Overnight Skincare

woman stretching in bed after wake up

As your head finally hits the pillow after a long day, your skin is just preparing to wake up and start recharging. When you’re asleep skin doesn’t have to work to defend itself, so all its energy goes into repairing and re-energising. At night the body produces higher levels of melatonin, which, as leading dermatologist Dr Goldfaden explains “not only regulates sleep, but is also an antioxidant that fights free radicals. Melatonin stimulates the growth of major skin cells which produce the essential proteins such as collagen and elastin that provide a structural framework for your skin.” Give your skin’s repair process a helping hand with a targeted overnight treatment and wake up to wow skin.

Before Bed

Deeply cleanse away the debris of the day and ensure your skin is clean, refreshed and ready to absorb your night-time product. Don’t skip this all important step, as Dr Goldfaden reminds us: “Cleansing the skin at night is a must! No exceptions. The skin is exposed to many pollutants from just stepping foot outside. Soot, car exhaust, sun, second-hand smoke and many others can wreak havoc leaving a layer of dirt and free radicals. Makeup also needs to be removed, no matter what. Sleeping in makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin.” Try a nourishing balm like Eve Lom’s Cleanser or a refreshing wash like Oskia’s gel-to-milk textured Renaissance Cleansing Gel.


Help your skin to shed dead cells efficiently and reveal plumper, receptive new cells on the surface by exfoliating with an acid – choose glycolic to help fade fine lines, salicylic to fight blemishes or gentle lactic if you’re testing the water. We recommend the daily use Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment or Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel Pads. By exfoliating first, you’re clearing the skin and prepping it to deeply absorb for even better results in the morning. Add your chosen acid into your routine after cleansing and before your overnight treatment.

Choose Your Tonic

Instead of slathering on the same product night after night, spend some time getting to know your skin and keeping an eye on its natural changes and flare ups. Each evening feel the texture of your skin, and look in the mirror – look for dry patches, redness, pigmentation, spots and which areas look bright, clear and smooth. Then pick your overnight product – that way you’re giving yourself a bespoke skin treatment.

If your skin doesn’t have any particular issues, boost brightness, hydration and tone with an all-rounder like the award-winning Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial, which utilises a cocktail of vitamins to plump, firm and boost skin’s radiance. To target the signs of ageing, Dr Goldfaden suggests looking for a retinol which “targets hyper-pigmentation as well as helping skin look tighter and smoother. They can make skin photosensitive though, so night-time use is recommended.” Try Goldfaden MD Wake Up Call, which contains retinol plus vitamin E-rich avocado oil, antioxidant COQ10 and nourishing grapeseed oil. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil has a light, hydrating oil texture combined with all the smoothing power of retinol.

If your skin is looking dry and flaky or feels tight after cleansing then a night-time moisture boost can really help, as Dr Goldfaden explains “skin cell regeneration occurs at a higher rate at night. Our trans-epidermal water loss increases at night so skin is extra thirsty and primed for absorbing hydrating ingredients.” We recommend the rich Goldfaden MD Plant Profusion Regenerative Night Cream or the ultra-soothing Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Repair Night Oil.


Choose multi-tasking overnight products and you’ll save precious daytime hours. Vita Liberata Self Tanning Anti-Age Serum is a case in point; the hydrating, softening formula combines with a buildable tan, so you wake up with a plumped, glowing complexion. If you prefer an oil formula, try a few drops of nourishing Tan-Luxe Sleep Oil.

In Bed

Once you’ve applied your overnight skincare product try not to rub your face onto your pillow or hands – you want the product to have the best chance of absorbing into your skin. For that reason it’s a good idea to remove your makeup and start your skincare routine as soon as you get home or as soon as is possible to allow it plenty of time to sink in before lights out.

In The Morning

Give your skin a thorough cleanse, then re-energise with a splash of cold water – this will boost blood flow to the face and brighten up skin. Now apply your serum, gently patting into dry skin, wait at least five minutes for it to sink in, and then smooth on your moisturiser with upward motions. Finally take a look in the mirror and marvel at your radiant, nourished complexion.