Here’s What You Need in Your Nighttime Skincare Routine

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Photo: Nasilele Photography

It’s Sleep Awareness Week! Now there are a long list of reasons to get a good night’s sleep regularly: better productivity, better overall health, better memory, hey, even better sex. But before you hit the hay, I want to make sure your skin is well-prepped for your hours of shut-eye.

I’ve sad this a gazillion times, but your nighttime skincare routine is SUPER IMPORTANT to your overall skin health. As we sleep, the skin goes through a self-renewal process and looks to its surface to pull in nutrients to aid with the process. So if your skin has a full day of MAC on it, how’s it supposed to rise up and overcome? How’s it going to thrive? Exactly.

So I put together this post that details some items that are essential to a proper nighttime skincare routine like cleansing and moisturizing, along with some items that might be once or twice a week treatments. I’ll also link to some previous posts (because I’ve been talking about skincare for a LONG time here), so saddle up and let’s get this thing going.

Makeup Removal:

makeup remover

Can’t properly treat your skin if you still have layers of highlight and contour on your face. There are SO many makeup removal options out there so no excuses for hitting the hay without clearing your beat. Here’s a few makeup removal methods I’ve tried and love:

Olay 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths
Cleansing Oils

Of course makeup wipes are also options for makeup removal—for me, while I prefer a cleansing oil (or the Olay Daily Cloths) over makeup wipes, I like any makeup wipe I use to be saturated and have a smooth service. Some wipes can irritate my skin so I don’t use them often aside from them being my go-to when I’m doing makeup swatches. I have enjoyed the Ole Henriksen Truth to Go Wipes though.

Products pictured:
Lumene Pure Arctic Miracle 3-in-1 Micellar Cleansing Water (sent to me for review consideration)
boscia MakeUP BreakUP Cleansing Oil
Pixi by Petra Double Cleanse (sent to me for review consideration)
Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil
Olay 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths
Garnier Skin Active Mattifying Micellar Water

Note on the products in this post: Some of the products pictured are ones I’ve used and reviewed—if there’s a review for the product, I’ll link to it. Some I haven’t tried either because they’re not for my skin type or not for my current skincare needs but I thought they were interesting to add to the post. I wish I could review every single skincare product I get in from brands (and I get new stuff sometimes weekly) but I sadly only have one face…lol. I try to cover as much as I can, but as someone who is knowledgeable about skincare and is currently 35, has oily skin, occasional adult acne (sometimes resulting in post acne dark spots), facial hair, and moisturizes every single chance she gets, this blog would ONLY be about my routine if I only talked about products *I* use all the time. So for example, while I don’t have dry skin, I do have an understanding of the types of routines and such for dry skin but I don’t always have personal experience with using products for dry skin. Make sense?

Also, it is ALWAYS a great idea to see a dermatologist regularly for check-ups and also if you have a recurring skin issue. You might actually save yourself time and money by going to a dermatologist to treat certain issues than to try to self-treat.


skin cleansers night time

Even if you don’t wear makeup, there are things like free radicals, pollutants, and all other kinds of gunk that can be sitting on your skin’s surface. And again, can’t properly treat your skin if you’re not properly cleansing.

A gentle cleanser for your skin type and current skin care needs is ideal for twice-daily usage. Once or twice a week you might want to deep clean and/or exfoliate as needed (remembering not to overdo it).

See Skincare Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

But please, I beg of you, to really read and follow the instructions on your products. Some products are not to be used daily and if you overuse them, you can cause damage to your skin.

Products pictured:
RoC Skincare Daily Resurfacing Disks (sent to me for review consideration)
Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser (sent to me for review consideration)
boscia Tsubaki Oil-Infused Exfoliating Powder (you can control if you want this to exfoliate or be a cleanser by how much water you add to it)
La Roche-Posay Toleraine Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (sent to me for review consideration)


night time skin treatments

Now this will greatly depend on your current skincare issues. There may even be times in your routine when you don’t have a need for a daily treatment product. It’s SUPER important to carefully follow the instructions on your treatment products. Some may have very particular steps to ensure proper usage. You also want to make sure you’re not using something with an active ingredient that can interfere with another active ingredient or a medication you might be taking.

Also very important to wear SPF during the day as some treatment products can make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

See also: The Order to Apply Your Skincare Products. How to Get Rid of Hyperpigmentation (and if you want to read more posts on dark spots, go here)

Serums (optional)

night time serums

If you need a refresher on serums and what they do (and how they differ from essence and toner), check out this post. Serums are skincare products that are chock-full of concentrated ingredients that because of their form, they’re able to penetrate the skin more deeply than say products that come in a cream form. Not everyone will need a serum all the time and not every serum is for everyone. You’ll choose a serum based on your current skincare needs and issues. For example, if you want to brighten dull skin, you might try a Vitamin C serum. Or if you have dry skin, a hydrating serum might be up your alley. There’s likely a serum for any skin ailment you can think of and your dermatologist might have some with even higher concentration of active ingredient at their office should you need it.

