A Super Simple Morning and Evening Skin Care Routine

Your strategy doesn't have to be complicated to work.

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Ross

A.m. skin care routine

From a missed alarm to misplaced keys, there are endless hurdles that can pop up on any given morning. For this reason, concentrate on creating a manageable routine. “Mornings aren’t a relaxing time for self-care, so it has to be simple and sustainable,” says Dr. Shannon Humphrey, a dermatologist and medical director at Carruthers & Humphrey Cosmetic Dermatology in Vancouver. Focus on shielding your skin from environmental factors, such as pollution and UV rays.

“A reasonable skincare regimen should include an antioxidant, like a vitamin C serum, moisturizer, sunscreen and an eye cream that’s suitable for your skin type,” she says. “This will take literally 20 seconds and protect your skin throughout the day.” And, no, makeup with SPF just won’t cut it. “A stand-alone sunscreen is such an important part of your skincare regimen,” says Dr. Humphrey. “A foundation with sunscreen is better than one without it, but it should be used in conjunction with SPF. There are so many sun protection formulations available now that it’s really old school to say that they’re all heavy, sticky and stinky. Find one that works for you. It’s a worth-while endeavour and only a one-time undertaking.”

Moisture is everything

A zone-specific product may appear to blur the line between necessary and excessive, but the pros make the case for using an eye cream daily. “The skin on your eyelids is quite thin compared to the rest of your face,” says Dr. Humphrey. “It tends to dry out quickly and wrinkle earlier.”

For adequate hydration that will smooth and soften the outer layer of your skin, Dr. Humphrey suggests using an eye cream with an emollient texture. Heather MacKay, senior manager of spa services at Elmwood Spa in Toronto, focuses on the ingredients when making product recommendations. In need of moisture? Try an eye cream with hyaluronic acid, she says. Want to rejuvenate skin around the eyes? Find one with peptides. Plus, her brilliant relocation strategy could improve any a.m. routine track record. “I like to keep my morning skincare products at arm’s reach, right on my dresser in the bedroom, not in the bathroom,” she says. “When I run into my room to get dressed, I can use them easily.” Want to go the natural route for your skin care routine? Here are five at-home remedies for reducing wrinkles.

To cleanse or not to cleanse?

That is the morning skin-prep question. MacKay votes for the former. “When your body is at rest through the night, your skin releases impurities,” she says. “You don’t want to head into your day with all that stuff left on your face or apply a healthy skincare routine or makeup overtop.” Choose a cleanser that suits your skin type. Generally, gels work best for oily skin, while creams are ideal for dry skin. Or, try a cleanser-free, just-add-water option. “If you want a shortcut, use a textured cleansing cloth, like the Jane Iredale Magic Mitt, or konjac sponge,” says MacKay. “It’s soft and gentle and ideal for someone who is concerned with overcleansing and overdrying.” And if you’re looking for a product that won’t strip your skin, check out these 7 standout facial cleansers that are worth adding to your skin care routine.

Products from top to bottom:

Coppertone Pure & Simple Face SPF 50, $11; available at Shoppers Drug Mart

Volition Helix AM/PM Eye Gel, $65; available at Sephora

Korres Wild Rose 15% Vitamin C Spotless Serum, $99; available at Murale

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Ross

P.m. skin care routine

For many of us, evening is the only time available to truly indulge in skincare. “I think of my night-time ritual as my self-care skin ritual and firmly believe that winding down plays into falling asleep and having restful sleep,” says Dr. Humphrey. “I have a little more time then and can incorporate a few more steps and products.”

Rather than watch the clock, capitalize on whatever window of opportunity works for you. “You don’t have to wait until before bed to do your bedtime routine,” says MacKay. “Once you’re home for the night, do your bedtime routine then, while you have the energy. If you start watching TV and fall asleep on the couch, you won’t want to do a whole routine and will end up going straight to bed. Once you come home and change into something more comfortable, do it then.”

All hail the sleeping mask

With a stretch of beauty sleep ahead, choose products that are specially designed to treat an epidermis at rest. This is the time for barrier-restoring serums and moisturizers that are heavier or have a texture that may not be suitable for day or compatible with makeup, says Dr. Humphrey. In addition to night creams, sleeping masks (made to sink in and be left on overnight) can round out a roster of beauty bedmates. Popular in Asian skincare and becoming more widely available in Canada, they address concerns like hydration, exfoliation, brightening and firming.

“Sleeping masks are a great way to get good treatment ingredients into your skin,” says MacKay. “They tend to be a little bit more concentrated than in regular masks. And always carry excess night-time products down to your neck, your chest and even the backs of your hands.” Having trouble falling asleep? These sleep-inducing products are worth a adding to your skin care routine.

Glow to bed

When the sun goes down, skincare with active ingredients should come out. “Before bed is the time to use more serious or treatment-oriented products – those that have corrective ingredients and may make you more sensitive to UV rays,” says MacKay. To maintain healthy skin with a fresh glow, she focuses on exfoliation and hydration and sticks to a rotating system. “I like to alternate the use of an AHA peel pad or a retinol serum one night and a hydrating sleep mask the next night,” she says.

Retinol and other vitamin A derivatives also make the cut for Dr. Humphrey’s night-time essentials. “Many forms aren’t photo-stable, so it’s best to use them overnight so that they’ll have seven to nine hours to work and not risk being broken down by UV light during the day,” says MacKay.

Products from top to bottom:

Glamglow Good in Bed Passionfruit Softening Night Cream, $75; available at Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart

Eau Thermale Avène Dermabsolu Comforting Night Balm, $59; available at Shoppers Drug Mart

Kate Somerville Liquid Exfolikate Triple Acid Resurfacing Treatment, $75; available at Sephora, Nordstrom and katesomerville.com

Filorga Ncef-Night Mask, $95; available at Murale

Rodial Retinol, 10% Booster Drops, $89; available at Shoppers Drug Mart

For more overnight products to perfect your skin care routine, check out these toners, creams and serums.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada