The Right Way to Do Nighttime Skin

Performing a nightly skincare routine is great…but have you ever considered the importance of just when you start?

Surprise — it’s time for a pop quiz!

When it comes to your nighttime skin routine, you do it:

A: Right before I climb into bed (unless I’m too tired).

B: What nighttime skin routine?

C: When I shower — two birds, one stone.

D: Um, I do it at night. Because it’s my nighttime skin routine.

E: None of the above.


If you answered A, you’re not alone — this seems to be when most people who partake in a nightly skin routine do so. It makes sense on paper, but you’re wrong.

If you answered B, you’re just wrong.

If you answered C, kudos on your water conservation, but you’re also wrong.

If you answered D, calm down, smarty pants. “Nighttime” is a broad range of hours so you’re probably wrong, too.

If you answered E, well, let’s hope you did so because you’re doing night skin a little differently, maybe more like “evening skin.”


Sorry I tricked you into taking a quiz and then failing you, but hopefully it got your attention. If you’re a night owl who thrives on getting stuff done after the sun goes down, you can stop reading (but maybe also work on getting more sleep during appropriate hours). But if you’re one of us who adheres to a “normal” sleep schedule, read on.

For a long time, I equated “nighttime skin routine” with “bedtime skin routine” and would wait until I was in my PJs, ready to brush, floss and mouthguard before undertaking my multi-step pre-bed skincare ritual. But the truth is that feeling ready for bed also meant I had way less energy to devote to properly cleansing, toning, serum-ing, oiling, moisturizing and massaging my way to healthy skin.

Because I was already sleepy and could literally hear the pillow calling my name, I often cut corners. Sometimes I’d do the whole thing, but very quickly. Or I’d devote ample time to the steps but only do two or three. After a full day of being a functioning person, and juggling a commute, dinner prep and consumption, catching up with family and friends, decompressing on the couch and already starting to think about tomorrow, there was just no time, space or energy to care for my face the way it deserved. And it started to show.

Which is why I’m here today, making you take quizzes, in an attempt to convince you to start that pre-bed skin routine as soon as you get home. Yes, seriously. Walk in the door, drop your stuff, change into your comfiest pajamas and get to cleansing.

The benefits of shifting the timing of your nightly skincare are threefold: First, you won’t be too tired to properly cleanse and care for your face if you do it when you still have semi-full tank. Second, the less time the day’s grime spends sitting on your skin and the more time your products do, the better. Third, you’ll get it out of the way and have the rest of the night to relax do your thing without the nagging knowledge that you have a multi-step skincare routine in your future when all you really want to do is sleep.


Wanna give it a try tomorrow, say, around 6pm? Here’s how:

  1. Walk in your front door. Drop your bag, kick off your shoes, change out of your daytime clothes and into whatever you feel comfiest in, walk into the bathroom.
  2. Double cleanse. Start by removing dirt, sweat and makeup from your skin with an oil cleanser like the Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil from Pai. Gently massage it into your face for one minute before removing it with a clean cloth. Follow it up with whatever cleanser works for you. (Foaming? Milky? Gel? Your call.)
  3. Mist and/or tone to prime your clean skin for what comes next. (Currently, I’ve got Shea Brand’s Rose Witch Hazel and Juice Beauty’s Hydrating Mist on heavy rotation to help deal with my overactive summer skin, but you do you.)
  4. Serum time. Whether you’re a mix-and-match kinda gal or prefer the one-and-done approach, don’t sleep on serums. During the summer, consider pairing a brightening vitamin C serum with one containing hyaluronic acid to quench heat-thirsty skin.
  5. Moisturize. Oil, cream, balm or all three — finish with something that’s going to be kind to your skin and lock in everything that came before to ensure they’re all doing their jobs efficiently.
  6. Sit back, relax, and relish in the fact that you have several hours in front of you to do whatever you want without having to worry about completing a multi-step skincare routine before you can shut your eyes.


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Haha, I know it’s so bad for you, but sometimes I do my nighttime skin routine while I shower. Soooo drying… but I’m so lazy…

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog