Skip to main content

The best nighttime skincare routine for men, according to experts

Nighttime skincare routine every man should follow, per the pros

A flatlay of skincare products on white background
Misolo Cosmetic / Pexels

Your skincare routine is just as important as any bedtime regimen.

Bedtime routines may have been a staple part of your life as a child — perhaps even one you looked forward to all day. Maybe it included a book, bath, story, and time with a beloved caregiver.

However, bedtime routines aren’t just for children. They also don’t just include powering down your phone and curling up with a book — though both are good ideas to up your sleep quality and duration. The right nighttime skincare routine can leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated in the morning.

“Proper skincare routine can help maintain healthy and vibrant skin,” said Ewelina Aiossa, a skincare expert and co-founder of Clinical Skin.

Yet, there are so many products on the market. You may also have so many questions. Is there a “right” skincare routine order? What are the must-have skincare routine steps, and which can you skip? Aiossa said the process doesn’t have to be overwhelming.

“Keep it simple when it comes to [your] skincare regimen,” Aiossa stated. “At the end of the day, what matters is that you regularly use the products to [get] their benefits.”

Just like there are best practices for a morning skincare routine, experts share ways to maximize your nighttime skincare routine. Keep reading to learn about these tips.

Skincare products on a counter
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The best nighttime skincare routine

Not everyone has the time or desire to work through a page-long list of steps during their nighttime skincare routine. The good news: you don’t have to. In fact, sometimes, fewer skincare routine steps are better. For example, not everyone needs a retinol product. Generally, Aiossa said skincare regimens can be broken down into two — yes, two — essential steps and nice-to-haves. She and others advised on both.

Must-do nighttime skincare routine steps

Every gentleman’s skincare routine should include these steps in order.

Cleanse your face

Whether you stayed in all day or ventured out to the office, a garden, or beyond, washing your face is necessary. Soap and water is the old-school way. You’ll want a cleanser.

“Cleanse the face with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser to remove any dirt or oil accumulated throughout the day,” said Heidy Urra, the leading medical aesthetician and skincare expert at Miami Plastic Surgery.

Aiossa explained, “Considering men’s skin is a bit oilier (courtesy of testosterone) and has larger, more concentrated oil glands, men should use a cleanser/face wash to effectively remove debris and oil from its surface. One can look for a cleanser with hydroxy acids (i.e. glycolic acid based) to effectively counteract the oiliness.”

“The same cleanser can be used at night as in the morning,” advised Dr. Dustin Portela, a board-certified dermatologist.

Apply a moisturizer

Like cleansing, moisturizing is an essential part of your morning and evening skincare routine. However, consider using something different at night.

“Use a heavier, richer moisturizer at night, ideally packed with age-defying ingredients — ceramides, peptides, [and] AHAs — to support skin barrier and skin repair and wake up to rejuvenated complexion come morning time,” Aiossa said.

Portela recommends against “strong fragrance in this step.”

Here, skincare routine order matters. Cleansing your face before moisturizing ensures you don’t wash away the moisturizer.

Nice-to-have items in your nighttime skincare routine

A two-step nighttime skincare routine may sound too good to be true. It’s not, but experts share other steps to help repair the skin as you sleep.

Try a retinol-based product

Retinol can treat acne and slow aging.

“For men seeking rejuvenating benefits, I suggest using [a] retinol-based product at nighttime, when skin is in recovery mode,” Aiossa commented. “Retinol will help speed up the cell turnover (gentle exfoliation) while minimizing the appearance of pore size, fine lines and wrinkles, discolorations, and improving skin texture. It is a multitasking powerhouse ingredient.”

The evening is a good time to apply a product with retinol. It’s known to cause extra sun sensitivity. Sun exposure also makes retinol less effective.

Use a toner

After cleansing, Urra suggested using a toner to “help balance the skin’s pH levels and prepare the skin for the rest of the routine.”

(The next step is moisturizing.)

Exfoliate weekly

Exfoliating can feel harsh on the skin if done too often. However, Aiossa suggested taking this step once or twice per week.

