Share: what time at night do you put on skin care?

Hazel of Hazelnutt House posed a question to her readers recently asking them if they reapply skin care products before bed.  I thought it was very interesting and decided to hijack the topic today. Before reading her entry, I didn’t give much thoughts to the time I apply my skin care products at night. I usually take a bath and apply my skin care products in the evening and just leave it as that. Sometimes, this routine means one hour before bedtime but sometimes, it can be three hours before I actually go off to bed. Either way, rarely do I wash my face again or reapply my skin care products before bedtime.

Since reading her entry, I’ve re-thought this night time skin care routine again but still can’t find a right answer. Yes, it’s true that instructions on most night products tell you to apply their serums or creams before going to bed but exactly how precise must this routine be and is there a significant difference? I have tried applying products just before bedtime but essentially, didn’t notice a huge difference to my skin the morning after.

Maybe I’m really ignorant here and I should change my night time routine but I’ll like to find out from the rest of you first. What time do you apply your skin care products at night?


  1. Nikki says:

    I usually do my nightly skincare routine several minutes before I lay down ?

  2. pf1123 says:

    I usually do my night routine immediately after shower. Else I would feel naked. And my face isn’t strong enough to defend the environment. hehehehe….

    I don’t touch my face after applying skincare. So I don’t know if my face is really oily or not…no reapply.

  3. Audris says:

    Usually just before I sleep. My personal take on this is that the products work better when your body is at rest. So if one does it early evening but potters around the house (housework, dinner, etc.), the body isn’t exactly at rest so I wouldn’t expect the products on the face to work. But I do realise that when I sleep in late or long, my face seems to wake up with a better glow/ plumped look/ dewiness. So I reckon product staying time on face has to be coupled with maximal rest/down/sleep time to bring about something more effective.

  4. Yvette says:

    I usually apply all my skincare by 8PM but I sleep around 10:30. I don’t really find a need to wash my face again, mainly because re-washing irritates my sensitive skin. But I’m really careful with trying to keep my skin clean after applying my skincare. I try not to go outside after washing and moisturizing since UV rays are still active even after dark and I never apply spf at night. I also try not to do tasks that would make me sweaty or dirty.

    Before reading this, I never really thought about why I don’t reapply skincare right before bed. You definitely brought up a valid topic, and I’ll probably try to do some research on this. Do share if you find out any more info though! I love reading your posts. =)

  5. hazel says:

    normally its just after i shower cum wash my face… but it could be early at 8pm or as late as 10pm or 11pm…which is about bedtime… so no issues hor? next time maybe shower later… hahahha

  6. Soos says:

    Right about now. 9:30 to 10 pm HST. Yes, multitasking.

  7. sesame says:

    I see…so literally bedtime skin care? ?

  8. Nikki says:


  9. sesame says:

    Same here…I tried one stage to leave my face un-moisturized after showering and it’s just bad. I don’t want to wash my face and re-apply either cos it’s such a waste.

  10. sesame says:

    What you say makes complete sense…this is why I’ve been thinking if I should change my routine. I have tried a few times and although I can’t see a difference whether I apply just before bedtime or a few hours earlier but I do feel better if products are applied before I go to sleep. I try to do that with masks at least.

  11. sesame says:

    Your timing is about the same as mine. I also don’t like the idea of re-washing even though my skin isn’t sensitive. And like you, I just avoid going out. If I do head out, then I must wash my face again.

    I can’t find much info about this except that you might want to read Audris’s comment cos skin cells repair while we sleep; so logically skin care products will work better applied nearer that time – that’s the optimal time.

  12. sesame says:

    Haha…that’s right. I’m also trying to bathe later but I feel a lot more productive when I bathe earlier in the evening though.

  13. sesame says:

    That’s cool Soos! ? So I gather you’ll be sleeping soon too. ?

  14. Rinka says:

    for me its roughly around 10.30, after i have my shower! i kinda do it while checking my email and stuff because going on the computer is the last thing i do at night #k8SjZc9Dxk#k8SjZc9Dxk

  15. sesame says:

    Hmm…maybe I should take a cue and adjust my shower time later. I shall start tonight! #k8SjZc9Dxk#k8SjZc9Dxk

  16. Swathy says:

    Our skin starts its regeneration process after 11 so whatever products you apply then will give better results in the morning.
    I think applying the products is better as soon as the cleansing process is over. But, do not do anything to your skin between 9-11 as given in this post. This post talks about doing beauty routines. I am just assuming that this works for products also.

