When faced with the massive array of available skincare products, in all their many categories and uses, many people are understandably daunted. It’s no simple feat to determine which products are really necessary, when to use them, which order to use them in, and which versions are the best. One particular issue that trips up many skincare product users is the difference between a nighttime routine and a morning routine. You may be a customer wondering the exact same thing, or a business wondering how to make this information accessible to customers. Either way, this information should help clarify this particular confusion.
Nighttime Skincare Routines Are Likely More Beneficial
Let’s start with the basics. One thing many don’t realize is that the vast majority of facial skincare should be done in the evening before bed. Morning products should be limited to just a few (which we’ll cover later), and the routine should be much simpler. Skincare is absolutely most effective at night. This is mostly due to the fact that the skin absorbs and replenishes while you sleep, so to get the best benefits, this is when you should do your heavy lifting skincare. When you moisturize, hydrate, and care for your skin before bed by using quality skincare products, all of that good stuff is absorbed and used by the skin to rejuvenate while you aren’t even conscious of it. You also do your skin the favor of cleansing away all the makeup, sweat, dirt, oil, and other substances that make their way onto your face throughout the day.
In the morning, not only do you probably have less time to take care of your skin, but you also already did all the most important skincare the night before. This means your best bet is to keep your morning routine short and simple. Start by gentle rinsing your face or wiping it off with a damp, soft cloth. Don’t pull your cleanser back out—all you need in the morning is to slough off dead skin cells and prepare your skin for your other products.
Next, use a toner. This is the most underrated product out there, and the one that should definitely be used both day and night. Follow it with a serum, if you choose, and then (more importantly) a moisturizer with SPF. If for whatever reason you’re not outside in the sunshine, such as the winter months spent indoors, consider a moisturizer like the Nighttime Nourishing Creme.
To recap, here’s a morning routine in order:
• Rinse face with water, or wipe with a damp cloth
• Moisturizer with SPF
Taking care of your face before bed is probably the most crucial part of any skincare routine. Because the skin does all of its best refreshing and rejuvenating as you sleep, making sure that your facial skin is cleansed and nourished before you hit the hay is the best way to wake up with soft, glowing, beautiful skin that looks great throughout the day. If you do an evening facial care routine only once a week, you won’t be reaping the full benefits of your products. Set aside a bit of time each evening to do these steps and you’ll enjoy a healthier skin glow, plus the relaxing benefits of self-care.
Always begin your evening skincare routine by cleansing your face. This is a crucial step to remove all the makeup, dirt, and other impurities that build up on your face over the course of the day. The next step is to use an exfoliator, if you choose. Exfoliators can be either chemical or physical, depending on your skin needs and age. Physical exfoliators are recommended for younger skin, while chemical or a combination of exfoliators are better for mature skin. Either way, exfoliators should only be used 2-3 times per week, as part of your evening routine. Here’s our favorite physical facial exfoliator and here’s a great chemical one (labeled as a cleanser) to get started.
Follow these steps with a mask, if you enjoy facial masks. There are masks with a wide variety of textures, ingredients, and uses, so look for one that is designed for the needs of your skin. This might be hydration, soothing, redness relief, vitamin-boosting, or a multitude of other benefits. You can see the full list of masks here.
The next step is to use a toner, which is something that many people skip, but should be prioritized. Toner is critical for the face, as it brings the pH balance of the skin to a normal level. It also provides other benefits, dependent on the specific ingredients of your toner. Check out an array of toners here.
Your next move is to apply a facial serum. These primarily serve to deliver potent actives and deep hydration to your skin, helping create that next-day glow and fullness. Facial serums also have a variety of benefits depending on their specific ingredient blend, so be to sure to choose one that suits your skin type and goals. Many people focus on reducing the appearance of wrinkles and signs of aging, but almost all serums can offer their own benefits like brightening, toning, and firming. We have several great options to choose from here.
Finish off your routine by applying the final touch: a face oil, cream, or moisturizer of your choosing. This one is totally up to you and whatever makes your skin feel best. A thick night cream can be incredibly nourishing and moisturizing if you have dry or overworked skin (and nighttime is the best time to use a thicker face cream!). But if you prefer a lighter finish, a face oil or light moisturizer may be preferable. All three of these options lock in the nutrients, moisture, and rejuvenating power of all the other products you’ve applied in your evening routine, giving you the best skin results morning after morning.
You may have heard rumors about ingredients and products to avoid for daytime use. There are a few of these rumors that we personally agree with and also recommend. Products with high Vitamin C content should be used at night, as well as those with AHAs. Not only can these increase sun sensitivity, but they also do their best work at night, so it’s more worthwhile for you to make those products count by using them before bed. We also recommend retinol products for nighttime use, and suggest pairing a retinol with a Vitamin C-based moisturizing product for the best possible effects from both ingredients.
To recap, here’s a nighttime routine in order:
• Exfoliant (physical or chemical)
• Mask, if you like to use them
• Toner (don’t skip this!)
• Face oil, cream, or moisturizerSummary
Crafting your ideal skincare routine can take a little time and trial and error, but pinning down what works for you and your customers is satisfying and gives you real results. We hope that better understanding the difference between day and night routines will help you design your own line, and you’ll see the differences in your own skin. Let us know your favorite routines or products for different times of day in the comments below.