Cart items
Day vs Night Skincare Routines

Your Day Skincare vs. Night Skincare

Your skin needs different support during the day than while you’re sleeping. We take a look at what happens to your skin AM vs PM and the best day and night skincare routine - including our favourite product recommendations.

Daytime skincare routine

What is happening to your skin during the day?

During the day your skin is in protection mode.

It’s busy defending itself against free radical attacks caused by UV light, pollution, stress, smoking, poor diet, and other environmental factors.

These free radical attacks can damage the elasticity and collagen in healthy skin, accelerating the signs of ageing. UV exposure during the day plays one of the biggest roles in premature ageing.

Skin is also protecting itself to all the bacteria it comes in contact with throughout the day. Every time you touch your face or press your phone to your cheek your skin is exposed to bacteria. This can trigger breakouts or spread existing acne.

The weather is another potential stressor your skin comes into contact with during the day. A drop in temperature can lead to dryness and dehydration while a spike in humidity can trigger breakouts.

It’s your skin barrier that does the work deflecting damage and protecting skin. The stronger the barrier, the better it is at both defending itself from potential damage and repairing itself from existing damage.

When your barrier is weakened, it’s more susceptible to free radical damage, exposure to bacteria and other stressors it comes into contact with. This damage leads to irritations, breakouts, accelerated ageing and dehydration.

Best daytime skincare routine

The goal of your daytime skincare routine is to help your skin protect itself against all the stressors it comes in contact with.

You can do this by using daytime skincare products to support a healthy, strong skin barrier.


Choose a gentle, non-drying cleanser to maintain the delicate balance of oil and moisture on your skin. You don’t want to strip your skin entirely of oil - this will compromise your skin barrier and trigger an overproduction of oil.

Starting with freshly cleansed skin in the morning will also help the products you apply afterwards to be better absorbed by the skin.

Explore esmi Skin Minerals range of gentle cleansers to target skin concerns including congestion, ageing, and dullness.

Antioxidant-rich serum

Serums are highly concentrated nutrient-dense treatments.

Boost your skin’s natural defence factors with the help of an antioxidant-rich serum to help neutralise potential damage caused by free radicals attacks while treating specific skin concerns. Vitamin C is an excellent antioxidant choice to apply during the day.

Read our guide to antioxidants to understand more about the crucial role antioxidants play in defending the skin against free radical damage.

Moisturiser or facial oil

On the moisturising front, the difference in your day and night skincare routine is usually that the daytime product is lighter. Lightweight, non-greasy formulations - be it a moisturiser or face oil - are best during the day.

We recommendHydrating Hydra-Fluid Moisturiser or Acai Skin Balancing Facial Oil

SPF protection

No daytime skincare routine is complete without SPF protection.

One of the biggest differences between your day and night skincare routine is the application of sunscreen - obviously not needed at night but a non-negotiable during the day! If your day time moisturiser doesn’t include broad-spectrum SPF protection, apply a separate product.

We recommend: Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen SPF 30

Face Mist (Optional)

To keep skin refreshed and hydrated throughout the day, consider keeping a face mist handy when you’re on the go. A burst of hydration is the perfect pick-me-up for tired skin.

We recommend: Refreshing And Hydrating Skin Snack Face Mist

Night skincare routine 

What is happening to your skin at night?

At night your skin switches from defence mode into repair mode - combating any damage done during daylight hours. It does the heavy lifting of regenerating itself while you sleep.

During healthy sleep cycles, the levels of both melatonin and human growth hormone (HGH) in your body naturally increase.

These two hormones are essential for skin rejuvenation. Melatonin initiates cellular regeneration while HGH stimulates the collagen and elastin necessary to support thicker, firmer skin.

Transepidermal water loss (moisture evaporating from your skin) also increases at night. It's important to replenish the water loss with moisturiser or facial oil overnight. 

Best night skincare routine

The goal of your night routine is to support the skin’s natural rejuvenation process to boost results. The good news is that skin is also more receptive to products at night!

Some of the best ingredients to apply at night include retinol, peptides, and glycolic acid. Many spot and prescription products are also recommended for night time application.


Your night time face wash routine should include a double cleanse to remove all traces of makeup, excess oil, and dirt.

Don’t skip this step if you have breakout prone skin - it’s essential in a night skincare routine for acne. For acne-prone skin, we recommend using The Uncomplicated Cleanser for the first cleanse.

Follow this with the The Uncomplicated Cleanser plus Charcoal. If you’re experiencing cystic acne or acne that is inflamed, go for The Uncomplicated Cleanser With Anti-Redness.

Moisturiser or facial oil

You need moisturiser for your day and night skincare routine but you can get away with a heavier formulation while you sleep.

The best nighttime moisturiser and facial oils are rich in antioxidants, deeply hydrating and contain emollient ingredients to minimise trans epidermal water loss. Emollients contain lipids (fats) that help seal in moisture while softening and smoothing skin.

We recommend: 24k Gold Nourishing Oil or Golden Anti-Ageing Serum or Sensitive Moisturiser 


Your night face care routine is the perfect time to maximise the benefits of a face mask targeting specific skin concerns - especially ageing, dehydration, and dullness.

You could use a mask in your day and night skincare routine but skin has more time to absorb the active ingredients while you sleep. If applying an overnight nighttime mask, skip the facial oil and make it the final step in your routine.

We recommend: Anti-ageing Repair Gel Booster Mask (ageing concerns), Hyaluronic Hydrating Booster Mask (hydration) or Ultra Nourishing Booster Mask (dry skin).

Eye treatment

The skin around your eye area is delicate and prone to puffiness, dark circles, fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. Include a separate eye treatment in your nighttime skincare routine to target this area to wake up with a refreshed eye area.

Apply the treatment hour or so before you go to bed to give the product time to absorb before placing your face on the pillow.

Explore esmi Skin Minerals range of eye treatments to treat concerns including ageing, dehydration, and dullness.

Have questions about the day and night skincare routine right for your skin type? Book a free consultation with an esmi Skin Minerals Consultant. The team at esmi are always here to support you on your skin journey. 

day skincare vs night skincare

Shop the story