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My Nighttime Skincare Routine

After 6+ months in the making, here are my tried & true cannot-live-without nighttime skincare recommendations!

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Skincare routine for women in their 20s

More than 6 Months in the Making…

If you look at my ‘Skincare’ Instagram highlight, you’ll see that I declared the official “start” of my skincare journey 30 weeks, or about seven and a half months, ago.

It was mid-winter and I had just about had it with my skin. I was experiencing breakouts, redness, and really wanted to get ahead of aging as I got further into my mid-20s. I honestly had no real skincare routine and figured it was just as good a time as ever to figure one out.

So I decided to put in the work, do the research, and test a bunch of products and routines, to see what would work best. For reference, my skin isn’t too sensitive, but is fair and gets red easily. I also have inherited my dad’s crow’s feet (crinkles around my eyes when I smile 😊) and my mom’s love of the sunshine, so there are of course genetic and environmental factors at play.

Keep that in mind as you read this post– everyone’s skin is so unique, so my suggestion is to try out the sample or smaller sizes of any products that interest you, and if they don’t irritate your skin right away, stick with them and document how your skin has changed. The below before/after pictures were just a few of the many that I’ve taken throughout testing different products and routines.

Before I get into the full routine and products, I also wanted to mention some of the resources and bloggers that helped guide my research. Grace Atwood from The Stripe, Julia Amory from India Amory, and Kathleen Jennings from Kathleen Jennings Beauty are all truly stunning women (inside & out!) in their 30s, who are quite simply goals when I think about how I want my skin to look like in about ten years!

Therefore, I took a lot of advice from them, and hope this resource can be helpful to my 20-somethings out there who follow along and are looking to solidify a skincare routine for the first time. I’ll be sure to share my daytime routine next (it’s much simpler 😊) and continue to keep you all posted on new products I incorporate and love.

No makeup, no filter before/after:

Skincare routine for women in their 20s
February 2020
Skincare routine for women in their 20s
June 2020

The results of this routine?

Less pimples, smoother wrinkles and lines around my eyes, more even surface/texture all over, & much less redness.

Here are my tried-and-true-cannot-live-without-OMG-that-WORKS product recommendations from this journey that I now use as my nighttime skincare routine… 


I either start with the cleansing balm and wash my face first with that, or mix it in with the sugar scrub! 

Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm— This cleansing balm is the BOMB. It literally melts my makeup right off and leaves my skin feeling incredibly smooth afterwards. It’s one of the products that I felt an immediate difference with– which are hard to come by! It’s an Allure ‘Best of Beauty’ winner and is a clean beauty product as well! Also, it smells like a vacation meets a spa… divine. Hands down the best makeup remover I’ve found!


TULA So Polished Exfoliating Sugar Scrub— I don’t like a face wash that doesn’t get all of my makeup off… if I dry my face on a towel and see bronzer on it afterwards, then the face wash didn’t do its job! That’s why I use this exfoliator every night– it has a gentle texture that feels like very fine sugar, that almost seems to dissolve in your hands as you rub it over your face. But it packs a punch and instantly polishes your face, making sure that there’s no foundation or product left behind. It’s also packed with probiotics and superfoods (like pineapple and papaya!), which TULA is so famous for. It’s by far the best face wash/exfoliator that I’ve found that’s gentle enough for everyday use but still removes makeup and dirt to leave to your skin smooth and ready for the rest of your skincare routine. {This is not sponsored, but I do have a discount code I wanted to include that TULA has given to me before– ‘BELIEVESINPINK’ for 15% off anything at TULA.}


Peter Thomas Roth 8% Glycolic Solutions Toner— I actually was gifted this toner at first and after trying numerous other ones, this has proven to be the most effective. Toner is meant to hit your skin with some moisture and bring it to its natural acidic state so that it’s “prepped” for the product you’re about to put on it. In other words, it helps your skin to absorb the skincare products in your routine. This Allure article describes it by saying, “your skin is like a dried-up sponge. If you put a thick cream on a brittle dry sponge, it won’t accept it and it isn’t ‘prepped’ for moisture. But if you wet the sponge, the cream will sink in more easily.” Toner essentially “preps” my skin and has effectively allowed it to absorb the products I’ve tested out over the past few months. I put it on with a cotton pad (it tingles a little bit, but in a nice way!), which I attribute to it working.


SK-II Facial Treatment Essence— This product has a major loyal fan base by many skincare gurus. It’s pricey, but every single blog post I read on it said that it was worth it, so I tried it out! Agreed. It’s like magic water in a bottle, and specializes in evening out your skin’s tone and texture. I used to never go a day without wearing foundation, but now my skin’s tone is much more even, so I don’t notice it nearly as much when I’m not wearing a full face of makeup. It’s made of SK-II’s proprietary ingredient called Pitera™, which contains over 50 micronutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.) that are formulated to reduce the appearance of dark spots and even your skin tone. If you struggle with any discoloration, fine lines, or uneven texture, this just may do the trick. It’s pricey, but I found that value sets for this are often the way to go to get the most bang for your buck.