Masks (optional)

night time masks

I love a good mask! There’s a mask for things like deep pore cleaning, brightening, exfoliating, hydrating—shoot, you name it! Just make sure you follow those instructions to the letter.

Products pictured:
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (I LOVE this—make sure you also check the Paula’s Choice site for coupons because I paid less than $10 for mine thanks to Hey Aprill)
Neutrogena Rapid Clear Treatment Pads (sent to me for review consideration)
Alpha Skincare Essential Renewal Gel 10% Glycolic AHA (this brand was previously known as Alpha Hydrox) (sent to me for review consideration)
Africa Miranda Beauty Elixir (sent to me for review consideration)
Alpha Skincare Dual Action Skin Lightener for All Skin Types, with 2% Hydro-Quinone & 10% Glycolic AHA (this brand was previously known as Alpha Hydrox and I’ve loved this dark spot remover for years) (sent to me for review consideration)
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel (sent to me for review consideration)
Murad Advanced Acne & Wrinkle Reducer (sent to me for review consideration)

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum (sent to me for review consideration)
No7 Lift & Luminate Serum (sent to me for review consideration)
Derma E Vitamin C Concentrated Serum (sent to me for review consideration)
Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Brighten & Firm Vitamin C Serum (sent to me for review consideration)

Murad Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel
Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Hydrating Marine Modeling Mask (sent to me for review consideration)
Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque
Sephora Collection Rose Lip Mask
Too Cool for School Egg Cream Mask (sent to me for review consideration)
Sephora Collection Green Tea Eye Mask

See also: The Order to Apply Your Skincare Products


sleeping masks

If you don’t use moisturizer in your skincare routine, do you really have a skincare routine? Moisture is essential for EVERY skin type and issue. EVERY. SKIN. TYPE. NEEDS. MOISTURIZER. Yes, even those of us with oily skin. (In regard to oily skin, you can have dehydrated oily skin—don’t give oily skin enough moisture and it can respond by producing EVEN MORE OIL to compensate).

Moisturizer can help plump the skin and help keep it taut and snatched. Now, it’s not a miracle so it’s not going to dramatically render you snatched overnight. Think of it as prevention vs. the cure. You always want to moisturize day and night. During the day you want to make sure you include an SPF (because one of the biggest culprits to breaking down collagen, premature aging, and also counterproductive in your dark spot fading routine is the sun’s harmful rays).

There are, I don’t know, at least like ten thousand different night creams out there. The one for you speaks to your skin type, current skincare needs, and of course your budget. Right this minute I’m using the Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Oil-Free Moisture Cushion. It’s VERY hydrating but the texture is very light so it doesn’t feel heavy on my oily skin. In fact there’s been a category within moisturizers that do exactly this—very lightweight yet very hydrating. You might see them called bouncy moisturizers or gel creams or who knows what other names, but you’ll know it’s them when they’re touted as being very lightweight but very hydrating.

Sleeping masks:

Sleeping masks differ from night creams in that they aren’t used nightly like you use night creams. Sleeping masks are once in awhile treatments if you feel you need a little more hydration or brightening or whichever need the sleeping mask targets. They also usually contain more intense hydrating or anti-aging ingredients. Not everyone needs to run out and buy a sleeping mask, but if you do find yourself needing one, you’ll likely really appreciate the benefits. One of my favorite sleeping masks is the Peter Thomas Roth Camu Camu Brightening Sleeping Mask (which I’ve found you can get from Amazon for $36.49 vs the $62 it costs at places like Sephora).

Sephora Collection has a series of masks including sleeping masks based on your skincare needs that cost as little as $4 for a single (or maybe two-time) use mask.

Eye cream:

eye creams

When it comes to eye cream, you have to stay ready so you don’t have to GET ready. Basically I’m saying you probably should have started using an eye cream like last week. The area under the eyes can be so much more delicate and also drier than the rest of the face so you have to treat it with kid gloves. But while eye creams are essential in every routine, they cannot be miracle workers. Think of them more as prevention than the cure. They can only do so much without the aid of a visit to the dermatologist. And even after a few pokes and prods after any kind of surgical or non-surgical treatment, you STILL should continue using an eye cream.

See Eye Cream: Stay Ready So You Don’t Have to Get Ready, A Refresher on Eye Cream + How to Prevent Concealer from Creasing, and Skincare Basics: Eye Creams & Serums.

