The Science of Skincare at Night: How Can We Use Evening Rituals to Support the Health of Our Skin & Sleep Better?

Andrés Gómez


01/ The Sleep/Wake Cycle
02/ Our Skin’s Daily Rhythm
03/ The Benefit of Doing Skincare at Night
04/ Herbs, Flowers & Botanicals for Sleeping Skin
05/ Creating an Evening Ritual
06/ The Earth To You Evening Ritual for Sleeping Skin

The average person spends about 26 years of their life sleeping, and a further 7 years trying to get to sleep. That’s around a third of our life spent in bed – so we may as well be using that time to care for our skin.


When we are sleeping, we enter a reparative state of being where the body starts to heal and mend itself. We’ve all had those days (or weeks) where a bad night’s sleep has left us feeling tired, absent-minded & groggy. This is our bodies way of telling us that it hasn’t had time to properly rest, repair and restore.


The skin, being our bodies largest organ, relies on us to get good quality sleep in order to heal & regenerate itself. When we feel tired, our skin feels it too - and it doesn’t take long for the signs to show on our face. In fact, the skin has its own 24-hour cycle of phases that each play an important role in the skin’s overall health. This is why it’s important to tailor our evening skincare routines to our body’s natural rhythm.



The Sleep/Wake Cycle


Circadian rhythms are our bodies natural response to light & dark (or day & night). In a 24-hour cycle, we go through hundreds of internal biological changes that are cued by our environmental surroundings.


Our sleep/wake cycle is directed by a circadian rhythm that releases different hormones through the day to control our internal schedules. In the daylight, the brain sends signals to the body that keep us alert and present. However, as the sun sets, the brain releases hormones to promote sleep and encourage our bodies into the restorative part of the daily cycle.


This organic rhythm of life repeats itself daily as the Earth turns around the Sun. All of nature, including animals and plants, follow the same grounding cycle entirely led by light and dark. It happens without us noticing, but our biological bodies are always in a state of flow with the universe.



‘Hormones are like a symphony and circadian rhythms are the conductor.’ - Unknown

Our Skin’s Daily Rhythm


Studies have suggested that there is a clear link between our circadian rhythm and skin functionality. Dermatologists refer to the skin as being in ‘defence’ mood during the day and ‘regeneration’ mode during the night. During the day our skin works hard to protect itself from UV damage, free radicals, pollution and other external aggressors. So, when we sleep our skin slips into ‘recovery mode’ where it can repair and restore itself.


There are 2 key hormones that are released into our body between 9-11pm as the brain starts to wind down. The first is Melatonin. Not only does it make us feel sleepy, this hormone counteracts the daily damage to the skin from UV rays and pollution. In a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, it was found that Melatonin’s antioxidant properties make it an exceptional free radical scavenger able to neutralise aggressors before they cause skin damage.


The second hormone that becomes more active while we sleep is HGH, or the Human Growth Hormone. It is responsible for accelerating cell regeneration across the whole body, and it plays a big role in repairing and healing the skin. Skin cell mitosis (or division) doubles between 11pm & 4am, however if you’re in a deep sleep cell regeneration can triple in this time frame. This is when cells need the most nutrients in order to support healthy skin renewal.


The Benefit of Doing Skincare at Night


In our reparative sleep state, skin is more receptive to certain products. This is because, on average, our skin temperature gets slightly warmer - making the skin and pores more permeable. Applying skincare at night helps the skin get the maximum benefit from the active ingredients in the products.


You skin is also getting a well-deserved environmental break at night. In the daytime, the skin is exposed to endless harsh environmental stressors like pollution or UV rays. While the skins rests at night, it can focus more attention on repairing rather than protecting itself. This gives the skin a chance to fully rejuvenate without being interrupted by external factors.


Our bodies secrete sebum throughout the day to create a thin oily barrier on our skin that keeps moisture in and aggressors out. However, this sebum production peaks at midday meaning the skin is driest (and least protected) during the night. Paired with a slight rise in temperature, the skin starts to lose moisture while we sleep - this is called ‘transepidermal water loss’. Applying a hydrating oil or balm as part of your evening skincare routine creates a protective barrier on the skin to keep as much moisture within the skin as possible.


Herbs, Flowers & Botanicals for Sleeping Skin


Sleep is good for our skin, so the better quality of sleep we can get, the healthier our skin will look in the morning. For this reason, curating an evening skincare routine should find a balance between hydrating skincare products and calming selfcare rituals.


Certain herbs, flowers and botanicals have strong associations with sleep and have been used for thousands of years to help people fall into a deep sleep. Dr Bach, an English medical doctor and homeopath, discovered that by harnessing the vibrational energy of a plant he was able to create healing tinctures that supported mental and physical health. He found that peoples emotional state affected their ability to heal and felt that ‘unresolved emotional conflicts within the person created disharmony between the soul and the mind, which eventually leads to physical illness’ (Modern Herbal Dispensary – Thomas Easley & Steven Horne).


As he learnt more about flower essences and their capacity as emotional healers, Dr Bach discovered that many of the tinctures he was making were also healing his patients physically. There is a bouquet of flowers and herbs with both skin rejuvenating and mind calming properties, making them ideal ingredients in an evening skincare routine to help us find a balance between physical and emotional health.





Calming for the mind and the skin. The polyphenols and phytochemicals in Chamomile are known to speed up cell regeneration and protect against harmful free radicals found in pollution. Chamomile also contains an antioxidant called apigenin which binds to specific receptors in the brain to decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.





