How Many Skincare Products Should You Actually Apply Before Bed?

You’ve probably seen the meme. The one of the woman, face layered up with serums and oils and creams and lotions, getting ready to hop into bed for a good night’s sleep. Did you laugh with recognition? Are you her, doing a ten-step skincare routine before you go to sleep?

We applaud and admire you for taking care of your skin, but is it possible that you could be doing too much to your face before you go to bed? Is there a limit when it comes to skincare at night?

The short answer is that no, there isn’t, although you definitely should be approaching your sleep beauty regime in a considered and careful manner. The easy way to think about it is that during the day, skincare serves to shield your face and look after your skin. That’s why you use SPF and other products that will block pollution and harmful materials from impacting your skin while out and about during the day. At night, when you won’t be exposed to harsh sunlight or other pollutants, skincare should be working extra hard to treat, soothe and take care of your skin. 

Sleep is, after all, a time when your body works overtime to heal and regenerate, and nowhere is this more evident than your face. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing! While you slip into circadian rhythms, the cells in your skin slowly start to work at rejuvenating, which is why getting your eight hours matters. But it’s also why you should be targeting your nighttime skincare routine to help boost your skin’s natural regeneration. It’s important to choose the right products, and apply them in the right order, to ensure that you get the most out of your nighttime skincare routine.

So, what should you be using? Basically, you should wash your face – taking off all your makeup and cleansing away the pollution of the day. From there, it’s up to you as to how you like to build your routine. You can apply a serum, a light exfoliant once or twice a week, an eye cream, a lip balm, a face oil, or an overnight mask. The one thing you should definitely use is moisturiser. We actually lose water from our skin as we sleep, it’s one of the reasons why, after a particularly long sleep, you can wake up feeling like your skin is dry. Adding an extra barrier of moisture to prevent this water loss is important. Put your moisturiser on as one of the final steps of your skincare routine and softly massage it into your face. This soothing ritual will not only help the product absorb better, but it will destress you before bed.

Everything else is up to you. Nighttime serums are great for anyone who has specific skin concerns: because your skin is doing the bulk of its regeneration work at night, it makes sense to layer up the products that will have the most impact as you sleep. Anti-aging products, retinol, peptides… All of these are best used right before bed. Similarly, an overnight mask – anything that is designed to stay on your face and slowly absorb as you sleep – can work really well as the final step in your nighttime skincare routine. Look for one thick with hyaluronic acid and vitamin c, moisture-rich and radiance-boosting ingredients that will ensure you wake up looking fresh in the morning.

Eye cream is another nightly must-have, mostly because of how sensitive the eye area really is. Because the skin around your eye is so thin, it’s one area that really craves the regeneration that sleep brings. If you don’t have a good night’s rest, your eye area will be the thing that gives you away, and unfortunately, there’s no concealer or eye cream in the world that can hide real tiredness. That’s why applying eye cream daily is so important – just make sure you give it enough time to absorb before you get into bed and rest your face against the pillow. After you cleanse your face, so about an hour or more before bed, should be enough time.

It seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it, to do all this skincare work before washing it off in the morning. But if you organise your routine correctly, each of the products will have time to sink in and be absorbed while you sleep, meaning that what you’re washing off your face when you wake up is purely topical. And then it’s time to do it all again.

On the topic of skincare, here's how to get the best skin of your life.

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