  17. Tine says:

    After shower, before bed. The hours in between vary between 10 mins to 5 hours ?

  18. AtelierGal says:

    I sleep around 11-12 midnight, wash my face around 9pm, depending if there’s any additional treatments to be done.

  19. sesame says:

    I read that one before and was quite intrigued by the timings given. Not too sure about the facial but the night time hours seems about right…

  20. sesame says:

    That’s a huge timing difference! But yes, like you, after shower too! ?

  21. sesame says:

    So not immediately before bedtime too.

  22. Shirleen says:

    Immediately after shower between 10-11pm. I usually sleep around 1am. ?

  23. stella says:

    i read many years ago in a mag that the best time is around 9.30-10pm as skin is best poised to absorb the products at the time, not sure how true it is. in any case, i apply around 9.30pm and finish my entire night routine then including teeth brushing; this leaves me time to relax after that so i wouldn’t have to rush before going to bed and my skincare would also have time to sink into the skin before i hit the bed at about 11pm… that means less transference onto my pillow and sheets!

  24. sesame says:

    You sleep so late???

  25. sesame says:

    Oh so interesting! Like what Swathy mentioned around 9 – 11. I really must adjust my night time routine. I definitely apply earlier than 9 or 9.30pm!

  26. yay says:

    interesting topic…..i literally put it on right before bed…. brush teeth, wash face then face cream or serum then head to bed….is there specific time frame u supposed to put it on before bed?

  27. sesame says:

    I don’t know but based on the comments from Swathy and Stella, between 9 – 11pm is apparently good. But I think it’s good that you apply just before going to bed. That’s probably within that time frame.

  28. BT says:

    Right after shower, otherwise my sensitive skin feels tight and uncomfortable, additionally I will re-apply anytime when necessary. If I go out in bewteen after-shower and bedtime, I will take shower again and repeat the skin care routine. (“v)

  29. Kira says:

    I dont know if there’s a right or wrong time to apply specific skin care products but what I do is I wash my face a few minutes before I go to bed. Then I apply moisturizer/night cream, eye cream, spot treatment, etc. I have combination skin, and I feel icky if I don’t wash my face before I retire. It’s what I’ve been used to all my life. And oh, my sleep times vary in line with my work, but I usually wash my face around 9-11pm too.

  30. N. says:

    I use it right before bed time. Though I sleep very late, so maybe I should apply earlier? I can sleep at 3 am for example. But nevertheless, usually when I know I’m going to sleep too late I apply my products earlier.

  31. lynne says:

    my skin is really oily so if i were to put on skincare right after shower then i would oil up again before i go to bed several hours later, which is gross. so what i usually do is apply some light skincare (like a cheaper moisturizer lotion) after shower to nourish my skin, then wash up and apply skincare right before bed. i’m another believer that skincare works better when your body is at rest!

  32. sesame says:

    Yup, true for me too…I must apply moisturizer or oil immediately after shower or my skin will feel very tight.

  33. sesame says:

    Sounds very good cos I think it’s actually better to apply just before bed, rather than a few hours before.

  34. sesame says:

    I see…3am is very late! I actually don’t reapply even if I sleep later. The problem is, the skin do get oilier. So what I do is to spritz my face with a toner and then pat dry with a tissue. That soothes my skin a lot.

  35. sesame says:

    You’re right about applying skin care right before bed is best. Actually, that was what I do with body lotion cos the higher temperature would also aid penetration. But in your case, you’re washing your face twice then?

  36. pf1123 says:

    If we’re to adjust our shower and cleansing time to later so that we can sleep with the recent applied skin care also weird…

    Coz I watched a documentary long ago which says that we carry a lot of bacteria back to our home, so the best thing we can do is to shower immediately when we got back. Which is typically from 8 to 9pm for most people.

    The chinese saying is that we should shower as early as possible to “prevent wind from getting into our bodies” or something like that.

    That leaves us a while to go before bedtime. Which is abt 11 to 12am for most of us.

