Let’s face it. I’m tired at night. You’re tired at night. We all want to get to bed without the hassle of spending a great deal of time futzing around in the bathroom—unless you’re a beauty blogger and that’s what you do.

I need fast, results-oriented skin care that will clean my face without leaving it parched, followed by a few light products to do some miracle healing work overnight and set the stage for the next day’s glam—you know, like carpool lines, grocery checkout lines, the Target returns line, my usual table at Barnes & Noble in the children’s section. You never know where you’ve got to flaunt your best skin forward.

Beyond that, products that are infused with calming scents and beautiful textures ease me into a relaxed state and melt off the day along with my makeup, dirt, and grime. While my morning routine (discussed in detail here) prepares me for my day, my night routine must be highly functional as it settles me into a peaceful rest.

Just for the fun of it, I’ve chosen to star(*) the brands that will be joining us at A Night For Green Beauty in August.

The cleansers

I begin makeup removal with an oil cleanse for a number of reasons.

  • It prevents the need to scrub or wash repeatedly, both unnecessarily harsh on the skin.
  • It protects skin and seals in moisture to keep dryness at bay, as detailed in my morning routine.
  • It dislodges stubborn makeup that doesn’t rinse off easily with a single cleanser.

While I do reach for Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil*  (also mentioned in the previous post), I couldn’t resist splurging on Seed to Serum’s collab with R. L. Linden & Co.* that resulted in my latest obsession—the luxurious fairer than lilies serum cleanser. What a supreme partnership, don’t you think?

If you know anything about Seed to Serum’s founder, Megan Schwarz, you’ll know that she steers toward the niche—and fabulous—artisan-made brands with a radar that sniffs them out like a bee to nectar. Her refined sense of quality coupled with R. L. Linden’s mastery of herbal wisdom produced a magical blend that they’ve executed to perfection. Truly, I can’t think of a way to describe this better than the way Megan does: “the cushiness of a balm cleanser and the ease of an oil cleanser.”

Designed to soothe sensitive and blemish prone skin (HELLO, my skin!), this demulcent balm-serum feels like droplets of golden heaven to touch and inhale. I spend time massaging this oil into my skin to allow the ingredients to penetrate and take full effect.

Think of it as offering your skin a pillow-like landing at the end of a long day, as your skin is enveloped in rice bran oil infused with comfrey, marshmallow, calendula, and lavender. It evokes a sensory dream-scape on contact, with the delicate essential oils adding bouts of heady olfactory pleasure to the mix. I could easily overuse this serum, but refrain as much as possible—limiting myself to one to three pumps. That seems to be an ample amount to induce a sweet prologue to washing with water.

As I’ve mentioned, I prefer to follow an oil cleanse with a traditional face wash that’s gentle and thorough rather than with a warm washcloth. I find that it removes all traces of makeup more thoroughly than oil removal alone. Enter THE perfect partner to the preliminary oil step: Om Aroma & Co.’s Purify Pearl Cleansing Cream, a softly scented milky-white cleanser designed for sensitive skin. To give you an idea, this face wash can be used to remove eye makeup without stinging the delicate eye area in any way.

Crushed champagne grape seeds and powdered mother of pearl comprise the body of this cleanser—giving it an ever-so-slightly gritty texture that exfoliates alongside organic olive, coconut, and jojoba oils and aloe vera to round out the healing and hydrating properties. Though I’m not particularly a fan of coconut oil for my face, it seems that as a cleanser it still works just fine for my skin when in concert with other ingredients to balance it out. Also, as a cleanser it lingers on the skin less time than it would as a moisturizer or makeup product.

I’m absolutely addicted to this cleanser as it never leaves me dry, dispenses easily with a pump (yes, that makes a difference when rushed!), smells nourishing and healing, and quite simply—it works.

Voila! Makeup removal—once the chore—transforms into a pleasurable moment to unwind instead.

The toners

After makeup removal, I usually swipe a cotton round with toner for a few reasons:

  • To make sure all residue is gone (usually it is after steps 1 & 2).
  • To restore the pH balance of skin post-cleanse.
  • To feed precious nutrients that may have dispersed back into skin.

I’ve been wanting to buy the S.W. Basics* eco cotton rounds for ages to make this step more eco-friendly, but have not committed yet, so far settling for organic options whenever possible.  As for toning, I just finished using Vered Botanicals Herb-infused Toner that suited the task perfectly. Considering the 16 herbs that imbue the formula with an appealing red hue and fragrant aroma, it’s no wonder.

Before using serum or balm, I also spritz my hand and face with a toner to bind water to the skin and allow the serum/balm to seal it in—a necessary component in plumping and hydrating the skin. Quite often, May Lindstrom’s the jasmine garden* has been my pick since it is beautiful and utterly indulgent.

For anyone still wary of the silver in the mix, let me assuage your fears of turning any shade of grey…it’s not gonna happen. What will happen is that one spritz will leave you running through jasmine gardens and fields of roses, vanilla, and cocoa beans. You will fall hard for this ambrosia and will likely choose to store the mist on your nightstand for frequent sprays throughout the evening—as much for its fragrance as its shield of antioxidant and calming protection.

