A Night Skin Care Routine for Every Skin Type

A Night Skin Care Routine for Every Skin Type

Having a separate routine for both morning and evening can help you manage your concerns and keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

Incorporating the right products at night can be a game-changer for your appearance! 

Not sure where to begin? Here’s a brief primer on nighttime skin care basics, no matter your skin type. For the best results, try pairing your nighttime routine with an equally customized morning skin care routine.

Gentle cleanser

An effective routine should start with cleansing the skin. Think about it like starting with a fresh, blank canvas. To make a true change, your pores need to be as clean as they can be so that they can absorb as much of your skin care products as possible.

The type of cleanser you use should depend on your skin type and skin care goals. For example, a foaming cleanser is generally best for oily and breakout-prone skin, while a gel cleanser can help those with sensitive skin minimize irritation.

Some people even like to use the double cleansing method, where they use two different facial cleansers — an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based cleanser (or micellar water) — to remove all traces of debris, including dead skin cells and makeup. 

Thoroughly removing makeup is also an important part of your night skin care routine. If you wear makeup or tinted SPF, use some makeup remover and a cotton pad before your cleanser to help remove product buildup.

Once you’re done washing your face, pat it gently dry with a soft (preferably microfiber) towel and let it dry completely before moving on to your next steps. Sometimes, putting serums on wet skin causes them to become less effective or more potent, which can increase the risk of skin redness, irritation and sensitivity.

Appropriate serums

Serums are another essential component of a night skin care routine.

The type of serum or spot treatment that you use will change based on your goals and areas of concern. Here are a few of the most popular active ingredients in serums and how they may benefit your skin. Keep in mind that change takes time and consistency, so results may not come overnight.

Hyaluronic acid

This natural substance is already present in the body, especially in the eyes and joints. When used in a skin care serum, hyaluronic acid can help keep the skin feeling strong, supple and elastic, allowing it to stay hydrated and bounce back. More resilient skin may also be less prone to showing fine lines and wrinkles.

This is an effective ingredient for every skin type. Hyaluronic acid can soothe irritation in sensitive skin, provide lightweight hydration for oily skin and help moisturize dry skin. 


This active is a form of vitamin B3 that can help support natural collagen production, which can lead to a smoother, brighter, more even skin tone. Niacinamide is one of the keys to the appearance of healthy skin, which is why many people choose to add this crucial ingredient to their night skin care routines. 

This is another ingredient that generally works for all skin types. In dry or sensitive skin, niacinamide can soothe irritation and redness, while in oily skin, it can help address breakouts.

Vitamin C 

Not only is vitamin C serum a potent antioxidant — it’s also a skin care super ingredient. Over time, vitamin C can help minimize the appearance of dark spots. It also works well with sunscreen, providing even more benefits against damaging UV rays.

Vitamin C can be helpful for all skin types, although it’s generally a good idea to introduce it slowly if you have sensitive skin. It’s also important to avoid using vitamin C alongside retinol, as each ingredient can often impact the effectiveness of the other.


Exfoliating serums are another popular nighttime skin care product. These help chemically “scrub” dead skin cells from the skin’s surface. While retinol is the gold standard (check out our Night Watch serum), alpha and beta-hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) can also be helpful.

AHA exfoliants like glycolic acid, lactic acid and citric acid can help any skin type, although it’s generally wise to introduce these ingredients slowly if you have sensitive skin. Meanwhile, BHAs like salicylic acid are great for oily skin, as they can get deeper into the pores to clear out excess sebum and calm blemishes. Finally, retinoids are superheroes for aging skin, as they can help smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Supportive moisturizer

The last step in your night skin care routine should be a supportive moisturizer — hydration is vital to the health of your skin barrier! Even oily skin needs moisture, which helps to keep the crucial collagen-elastin matrix strong and resilient. 

Not only does hydrated skin tend to be more resistant to free radicals and signs of aging than dehydrated or dry skin, but it’s also generally less likely to experience irritation. Plus, hydrating products can also have a firming effect.

Look for a nourishing, occlusive night cream that holds moisture in your skin. You can also choose an option that's more catered to your specific skin concerns — our High Beam brightening lotion, for example, contains peptides to help brighten and smooth the skin. 

Some people, especially as they get older, also prefer to specifically target their under-eye area with an eye cream (like our Eye Sculpt), which can help support that sensitive area. Not only can these creams help to reduce the appearance of dark circles, but they can also decrease visible puffiness and fine lines.

If you have dry skin, you may want to look at rich emollients like mineral oil, lanolin and cocoa butter, as these can moisturize and lock in hydration. If you have oily skin, look for lightweight moisturizers like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, and make sure to finish with a non-comedogenic occlusive like squalane or a lightweight face oil like rosehip seed oil. 

If you have combination skin, you may want to use two separate moisturizers for each section of your face. If you have sensitive skin, look for soothing ingredients like aloe vera, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid.

The bottom line...

Your nighttime skin care routine is just as important as your morning skin care routine. Each routine can have a specifically positive impact on how your skin looks and behaves, keeping it dewy, youthful and even for as long as possible. 

Adjusting your skin care routine as your skin ages and changes is also crucial. For more personalized skin care recommendations, book a skin consultation with one of our advanced practice providers — we’ll help you determine the best products and treatments for your skin! 

Peer review

This article was medically reviewed by Madeline Stoffer, MSN, NP-BC, a board-certified nurse practitioner with 6 years of experience in cosmetic dermatology.


Hyaluronic Acid | PMC

Niacinamide - mechanisms of action and its topical use in dermatology | PMC

Skin barrier function | PMC

Vitamin C in dermatology | PMC


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