You can tell a lot about a person by the products they put on their face — specifically at night. Why? Well, not only are these holy-grail buys the workhorses of our beauty arsenals, but they also calm and soothe us before bed. Our nighttime skin care is so much more than a routine — it's a ritual.
And — despite having access to the exact same beauty closet — everyone on the R29 beauty team has a slightly different lineup. So, we're offering a peek into our editors' evening beauty habits. While there is definitely some overlap (we can't help what we love!), our routines are unique, just like we are. Click through for the skin-care recs we go to sleep dreaming about.
Cat Quinn, Beauty Director
"One time I tested concealer on my hand, then tried to remove it with cleanser. Then soap. Then vigorous scrubbing. That was the moment I realized that I was probably still wearing concealer on my face from the eighth grade. I started incorporating an oil cleanser and never looked back. It fully breaks down makeup like nothing else."
Shu Uemura Cleansing Beauty Oil, $77, available at Shu Uemura.
"Then, I follow up with a clarifying cleanser, because
acne. Right now, I'm using — and loving — this fancy one from the beauty closet, but I'm also known to dip into some Clean & Clear and Neutrogena as well. Any formula with salicylic acid will do the trick." Clé de Peau Beauté Clarifying Cleansing Foam, $65, available at Bergdorf Goodman.
"The beauty world is divided on toners — some say they're bullshit and others swear by them. I thought I was in the first camp until I discovered this. In a week, it obliterated most of the stubborn hormonal pimples and whiteheads on my face. It mattifies and helps even tone, and is the
perfect base for makeup when your face is an oil slick, but also dry." Sunday Riley Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner, $55, available at Sephora.
"I've tried a lot of nighttime acne products, and this is the only one that gives me fast results — like overnight-fast results — with absolutely no drying side effects. I love the subtle peach tint, too; it conceals my acne a bit so I can go to bed feeling pretty. Even if it's pitch-black in my room. It's the little things, you know?"
Avène TriAcnéal Night Smoothing Lotion, $60, available at Avène.
"Every other night, I smooth on this retinol cream instead. It fights the acne, too, but it also fights the fine lines and uneven tone that are starting to creep into my late 20s. Yay."
Avon Anew Clinical Line Eraser with Retinol Treatment, $40, available at Avon.
"I have to be honest: I'd never heard of this night cream until a couple weeks ago — and that's a damn shame, because I would have had a lot of happier mornings if I had started using it earlier. I was nervous about the thick texture, but it makes my skin look smoother, plumper, and clearer the mornings after I use it. It's deeply hydrating, but not at all oily."
Miracle Skin Transformer Triple Active Night Treatment, $78, available at DermStore.
"Nothing beats the satisfying
thwak of opening a fancy eye cream and gently tap, tap, tapping it under your eyes. The only thing better than that? Brighter undereyes, less crepe-y skin, and not a single crow's foot in the year I've used it. If you're looking for a good preventative cream, this is it. And it lasts a really long time, too, which helps justify the price tag." Chanel Firming Anti-Wrinkle Eye Cream, $105, available at Nordstrom.
"I've used a lot of fancy lip products, but my boyfriend recently reintroduced me to this gas-station throwback. It's not sexy — the packaging says "Relieve Cold Sores" in size-40 font, for goodness' sake — but it makes my lips crazy-soft. (His too, btw.)"
Blistex Medicated Lip Ointment, $2.59, available at Walgreens.
Mi-Anne Chan, Beauty Writer
"I always cleanse my face with a cleansing oil to remove all my makeup. A few pumps dissolves all my face, eye, and brow makeup in one fell swoop. This one from Shu Uemura is one of my favorites because of its lightweight consistency. It doesn't leave my face feeling greasy, yet manages to erase all traces of my waterproof mascara."
Shu Uemura Porefinist Anti-Shine Fresh Cleansing Oil, $67, available at Shu Uemura.
"I always double-cleanse to make sure every speck of dirt and grime is off my face. This cleanser from Pixi is one of the best I've tried. The product has a gritty, paste-like consistency that gently exfoliates as you rub it onto damp skin. Once you add water, though, it emulsifies and turns into a milky lather that washes away easily. The best part? It never leaves my skin feeling tight or dry."
Pixi Glow Mud Cleanser, $18, available at Birchbox.
"When it comes to toners, I always reach for ones that gently exfoliate the skin while blasting it with good-for-you stuff. I love SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence, which has a high concentration of Pitera. The treatment is by no means cheap (one bottle can set you back almost $200), but it really does the trick. If you're looking for a more affordable option, though,
Pixi Glow Tonic is another one of my favorites." Facial Treatment Essence, $179, available at SK-II Sephora.
gentle serum has improved the texture of my skin tremendously since I started using it last year. The lightweight, yet hydrating gel contains a blend of exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acids and hydrators like raspberry extract and horse chestnut. It's hands-down the best serum I've tried in a long time." Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, $90, available at Sephora.
