These Nighttime Serums Are the Next Best Thing to Drinking Virgin's Blood

Because if I can sustain my youth as well as keep my soul, well that's the definition of a win-win, isn't it?
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Publish date:
March 30, 2016
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masks, SkinCeuticals, Kiehl's, missha, serum, Ampoule, Drunk Elephant, Night Serums

I really do not like going to bed. It's not that I don't love sleeping, but I hate giving up on being awake, you know?

The one thing that makes that whole "giving up" thing much more enjoyable and productive, however, is the time I take (which can range from 15 minutes to an hour) working on my night beauty.

Sometimes, if I'm feeling real generous, I'll ask aloud, "Hey, does anyone need the bathroom before I start working on my night beauty?" The perk of living with boys is that the answer is almost always no.

This is when the whole extravagant-amount-of-steps routine comes into play. Night beauty is generally when you can use all the heavy-hitting stuff — the products that you have to separate from sunlight like two kids who always cause trouble when they get together. Lately, I've been using a rotating cast of night serums that have all been very hardworking elves, making my skin essentially Benjamin Button itself come morning.

I started thinking about how, living in NYC, skin takes an environmental beating from all the pollution and inherent vices one can reap from a city that allows any type of consumable to be consumed at any given time of day or night. They really get you on the whole "free radicals" front.

SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E serum has that trendy wine ingredient that is as efficacious as it is difficult to pronounce. Resveratrol works to neutralize free radicals that can weaken your skin prematurely, and boosts your skin's antioxidant defenses, all of which generally falls into the "anti-aging" category. This serums has a scent that's a bit alcohol-y (it has alcohol denat someplace mid-list in the ingredients), but absorbs easily as a gel — perfect for layering!

This TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum from Drunk Elephant kind of landed in my lap. If I did not know a lot about Drunk Elephant skincare before, it has quickly become like that person who you suddenly become much more interested in after discovering that they have a crush on you. It's got 12% glycolic acid, which, if you're not super-acquainted with glycolics, is no small amount. There's also raspberry extract, horse chestnut, and a cactus plant enzyme, which is supposed to aid in brightening as well as "reducing neurosensory irritation," aka that stinging sensation from using cosmetic acids. This was one of those one-time products for me that, the first night I used it, I literally woke up with deliriously glowing skin that was super-smooth and plump to boot. If it was a new pop radio song, it'd be a banger, for sure. You don't normally get those types of results in a plastic bottle, but whatever — packaging be damned. And it didn't even sting upon first slather! Then again, I have the skin of a leather boot at this point. Drunk Elephant, you can call me anytime.

Missha's Time Revolution line is BOMB. There is little I do not enjoy from it, being that it uses my favorite kind of ingredients — the fermented kind — to season my skin to perfection. This product is hailed as many an HG, famed for its doppleganger effects to Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair serum, which has similar ingredients but at a higher price point. Personally, I have never tried that product so that means diddly to me, but if you have, you can try this one and maybe it'll keep your skin as well as your wallet savory. Missha's Night Repair Science Activator Ampoule is a lightweight serum with Bifida Ferment Lysate, a fermented yeast that magically smooths, plumps, hydrates and evens out your skin on hyperdrive — it's like the T-1000 of serums (sans time-traveling murder plot). It's a bit like the extra nighttime booster for Missha's essence in this line, which is a personal HG for me.

Kiehl's has been on a culinary kick with their new skincare releases — "gourmand" if you want to be elegant about it. These two newbies contain star ingredients that not only do I enjoy in a salad, I also now enjoy slathering on my face.

The Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque is a super-gentle exfoliating, creamy mask. Cilantro extract and an antioxidant cocktail that works to 86 pollutants from your skin, as gentle AHAs make way for smoother and brighter skin underneath. You should definitely read the directions on this one because it's not like a regular face mask — it's a cool face mask. You're supposed to apply a "visible" amount, wait five minutes and then "tissue it off," leaving the residue overnight to do its thang. The texture is that of a heavy but not greasy cream, so tissuing it off proves to be a bit difficult. What I do instead is just apply an appropriate-but-not-quite-visible amount every two nights and then just let it hang out overnight. I wake up with super-hydrated and fresh-feeling skin and a slight craving for zesty seasoning.

The little green bottle contains Kiehl's brand new Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate, which boasts quinoa husk extract. Just the husks, you know, because the little seedy bit would be... too weird? Apparently this quinoa husk extract has powerful exfoliating abilities that are also quite gentle becaus,e honestly, it's from the husk of a quinoa — how much damage can it do? Hence the "micro-peel" moniker.

This is great pick for sensitive skin because it is so gentle, so even those with wimpy skin can get a peel in. This is gentle enough to use nightly, which I do, but as I mentioned earlier, old leather-face me takes a bit longer to see results sometimes from things formulated this gently. My skin does, however, feel overall smoother after a straight week of use, so I cannot complain. I'm excited to see how my skin looks in another two weeks!

Of all the things to treat as you snooze, your hair could use some of that special stuff.

Living Proof, possibly realizing that its customers are glamorously lazy, provides the easier way for a hair treatment that doesn't mess up your sheets or require some sort of headgear to sleep in. Night Cap Overnight Perfector applies just like a styling cream, absorbs, and does its thing while you sleep on it. It lacks silicones and oils, instead using its own patented "Healthy Hair Molecule" to smooth the cuticle and strengthen your hair's barrier with amino acids. Also notable: its treatment effects linger through five shampoos, so they say. It feels really light, which is a welcome relief for someone like me who resorts to overnight coconut oil hair masks. Overall, it's not like I wake up with princess hair magically, but I do notice that my hair does feel slicker and is easier to style — it's not as crispy-feeling. I'm also working from below sea level, in terms of normal to damaged hair, so I imagine if you already possess relatively healthy-feeling hair, it'd be the bomb for you.

For the record, a lot of times I'll layer these up, but I usually stick to only two serums at a time and a face oil or a moisturizer (which also get used in the a.m.). It probably goes without saying, but all this layering makes my face basically glisten like a disco ball. But that doesn't matter because the only person who sees me in bed at night is my boyfriend, who is more concerned with stealing my skincare products than what they look like on my face.

  • Do you guys have drastically different AM/PM nighttime beauty routines?
  • How many serums can one actually layer before you're not even hitting skin anymore?