How the experts get their beauty sleep

Posted by
Lucy Partington
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The health and beauty elite reveal how they take care of their skin every evening.

Following an evening skincare routine is a vital part of maintaining healthy and radiant skin.

Our skin does all its essential regenerating overnight, so who better to reveal the details of their evening routines than the health and beauty elite?

We asked four of the top names in the industry to share the steps they follow every evening to look after their skin.

“My routine took years to perfect”

Anjali Mahto, 38, has been a doctor for 14 years. She’s based at The Cadogan Clinic in London

“First, I use Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micellar Water (£10.80, to take off all my foundation. I wear quite a lot of heavy coverage make-up; it’s a real emotional crutch for me because I’ve suffered with acne for as long as I can remember. It takes a few cotton wool pads to get it all off, and then I use Jan Marini Bioglycolic Oily Skin Cleansing Gel (£28.50, 

It’s a glycolic acid foaming cleanser that helps with pigmentation and reduces oil production. Every second night I use an acid exfoliator. I switch between The Ordinary 7% Glycolic Acid Toning Solution (£6.80,, or The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA (£5.99, The latter is much milder, so I use the glycolic when my skin is feeling more resilient, which is more often than not: I’ve tried every option available for treating acne, so my skin has really been through the mill.

“On alternating nights I use a high-strength retinoid – working in a clinic makes it easier to get hold of. Definitely a perk of the job! I use a pea-sized amount after cleansing and, because my skin isn’t that sensitive, I don’t tend to moisturise afterwards. If I’m having a particularly bad breakout, I use retinol around the spot then dollop a load of salicylic acid on top – I like Kiehl’s Blue Herbal Spot Treatment (£21.50,

“Once a week I do an at-home peel with The Ordinary Peeling Solution (£6.30, or use SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque (£60,, depending on how congested my skin feels. If I’ve got loads of blackheads or it looks like it’s about to break out, then I’ll choose the peel, and if it’s not too oily I’ll go for clay. I always set a timer so I can keep track of how long it’s been on for, but it’s usually around 15 minutes.

“I don’t really use many products because I think less is more – it’s taken me about five years to find what’s right for my skin. I think it’s always better to use a small number of products that have real evidence-based research behind them. That also means I have more time to relax in the evenings. I always have two or three books on the go at once but I’m guilty of scrolling mindlessly through Twitter or watching Netflix instead of reading. At the moment, I’ve been drawn into watching old episodes of The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.

“Before I go to sleep I spritz the air with jasmine water I bought while I was in the Maldives earlier this year. It’s so relaxing and reminds me of being in a beautiful spa. I make sure that I have a glass of water by my bed because I never drink enough during the day so I always wake up gasping in the middle of the night. Then I’ll use This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray (£18, to help me drift off.”  

“A minimal approach works best for me”

Bettina Campolucci Bordi, 34, is a professional chef who runs plant-based and gluten-free health retreats

“I brush my teeth, shower and then do my skin. I massage in Skin & Tonic London Steam Clean (£27,, which is a solid oil cleanser, and I use a really hot, damp muslin cloth to help draw out any impurities. It leaves a nice, soft residue and my skin usually has enough moisture after cleansing so I don’t need to apply anything else.

“Through trial and error I’ve found it’s better for me to have a routine that uses as few products as possible. I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis seven years ago and since then I’ve experimented an awful lot to find out what works for me. That’s how I learnt that oil-based products are best for my skin and it’s better now than it’s ever been before. 

I used to think oily products would make my skin even oilier, but extensive research taught me that they actually do the opposite. We produce all these amazing oils while we sleep that work to protect our skin during the day. So instead of washing those oils away, I try to top them up.

“When the weather is colder I use Neal’s Yard Rehydrating Rose Toner (£16,, and apply Skin & Tonic London Brit Beauty Oil (£28, on top. It’s a brand I really like – I found it through social media, the founder has PCOS and endometriosis as well so it really resonates with me. I often use Le Labo Face Mask (£32,, which I leave on for 20 minutes or so until it’s dried. I count that time as self-care. I’m a working mum so taking time out for myself is often completely forgotten.

Then I get into bed with a cup of tea. I love Pukka Three Mint (£2.45,, which is great if I feel bloated. I often add a few drops of Hempanol Super Strength Oil (£54.95, to help chill me out. It’s raw hemp oil and it really helps me sleep if I’ve had a particularly stressful day and my head is whirring.”  

“I don’t use moisturiser”

Scarlett Burton, 28, is a make-up and hair artist who has worked with Iggy Azalea, Laura Haddock and Lilah Parsons

“I start my evening routine with a shower. I prefer washing my hair at night because it’s naturally curly and I like to give it as much time to dry as I can – plus my job means that I usually end up having to start work early so it saves time. I never wash my face before a shower. I try to get as much make-up off as I can with water while I’m in there. I wear a lot of mascara so I always have huge panda eyes afterwards. I use Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm (£47, to get what’s left of my make-up off. 

“Then I’ll start on my skincare. I sweep a cotton pad soaked in Neal’s Yard Frankinscense Toner (£20, over my skin. It should be super clean by this point and ready for me to apply This Works No Wrinkles Night Repair (£45, and Sarah Chapman Skinesis Eye Recovery, (£44, 

I don’t use moisturiser, but a few times a week I’ll switch between Stripped Skincare Spearmint And Lemon Bamboo Exfoliating Oil (£12, to get rid of any dead skin, and Oskia Renaissance Mask (£55, to hydrate my skin and make it look glowy. I’ve been using it increasingly recently because I’ve been out in the sun more than usual and my skin is dry.

“In bed I’ll read a book – I like crime thrillers, which probably aren’t the best before bed but I’ve just finished The Woman In the Window by AJ Finn. Before sleep, I’ll put a few drops of Sanatio Naturalis Lavender Oil (£22, on my pillowcase and prep my Instagram posts for the next morning. I don’t edit the pictures much but I like to get them ready to go so the next morning I can just hit upload – I do one or two a day.”  

“I always double cleanse”

Dija Ayodele, 34, is an aesthetician and facialist who specialises in chemical peels

“The first thing I do in the bathroom is light a candle. I love Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin, £45. Then I pour DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (£24, on my hands and massage it into my face to get rid of the day’s make-up and sunscreen. I make sure I focus on the parts of my face with visible pores, so that’s around my eyebrows and cheeks.

“Next I do a second cleanse using NeoStrata Glycolic Wash (£25.99, – it’s acid-based so it works to get rid of any dead skin cells. Because I’m pregnant, I’ve stopped using retinols and having monthly peels – there’s no evidence to suggest they’re unsafe, but there’s no evidence to suggest otherwise either. Then I mix one pump of Zelens Z-22 Absolute Face Oil (£70, with an Exuviance AF Vitamin C20 Serum Capsule (£59 for 60, and massage it into my skin. I find vitamin C works better for me at night. I like to make use of its collagen production and brightening benefits.

“Finally, I’ll use Zelens Lip Treatment Oil (£40, to help hydrate and protect my lips. When I climb into bed, I make sure the Jo Malone candle in my bedroom is lit and either read a book or turn on a podcast. I’m listening to Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations at the minute. It takes me about half an hour to fall asleep, so before that I take a Bare Biology Bump & Glory Omega 3 Fish Oil (£16, to help my baby’s brain develop, blow out the candle and turn the light off.”  

Images: Getty/Sarah Brimley


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Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she'll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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