“You can also choose to add exfoliation (physical scrubs, chemical exfoliants) to your PM regimen skin twice weekly (or as needed) to help remove dead skin cells, which allows for skincare products to penetrate better and keeps the complexion looking and feeling smooth, while keeping breakout at bay,” Aiossa continued. “If you use retinol (vitamin A) at night, you may skip the mechanical exfoliation step.”

A man applying a skincare treatment in the mirror
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why your nighttime routine still needs customization

The above skincare routine steps should help you streamline your pre-bed regimen. That said, experts share there’s still something to be said for those often-overwhelming ingredient options. Your skin type, goals, and concerns matter.

“In today’s market, there really is a product for everyone,” said Dr. Gary Goldfaden, a board-certified dermatologist with Goldfaden MD. “It boils down to finding the correct ingredients and regimen for your skin.”

Think about your concerns when shopping.

“When shopping for products, make a list of the problem being targeted and the desired result. For example, ‘you want to achieve a brighter complexion, but you suffer from rosacea,'” stated Dr. Goldfaden.

A dermatologist can help you cut through the jargon. However, a little research is something to get you started.

“The best advice is to read all the information because nothing is black and white,” Dr. Goldfaden continued. “Mixing and matching high-tech products with natural products is sometimes the best regimen. Educate yourself and try a few different types of products.”

A man with a charcoal face mask
Safia Shakil / Unsplash

Add a face mask to your skincare routine

Incorporating face masks into your skincare regimen offers a significant skin health boost. Masks address various skin concerns and deliver concentrated vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to your skin. Face masks establish a protective barrier that locks in essential ingredients and enhances the absorption of your everyday skincare products.

Masks also contribute to the skin’s overall softness and deeply permeate the epidermis, resulting in a plumper, more youthful appearance. Adequate hydration plays a pivotal role in achieving vibrant, radiant skin, and well-hydrated skin helps combat common signs of aging, such as sagging and wrinkles.

Adding a face mask to your skincare routine one to three times per week is recommended, depending on your skin type.

Editors' Recommendations

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on and In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
Is Vaseline the Swiss army knife your skincare routine needs? What derms have to say
The Vaseline skincare tips everyone needs
a vaseline lip product on a greenscreen backdrop

One of the trendiest products on social media over the last year isn't from an elusive French pharmacy brand. Instead, one of the moment's biggest products is a regular drugstore staple you likely already have in your bathroom: Vaseline.

The Google of petroleum jelly began trending because of the concept of "slugging" (which has nothing to do with baseball).

Read more
At-home spa: Make your own exfoliating face mask with ingredients from your kitchen
Recipes to create your own skincare products from an expert
Man wearing a clay mask

Ever leaf through a women’s magazine and see shots of an otherwise gorgeous model with her hair wrapped in a towel, some creamy goo obscuring her otherwise magnificent features, and cucumbers concealing those $100,000 eyes? Often, the article is about creating skin treatments at home, especially face masks, using everything from avocados to turmeric and vinegar.

Although these straight-from-the-pantry fixes have always been in a woman’s toolbox, they haven’t gotten quite as much attention from men’s sources. What? Like guys don’t have kitchens? (I know I left mine around here somewhere.) In these days of DIY madness, being able to whip up a quick fix for your face can not only make you feel better, but it’s also downright neighborly: That’s one less package that an essential delivery person has to bring from a warehouse to your front door.

Read more
Having beard struggles? Here’s how to fix a patchy beard, according to an expert
Fix your patchy beard with these easy tips
A man looking at himself in bathroom mirror.

There are a few worries some men experience when they attempt to grow their beards. None is more prevalent than the dreaded patchy beard. You invest all of your time and patience into not taking your beard clippers to your face, only to have certain areas come in with full growth (like the mustache and goatee areas) only to have other areas look like a pubescent teenager attempting their first facial hair growth.

It can feel not only frustrating but demoralizing to a man's ego when that's all he has to show for his facial growth. This stressful situation is one that happens to many men, so just know that you are not the only one. Surprisingly, this problem can be solved with a little product, a little patience, and a little help from our friends.

Read more