Products pictured:

Moisturizers & sleeping masks:
Sephora Collection Algae Sleeping Mask
Sephora Collection Rose Sleeping Mask
Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisturizer (I like this though I don’t think I did an official review on it—very hydrating yet very lightweight. I love this in the colder months) (sent to me for review consideration)
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Overnight Hydrating Facial Moisturizer (sent to me for review consideration)
Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Oil-Free Moisture Cushion (sent to me for review consideration)
Murad City Skin Overnight Detox Moisturizer (sent to me for review consideration)
RoC Skincare Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Restoring Night Cream (sent to me for review consideration)
Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer

Eye creams:
It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Cream (sent to me for review consideration)
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel-Cream Eye Cream (sent to me for review consideration)
RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Eye Cream (sent to me for review consideration)
RoC Multi Correxion 5-in-1 Eye Cream (sent to me for review consideration)


nubian heritage bath bombs night time body treatments

Don’t forget about your body! I refuse to be snatched only from the chest up…lol. I want my arms and legs and EVERYTHING to be well hydrated and thriving. I also don’t want my feet to cut through my really good sheets when I finally can afford to get them…lol.

I make sure I don’t shower in water that’s too hot. I know it’s tempting to take a nice hot shower especially after a long day, but too much heat can actually rob your skin of moisture. I use a mild soap regularly (I shower day and night—I feel like I can’t leave the house without showering first and NYC feels so icky that I feel like I have to shower again in the evening before I hop in my bed) and once in awhile I’ll use a body scrub or special body wash. As soon as I’m out the shower I like to pat my skin dry and then immediately put moisturizer on while my skin is still a little damp—I’m currently using the Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Lotion. Your skin will absorb the moisturizer better this way than if you wait until your skin is completely dry.

When I want to prolong a pedicure, I slather on some Vaseline Petroleum Jelly on my feet and then slip on some socks. When I wake up in the morning, my feet feel super soft and my pedicure looks refreshed (well, depending on how prolonged the pedicure is…lol).

night time foot hand treatments

And because the hands are one of the first places to show signs of aging (the neck is another—don’t forget to protect ya neck), keep them slathered in moisturizer and pampered with treatment products like a hand mask.

Products pictured:

Nubian Heritage Raw Shea Butter Body Lotion (sent to me for review consideration)
Shhhower Cap (sent to me for review consideration)
Nubian Heritage Lavender & Wildflowers Body Wash (sent to me for review consideration)
Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Bath Bombs (sent to me for review consideration)
Aveeno Positively Radiant 3 Minute Facial (this is for the face but I included it with the in-shower products when I took these pics) (sent to me for review consideration)

Feet Treat Pedi by Look Beauty (sent to me for review consideration)
Vaseline Petroleum Jelly (sent to me for review consideration)
Vaseline Intensive Care Cocoa Radiant Lotion (sent to me for review consideration)
Sephora Collection Aloe Vera Hand Mask


me smooth sleeping mask for eyes

There are things that if you have a little extra in your budget to spare, can enhance your beauty sleep and work to keep your facial skin, hair, and eyes smooth and wrinkle-free. I’ve been using the me Glow Beauty Boosting Pillowcase (sent to me for review consideration) for a few months and while it is on the pricier side, I do love it as an addition to my routine and that I’m covered in case my satin bonnet or scarf slides off my hair when I’m sleeping. And if you want to be really, really extra and have a little more to spend, there’s also a me Glow Beauty Boosting Eye Mask.

So that’s rounds it up for nighttime skincare!

Did you learn anything new in this post? What do you use in your nighttime skincare routine? Tell me in the comments!

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About Danielle

A former finance girl, Danielle is a New York City based freelance writer and fashion and beauty expert. She's a Hofstra University and Fashion Institute of Technology grad with an obsession with fashion and beauty which she loves to tell you all about every weekday on her award-winning blog. Think of her as your style and beauty entourage all wrapped up into one bubbly brown package. Danielle's work and expertise can be found in print and across the web in Cosmopolitan for Latinas,, and more! She's also appeared as an on-air style and beauty expert on The Real, CBS New York's "The Couch" and WPIX11's Savvy Shopper segment.
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4 Responses to Here’s What You Need in Your Nighttime Skincare Routine

  1. Arnette says:

    I need to get my night time act together :/

  2. Tamika says:

    Yeah!! You have Africa’s products in there! She’s a family friend. Super sweet and gorgeous so who would’t buy anything she makes!

  3. Lidia says:

    I love this post. ? . I m a fan of sleep masks

  4. Great night time tips on skincare. Just because I am male it doesn’t mean I am not able to follow these, except for makeup removal, of course. Thank you for this post and more like this.

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