nighttime skincare ritual that works for you. We spoke with skin experts who broke down the three things that every woman should put on her face each and every night for a flawless complexion.
1. Gentle Cleanser. By pajama time, our faces have accumulated a day’s worth of oil, makeup and residue, simply from living life. “First and foremost, everyone should wash their face each morning and night,” says Dr. Jill Waibel of Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute. “I always recommend using a gentle cleanser that can be used for any and all skin types. Washing each night keeps your pores from clogging by getting rid of any dirt or bacteria you may have accumulated throughout the day. Though using an exfoliator is helpful to remove excess dirt and oil, be careful not to over-exfoliate as this can cause the skin to become dry. When it comes to breakouts, washing can only help. Whether you’re going to wash with a washcloth or your fingers, make sure they’re clean. Washcloths can carry dirt and bacteria, which can be directed right back into the skin even as you’re washing and lead to breakouts. If you do choose to use a washcloth, be gentle as sometimes rubbing too hard can cause skin irritation and sensitivity.”
A cleanser like Cetaphil is a favorite among many top dermatologists. Dr. Gillian Palette, who is the medical director and co-founder of SKYNgenuity Medical Spa and Apothecary, also recommends Glytone Mild Gel Wash, which contains free Glycolic Acid and removes dead skin cells.
2. Serum. Take your nightly skincare routine to the next level by introducing a serum into your regimen. The best serums, which should always be applied before moisturizer so that your skin has an opportunity to absorb them, contain potent vitamins like Vitamin C and E. Both Waibel and Palette recommend SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, which Waibel calls one of her favorite products. “It is a serum that helps build collagen while also fighting the effects of photoaging,” she says. “It works double duty to help your beauty troubles.”
Palette also recommends SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF, an antioxidant treatment containing Vitamin C and ferulic acid that helps even out skin tone (which is great for anyone who suffers from brown spots and hyperpigmentation) and is also effective on those with acne and aging concerns.
3. Eye Cream. The skin under our eyes is extremely delicate and most susceptible to aging. A fab eye cream can combat fine lines, reduce puffiness and keep the skin moisturized in order to prevent further damage. Look for eye creams that contain ingredients such as caffeine, Vitamin C, Retinaldehyde and licorice. Two that Palette recommends include Nia 24 Eye Repair Complex, which she says she uses day and night, and Avéne Retrinal Eyes, which helps with dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines and deeper wrinkles.
For more beauty tips, check out what to do to your skin and hair after a day at the beach and how to fake a full night’s rest with makeup.