  37. Indulgent Diva says:

    I’m like lynne. I shower then apply a light essence or moisturizer and do the whole nightcare routine work just before bedtime. I only wash my face just before bedtime so I’m not cleansing twice at night. When I shower in the evening, I usually just use a makeup remover and a cleansing towellette.

  38. lynne says:

    yup, i used to do so with my normal cleanser, until i became worried that it was drying out my skin. so what i do now is to use a gentler cleanser meant for drier skins the second time round, and it’s been working well every since – no flakiness even though i wear powder foundation most days! but to be safe, that’s what the moisturizing lotion (and sheet masks every 2-3 days if i’m not too lazy) are for.

  39. sesame says:

    Aiyoh, I couldn’t sleep last night when I showered later. Toss and turned a little on bed. Too fresh and alert…hahaha…

    Like what you mentioned, I also feel more comfortable bathing after a day out. Need to find a comfort level somewhere in between. Wash face later maybe?

  40. sesame says:

    I see…I guess I need to find a routine that allows me to wash my face just before bedtime rather than bathe before bedtime.

  41. sesame says:

    Ah…I see. A gentle cleanser is good. Shouldn’t be stripping off natural lipids. Maybe that’s what someone mentioned…cleanse once after shower and then cleanse another time in the night and that equals double cleansing too.

  42. pf1123 says:

    Yeah…normally after shower, need a bit of time to unwind before bedtime…I also need some time to let my hair dry.

    Cannot wash face later. Need to remove makeup and all that. Nevermind lah…best effort basis. Or else life wld be difficult. hehehe..

  43. Victoria Lewy says:

    I do my skin care usually just before going to bed. I’m not doing it consciously because it is written on my night cream, it just turns itself ?

  44. Hazelnutt says:

    nowadays, if there’s a span of about 3 hours after showering and before i hit the sack, i’ll wash off the oil and grime on my face with water and towel dry before applying my serum and creams (“,)

  45. sarynkay says:

    I do exactly what you described. usually after my shower and it can sometimes be right before bed or a few hours before. This is an interesting question though.

  46. Ami says:

    I usually bath right after I get home in the evening, but do not wash my face (:D actually still wash with water only). I’ll wash my face with cleanser at about 11 PM, then apply skin care and go to bed around 12 AM.

  47. sesame says:

    Oh that’s nice…at least that’s your routine and you don’t need to change. ?

  48. sesame says:

    Oh, so you just wash off with water. Hmm…that might be a good way as I sometimes bathe as early as 6pm!

  49. sesame says:

    So it’s almost like my routine. I’m trying to bathe a little closer to bedtime now.

  50. sesame says:

    Ah I see…so this is an ideal way too. But you probably don’t use makeup or very little. I use makeup when I work and very hard not to wash them off when I bathe.

  51. ktee says:

    If i’m not mistaken, Niu Er suggested that one removes ones make-up immediately after getting home in the evening using cleasing wipes or makeup remover and then do a proper cleansing follow by night time skincare routine before bed. Sounds interesting but somehow i can’t break the routine of cleasing my face right after shower, which is around 9-9.30pm.

  52. sesame says:

    Oh I see…but once I remove my makeup, I have to wash my face too.

  53. Chantana says:

    Same as you.. I apply my skincares right after I shower at night(mostly around 9plus) and I do not reapply before bed (I went to bed around 3/5am ? I’m a night owl! lolx Bad for my skin I know.. lolx)

    I only re-wash/apply my skincares when I feel that my face was really sticky/oily.

  54. sesame says:

    You sleep so late? Even later than Shirleen! Must be watching all the dramas right? ? But your skin still looks good!

  55. Chantana says:

    Ya.. I’m a night Owl! lolx

    My skin not really that good.. still got acne’s marks/scarring.. alittle bit of discoloration around the eye areas.

  56. sesame says:

    Must take care then. You’re still young and if you take care of it now, you can maintain your skin well. Don’t be like me trying to do damage control and salvage at this age. *hiaz*

  57. suzy says:

    Since I sleep around 10pm b.c of work I like to apply my night creams and or other products around 9:50pm and jump in bed but if I do not have work then I’ll wash and apply my products when I am tired and want to sleep. I think whatever product you use does not matter what time you put it on…everything depends on your skin.

  58. sesame says:

    Your routine sounds ideal because you’re applying right before bedtime. While it’s true that products will work even when applied at different timings but the optimal time is still when the skin cells are at rest.