When used as a sleep aid, Mugwort is believed to ‘open up chambers of ancient memory within the brain, bringing to one's dream life stirring visions …that assist us in remembering old, unwritten ways of healing and living that attend to the needs of spirit and soul.’ (Judith Berger – Herbal Rituals).


In skincare, Mugwort has applications as an anti-inflammatory and has become recently popular in Korean skincare. It’s considered a multitasking ingredient with Vitamin E to soothe the skin and help it retain moisture, antioxidants to prevent premature ageing and anti-fungal properties to prevent acne.





Rich with antioxidants that strengthen skin cells and regenerate tissue, Rose is also naturally anti-inflammatory to soothe any blemishes. Used by the ancient Greek’s for its hydrating and softening qualities, Rose has astringent properties that revitalise skin and reduce redness. One study found that Rose can actually lower the level or Cortisol (the hormone that wakes the body up as part of our circadian rhythm) in the body. This could potentially trigger the body into the sleep phase of our daily cycle.



Valerian Root


Although Valerian Root is considered the Europe’s most popular herbal sleep aid, Scientists still don’t know exactly why it works so well.  One theory is that it increases levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) known to encourage sleep. The root has been used for centuries, dating all the way back to the Greek and Roman empires, and was noted by Hippocrates to treat headaches & nervousness. In skincare it can be used to soothe the skin and treat mild infections when used as a cleanser.





Scientifically proven to ease anxiety, relieve stress and treat insomnia – we use British grown lavender in lots of our products to transform skincare rituals into holistic experiences. Lavender is well known for its therapeutic aroma, but a 2016 study also found that Lavender can promote wound healing and skin regeneration. Making Lavender a beautiful ingredient to incorporate into an evening ritual to complement the skins natural reparative processes.





Hops are famous for adding flavour to beer; however, they have long been used in skincare rituals as a natural remedy for irritation and psoriasis. As well as being a mild sedative known to lull the mind into a calmer state, Hops also function as an antiviral agent to protect the skin from harmful damage and reduce acne.



The Science of Steam


One of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of these skincare botanicals is via a facial steam. As the flowers infuse in hot water, fresh essential oils are created as they distil through the steam. The result is a pure, low viscosity blend of essential oils suspended on steam that carry Vitamin A, C, D, E, B3 directly to the lower levels of skin to soothe, repair and deeply hydrate. Plus, the heat of the steam works to open the pores to allow the oils to pass through the epidermis, stimulating blood flow, increasing circulation and promoting collagen and elastin production.



Creating an Evening Ritual


When creating your own evening skincare ritual, we have 2 bits of advice to share with you.  Firstly, listen to your skin and learn from what it tells you. Let your body guide you on what it needs and wants.


Secondly, a good evening skincare routine starts before you’re even taken off your makeup. Find a ritual that sends the right cues to your brain that its time to wind down. For example, have a warm bath or shower an hour before you get into bed, and reduce your exposure to blue light from your phone or tv that will confuse your circadian rhythm.


When it comes to your skincare routine, we recommend using sleep inducing botanicals alongside scientifically informed rituals to give your skin the tools it needs to repair itself while you sleep.


The Earth To You Evening Ritual for Sleeping Skin


  1. Start by pouring yourself a cup of calming, caffeine-free tea and remove your makeup. (You can use Jojoba Oil as a natural makeup remover, or whatever you already have in your cabinet.)

  2. Once you have removed your makeup, start your routine with our Moon Steam. A deeply cleansing flower steam with botanicals to aid the skins natural reparative process and lull you into a dreamy, restful sleep. Pour hot, steaming water into a bowl and add a handful of the dried flower blend. Use a clean towel to cover your head and create a steam tent, lean over the bowl and enjoy with some deep breaths for 5-10 minutes.

  3. While you leave the water to cool slightly, uses Jojoba Oil to give your skin an oil cleanse. Drop a few pumps of the oil onto a bamboo face pad and use gentle circles to massage the skin and lift any remaining dirt.

  4. Dip a Bamboo Cloth into the cooled, but still warm, water from the Moon Steam and use to wipe away any dirt and oil from the face.

  5. At this point, we recommend a cooling, calming spritz of Rose Water to tighten the freshly cleaned pores and prepare the skin for the next step - hydration.

  6. For dry skin, massage a small amount of our Botanical Night Balm into the face for a intensively moisturising night mask treatment. For combination/normal or oily skin, use a few drops of our botanical face elixir instead. Be generous and take your time with this step to show your skin some kindness with a gentle massage. Both of these products are infused with powerful, rejuvenating botanicals and oils to create a protective, healing barrier for sleeping skin.

  7. For some extra skincare love and relaxation, you can incorporate Gua Sha into your routine. The hand carved Rose Quartz tools are specifically shaped to help the oils absorb deeper within the skin while stimulating oxygenation. By disrupting the epidermis, the massage encourages blood flow to accelerate the night-time, healing processes of the skin. For tired, weary eyes, use the mushroom shaped Gua Sha to release tension around the brow bone. For dull looking skin, use the heart, or square shaped tool to detox the skin with lymphatic drainage. Or for a whole-body experience, you can use the comb to relax the nervous system with a scalp massage.

  8. Leave any leftover oils to soak into the skin while you slip into a deeply restful nights sleep…. Good Night.

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