There’s a reason it’s called beauty sleep, and the way you treat your skin before going to bed at night determines how refreshed—or tired—it will look the next morning. “It’s important to develop a nighttime-specific skincare routine because the body as well as the skin recovers at night,” says Holly Sherrard, Dermalogica Canada education manager. “It’s a time of rest, recuperation, and the skin really regenerates itself.”

We asked Sherrard to share her expert skin care advice on how to create a nighttime beauty routine to wake up feeling totally refreshed and well-rested (or at least look that way).

Always wash your face before heading to bed

“One of the biggest fails that people have is that they forget to cleanse their face at night or they’re too lazy or tired to do it,” says Sherrard. “It’s actually aging your skin in particular if you wear a lot of makeup.” And if you aren’t washing your skin at night and leaving on all that dirt and debris, you’re more likely to wake up with breakouts, as well as blackheads and whiteheads.

Be sure to fully cleanse and exfoliate the skin at night to remove those dead, dull surface cells, and allow for more treatment products to penetrate the pores to prevent dry skin.

Beauty products: The best CLEANSING MILKS

Skin care products—the difference is night and day
“At Dermalogica, we say that the key difference between a daytime and nighttime moisturizer is SPF protection factor,” says Sherrard. As your skin becomes more sensitized at night, it’s the perfect time to apply more high-intensity products. To treat pigmentation, look for products with a higher concentration of lactic acid to minimize the melanin within the skin while you sleep. “And in the morning, you’re going to cleanse, possibly your exfoliation if you do it twice a day, and then you would finish off with your SPF.”

Anything with a higher concentration of hydroxy acids, or even Salicyclic acid to treat acne, should be used at nighttime only as they’re exfoliating dry skin. By wearing those products out during the day, you can risk causing further pigmentation. But free to double up on vitamin C serums, or anything with a high concentration of antioxidants helping to treat the skin, for your day and nighttime skin care beauty routine.

Skin care 101: DRY SKIN FIXES

How to build your nighttime skin care beauty routine on the next page…


Products that contain retinol, for example, are safer to use on skin at night so they can’t be broken down by the sun. As skin recuperates during sleep, use products that are rich in multi-vitamins and peptides help promote collagen production, says Sherrard. “In the morning, we’re going to be using products that have SPF and protection from the environment,” she adds.

The best products for DRY SKIN

Build your nighttime beauty routine
The focus for your skin at night is to wash and buff away the products that were meant to last all day long—think sunscreen and makeup primer—to allow skin to breathe. Start out with a gentle oil-based cleanser to remove the surface debris. Tailor your cleanser to your specific skin care needs—like acne-prone or dry skin.

Then move on to exfoliation. “Anytime skin has a more even porosity—where you don’t have dry spots, hydrated spots—it’s much easier for products to penetrate.

The secret to FLAWLESS SKIN

It’s also a great time to use a face mask because the products can absorb into skin throughout the night. “When you’re looking at skin being refreshed in the morning, it’s after you’ve had that intense hydration,” says Sherrard. Follow up with a serum that contains multivitamins and peptides (Sherrard recommends Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Serum), and lastly, your nighttime moisturizer.

It’s all about creating a layering effect: “Starting out with a clean base is your best start and then you’re going to layer products according to your needs,” says Sherrard. Try using a hydrating toner on moist skin to allow for the product to be more easily absorbed than on dry skin. But it’s all about personalizing your routine and choosing products that work best for your skin. “There is a point where the skin only absorbs so much and it’s just sitting on the surface, “ says Sherrard. “It’s a balancing act.

Read more:
Beauty 101: The best overnight beauty products

Skin care 101: Dry skin fixes

Face serums 101: The key to glowing skin

Flawless skin: Makeup primer tips