As the temperatures are dropping and I am bundling up to stay warm (and wearing a face mask most of the day…ugh), my skin has started suffering the consequences. Especially in NYC where the weather changes drastically day-to-day, being prepared with the right must-have winter skincare products (and creating a winter skincare routine) is super important.
In the winter months specifically, my skin suffers from major dryness (chapped lips, flaky skin, eczema, etc) in addition to my regular struggles with oil and acne. In college, I remember slathering my face with Vaseline before bed to avoid this, but I like to think that as I’ve matured (kind of…), so has my skincare knowledge.
Moisture is obviously the most important remedy to winter skin issues, but there are so many other important factors that are easy to forget about! So, I’ve decided to share my winter morning and night skincare routine with you all, what’s worked best for me, winter skincare tips, and what I’m still experimenting with. With this information, hopefully you’ll be able to more completely build a morning and night winter skincare routine for yourself!
If you missed Part 1: Morning Routine, you can read it here.
Keep in mind that skincare routine order is important. After cleansing, apply the lightest skincare products first (toners, serums) and the heavier stuff after (moisturizer, spot treatments). Follow this order but feel free to mix and match what you do every night. My suggestions are very researched and tested, but following these guidelines, you can also build a basic skincare routine with drugstore products, too.
Without further adieu, here is Part 2, my nighttime skincare routine!
Disclaimer: This post contains some (not all) affiliate links, which means that if you choose to take my suggestions and make a purchase, I will make a little money so I can keep up these super cool blog posts. This in no way affects my editorial decisions, which are always genuine recommendations and only products or brands I would purchase myself.
Step 1: Makeup Remover
This is by far the most important step in my nighttime skincare routine. Never, ever, ever, ever fall asleep with your makeup on. Not only is it messy (raccoon eyes and stained pillowcases) but it clogs your pores, causes breakouts, and you’ll likely wake up with irritated, puffy skin (or at least I do).
If you are a skincare enthusiast like me, you’ve seen the warnings against using makeup remover wipes. I will admit that in moments of weakness (traveling, laziness, eyes shutting uncontrollably), I will reach for a makeup wipe for a quick solution. The problem with makeup wipes isn’t that they are bad for your skin, but they DO strip your skin of its natural oils and moisture. So, if you are going to use makeup wipes (I suggest Neutrogena Hydrating Cleansing Towelettes), just be sure that you are loading on moisturizing products afterwards.
Since I’ve given up makeup wipes (mostly…), I have fallen in love with makeup removing balm, and similar products. It basically melts away your makeup without stripping your skin at all. Here are the ones I’ve been loving lately:
- Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm ($34): This is by far the best makeup removing product on the market right now, in my opinion. It is super gentle, and literally melts all the makeup off of your skin…including waterproof mascara!! I absolutely love that Farmacy offers a mini size, which is perfect for travelling.
- Lush Ultraplant Facial Cleanser ($19): I immediately fell in love with this cleanser because it smells like honeysuckle, which is my favorite scent! This is a similar product to the Farmacy balm (above), but a great option for those needing EXTRA moisture (some won’t like how this feels, it is definitely super duper moisturizing, and some of the reviews claim it feels heavy or sticky), and I love it. It also only has six ingredients, so it’s great for those looking for a gentle, vegan option.
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover ($6): This is my OG favorite eye makeup remover that I’ve loved since high school. I usually use this if I’m wearing a crap-ton of eye makeup (liquid liner, waterproof mascara, eyeshadow, or god forbid, GLITTER) and then follow up with one of the balms, above. The best part is how inexpensive it is, and you can get it at most drugstores, or on Amazon!
Step 2: Cleanser
When it comes to nighttime skincare, I like to change it up based on how my skin is feeling and acting during the day. This means I pay attention to see if my skin feels oily, dry, irritated, or if my pores are clogged, or I’m breaking out. Based on these things, I like to pick a cleanser for my specific needs, and do a deep cleanse after removing any makeup.
