13 best pre-sleep skincare products: Bath soaks, masks and oils to help you drift off
Take a deep breath and let us guide you into the land of nod with some sumptuous bedtime partners
The power of sleep is by no means a new concept, particularly when it comes to looking and feeling your finest. When you’re catching zzzs, your body’s cogs turn in ways they can’t when you’re flouncing around in the daytime.
Not only does your body rebalance its hydration levels, recovering moisture to keep away baggy eyes and dryness; deep sleep allows cell reparation which contributes to a healthier, happier visage.
While of course there are some glorious topical tricks to aid in the quest of overnight overhauls, the environment and energy you create before bedtime is just as important.
Engaging all of your senses and tapping into some well earned serenity come the evening is paramount to confidently send you off into a regenerating rest.
Sleeping Beauty clocked off for a hundred years waiting for her fella to turn up for a magic canoodle. When she woke up, instead of looking like the Crypt Keeper, she looked like she’d had a power nap.
While this roundup isn’t going to stop time while you have a kip, what it might do is send you into slumber in a more peaceful and positive state of mind which will certainly have an effect on what you look and feel like when you return to the land of the living.
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Goop G.Nite bedtime bath soak: £30, Cult Beauty
Goop’s bath soak has been touted by the converted as nature’s answer to valium. This dark, granulated soak is a blend of pharmaceutical grade salts (epsom, celtic, dead sea & magnesium) that work together by conditioning the skin and relaxing the muscles. The inclusion of calming botanicals like valerian root, passion flower extract and hops have been added here for their proven, sleep inducing effects.
This is a gloriously decadent treat that not only delivers on its promise, but is a joy to use. This highly concentrated treatment is housed in a sealed bag, enough for three baths. Upon opening the seal the smell hits you. Intoxicating and rich. Essential oils of lavender, Australian sandalwood and spikenard are present to calm and relax.
After hitting warm water the tincture imparts, filling the whole house in a dreamy spa-like aroma. A twenty minute soak, and a slumber soon hit. We should think so too for 10 quid a bath. Beats visiting the chemist we suppose.
Algenist genius ultimate anti-aging melting cleanser: £32, Space NK
First things first, a clean face is non-negotiable before snuggling in for the night. Jumping into bed with muck aplenty, does not make a cover girl or boy. This green gem from Algenist is a glorious option if you want something on the more luxurious side. With the brand's signature algae infusion, the sumptuous gel emulsifies into a silken oil upon application to dry skin.
With a little water, the milky texture sweeps away make-up and dirt in one fell swoop while staying incredibly gentle and calming. Our faces felt hydrated and nourished after even the first use thanks to the blend of avocado, almond and olive oils. A formidable addition to your collection if cleansing has become a bit of a chore. It’ll perfectly prep you for a night in to remember.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare ferulic + retinol wrinkle recovery overnight serum: £88, Cult Beauty
If anything is going to turn back the clock while you count sheep, the industry’s favourite anti-ageing behemoth, retinol, has to be on your radar. This supercharged serum from the prolific Dr. Dennis Gross is the magical fairy of your pre-sleep routine.
Not only is the vitamin A derivative a star of the show, there’s a bunch of skincare beauties like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and a burst of lactic acid to help exfoliate in the background.
It’s a trio of tricks which after a month or so of use, gave us a definite improvement on fine lines and dark spots while improving the overall appearance of the skin. Make sure to wear a decent SPF during the day or you’ll undo all your hard earned work.
Skin Regimen night detox: £68, Liberty
Skin Regimen are new to our lives, but possibly have one of the best slogans ever with “fast living/slow ageing”. We’ll take some of that thank you very much. The fact that they’re entirely sustainable is a big, fat plus too.
Key ingredients in this leave-on mask are gluconolactone and alpha-glucan yeast which have been shown to boost the skin’s ability to knock out pollutants and any other unwanted nasties you may have brought home from the day’s outings.