"Although my nightly skin-care routine has a slew of products designed to help keep acne at bay, I still get clusters of pimples relatively frequently. When this happens, I tap a bit of Kiehl's new Spot Treatment onto my zits. It's specifically formulated for those suffering from adult acne."
Kiehl's Breakout Control Targeted Acne Spot Treatment, $28, available at Nordstrom.
Samantha Sasso, Beauty Editorial Assistant
"I always use makeup wipes to remove my makeup, and this fan favorite has been in my bathroom since I was 13 years old. They are deeply hydrating and never dry out while still in the pack, which is always my major deal-breaker for cleansing towelettes."
Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes, $8.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
"Thanks to the advice of a coworker (and my inherent laziness),
I rarely wash my face anymore. This micellar water feels refreshing, smells delicious, and completely cleans my face in a few pumps." Caudalíe Micellar Cleansing Water, $28, available at Sephora.
"If I have a bit more time and want to feel extra-clean, I'll massage two or three pumps of this cleansing oil all over my face. It helps my skin feel ridiculously soft."
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Cleansing Oil, $32, available at Kiehl's.
"I've been pining for this product ever since I was in college. So when I finally got my hands on a bottle, I started using it regularly. It's incredibly gentle for a formula with retinol, and I love the deep-blue hue. My skin always feels nourished and looks brighter the morning after massaging this baby in."
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, $105, available at Sephora.
"Sometimes, my skin can have funky reactions to physical exfoliators, so I typically reach for chemical versions. This lactic-acid treatment evens out my texture and helps my hyperpigmentation. It also absorbs almost instantly. But as much as I love Good Genes, I only pull it out once, maybe twice, a week for some skin R & R."
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, $105, available at Sephora.
"My skin can get really dry, so I always finish with this ultra-rich cream to avoid flaky makeup in the morning. It smells incredibly decadent, and massaging this stuff into my skin allows me to feel extremely relaxed before bed. Every time I use this, I wake up to the skin I've always dreamed of having — supple, smooth, and totally hydrated."
Aesop Perfect Facial Hydrating Cream, $120, available at Barneys New York.
Alix Tunell, Senior Beauty Editor
"I can't stand sitting around with foundation on any longer than I need to, so as soon as I walk in the door, I wash off my makeup with Lancôme Énergie de Vie foaming cleanser. I don't like using eye-makeup remover, and with the right cleanser, I don't need to. This one gets everything off, and smells so fresh and pretty."
Lancôme Énergie de Vie Smoothing & Purifying Foam Cleanser, $35, available at Macy's.
"I love treatments in pad form. I hoard toning pads and glycolic peel pads, and use them pretty much everywhere (they're great post-shave), so I go through them pretty quickly. Case in point: I'm on my third jar of these Nip + Fab Bee Sting Fix ones. They get off any dirt or makeup I may have missed, and contain healing witch hazel and bee venom, which is often called 'nature's Botox,' though I wouldn't go that far."
Nip + Fab Bee Sting Fix Toning Pads, $15.75, available at Nip + Fab.
"I try to mask every night, alternating between hydrating, brightening, and anti-aging formulas. I love
Tata Harper Regenerating Mask and GlamGlow GravityMud, but sheet masks are always easiest. Nerd and Leaders make some of my favorites; I keep them in the fridge, wear for 20 minutes, then massage the excess in as my serum." Mediterranean Olive Brightening Mask, $6, available at 7 Wonders Leaders Cosmetics.
"I like ending with a really rich cream, but only if I have time to let it sink in for an hour before hitting the pillow. Otherwise, it messes up my sheets and migrates into my eyes, and it's not fun. Lately, I've been using Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Black Cream
very sparingly. Why? Because it costs $1,115. I know, fuck me, but it's sooo luxurious and makes my face feel like a baby butt." Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Black Cream, $1,115, available at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Maria Del Russo, Beauty Editor
"I have an extensive evening skin-care routine, and it starts with this sumptuous oil. I have classic combination skin, so when the weather gets chilly, I incorporate a cleansing oil into my skin-care regimen. This one from Kiehl’s hydrates my face while dissolving dirt and makeup like a champ. The scent is also incredible — I get a hit of lavender every time I swipe it on."
Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Cleansing Oil, $32, available at Kiehl's.
"If the cleansing oil doesn’t get everything off, I go back over my face with this micellar water. This also happens to be the cleanser I use first thing in the morning."
Bioderma Sensibio H20, $11.90, available at Beautylish.
"I exfoliate four days a week — and twice a week, I use this scrub from Malin+Goetz. The jojoba seeds give my face a dose of antioxidants while sloughing off dead skin cells."
