Find Your Perfect Nighttime Skincare Routine In 4 Simple Steps

Deep cleansing and nourishing are essential to your PM skincare routine. A morning routine is all about prepping your skin for the day, but a good night time skincare routine is all about restoration and rejuvenation. You can use a PM skincare routine to slow down the aging of your skin and help it repair itself. You might also want to use products that cause photosensitivity at night (like retinol). As your skin heals mostly while you sleep, they won’t only work double-time, but you’ll also be able to get the benefits without worrying about sun exposure.

A good nighttime skincare routine all comes down to 4 simple steps:

Cleanse, Tone, Nourish, and Moisturize.


Makeup Removers & Cleansers

You can use your regular daytime cleanser at night, but you will have better results if you use a cleanser designed to remove impurities. You need to use an effective cleanser to remove dirt and oil from your face; if you don’t, they will remain on your skin throughout the night. There are foaming and non-foaming cleanser options depending on your preferences. I prefer foaming cleansers (extra foam, please!) but that’s because, in general, I tend toward the extra-ness of everything.

Check out these products that will refresh your skin while you sleep:

slaai makeup melting butter

Salaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser

This cleanser takes off your makeup in a snap. How fast is it? About as fast as when you scramble to unlike a picture on your ex’s Instagram. Yeah. It’s that fast.

SHOP – $34

good molecules instant cleansing balm

Instant Cleansing Balm

If you have combination skin, then you’re constantly searching for products that will work for you. This cleanser by Good Molecules will clean without stripping your skin and add healthy oils without clogging your pores.

SHOP – $15

then i met you cleansing balm

Living Cleansing Balm

This award-winning cleansing balm by Then I Met You counts sea buckthorn, olive oil, and persimmon extract. Oh, and over 1400 positive reviews, from people who rave about the buttery texture and fruity smell.

SHOP – $38

elf holy hydration

Holy Hydration! Makeup Melting Cleansing Balm

I love everything about e.l.f., the price point being my second favorite thing about the brand. The packaging is minimal, yet upscale, which is another plus. But the fact that I can head into Target and grab e.l.f products while picking up cinnamon bread, toilet paper, oat milk, and a piñata is what keeps me coming back.

SHOP – $10

versed day dissolve cleansing balm

Day Dissolve Cleansing Balm

Full disclosure: I’ve tried this cleansing balm from Versed and had to pass (my skin leans toward oily, and this was too rich for me), but people with drier skin love how the balm gently (but thoroughly) dissolves makeup.

SHOP – $7.99

garnier micellar water

SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

I love this cleansing water — it’s not as harsh as a toner, and it’s an instant skin refresh. I use the water year-round, but I especially love it in the winter when my skin needs a little extra TLC.

SHOP – $9.99

erase milki micellar water

E-Rase Milki Micellar Water

I’m embarrassed to admit this in public, but I legit thought the product was pronounced “A Roz,” and now that I know it’s supposed to be a play on the word “erase”…. I think my pronunciation is better. Anyway. This gentle cleanser is packed with wild melon seed oil, Vitamin E, virgin marula oil, and mongongo oil. The resulting formulation gently removes makeup without stripping your skin.

SHOP – $28


Toleraine Purifying Foaming Cleanser

La Roche-Posay is like the middle child of the skincare game. It’s special, yet often overlooked. The cleanser works for normal to oily skin and is exactly what your skin wants at the end of the day.

SHOP – $14.99

cetaphil gentle cleanser

Gentle Skin Cleanser

If La Roche-Posay is the middle child of skincare, then Cetaphil is the cousin you can’t wait to see at family reunions: sure you don’t talk often, but you always get along like gangbusters when you do. This cleanser gets top marks for being both affordable and effective.

SHOP $3.99

dr bronners unscented pure castile soap

Unscented Pure Castille Liquid Soap

Ok, so the packaging is sorta crazy (the wording on the bottles reads like a manifesto), but the juice inside just works. I take a travel size bottle with me when we go on vacation and use it for ‘erry thang: body wash, face wash, and laundry soap. I’ve been known to fill the bathroom sink in the hotel with water, squirt a bit of the soap in it, then use the diluted mixture to wipe down surfaces that need a bit of a refresh. (I’m looking in your direction, sad hotel by the Louisville airport.)

SHOP – $29.98


the ordinary gylcolic acid

Glycolic Acid Toning Solution

The Ordinary shook up the skincare landscape when the brand introduced premium ingredients at ordinary prices. This one has glycolic acid, amino acids, aloe vera, ginseng, and Tasmanian pepperberry. To paraphrase Rose Nylund, I wasn’t aware that pepperberries had nationalities, but I’m sure there’s something special about the Tasmanian kind in The Ordinary’s formula.

SHOP – $8.70

paulas choice resist toner 

Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner With Hyaluronic Acid

This toner is from Paula’s Choice, a brand that’s dedicated to creating products without unnecessary ingredients. This particular one delivers on the promise, by adding powerhouse ingredients like hyaluronic acid yet remaining fragrance-free.

SHOP – $24

inkey list glycolic toner

Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA) Gentle Exfoliating Toner

This toner promises to be gentle on your skin; as gentle as a teenager explaining the plot of Pretty Little Liars to their Nana who thinks Kids These Days Are Too Fast.

SHOP – $10.99

innisfree balancing green tea toner

Balancing Toner With Green Tea

This toner is for my oily-skin comrades who are tired of spotlight-shiny skin by 1 p.m. Or maybe it’s just me? It’s probably just me.

SHOP – $17

moon juice acid potion toner 

Acid Potion AHA+BHA Resurfacing Exfoliator

I love the idea of any product that promises to resurface skin, as I feel like everyone deserves a fresh start…why shouldn’t my skin?

