Do we really need separate skincare routines with different products for the day and the night? It’s the question that’s always looming overhead conversations around skincare regimens. But, the answer is yes. You may counter, “but my skin has the same needs – so why change the routine or the products?”
Let’s start with what we want out of our skincare routine in the am and pm…
What is the purpose of a morning ritual?
In a word, the core objective of a morning ritual is: defence.
In the morning, you’re heading out for work, exposing yourself to the sun, humidity, makeup, pollution, bacteria and other environmental factors. You need something that’ll moisturise your skin, but more importantly, shield you from the elements.
What is the purpose of an evening ritual?
Your mantra for your pm skin should be: repair.
After roughing it out in the big bad world, it’s time let your skin heal. When we’re asleep, our body goes into repair mode. Night time is ideal to use products that contain more active ingredients but cause photosensitivity (such as, vitamin C, Anti-oxidant serum).
The Morning Skincare Routine
Keep it straightforward and focus on readying your skin to face the rest of the day. A basic routine should look like this:
Step 1: Cleanse
Use a mild cleanser. You only want to wash off the excess oil and residue from the night-time products. Rinse your face with lukewarm water. Gently pat (NOT rub) it dry with a soft cloth.
Step 2: Tone
Toners balance the skin’s pH, tighten pores and prepare a clean and toned base for the next product.
Step 3: Moisturise / Serum
Go for a light moisturiser or a light serum , based on your skin type – that protects from the sun and pollution. You can't depend on the sunscreen alone.
Step 4: SPF
Use SPF 30 at least – even during the winter and monsoons! Apply generously and leave it for a few minutes to set in before you proceed with makeup.
The Bedtime Skincare Routine
Once you’re home and ready to get in bed, your skincare routine shifts into a deep-nourishment zone. Here’s what a basic pm ritual can look like:
Step 1: Makeup removal
Prep your skin for a thorough, deep cleanse by swiping it clean of the makeup, sweat, dust and grime. You can use micellar water, cleansing balm, oil etc. to remove the makeup thoroughly.
Step 2: Deep cleanse
If your daytime cleanser can deep clean your skin, then use the same. At this step, make sure ALL the makeup, daytime products, sunscreen, dirt have been washed off. Gently pat your face dry.
Step 3: Tone
Use an alcohol-free toner for some pH balancing, soothing and pore tightening. The toner also helps the next active product absorb well into your skin for better results.
Step 4: Exfoliate/mask
Exfoliation is ideal in the night time as exfoliating acids can cause photosensitivity. Limit this to two to three times a week. You can also use an overnight mask, in which case you can skip the following steps.
Step 5: Serum
Based on your skin’s needs, you can go for active concentrated serum which are . If you’re using any spot treatment, then fit that into this step as well.
Step 6: Moisturise
Night creams or oils are crafted to do some heavy-duty work and seal in the serum. Use one that penetrates deeply. Your pm skincare products can consist of an emollient, an eye cream, anti-aging cream or products with collagen promoting compounds.
- If you use a serum, facial oil or eye cream, make sure you do it after toning and before moisturising.
- Dry skin types can stick to a cleanser for the pm only.
- Products are absorbed better when the skin is damp. So, make sure there’s not more than a ten-second gap between each step.
- If you’re using a Vitamin C serum in the daytime, make sure you wait for at least a 30-minute before stepping in the sun.