Malin+Goetz Jojoba Face Scrub, $38, available at Malin+Goetz.
"The other two days a week, I use this milk peel from Dr. Jart+. It uses lactic acid to not only exfoliate your skin, but soften and moisturize."
Dermaclear Micro Milk Peel, $42, available at Dr. Jart+ Sephora.
"I try to do a sheet mask at least every other evening. And while I have a whole arsenal of them, I love this one from Talika because it’s so intensely hydrating."
Talika Bio Enzymes Mask Hydrating, $12, available at Talika.
"To help keep my skin clear, I use the Super Pure serum from Glossier. It’s formulated with zinc and niacinamide, which are potent acne-fighters."
Glossier Super Pure, $28, available at Glossier.
"A facialist once told me that the most important thing I could incorporate into my skin-care regimen was an antioxidant serum. This one from Aesop gives me a killer glow I can’t get anywhere else."
Aesop Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum, $73, available at Aesop.
"The one and only anti-aging product I have in my skin-care regimen is a good one — Sunday Riley Luna Oil. It delivers a powerful retinol in an oil, so it’s not as drying to your skin."
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil, $105, available at Sephora.
"I cycle between two night oils depending on how my skin is feeling. This one from Caudalíe is a bit more hydrating. The star ingredient is polyphenols, which help to renew my skin while I snooze."
Caudalíe Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil, $52, available at Sephora.
"If my skin is feeling a little too greasy, I’ll pat this dry oil into my face instead. When I wake up in the morning, my skin is glowing thanks to the argan, primrose, and jojoba oils in the formula."
Malin+Goetz Recovery Treatment Oil, $82, available at Malin+Goetz.
"All of the previous products help to assure that I rarely suffer from a breakout. But if I do, I always reach for this spot treatment. I dot the sulfur paste on my spots, and when I wake up in the morning, they're majorly deflated."
Malin+Goetz Acne Treatment Nighttime, $22, available at Malin+Goetz.
"To finish off my nighttime ritual, I tap a couple of dabs of this avocado eye treatment onto my undereyes. I’ve yet to find a treatment more moisturizing than this one."
Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado, $48, available at Kiehl's.
Lexy Lebsack, West Coast Beauty Editor
"I've been double-cleansing for years, but up until recently I have always opted for an oil cleanser as my first step. I recently gave micellar water a go — I'm late, I
know — but now, I can't get enough. I rotate between a bottle of Bioderma I brought back from France and Simple's formula. It's fast and easy: Shake some onto a cotton round, swipe your makeup off, and you're ready to cleanse." Simple Cleansing Micellar Water, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
"Similar to my first step, I also rotate my cleansers, switching between Neutrogena's Pore Refining gel and this Kate Somerville formula. I use the KS option when my skin feels dry and the other when I am feeling like my pores need a little clean-out."
ExfoliKate Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash, $38, available at Kate Somerville Kate Somerville.
"I have recently become obsessed with face mists — I use them after I wash my face and after I apply my makeup to help everything set and look glowy. This one is my favorite; it's light and feels like plain ol' water, but adds a hit of moisture that I love."
Pure Serum-Mist, $55, available at Skin Inc. Sephora.
"Masking is my thing — it makes the biggest difference in my skin, compared to many creams and serums — and this formula is my new obsession. To be honest, I am not even sure exactly
why it works well, but I do know that after 15 minutes on just-washed skin, my face looks crazy bright, smooth, and every other good thing you can imagine. I just finished my first jar and I'm already on to the second. I use it once or twice a week." Restoring Mask, $75, available at DNA DNAEGF Renewal.
"On nights when I don't mask, I smooth on this retinol and let it soak in for 15 to 20 minutes before my next step, which is key if you want it to work. It makes my skin look bright and smooth by morning — and never irritates."
Retinol Reform, $95, available at Resurface by Shani Darden Shani Darden.
"This formula soaks in immediately and ensures that I won't wake up with bags, or at least they'll be less intense than they are without it."
Hydraphase Intense Eyes, $33.99, available at La Roche-Posay La Roche-Posay.
"I change my skin routine frequently, but this light, simple hydrator is always in the back of the medicine cabinet. While I love actives via masking and serums, I prefer to keep my lotion simple. A pump or two of this eases any dryness and locks it all in."
Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel, $26, available at Clinique Sephora.
Megan McIntyre, Beauty Features Director
"I love me a cleansing oil at night, and this one from Julep is a recent fave. It slips and slides across my face, dissolving the day's makeup as it goes, and leaves my skin soft when washed away."
Julep Bare Face Cleansing Oil, $28, available at QVC. You've never seen beauty quite like this before. Check out our Beauty Innovator Awards for the smartest, funkiest, most fresh to death products of the year.
