Performing a nightly skincare routine is great…but have you ever considered the importance of just when you start?
Surprise — it’s time for a pop quiz!
When it comes to your nighttime skin routine, you do it:
A: Right before I climb into bed (unless I’m too tired).
B: What nighttime skin routine?
C: When I shower — two birds, one stone.
D: Um, I do it at night. Because it’s my nighttime skin routine.
E: None of the above.
If you answered A, you’re not alone — this seems to be when most people who partake in a nightly skin routine do so. It makes sense on paper, but you’re wrong.
If you answered B, you’re just wrong.
If you answered C, kudos on your water conservation, but you’re also wrong.
If you answered D, calm down, smarty pants. “Nighttime” is a broad range of hours so you’re probably wrong, too.
If you answered E, well, let’s hope you did so because you’re doing night skin a little differently, maybe more like “evening skin.”
Sorry I tricked you into taking a quiz and then failing you, but hopefully it got your attention. If you’re a night owl who thrives on getting stuff done after the sun goes down, you can stop reading (but maybe also work on getting more sleep during appropriate hours). But if you’re one of us who adheres to a “normal” sleep schedule, read on.
For a long time, I equated “nighttime skin routine” with “bedtime skin routine” and would wait until I was in my PJs, ready to brush, floss and mouthguard before undertaking my multi-step pre-bed skincare ritual. But the truth is that feeling ready for bed also meant I had way less energy to devote to properly cleansing, toning, serum-ing, oiling, moisturizing and massaging my way to healthy skin.
Because I was already sleepy and could literally hear the pillow calling my name, I often cut corners. Sometimes I’d do the whole thing, but very quickly. Or I’d devote ample time to the steps but only do two or three. After a full day of being a functioning person, and juggling a commute, dinner prep and consumption, catching up with family and friends, decompressing on the couch and already starting to think about tomorrow, there was just no time, space or energy to care for my face the way it deserved. And it started to show.
Which is why I’m here today, making you take quizzes, in an attempt to convince you to start that pre-bed skin routine as soon as you get home. Yes, seriously. Walk in the door, drop your stuff, change into your comfiest pajamas and get to cleansing.
The benefits of shifting the timing of your nightly skincare are threefold: First, you won’t be too tired to properly cleanse and care for your face if you do it when you still have semi-full tank. Second, the less time the day’s grime spends sitting on your skin and the more time your products do, the better. Third, you’ll get it out of the way and have the rest of the night to relax do your thing without the nagging knowledge that you have a multi-step skincare routine in your future when all you really want to do is sleep.
Wanna give it a try tomorrow, say, around 6pm? Here’s how:
- Walk in your front door. Drop your bag, kick off your shoes, change out of your daytime clothes and into whatever you feel comfiest in, walk into the bathroom.
- Double cleanse. Start by removing dirt, sweat and makeup from your skin with an oil cleanser like the Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil from Pai. Gently massage it into your face for one minute before removing it with a clean cloth. Follow it up with whatever cleanser works for you. (Foaming? Milky? Gel? Your call.)
- Mist and/or tone to prime your clean skin for what comes next. (Currently, I’ve got Shea Brand’s Rose Witch Hazel and Juice Beauty’s Hydrating Mist on heavy rotation to help deal with my overactive summer skin, but you do you.)
- Serum time. Whether you’re a mix-and-match kinda gal or prefer the one-and-done approach, don’t sleep on serums. During the summer, consider pairing a brightening vitamin C serum with one containing hyaluronic acid to quench heat-thirsty skin.
- Moisturize. Oil, cream, balm or all three — finish with something that’s going to be kind to your skin and lock in everything that came before to ensure they’re all doing their jobs efficiently.
- Sit back, relax, and relish in the fact that you have several hours in front of you to do whatever you want without having to worry about completing a multi-step skincare routine before you can shut your eyes.
If you’re not interested in learning how to literally make your face seem like it’s glowing from within, that’s fine. But you’ll be missing out on the makeup miracle that is highlighter.
Aside from the fact that highlighter is pretty much universally flattering (something no makeup product in the history of makeup products has been able to do since mascara IMHO), its ability to instantly make dull skin light up and accentuate your facial features makes it a must-have.
That said, it only works this magic if you’re using it correctly. There isn’t much of a learning curve here — highlighter is pretty simple to use once you get the hang of it — but a few tips and tricks will go a long way in making your face look like it’s perpetually bathed in the most flatter Instagram filters out there.
What’s the point of highlighter?