  59. Ellie-B says:

    I’ve been reading other viewers comments, and my cleansing time is a little different. Because I wear make up most days, when I get home from work I can’t wait to cleanse! My theory behind this is, if I leave cleansing until much later in the night, my skin will still have this old make up on, which will clog my pores, and hence make my skin worse! So I usually cleanse between 6pm – 8pm. I don’t think that by cleansing at an earlier time my skin will have less chance of repairing itself. I mean, everyone is different, so we all have different routines, but this one seems to work for me, and I have less pimples because of it ?

  60. sesame says:

    Hi Ellie-B: your cleansing time is the same as mine! And your concerns are mine too. No, you’re right…it’s still okay to cleanse and apply your night time skin care earlier and they will still work. But I suppose if we want optimal results, applying near bedtime would be better.

  61. Stephanie/Yukaeshi says:

    I have sensitive skin… so washing before going to bed might irritate it further since I already wash twice a day- after I wake up and in the evening, though I have washed 3 times a day before (On special occasions) and it’s not something I’d like to do everyday.

    Plus, I find that applying products right before I go to sleep makes me wake up with enlarged pores… not smooth skin that I am used to waking up to. No idea why- I never change the products I use at night, so I can only attribute to it rubbing off on the pillowcase and my skin not having absorbed the benefits of my skincare (Because my pores look enlarged in the morning when I don’t moisturise properly).

  62. snow says:

    Normally I apply my night skin care right after my shower… and will only go to bed after 2-3 hours… if I find my face a bit shinny or oily.. I just rinse my face with filter water, dry it with tower then go to bed.. hmm I am not sure whether is it ok to do that… but I just lazy to wash again before I go to bed kekke..

  63. sesame says:

    Well, it doesn’t do damage but you’re kind of washing away your night cream. I’ve been trying to wash my face just before going to bed these days.

  64. snow says:

    Oohh.. true.. How do you feel of washing your face just before going to bed? Which mean you will go through the skin care routine again before going to bed right?

  65. sesame says:

    No, I actually don’t wash my face until close to bed time because I only want to wash my face twice a day. Too much washing is bad for our skin too.

  66. Sue says:

    Hi.. nice topic here. I’d like to share mine too. I only wash my face using cleanser twice a day. Once in the morning after wake up, and once at night before going to bed. As i don’t use any make up, i just wash my face using water while showering and pat dry. When its about my bedtime, i cleanse my face using cleanser and apply complete skin care regime. I find this way is more appropriate and makes my skin healthier and glows when i wake up in the morning. Also, i tend to put extra volume of gel / cream at night because our skin needs nourishment especially when we rest. Plus, i wont feel the greasiness as it is not that ‘heaty’ compared to daytime, in which i just put little amount of every single day skin care that i use, except for sunscreen.

  67. Lidia De La Cruz says:

    I work in the afternoon. I reach home around 1:00am. I wash my face at around 1:30am, pretty late but thats just half hr or an hour before I go to bed. I was wondering if this was okay or normal.

  68. Akanksha Singh says:

    I apply in the evening time near 6 pm or 7 pm as after that I don’t get time. I do 1st cleaning and then toning and last is mine night cream and I go to bed at 10. I don’t know it’s good or not.

  69. Sesame says:

    It sounds fine.

  70. miracle skincare says:

    Good skin care is essential at any age and healthy habits in your 20s and 30s can strengthen and prepare your skin for the effects of aging down the road.

  71. Jb says:

    I also have the same problem because I do it sometimes with scrubbing at 5 pm and I’m confused if I will do it again (skincare routine without the facial scrubbing) after taking a bath (I usually do it by 8 or 9 pm.

  72. Liah says:

    This is a great topic – I’ve been slightly bothered by the timing to do my night time skincare lately as well. The biggest concern is when there are active ingredients in your night time products, and typically I do use my phone for a good 2hrs in bed typically. Was wondering if the light exposure from my phone/lights might deteriorate my skin quality especially since I don’t use sunscreen at night.

  73. Diana says:

    I normally shower around 4 or latest 7…I don’t wash my face in the shower, but head back into the bathroom to wash my face over the sink around 10-20 minutes prior to sleeping. ??????

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