SHOP – $42

laneige cream skin toner

Cream Skin Stoner & Moisturizer

Laniege products look fancy and use ultra-modern and clean ingredients like white tea leaf water. Like a product an astronaut would use before a press conference. A good thing, I promise.

SHOP – $33


Right before bed is the perfect time to add nourishing products to your skincare routine. These products can help improve the health and appearance of your skin. While you’re formulating your nighttime routine, consider adding an eye cream to the mix. Creams for the eye area are specially formulated to deliver targeted results. They usually provide more hydration and nourishment than any moisturizer, which can make your eyes look younger and more vibrant. Dab the cream around your eyes rather than rubbing it in, to avoid pulling the skin (which encourages wrinkles).

the ordinary hyaluronic acid hydrating serum

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Hydrating Serum

The Ordinary is back at it again with its super-potent products at reasonable prices. This serum is a top-seller for its effectiveness at moisturizing and low price point.

SHOP – $6.80

the ordinary buffet anti aging serum

Buffet Anti-Aginging Serum

I love the idea of using something called ‘Buffet’ on my skin; it seems so decadent, yet necessary. This serum is chock full of peptides and hyaluronic acid to keep your skin looking its best.

SHOP – $14.80

glow recipe avocado retinol eye mask

Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask

This avocado eye sleeping mask uses retinol and coffeeberry to help treat puffy eyes. And the packaging is cute, so that’s a plus.

SHOP – $42.50

kiehls creamy eye treatment

Creamy Eye Treatment With Avocado

I bought my first Kiehl’s lotion when I was a teen, and I’ve been hooked ever since. This Kiehl’s eye treatment is great for depuffing skin and lessening dark circles…it also feels amazing to dab it on your skin.

SHOP – $50

origins ginzing vitamin c eye treatment

Ginzing Vitamin C Eye Cream

Vitamin C skincare products are my love language. The ingredient really helps my skin stay bright and moisturized. This one by Origins also has niacinamide, which helps to keep the delicate skin under your eyes moisturized.

SHOP – $28

differin gel

Acne Treatment Gel

This treatment gel works. It’s not glamorous, it’s not chic, it’s not exactly trendy. But dammit, it works.

SHOP – $28.99


Finish your nighttime routine by treating your skin with an effective moisturizer that will work to repair your skin. If you have oily skin, you might be able to get away with using a richer moisturizer at night.

neutrogena hydro boost

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel With Hyaluronic Acid 

This water gel feels light and airy as you apply it. I keep mine in the fridge during the summer months for an extra cooling effect.

SHOP – $23.99

neutrogena rapid wrinkle repair

Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Face Moisturizer 

Customers love this night moisturizer for how quickly they see results: some claim that they saw a reduction of fine lines after just one night of using the product.

SHOP – $15.99


Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer

The first time I saw the name of this product, I thought it was ‘Toblerone,’ like the candy, and I was 100% in for a candy/skincare collab. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and that’s ok. This moisturizer can keep your skin moisturized for up to 48 hours, and that’s a decent compromise.

SHOP – $19.99

cerave daily moisturizing lotion

Daily Moisturizing Lotion

The Cerave lotion packs a punch, with its lightweight formula and skin boosters like hyaluronic acid and ceramides. 

SHOP – $12.99

cerave pm facial moisturizer

PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion

Cerave has seen a resurgence lately, as the brand has been getting kudos on TikTok for its effectiveness. I’m 100% here for removing the preciousness and exclusionary BS out of skincare.

SHOP – $16.99

cetaphil daily facial moisturizer

Daily Oil-Free Hydrating Lotion

Cetaphil is another one of those brands that you forget about. If the skincare game were characters on Scooby Doo, then Cetaphil would most certainly be Velma. It’s understated, constantly upstaged, and usually right.

SHOP – $17.99


Don’t want to pick and choose from the above products? Gotcha covered. Try these kits that have what you need in one handy bundle:

sunday riley go to bed with me

Go To Bed With Me Complete Anti-Aging Night Routine

Skincare powerhouse Sunday Riley comes through with a night routine with retinoids, lactic acid, and hyaluronic acid.

SHOP – $93

honest nighttime self care kit

Nighttime Self-Care Kit

The Nighttime Self-Care Kit comes with everything you need: cleanser, mud mask, resurfacing serum, and an uber-moisturizer. 

SHOP – $85.99


foreo luna facial massager

Foreo Luna 3

Skincare mavens love the sonic efficiency of the Foreo Luna, and it’s no wonder: you can use one side with the cleanser of choice to deep clean your skin. Pat your face dry, then flip the Luna to the other side to help massage your serums or moisturizer onto your face.

SHOP – $199

skingym face micro-roller

Face Micro-Roller

Microneedling causes tiny wounds to your skin (not scary, I promise!) to trigger an increase of collagen production. The result is plumper, firmer, brighter skin! Apply serum, microneedle, and then re-apply serum for best results.

SHOP – $25

pink moon gua sha

Gua Sha Set

Use this gua sha set to massage your skin with product while improving blood flow and circulation throughout your face and lymph nodes. Try gua sha on your jawline and neck for the best results.

SHOP – $80

GUGUG Skin Scrubber Skin Spatula

GUGUG Skin Scrubber Skin Spatula

TBH I forgot I even had this device until I started writing this article. Then I remembered how much I love using the sonic device to remove all the gunk from my pores, so I wasted 45 minutes looking for it. I still can’t find it, so light a candle and say a prayer because no one will sleep at my house tonight until I find my GUGUG. It’s that good.

SHOP – $26.99


What’s your nighttime skin care routine look like? Gonna try out any of the products on this list? Share your favorites in the comments below!

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