The balm & treatment serums

IMG_20150301_084435This is one area that gets switched up a lot depending on what my skin needs at the end of the day. Lately, anything blue and anti-inflammatory hold the strongest pull, including “My Precioussss,” Laurel Whole Plant Organics* anti-inflammatory serum that I immortalized here. (Yes, this serum earns the greatest reverence in my book.) Since I’ve already written about it, I’ll share some of my favorite add-ons.

That’s where Aster & Bay’s Indigo Therapy Oil* and May Lindstrom’s the blue cocoon get to work their soothing magic. Occasionally, I toss in La Bella Figura’s Travel Therapy Botanical Mood Booster* here too, as it parallels these two forces in  tranquilizing blue ingredients and utter relaxation therapy—plus, of course, I’m completely smitten by the scent!

I discovered Aster & Bay thanks to my delightful fellow ANFGB ambassador Lola Gusman, a.k.a. The Hermes Hippie, and her rave review here. While I have yet to experience immediate healing as she did, this serum does go a long way in tempering angry flare-ups thanks to a quadruple dose of azulene-containing anti-inflammatory and astringent ingredients—blue tansy, blue chamomile, blue cypress, and blue yarrow, in a neutral base of grapeseed oil (one of the best oils for blemish-prone skin).

The blue cocoon wraps over this treatment to deep indigo satisfaction. True, the sticker shock from purchasing the product ($160!!) may induce some heated responses—namely from stunned spouse which then produces equally alarmed reaction from self—yet the fragrant blend can tame tension with a mere cracking open of the lid. Indeed, May herself explained that she often leaves the jar open by her bed to derive enhanced aromatherapeutic benefits from the mellifluous blend of cacao, blue tansy, myrrh, lavender, frankincense, rose geranium, and ravensara. I’d say that’s a product that pulls double duty.

While some bloggers have reported breakouts from use, oddly enough that has not been the case for me. I think that’s a good testimony to reading several blogger reviews before buying or dismissing a product, as each person’s skin changes over time and reacts differently to a product.

I will add that I barely finger out a drop on my face and even that amount further reduces by a mist of the jasmine garden. I gently press in the resulting whisper thin layer to bring down the day’s redness and stress. My skin feels bathed in hydration and very much cocooned in a protective and nourished mantle.

Eyes + lips

It’s tough to top these off, but somehow Josh Rosebrook’s* latest skincare creation manages it. A mere glide under each eye with the metallic roller-ball does the trick when it comes to Oculus Formula. With no plastic ball to get stuck, we are talking about a totally convenient application—as you can tell, crucial to my use of a night time product. I’m also impressed with the über-lightweight serum that instantly absorbs with no residue to swell puffy eyes in the morning. Actually, you may want to keep rolling this sheer fluid—it’s so divine, but I assure you, one slide on each side releases ample product to keep this little baby lasting a good, long time.

Of course, the formula itself is worth mentioning as I noticed results within a few days—like diminished dark circles, a lifting effect of my fine lines and an overall brighter appearance around the orbital zone. No less than 23 nourishing herbs and oils—among them standouts like eyebright, camelina seed, and vitamin C-rich bilberry—comprise this formula. But that’s no surprise at all.

Josh Rosebrook is not one to shy away from long lists of ingredients. While many companies with high standards may find it daunting, Josh is known to ply his formulas with the best that nature has to offer and then takes it up a notch by securing organic and/or sustainable sourcing, as well as ensuring optimum extraction methods to preserve the integrity of the nutrients. Honestly, when I see Josh Rosebrook’s name on a new product, I KNOW that it’s going to be worthy of his brand. Oculus is certainly no exception.

Moving on to lips, I like to call Kari Gran Tinted Lip Whip* my guilty pleasure because it is. It seems a little too good to be as clean a product as it is—reminding me of pink marshmallow fluff, rather than a traditional lip product.

It’s simply too much fun dipping my finger into the little glass pot brimming with the cotton candy-pink whip. Mind you, this velvety confection is laced with cinnamon-pimenta berry—making it a delight even in the wee hours. My lips feel instantly drenched in moisture and a hint of flavor. In winter, this was especially helpful in locking in hydration to protect my precious pout from losing its pucker.

By day, this little whip is no less of a gem, adding just the right boost of color, bee stung plumpness, and environmental defense to my lips.

There you have it: the products that repeatedly make it into both my day and night routines. What have you been using and loving before bed?

It looks like my daytime post inspired a couple of bloggers to share their beauty regimens too. I loved reading Verdant Beauty’s gorgeous routine that’s allowing her to go makeup-free more often than usual, as well as Glossed in Brooklyn’s stellar picks. Feel free to let me know if you’ve written one too and I’ll share here as well!

 *Recently I was offered an affiliate link to Om Aroma’s beautiful line, so I’ve included it here, however, I wrote this post prior to any affiliates. Of course, all opinions and reviews are always my own.