I alternate between these three products throughout the week! 

Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970— This could have the largest cult-following of any product featured here. I first tried it out when I had a facial done at Rescue Spa in Philadelphia last fall, and after I was done I asked my esthetician for the #1 product she would recommend to me, and this was it. I’ve found that it removes dead cells and almost resurfaces the first layer of your skin so that it’s  baby soft afterwards, and prime for applying skincare  products or even makeup. I just pat it all over with cotton pads (you’re not supposed to rub it in) and acts almost like a toner but is stronger and more effective. And if you need even more proof of how phenomenal it is, here, here, and here are three other blogger’s reviews of it. Trust!


Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment— This is another product that I saw instant skin improvements from and is a really great option for an anti-aging acid, that’s slightly less expensive than the Lotion P50 that I described above. It’s been claimed to visibly plump fine lines and wrinkles within three minutes… I’ve yet to set a timer but this is consistent with the immediate results I’ve seen after sleeping with it on!


Beauty Bio R45 The Reversal 3-Phase Retinol Night Cream Anti-Aging Treatment— After reading a lot into retinol, I decided that I’m a little young to be using it aggressively (for reference I’m 26). It’s also known to be one of the most intense products you can use, and often requires a prescription. Therefore, I wanted to find a good “intro” retinol to try out and warm my skin up to. This trio from Beauty Bio is just that (side note– I love following their founder, Jamie O’Banion for her skin tips as well!). I went through this three-part system (you finish one bottle and then go on to the next) over the course of three months (it’s supposed to take 45 days but I spread it out) and I really think that it completely renewed my skin, like no other product did. They describe how their “proprietary retinol complex, TriGLO™, mimics the skin-smoothing effects of clinical retinol without the harsh side effects” so it’s a safer retinol to try out if you’re new to the product. I saw that it helped me reduce the wrinkles around my eyes, as well as the sun damage/discoloration of my skin. Unreal!


I’m still on the hunt for an inexpensive(ish) light nighttime anti-aging moisturizer, that I can use on nights that I don’t need to use the (rather expensive) Augustinus Bader cream or the über-moisturizing Weleda cream! 

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream— If I’m having a “lazy” skincare night (AKA if I’ve had too much wine or am sleeping out or traveling), then I will just reach for my cleanser and then this cream. It’s good enough to be an entire skincare routine in one, I’m not kidding. It is made with their patented Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8®) that “comprises natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesized molecules naturally found in skin,”  which  essentially makes sure that key nutrients are guided to your skin cells, so that your body can begin repairing and renewing your skin. In other words, it has proprietary, science-backed ingredients that are clinically proven to reverse fine lines and wrinkles. It’s LEGIT and will be my anti-aging BFF over the next few years + beyond.

OR (depending on how dry my skin is)

Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream— Is your skin ever so dry that you just want to take an entire Vaseline jar to it?! 😊 This cream can suppress that urge and actually combat cracked, dry skin. I used it most this past February and March, and now use it whenever I need some added moisture. It’s hands-down the most luxurious, rich, THICK, moisturizing cream I’ve ever tried and is like a tall glass of water for your skin, without making you break out (at least it didn’t for me!). It actually first launched in 1926 and has been a plant-based cult favorite ever since. Seriously, if you struggle with dry skin, try this one out!! You cannot beat the price as well.


AVON Anew Vitamin C Brightening Eye Cream— This is a dark circle miracle worker. It feels so creamy to the touch, and is immediately soothing as soon as you swipe a little bit under your eyes. My under-eye darkness and half-circles look drastically better after I sleep with this on! I have found that AVON does Vitamin C the best out of any other brand I’ve tried, and I use their Vitamin C Warming Peel at least once a week for a deeper exfoliator (it literally heats up in your hands– it’s crazy) and their Vitamin C Brightening Serum in the morning around 3x a week, for visibly more even skin tone and texture.


AVON Green Goddess Facial Oil— Ahh… the final step! I’ve tried a bunch of face oils, and this one is the most soothing. We all know that I am CBD-obsessed, so it only felt right that the most effective face oil that I found is infused with CBD. The face oil that you put on as the last step of your skincare routine is meant to seal in all of the product and sooth your skin so ingredients can work together overnight. This oil does exactly that and takes it a step further due to the CBD that’s in it, which is known for its balancing properties. It’s plant-based, light, & oh so calming… the ideal way to end your skincare routine.

My Top Recommendation

I realize that I just threw a ton of recommendations at you (and these were just my top tried-and-true-cannot-live-without-OMG-that-WORKS) products. 😊

If you’re like “where the heck do I even start?!” I’d suggest going for a really great serum and moisturizer (take a look at my Step 4 and Step 5 and see what would fit your skin’s needs best) and building out your routine from there. I hope this was helpful for those who are just figuring out their skincare routine and those who are looking to tweak theirs or try something out–  feel free to reach out with any specific questions at all. xx Shop the Post