The ideal morning routine, for me, includes waking up around 6:45, working out and then returning home to eat breakfast, shower and complete my skincare regimen. Surely, give or take one or two steps, yours looks fairly similar — skincare regimen included, I hope. But at night, there's probably greater variation between our routines. Everyone is different, and what it takes to wind down for one person might wind up another. Needless to say, nighttime is our own little gray area.
According to dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo MD FAAD, though, everyone should complete a version of their comprehensive morning grooming routine before getting at least 7 hours of sleep. In order to properly care and restore your skin, you need to tend to it each morning and every night, because it's overnight when your skin is most active.
"When we sleep, our skin and other organs undergo cellular DNA repair," Dr. Ciraldo says. "When we miss the full cycle of this nightly repair mechanism we actually look worse the next day."
In order to aid the skin's natural repair cycle, you need to encourage it with helpful ingredients — like retinoids, peptides and antioxidants.
"For [your] skincare routine, it is very important to cleanse your skin as the first step. That will lay the groundwork for best penetration of your other products as well as removing debris and oils that have built up during the day," Dr. Ciraldo says. "After cleansing, be sure to apply an eye product, and use one that is formulated to be applied 360 degrees around the eye contour. After this, apply to the entire face a serum with antioxidants and peptides and after this a retinoid. In the morning, cleanse and apply eye product and then apply some Vitamin C or other antioxidant in a serum or cream formulation, and SPF (30-50 is an ideal range)."
Your morning and nighttime routines won't differ a ton, so you don't need to shell out that much extra money to accommodate a second skincare session (if you don't already tend to your face at night). Below, both the AM and PM routines are outlined for easy following. Plus, Dr. Ciraldo offers an easy tip for remembering your nighttime routine.
"Of course it's best to always wash your face before going to bed, but this isn't always practical. I advise you to consider washing your face after dinner, i.e., earlier in the evening (and then applying your nighttime routine) for the best shot of doing twice daily skincare," she says.