Highlighter 101 says that the whole point of the product is the accentuate and emphasize your features by catching light. When light reflects off the makeup, it creates dimension by brightening the area of the face you’ve applied it, allowing you to play up certain features and create a glow-y aura.
What kind of highlighter should I use?
You’ve got three options when it comes to highlighter formulas: cream, powder and liquid.
Cream highlighters come in pots or sticks and can be applied with your finger, a brush or sponge. True to their name, cream formulas tend to be the most blendable and buildable, creating a natural, dewey look.
Powder highlighters are infinitely buildable — you can add as many layers as you’d like for a more opaque finish — and are best used when the look you’re going for is an intense one. Be careful with powders, though: you want a lightweight, not-too-glittery formula that won’t settle into fine lines on your face or sit too obviously on top of skin.
Liquid highlighters are the most versatile of the bunch since you can use them in the standard way on your face — mix a pump or two into your moisturizer for a full-body glow or add some to your foundation or tinted moisturizer for something really subtle-yet-beautiful. Liquid formulas are the most subtle so if you’re unsure whether highlighter is for you (IT’S FOR EVERYONE, promise!), this is a good place to start. It’s also the most foolproof to apply since you can control exactly how much you’re dabbing in with your fingers and where.
Do I need special tools?
Short answer: no. You can use a makeup sponge for some serious blending horsepower or a fan brush for powder, but my preferred method is always my fingers. Not only can you control how much product you pick up, but the heat from your fingerpads helps melt the highlighter into your skin for a much more natural look.
Where should I put it?
ANYWHERE YOU WANT! Seriously. Highlighter is like the little black dress of makeup: it goes with everything, anywhere. But if you want to get strategic, aim for the high points of your face — cheekbones, brow bones, the bridge of your nose, etc. — as these are the places sun would hit and naturally reflect off of.
Want to make your eyes appear bigger and more awake? Dab some highlighter on the inner corner of each eye and the center of your eyelids. Then swipe some along your browbone, just underneath each eyebrow. The shimmer will catch the light and brighten up an often-dark area of the face.
Trying to create the illusion of a thinner face? Aim your highlighter directly down your nose. As the highest point on your face, the bridge of your nose is the first thing light will hit.
Interested in faking fuller lips without messy lip liner? A blended dot of highlighter on the Cupid’s Bow (that little depression between your nose and upper lip) equals a seriously enviably pout.
In search of a way to define (or fake) cheekbones? Sweep highlighter along your cheekbones in a diagonal, toward your temple. Be sure to blend well and layer if necessary. Then stand back and check yourself out in the mirror. Bellissima!
On days when you’re just.so.tired, this 4-step fix delivers instant skin energy…
Some days your skin just feels tired. Really tired. You might have gotten a decent night’s rest but, for some reason, your skin is not as awake and healthy-looking as it normally is. Where’s the coffee for your complexion?
Consider this instantly-reviving routine — designed to energize, stimulate and deeply cleanse — the jolt you need to wake up your face. In addition to boosting your circulation and delivering oxygen to where it needs to go, this morning regimen has mental benefits, helping to turn on a sleepy mind, too.
Here’s how to bring life to all of you, every am:
Start by perking up your skin.
A quick exfoliation can rid dead cells that make your skin look dull and uneven. And the physical act of manual exfoliation activates your senses, too. PMD Clean is a stimulating cleansing device that tackles dulling dirt and debris (with over 7,000 vibrations per minute!) and sonic technology to tone, refine and wake up your face with any irritation.
Up your moisturizing efforts.
Dehydration is often the cause of lackluster, sluggish skin. Besides drinking more water, try a quickie hydrating mask. APTO Healing Turmeric Mask quenches parched skin and brings down redness and inflammation with soothing turmeric extracts. Layer it on after cleansing or exfoliating, leave on for 10 minutes and then rinse off and apply your moisturizer.
Try an eye-opening trick.
Depuffing, tightening and lifting your eyes really works wonders for giving you an all-over well-rested and energized glow. Face Gym’s Rose Quartz Eye Flowies are genius: each hand-carved orb is designed to fit into the contours of your eyes and face. Gently massage them into your skin for five minutes, moving in small circular motions to activate lymphatic drainage, reduce swelling and tone your facial muscles.
Revive on the go.
For a mid-day energy lift, spray your body and pulse points with Baiser Eucalyptus Healing Mist. It’s boosted with an organic eucalyptus hydrosol and organic lemon essential oil to stimulate your mind and body. (Tip: mist it in your hair so the scent slowly releases around you all day!).