It’s a balmy texture, feeling cool when massaging into the skin. We found really working it into the skin had good results and after a few minutes or so, you can feel the magic happening. It’s a firming and active sensation which is difficult to describe but quite cosy. There’s a subtle and welcoming aromatic scent about it too which adds a little sensory tickle to the application.
Substitute this as your moisturiser three or four times a week as your last step to let the formula work at its best. Skin in the morning felt energised and worked out. All while not lifting a finger.
Sunday Riley luna sleeping night oil: £45, Harvey Nichols
If you’re new to retinoids, luna from Sunday Riley is a good place to start. This oil’s hero ingredient is actually a trans-retinol ester and therefore a tad less aggressive than it’s big sister. This is also formulated with a stack of moisturising oils such as grape seed and avocado and will give you a more gentle steer rather than a crash course in the anti-ageing department. The addition of blue tansy here is a big anti-inflammatory too, supporting a much calmer approach overall.
There are seven essential oils in here though, so do be careful if you’re on the sensitive side. Besides from this, we love the idea of trading in our go-to retinol for this in the winter months as it will be impactful without impacting surface skin as we schlep about in the snow.
Results are firmer and happier faces with continued use. The blue absorbs pretty quickly, you don’t wake up looking like a Smurf reassured.
Neom perfect night’s sleep face oil: £42, Neom
Organic beauties at Neom have an entire range dedicated to the midnight hours. Our favourite has to be this decadent face oil. The range is titled "scent to sleep" so it’s not surprising that this smells incredible thanks to their trademarked tranquility fragrance. It’s a lavender, sweet basil and jasmine infusion concocted with dozing in mind. The effects of the cocktail are a more relaxed and calm state of mind.
Rosehip oil and a slew of vitamins seal moisture into the skin while the scent lingers to drift you off quietly. It works hard to restore your natural beauty overnight. Particularly good if you like a dewy finish. Skin wakes up soft and ready for action, even if you don’t.
Therapie sleep duo: £64.50, Cult Beauty
If your brain has checked out for the night, but your owl-like eyes won’t shut, this delectable duo from Therapie might be what you’ve been waiting for. Expert and founder Michell Roques-O’Neil is a sought after mind in the healing and wellbeing world. With her holistic and human approach, it’s difficult to not fall under the Therapie spell.
The sleep drops are a lavender, frankincense and neroli blend with orange blossom and ylang ylang at its heart. Pop this in a diffuser, or even rubbed unto the soles of the feet as instructed to reap the relaxing benefits. The fragrance permeates the room quickly, bringing a little harmony to our tester's basement studio flat.
If you want to double dip, bless yourself with the calm balm on areas of tension with bergamot and bay. To be fair, we kept this in our bag and applied throughout the day to keep the serenity going as long as we could.
Susanne Kaufmann oil bath winter: £50, Space NK
Susanne Kauffman spent her childhood growing up in Bregenzerwald, a small valley nestled in the Austrian Alps. This area inspired Kauffman to create natural, sustainable products for mind, body and soul. To shine a light on the power of nature and to educate while at the same time, to preserve. All sounds a bit waffly until you open this very aesthetically charming container.
Winter bath is housed in a clear glass bottle with a pine leaf inside. Intriguing from the outset, the oil is amber in hue, and luxurious in texture. Cinnamon, clove and orange cast a spell, enveloping the room and throughout your abode with a sweet, spiced aroma.
The richness of the oil has been designed to protect the body over the colder months. It’s supremely comforting and perfect for nighttime. Our testers couldn’t quite confirm they transformed into Aurora herself the very next day, but their mood was definitely less Maleficent than the day previous.
Herbivore amethyst exfoliating body polish: £38, Liberty
This might be one of the most lavish things we’ve come across on paper. An ode to the crystal queen of calmness, this body exfoliator actually has ground amethyst in it; the stone is known for its revitalising energy.