"If my skin is super-dry I'll just do the oil, but on most nights I follow up with this cleansing wash. It picks up any last vestiges of dirt and oil, and somehow makes my skin feel ever-so-smooth."
French Girl Organics Cleansing Wash, $18, available at Anthropologie. You've never seen beauty quite like this before. Check out our Beauty Innovator Awards for the smartest, funkiest, most fresh to death products of the year.
"An aesthetician once told me that as soon as you dry your skin post-cleansing, the air around you starts sucking any moisture out of your skin. She recommended immediately spraying a hydrating mist or using a toner to keep that moisture in. I love this gentle one from Herbivore because it feels and smells great."
Herbivore Rose Hibiscus Coconut Water Hydrating Face Mist, $32, available at Sephora.
"Along the same lines as the mist, you want to apply your moisture ASAP. I'll spray my face with my mist, then pat the excess into my skin and immediately apply my moisturizer while my skin is still damp. It absorbs better that way and makes sure that hydration stays where it belongs. This one from Sisley is made for people in their late 20s and early 30s (hiii!) to help reduce the visible signs of aging and protect skin against future damage. It's thicker than I'm used to, but doesn't feel heavy or greasy — it just sinks into my skin and leaves behind a velvety texture."
Sisley Paris Sisleyouth, $198, available at Sisley Paris.
"Yes, this is ridiculously expensive. But it's the one splurge I feel confident recommending. No matter how tired I am or, recently, how jet-lagged, this stuff makes me look refreshed and ready for action. Now, if only I could keep myself from falling asleep in meetings and blowing my cover."
111SKIN Space Defence Bright Eye Lift Gel, $190, available at Birchbox.
"I like to mask two times a week, and I've been alternating between the new magnet mask from Dr. Harold Lancer and Dr. Dennis Gross'
new rubber mask. Not coincidentally, they are both oddball masks that work in very amusing ways, which is totally my M.O. "The magnet mask is the new 'big thing' in beauty, so I expect more of them to hit the market, but this one comes in handy, single-use pods that make life so much simpler. It contains a retinoid that temporarily smooths out wrinkles, and silicone-wrapped mineral powder that adheres to the magnet when you remove it. I just put it on, let it dry, then run the magnet over my face and watch it suck everything up. My skin looks so much smoother, with a more even texture." Lancer Younger Revealing Mask Intense, $250, available at Lancer Skincare.
"My second mask of the week is Dr. Gross' rubbery moisturizing mask. It's a blue goo that you spread on your face, and it dries as a jiggly, rubber mask. It's full of hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate, and works better than most sheet masks because it truly creates an occlusive cover that forces those skin-beautifying ingredients into your complexion."
Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask, $46, available at Dr. Dennis Gross.
"I used to have a rotating array of fancy balms that I applied to my lips to prep my skin for lipstick. Then, I went on
Accutane. Nothing worked on my dry, flaking, cracked, bloody lips except for this drugstore standby. I use it at night as a lip mask, plunking a thick layer on my lips and letting it work its magic." Healing Skin Ointment, $14.99, available at Aquaphor Walgreens.
"I'm pretty crappy at applying hand cream — I don't like the way it feels on my mitts when I am going about my day, and I hate that you pretty much have to reapply it every time you wash up. So nighttime is when I do my hand-hydration sessions.
"I like this one from Tatcha because it not only smooths, but also calms my red, irritated hands. And after how many times a day I subject my skin to water torture (repeated bathroom visits, way too hot showers, hand-washing dishes because I'm not fancy enough to have a dishwasher), that is a sorely needed benefit." Indigo Soothing Silk Hand Cream, $38, available at Tatcha Tatcha.
Kelsey Castañon, Beauty News Editor
"I do a double-cleanse, and start with a micellar water. This one from Simple is my favorite."
Simple Cleansing Micellar Water, $7.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
"I follow up with this purifying cleanser. The lather is gentle, but has glycolic acid so it helps keep breakouts at bay without making my skin freak."
SkinCeuticals Purifying Cleanser, $34, available at SkinCeuticals.
"I’m only on week two of using this bad boy, but it’s from the same brand as
Roloxin Lift (which is a legit 24-hour facelift), so I have high hopes." Dermarché Labs BioREWIND Pro-Grade Retinoid Repairing Serum PM, $125, available at Sephora.
"This night cream is lightweight enough that I don’t wake up feeling greasy, but rich enough that I don’t need more than a single thin layer."
Clinique Smart Night Custom-Repair Moisturizer, $57, available at Clinique.
"Finally, I use this all over my face as a night cream. It has a cooling applicator tip, so it feels SO nice when you apply it."
La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Eyes, $42.99, available at La Roche-Posay.
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