Way back before I truly understood and appreciated the importance of making skincare a priority in my beauty routine, my morning and nighttime skincare routines used to be, more or less, the same. Nowadays, I tend to think of my morning routine as gentler and lighter, as a way to refresh and prep my skin for makeup and the rest of the day, while my bedtime routine focuses more on deep cleansing and more intensive treatments with a heavier emphasis on hydration to last throughout the night.
The first step in my nighttime routine is to remove my makeup, and cleansing oils are always the way to go. My favorite is still the L'Occitane Shea Butter Cleansing Oil ($22), as it's incredibly effective and doesn't leave behind a filmy residue. However, even if it did, it's nothing my nightly second cleanse couldn't take care of. For this, I use either the Cerave Renewing SA Cleanser I talked about in my morning skincare routine post or the Pacifica Sea Foam Complete Face Wash ($10), which I reviewed in-depth here. Regardless of what skin type you have, I think most would enjoy this Pacifica one. It's amazing.
Once my skin is completely cleansed, I reach for an exfoliating toner. I have the Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($28) on hand as well, but I much prefer the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner ($39). The Clarins has a gel-liquid consistency that glides over the skin and leaves almost a thin veil of moisture behind. It's gentle enough to be used daily, but it's effective as well.
Every other night, I alternate between a retinol and a normal, hydrating night cream. I'm currently using the SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 ($57) and I love it. I experienced some peeling the first few weeks I used it, which is to be expected, but I saw a drastic change in the appearance of my complexion after about four weeks of consistent use. Not only has it noticeably faded my acne scarring, but it's made my skin look so much smoother, too. On my off nights, I've been reaching for the L'Occitane Peony Perfecting Cream* ($42), which is ultra-moisturizing, without being greasy or pore-clogging. I love how soft it makes my skin. Although it smells beautiful, I wish it wasn't so heavily scented, as it's not ideal for when my skin is acting up and feeling more sensitive.
Unlike my daytime eye cream, I prefer something a bit heavier for nighttime, and the Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream ($55) is utter perfection. It's the thickest, richest and most luxuriously creamy eye cream I've ever used, but it's not greasy. It takes a bit of time for the cream to fully absorb into the skin, and because of its heavier texture, it's probably not ideal for wearing during the day under makeup, unless you have a very dry under-eye area. At bedtime, however, this eye cream is what dreams are made of. My eye area feels nourished, plump and supple all through the night and well into the morning, and although I don't have any wrinkles yet, I definitely think they'd have to put up a strong fight in order to get past the formidable barrier this eye cream puts up.
The very last step in my bedtime skincare routine is my lip balm, and for that, my go-to has always been and still is the C.O. Bigelow My Favorite Night Balm ($7.50).