6 Small Tweaks That Make Your P.M. Routine Feel Way More Luxe

Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
If your evening skin regimen consists of little more than a post-Netflix swipe with a face wipe and maybe a few dots of zit cream, it’s probably time for an overhaul. But don’t worry: There’s no need to schedule an elaborate ten-step skin-care ritual if that’s not your thing. Instead, making a few little tweaks can take your nighttime beauty routine from barely there to next-level effective and, dare we say, maybe even a little glamorous. Here’s how to go to sleep — and wake up — looking like you just came back a 5-star wellness retreat.
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If you’re already using one, great. Gold star for you. If not, here’s why you need to start, stat: “After you’ve exfoliated and cleansed, you’ve stripped the skin, and then you lose even more water from the natural repair processes that happen while you sleep, so it’s very important to add that moisture back in,” says New York City dermatologist Doris Day, MD. “Night creams allow you to optimize the conditions of the skin, so that your skin can do what it needs to do it look its best.” And yes, night cream is a must for everyone — even women with oily complexions. “With oily skin, you’re often using other products like acne medications or salicylic acid that can be drying, so you need to balance that out,” says Dr. Day.
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Many of us have become conditioned to shower in the mornings, but here’s why nighttime baths or showers rule: First, you won’t be in a rush, so you can actually relax and just be. (Use a lavender-scented body wash to calm and center yourself even more. Mindful showering FTW!) Second, you’ll have the time to do all those extras you often have to skip in the morning, such as full-body exfoliation or letting your deep conditioner stay on your hair for longer than 30 seconds. And third, and perhaps most important, you’ll wash away the day’s dirt and grime before you climb into your nice, clean sheets. Big bonus: You can also use your PM bath or shower to up your moisturizing game, since you likely won't be putting on your silk work blouse right after. When you get out, Dr. Day recommends patting dry, then applying a thick, rich body cream when your skin is still damp to lock in moisture.
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Sheet masks — with their high concentrations of moisturizing, glowifying, crazy-good-for-skin ingredients — can make a big difference. And fast. “They’re a great way to get moisture into the skin, and you can definitely see real results in five to ten minutes,” says Dr. Day. “The effects are temporary, but over time, they can add up.” Slap one on before bed, relax while you’re reading or watching TV, then remove and tissue off the bulk of the goopy stuff. Then, to keep the benefits going, pat in the leftover product and let your skin steep in that serum-y goodness all night long.
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Speaking of sheets, you deserve nice ones — and your skin does, too. So, ditch your scratchy old cotton pillowcase, which can lead to lines when the hard fabric presses against and into your skin. Instead, replace it with a silk or satin version, which will be smoother, with more “slip.” “They’re better for your skin, and won’t force your skin into folds,” says Dr. Day.
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Arid climates and dry seasons don’t play nice with your complexion. Like moisture-hungry vampires, they suck water from your skin, leaving it tight and dry. Enter humidifiers. “They can be helpful in the winter or if you live in a place that’s dry,” says Day. “They release more water into the air, so the air won’t lift water from you.” But though those moisture-releasing machines you relied on when you were sick back in the day might have big-time beauty benefits, they aren’t exactly glamorous. Until now. To get aromatherapy benefits along with all that moisture, try putting a few drops of essential oil into your humidifier. This way, you’ll hydrate your skin and smell a calming, spa-like fragrance all night long.
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For strong, healthy nails and cuticles, experts recommend moisturizing your nail beds every day, and the best way to do that is with oil. Problem is, oils can make your fingers look and feel like you just ate a bunch of greasy French fries. That’s why night is the perfect time to do it. Take 30 seconds just before bed and rub any oil into the skin at the base of your nails.
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