Of course, there’s also a wallop of coconut oil and shea butter for a moisturising boost. The scent is beautiful to boot with a kick coming from oil of the night blooming jasmine.
We scrubbed this into our dry, done-with-the-day bodies and then sank into a hot bath. The scrub melts off and dissolves divinely into the water. Post dunk and dry off, skin feels moisturised and relaxed; like it’s been through a holistic car wash.
No filler, all killer here for epic indulgence. Another success for the brand with one of the best consciences on the market.
Jo Malone London myrrh and tonka body creme: £62, Look Fantastic
It’s hard to find anything in the Jo Malone catalogue that doesn’t thrill the nostrils. Its vast range of perfumes and candles caters to everyone. This body creme takes one of the brand's more opulent scents to new heights.
Housed in a weighty violet glass jar, this feels the epitome of luxury before even opening. Inspired by the rolling sand dunes of Namibia, the ecru coloured balm is a mix of lavender and myrrh with an almost edible smelling note of vanilla tonka bean.
A beautifully buttery texture has extracts of samphire which is mineral rich and hydration hefty. Not only did we feel suitably moisturised but the scent is quite honestly to die for, staying on the skin while we nuzzled in for the night. A potentially ostentatious purchase but an undeniably enviable one.
Byredo chai candle: £57, Byredo
If the closest knowledge you have of chai is ordering it in a latte while you angrily rush through town, this might help broaden your horizons. The waxy wonder from Swedish mastermind and founder of Byredo, Ben Gorham, is a tribute to the Indian tea ritual where the spiced leaves are left to steep in boiling milk.
It’s an intimate yet rich smell with cardamom and ginger zest as the top notes with birch tree and guaic woods at the base. The beauty of this is that it starts off with a spicy, warmer tone but as it burns it becomes much more dense and almost woody, revealing more personality each time you come back to experience it.
There’s a slight festive feel thanks to its comforting cocktail and Gorham explains this was inspired by the scent of his grandmother’s house. She can have us over anytime.
Aromatherapy Associates deep relax sleep mist: £28, John Lewis & Partners
The sleep gods have spoken. Aromatherapy Associates have blessed us with a new addition to its luxury line up. Deep relax pillow spray is composed of the brand's signature scent which is a best seller.
British Founders Geraldine Howard and Sue Beechey have been sharing the powers of essential oils over the last 30 years. Trained aromatherapists, they had first hand experience in seeing the positive effects of essential oils on the human body. They began creating their own blends and soon the love affair started.
Deep relax has vetivert, patchouli and bitter orange as its primary notes. Ylang yang and Austrian sandalwood rounds off with chamomile resulting in a complex and concentrated aroma. A couple of spritzes is all you need over your chamber to create an environment even the most restless can’t resist. Treat your bed linen to a seriously, seductive upgrade.
Spacemasks: £15, Spacemasks
The humble eye mask has been given an intergalactic makeover with these Spacemasks. Not only do these shield you from the sun spoiling your snooze, they self-heat to add a whole new dimension to your slumber party for one.
There’s a thin layer of iron filings inside each mask that when activated with oxygen molecules in the air, heat up to create a comforting veil of warmth across the eye area. The jasmine is in a low concentrate so you can enjoy the subtle scent without it irritating your skin.
The heat lasts for about 15-20 minutes and hits quite an impressive temperature. Not only do these help you slip off into sleep, but the eye area come the morning feels more rested than usual and the masks stayed on all night securely with their nifty ear hooks.
We even chucked one on in the office when we needed a break from the endless emails. You might look nuts, but your afternoon gets a little more lift-off.
The verdict: Skincare products for a better night's sleep
While a tad costly, the Goop bath soak gave us a sleep we hadn’t had in a long time. Aromatherapy Associates' mist is a mighty fine atmosphere shifter while Therapie’s duo works for both forty winks and Friday afternoons alike.
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