Some nights I am too worn out to do much more than rinse off my makeup, brush my teeth, and pop in my mouth guard (yes, I'm a grinder). But on nights when I have the energy and time (at least 20 minutes) to make nice with the bathroom mirror, I try to do a thorough job, leaving no inch of my face uncovered and no beauty duty neglected. Years of testing products for TIA have spawned a cosmetic graveyard of dusty jars and near-empty bottles. Only the best survive, compelling me to replace them after running low. It's a Darwinian world in my medicine cabinet.
You've got to admit that it is awfully tempting to pile layer upon layer of products at night, since it doesn't matter what you look like in the dark. But I have boiled my beauty regime down to a science, sticking to tried and true treatments instead of experimental overkill. Before washing the day's sunscreen, makeup, and grime off my face, I don my trusted Tassi
to avoid soaking my hairline. When I occasionally go to bed with wet hair, I leave the Tassi on to soak up the remaining moisture like a towel and act as a barrier for my memory foam pillow.
I alternate among three different cleansers depending on the condition of my complexion. If my skin is feeling dry, I use Olive's Organic Botanicals Facial Replenisher Cleanser
, a nourishing oil-based blend of organic botanicals. If it's looking dull, I rely on Bambola Beauty
's Volcanic Mineral Scrub to stimulate my skin cells without stripping them. If I intend to apply a lightening solution or serum, I start with Mango Madness Skincare Exfoliate Me
, a 10% glycolic cleanser that offsets its exfoliating effects with natural emollients like olive oil and rose hip seed oil. Lastly, I erase stubborn smudges of mascara with Eminence Organics Herbal Eye Makeup Remover
. Its gentle formula, make up of soothing anti-inflammatory extracts, is ideal for sensitive skin, and its removing power is strong enough for even waterproof makeup.
Once my eye area is naked, I never cover it under my face mask without first putting on a few strategic products. A rich eye cream is a must, but finding one that doesn't irritate my hypersensitive under-eye skin is easier said than done. I generally avoid gels, since they tend to make my skin feel tight, sticky, and thirsty. Two of my favorite eye moisturizers for nighttime are L'uvalla Eye/Lip Anti-Wrinkle Cream
and Nurture My Body Eye Cream
. Both of these products deeply hydrate while enveloping weary eyes with calming essential oils. Their power to lull my eyes to sleep has given me a renewed appreciation for aromatherapy. And I like to think that their anti-aging benefits have helped delay the onset of crow's feet, or at least the kind that are obvious sans smiling.
I have smaller than average eyes with sort of droopy eyelids, as much as it pains me to admit. I'm currently testing a product by Bremenn Research Labs called Upper Eyelid Lifter in the hopes that my lids can get a boost (without a needle). So far, my lids haven't shown the slightest lift, but I will certainly report back if I start to see real results. Since giving up on Revitalash
for fear of waking up one day with mud in my baby blues, I have been rather half-hearted with my trials of alternative eyelash growth products. Though I've fought hard to fall in love with Tarte MultiplEye Natural Lash Enhancer
for its safe-sounding formula (and lack of prostaglandin analogs), I frequently have to hold back tears when the stinging solution comes into contact with my eyes. My quest for long, luscious lashes continues.
Growing up in Florida left lasting reminders of the importance of sunscreen. Joining the faint freckles that have dotted my nose and cheeks since awkward grade school yearbook photos, brand-new sun spots have begun to congregate on my forehead and temples. It took over ten years for me to embrace my freckles, so it should come as no surprise that these sudden beacons of hyperpigmentation are unwelcome. Without a single drop of hydroquinone, PrescribedSolutions A Bolt of Lightening
has helped a great deal in minimizing the sneaky sun spots along my hairline. For larger constellations, I spread on Lumixyl Topical Brightening Creme
, which gradually evens out skin tone and fades discolorations thanks to the combined efforts of licorice root extract, Phenylethyl Resorcinol
, and a synthetic peptide. It also doubles as a pretty decent moisturizer. However, nighttime is when I bring out the moisturizing big guns - my skin's Super Soakers, if you will.
Run-of-the-mill face lotions do not cut it as an overnight treatment in my book. My latest and greatest beauty-on-a-budget find is Lather AHA Facial Therapy
, a minty green night cream that instantly quenches thirsty skin. Its blend of copper gluconate, lactic acid, green coffee extract, gingko biloba extract, borage seed oil, and carrot seed oil bring about a gloriously healthy glow come morning. These heavy-hitting ingredients manage to simultaneously improve texture, stimulate blood flow, and boost collagen synthesis. An even richer cream than Lather is Bambola Beauty Revitalizing Liposome Moisturizer
, a pink-hued, antioxidant-flavored smoothie for the face. I simply can't get enough of this wholesome cream and its yummy scent. Like Bambola, Skin2Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Recovery
loads up on organic extracts and vitamins, which are further supplemented by advanced anti-agers. Also like Bambola, this cream smells good enough to lick - not unlike a fresh soft pretzel. No matter which of these creams I reach for, I rest assured that my skin will get the royal treatment while I catch up on zzz's.
For some extra oomph in my nightly beauty ritual, I use a facial mask targeted at my skin's status. Teava's Rehydrate Facial Treatment Mask
draws on kaolin clay to extract waste materials from the skin and stimulate blood circulation. Teava is excellent as a quick fix for flaking and dullness, but nothing beats gloTherapeutics gloConditioning Restorative Mask
to thoroughly replenish moisture and radiance. Even though it functions perfectly well as an anti-aging mask, I prefer to leave it on instead of removing before bed so that it can work its magic all night. I'm still trying to train myself to stay positioned on my back so that the mask doesn't transfer to my pillow.
Thanks in part to an a.m. coffee habit I can't seem to kick, my teeth have seen brighter days. If I get really ambitious about achieving a sparkling smile (such as for an important upcoming event), I will devote two full weeks to a Target Whitening Wraps
regime. After applying the wraps every night for just 30 minutes, I see a noticeable difference in the shade of my teeth. I've learned the hard way not to exceed 30 minutes, since sensitive gums are painfully inevitable. To tackle individual stains in the grooves of my teeth, I follow up my two-minute electric Oral-B brushing with Supersmile Whitening Toothpaste
(in my favorite flavor- Icy Mint). Afterward, my teeth seem more polished (due to sodium bicarbonate), protected (from attack by bacteria), and sparkling. Specific stains fade within a week, and my oral hygiene appreciates the added step. All in all, it may seem like a lot of work at the end of a long day, but it's so worth it when I can genuinely smile at my own reflection the next morning.