+ What else helps wake up your face in the morning? Share your tips!
There are (at least) six cruelty-free beauty products that Business Assistant (and blogger!) Patrizia just can’t do without. Find out which ones she swears by til the very last drop…
I combine this with my powder bronzer and use it to contour my cheeks and nose. I’ve used other brands, but love that Vapour is light, doesn’t clog my pores and leaves a dewy glow.
I’ve only ever tried white eyeliner on the inside of my eye, and it never really looked right. This is the perfect shade for me (I have olive skin and dark eyes). It makes my eyes look bigger and brighter!
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…” There really isn’t enough I could say about this bottle of glowy magic. I use it every morning by mixing it with my moisturizer. I apply it all over my face, my neck, and my décolletage. It gives me a shimmery, glowy, dewiness that I absolutely love. For the first time ever I don’t mind leaving the house without make-up, as long as I have my Highlight of the Day!
I’ve tried so many mascaras and I am happy to report RMS’s is one of the best. My eyelashes aren’t naturally full, so I am always looking for a mascara that will add volume without lumps. This one perfectly accomplishes that and it’s also very easy to remove (no scary raccoon eyes!).
Lip stains usually leave my lips feeling very dry, but Upna’s is different. It goes on wet and quickly dries to a beautiful matte finish that lasts for HOURS while keeping my lips hydrated.
This little guy now lives in my purse. It’s a tiny and convenient stick that I can reapply whenever I need, wherever I am! Perfect for the lip area, bridge of my nose, under the arch of my brows…. Pretty much anywhere and everywhere I want a little extra highlight!
Whatever skin graces your face and body, a great moisturizer is your best defense against the ravages of winter weather.
In the words of literally everyone in Westeros (editor’s note: Game of Thrones reference), “winter is coming.” And with winter comes colder temperatures, sharper winds, drier air and faker heat, all of which combine to form the perfect storm for dry skin. Maybe you have dry skin that’s only getting drier or oily skin that isn’t quite sure what to do with itself in the winter or combination skin that could use a little TLC…whatever skin graces your face and body, a great moisturizer is your best defense against the ravages of winter weather. Below are some uber-effective favorites for face and body — you can thank me in the spring.
For super-dry skin:
Look for a thick, creamy formula to coat your face in morning and night. If you’re super dry, it’ll be hard to over-moisturize if you’re using natural ingredients that also work as mild exfoliants to remove dead skin cells so the hydrating ingredients can penetrate further into the skin. You should also consider layering your moisturizer with oil at night for serious while-you-sleep benefits. Just follow the right order of layering!
Our pick: The Gentle Label Organic Healing Balm
For oily skin:
Opt for something lightweight without a ton of ingredients. As you likely already know, oily skin is most often caused by an imbalance or lack of moisture, so even though it may feel unnecessary, moisturizing oily skin is just as important as moisturizing dry skin. If you don’t, you risk even slicker skin as oil glands go into hyperdrive. Bonus points if the moisturizer includes ingredients like hyaluronic acid that can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water, all but ensuring your face stays hydrated all season long.
Our pick: Youth To The People Moisture Cream
For sensitive skin:
You’ll also want to stick with something lightweight and full of gentle ingredients like shea butter and antioxidants. To play it really safe, consider a formula that doesn’t contain oils — they may aggravate your skin further — and instead relies on aloe for moisturizing properties.
Our pick: Juice Beauty Antioxidant Moisturizer
For heavy-duty hand moisture:
Don’t be afraid to slather on the thickest, goopiest stuff you can get your dry little hands on. Seriously, one of my favorite things to do during the winter is load my hands up with a skin salve, massage it in, then cover my slimy hands in a clean pair of socks (or gloves made specifically for this purpose if you have the foresight to buy them) and go to sleep. I wake up with socks for hands and baby-soft, highly-moisturized paws. (You can do the same for your feet, too.) If that’s not something you’d be into, a plain ol’ salve applied liberally and often will do the trick.
Our pick: Lanolips Golden Dry Allover Skin Salve
For the rest of your body:
When it’s cold and dry out, nothing beats standby coconut oil for full-body conditioning. For the best results, use it right after a shower or bath when your skin is best able to soak it up and don’t be afraid to really get into all the nooks and crannies. (You’re an English muffin, baby!) Feel free to use whatever is left on your hands as a nice little treatment for the ends of your hair.
Our pick: Kopari Beauty Organic Coconut Melt