Here are the cleansing products I’ve been loving:
- Doctor Babor Calming RX Soothing Cleanser ($45): Babor recently sent me some of the products from their new Doctor Babor line, and I’ve been loving it all since day one. This cleanser is super gentle, yet leaves skin feeling 100% clean and refreshed. This is great for when my skin is feeling irritated or dry. (*gifted)
- Avya Skincare Skincare Gentle Cleanser Non Foaming Face Wash ($35): After falling in love with the Avya Power Serum I mentioned in Part 1 of this post, Avya sent me this cleanser to try out, and I really like using this both morning and night. It does a great job cleansing, but is very gentle on your skin. This one is also great for irritated or dry skin. (*gifted)
- Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant ($59): I got a little sample packet of this forever ago at Ulta, but was a little confused by the nature of the product. It comes as a dry, black powder, and once combined with water, turns into an exfoliating cleanser. Despite my hesitation, I tried it out and it did NOT disappoint. I use this after using another gentle cleanser on nights where my skin is feeling dry/flaky or my pores are feeling clogged! I love that it is so effective, yet gentle enough to use daily. (*gifted)
Step 3: Serum
Like choosing a cleanser, I like to choose my serums based on my skin concerns that day. Serums are the more concentrated of products we apply to our skin, so they can have seriously powerful effects. Here are my recent favorites:
- Dermalogica Retinol Acne Clearing Oil ($80): Before you stop reading because of that steep price tag (I would, TBH), I assure you that this product is 100% worth it. After dealing with months and months of acne, this is the only thing that really worked to clear it up. Full disclosure, I do NOT like the way this smells or feels (I don’t wear this during the day for this reason), but the results are undeniable. (*gifted)
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($6): Niacinamide for the win again! I absolutely love The Ordinary, and their affordability and variety of products can’t be beat. This serum is a super blemish fighter. The only word of caution I have to give you is to be aware that the formula is very thick. Apply a very light layer and give it time to absorb (with serums, pressing the product into your skin helps with absorption) or you’ll feel the product rolling off your skin when applying other products on top!
- Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum ($58): I’ve used this serum for a few years, and I can’t get enough of it, still. It’s super powerful and tingles a bit when it goes on, but I wake up with refreshed, brighter-looking skin every time. It also seriously helps improve my skin tone and texture!
Step 4: Moisturizer
As with Part 1 of this post, moisturizer is one of the most important steps of any nighttime skincare routine. As we sleep, our skin regenerates, and giving our skin the moisture it craves is essential. Especially during the dry winter months, it’s important to create a winter skincare routine for dry skin. Here are some of the moisturizers I’ve been loving lately:
- Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Face Mask ($50): Let’s start with my absolute favorite skincare product right now. It’s not a moisturizer per-se (technically it’s a mask), but you can skip the moisturizer when using this one at night. I was literally shocked when I woke up in the morning after using this mask the first night. My skin was nourished, plump, and completely free of lines or creases. I’ve never seen instant results like these before, and therefore will substitute my nighttime moisturizer with this mask whenever I need a little refresh for the next day.
- bareMinerals Ageless Ageless Phyto-Retinol Face Cream ($62): This moisturizer is a great option for those looking for an all-natural, vegan alternative to retinol. I saw a definite improvement in texture after about a week of using this product, and definitely recommend loading it on at nighttime!
Step 5: Spot Treatment
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’ve been seriously struggling with acne and breakouts lately (thanks a lot, masks). I look forward to my nighttime skincare routine because it gives me a chance to target breakouts specifically, allowing them time to heal overnight. I’ve experimented with just about everything, but here are some of the things that have really helped me out lately:
- Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17): This is my tried-and-true favorite spot treatment, by far. I got a recommendation from a coworker years ago, and have been using it ever since. It works by drying out blemishes overnight, but be sure to read the directions. Don’t shake the bottle (easiest mistake to make because the formula visibly separates in the bottle) and slowly dip a cotton swab to the bottom of the bottle. I’ve literally seen this stuff zap zits overnight.
- Paradox Lucky Star Blemish Patches ($18): I’ll be honest with you, I thought these things were so silly when I first got them in my Winter FabFitFun box. However, after using them ONCE, I was seriously impressed. These patches are so great because they don’t rub off your face at night (like some creams do) and target blemishes rapidly.
Thanks for reading, friends! Shop the products in this post below, and let me know which ones you love!! Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you build a winter skincare routine that is perfect for you. If you missed Part 1: Morning Routine, check it out here. Also, please help me share my work by sharing this post with friends and family on social media!
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