Your morning and nighttime skincare routines don't have to be complicated but they should vary slightly. It makes sense, right? In the day, you want your skincare to protect your complexion from things like sun and pollution, prep your skin for makeup, and keep it hydrated. At night, your routine should be focused on cleansing away the day's dirt and makeup, and bolstering your skin's natural regenerating processes that happen at night.
Everybody's skin is different, some people have dry skin, others oily but below is a go-to guide for the basic steps every good AM and PM skincare routine needs.
AM Skincare Routine:
If you're cleansing thoroughly at night then your morning cleanse doesn't have to be too rigorous. Oily and combination skin types should look to a gel or foam face wash, dry skin types would benefit from a milk or balm cleanser, and "normal" skin types can choose based on texture preference! If you have sensitive skin, be gentle and look to a cleanser designed especially.
A toner can remove any lingering dirt and grime. They balance your skin's pH after cleansing (sometimes tap water can be drying), offer a little extra moisture, and can lessen the appearance of enlarged pores.
This is the step where you tailor your skincare routine to your skin and its needs, as well as the time of day. Think about what your skin concerns are, is it wrinkles? Pigmentation? Dryness? Look to serums that are designed to treat the concerns you have.
In the daytime, look for serums that boast antioxidants as these work to protect your skin from things like sun damage and pollution. Every complexion can benefit from a good dose of hydration first thing and this serum is like a tall glass of water for your skin.
Moisturisers lock in hydration. If you have very dry skin then look to a thick buttery moisturiser, you can even layer a face oil on afterwards to really nourish the skin. Got oily or combination skin that never really feels dry? Use a lightweight lotion.
If your moisturiser doesn't contain SPF then you should finish with sunscreen. Look to SPF 30 as standard and apply it every day, year-round. The sun's ageing rays - UVA - can reach your skin through cloud cover and even windows and can trigger your skin to age prematurely (think fine lines and pigmentation). Sunscreen is one of the best age prevention products you can use.
PM Skincare Routine:
Double cleansing is as simple as cleansing twice! You can use the same cleanser or, if you want to get fancy, you can use a thicker balm cleanser to really dissolve any makeup and dirt from the day, then you can follow with a light cleanser to remove anything that's lingering on the skin.
Again, you want to tailor this step to your skin concerns but you can also look to ingredients that will help your skin repair and regenerate while you sleep.
For instance, retinol helps speed up your skin cell turnover. Our skin renews every 28 days but, as we age, this slows down which can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, and dullness. Retinol revs up your skin so it acts and looks younger. If you're looking in your thirties then it's worth adding a retinol to your nighttime routine 2-3 nights per week, or if you're in your late twenties and starting to notice some fine lines or dullness.
Lock in your serum product with a moisturiser. You should look for one without SPF as your skin doesn't need protection at night. Instead, get yourself a hydrating cream as we tend to lose moisture from the skin at night (this is known as Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL).
The amount you exfoliate depends on your skin type. You can exfoliate morning or night, after cleansing and before applying your serum(s). Not only does exfoliating leaves skin smooth and prepped for makeup, but it clears away any dead skin cells that can block your serums for working as effectively.
Sensitive skin: 1-2 times per week
Oily/Combination Skin: 4-7 times per week
Dry Skin: 3-4 times per week (as long as it's not dry and irritated)
Normal Skin: 3 times per week
Masking is really designed to tackle those skin concerns whether it's pigmentation, dehydration, fine lines, blemishes, or more. Look to add a mask into your skincare routine once or twice a week. For example, if you have blemishes you might want to use a clay mask and then a hydrating mask either in the same sitting one after the other, or on separate days (tip: spot-prone skin can often be dehydrated which means it's lacking vital water).