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A Step-By-Step Guide To Layering Your Nighttime Skincare

We don't know about you, but our lives are a constant battle between falling down a Tik Tok rabbit hole and getting plenty of beauty sleep — and depending on how much of a serotonin hit we need that day, it's a safe bet that TikTok comes out on top.
That said, there's one major incentive to stop scrolling and get some shut-eye, and that's better skin. During the day, your skin is busy fending off external aggressors like free radicals, sun exposure, pollution and erratic temperature changes. This means that your skin works to repair itself at night time, as Professor Derek Richard, Director of Cancer and Ageing Research Laboratories, explains. "The body undergoes a healing process at night.  It is when your bodies cells rest, and we believe it removes toxins that have accumulated during the day."
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So if we want to get our money's worth from all that skincare we keep buying, nighttime is the perfect time to do it. "Nighttime is a great opportunity to cause beneficial epigenetic changes to the skin that enhance elastin and collagen production," says Professor Richard.
The best way to get the most out of your nighttime skincare routine is to layer your products in the correct order and then lock them in to do the hard work while you sleep. Ahead, we've created an easy-to-follow guide to layering your skincare.

1. Remove all makeup and cleanse the skin

Before you apply any of your active ingredients, you're going to want to thoroughly cleanse your face to get rid of any makeup, dead skin cells, dirt and oil build-up from the day. How exactly you go about this is up to you and your skin type. Some people like to use micellar water to remove their makeup. Others prefer the double cleansing method. Whatever your preference, this step helps prepare the skin for all the serums and active ingredients that follow.

2. Apply your eye cream

If you're someone who loves an eye cream, this is when you'd apply it. Using your ring finger, gently pat your eye cream into the skin around the entire eye. Yep, including your eyelids, and try to avoid a tugging motion. If you don't already use an eye cream but are interested in trying one, look for one with ingredients like peptides (which help tighten your skin and depuff), hyaluronic acid (for brightening and hydration) and ceramides (to help lock in moisture).
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3. Next up, serums

At night, you want to apply a serum and allow it to fully absorb into the skin before adding a protective layer like a night cream, explains Professor Richard, since that "locks in the active ingredients." Serums are formulated with smaller, molecular-weight actives so that they can penetrate deeper into the skin. This means if you apply your serum after a thicker moisturiser, the active ingredients probably won't penetrate as well. Nighttime serums usually include ingredients like niacinamide, lactic acid, alpha and beta hydroxy acid (AHAs and BHA) or hyaluronic acid.
If you're looking for a good, Australian made anti-ageing serum, Professor Richard collaborated with skincare brand Ellus & Krue to create its EPI-gN™ Serum, $148. Formulated with 18 evidence-based, quality ingredients, it's said to help to improve the tone, texture, and natural radiance of your skin, as well as minimising fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Retinoids

If you're not familiar with Retinoids, allow us to bring you up to speed. Retinoids are a derivative of vitamin A that helps to boosts collagen production and increase skin cell turnover. This means that they're an excellent anti-ageing formula since they help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, increase collagen and elastin production, remove dead skin to help unclog pores and even out skin tone.
As you can imagine, if retinoids can do all that, they're a pretty potent active, so you're going to want to start slow and proceed with caution. It's also recommended that you apply them only at night because they can make your skin more sensitive to UV damage, explains Professor Richard. "If these [retinoids] are in your skincare regime, I would definitely be putting on an SPF [during the day] to protect you from burning." He further explained how sun damage can reduce the production of collagen and elastin, which is the opposite of what we're trying to achieve by applying retinol.
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It's worth noting that if your skin struggles with the strength of retinol, you can swap steps 4 and 5 around. A nice layer of thick moisturiser will help to act as a buffer. Or better yet, you can find a night cream that contains retinol, such as the Ellus & Krue's Intensive Night Repair Cream, $110.

5. Lock it all in

The night cream has an important role, says Professor Richard. "It's really there to assure that your skin remains hydrated, to provide a barrier to free radicals and to control pH of the skin." By 'sealing' the skin barrier, you're giving the actives you've just applied in your serums the best chance at working undisrupted.
Once you've layered all your skincare, the only thing left to do is sit back and let your skincare routine give the term 'beauty sleep' new meaning. Happy layering!
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