The Decorum Diaries

Unapologetically ladylike.

Mise-En-Place Your Night Cream: 6 Steps to Creating a Sleeping Beauty Routine

“My friends and I have been talking,” my mother-in-law said to me, “we think you’re becoming more attractive as you age.” I nodded my thanks and suppressed a smile. I had a secret.

Be honest. How often do you skip steps to your evening beauty routine, or worse, ignore it altogether? After years of neglecting to adhere to a nightly skincare regimen, or even form one, I happened onto a trick that made picking up the habit a breeze. Now I look forward to my evening routine, and the improvements to my 35 year old complexion are not only noticeable, they’re undeniable.

Mise en place, the French phrase meaning “put in place” is a well known expression in kitchens around the world. Many top chefs and talented home-cooks owe much of their success to their habit of mise en place. But the practice shouldn’t be reserved for baking ingredients. Here’s how I kicked the bad habit of nightly skincare neglect..

Step 1: Consider your nightly habits. 

Do you sit in the living room for some family tv time each night? Do you curl up in bed and browse the internet while your husband reads? Where you find yourself just before lights out is the “place” of mise-en-place. 

Step 2: Know your needs.

My goal was to never fall asleep with makeup on, or un-flossed teeth. I wrote out my ideal routine, and then made a list of the ‘ingredients‘ I’d need at my fingertips to ensure success. I wanted something for the nights I had skipped washing my face the traditional way. I wanted something for removing makeup, and I didn’t want to forget about my teeth and nails. I was also guilty of forgetting to take nightly medicines and so I wanted to include in my kit current Rxs and vitamins.

Step 3:  Consider containment.

You’ll need a basket, drawer, or pretty container to hold the ingredients for your recipe. Because my nightly routine includes sitting in bed for an hour or so before lights out, I chose a drawer in my nightstand to contain my goodies. When I’m ready, I pull out the entire drawer and place it next to me on the bed. I read articles, or watch television as I pamper. You might choose a basket on a shelf in your living room. Whatever you store your potions & lotions in, make sure they are kept within reach of your nightly perch. (See step 1)

Step 4:  Mise en place. (Stock your drawer or basket.)

Below are the items I keep my drawer stocked with.  Some of these I will buy again as I run out, some I will seek out a better replacement for. 

  • Stretchy headband & ponytail holder
  • A rinse free makeup remover (Clinique's Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk)
  • Oil of Olay Regenerist Cleansing Cloths (I usually only have need for a half or quarter of each cloth.)
  • Clinique’s Clarifying Lotion
  • Oil of Olay's Regenerist serum
  • Dr. Brandt's "Glow" night cream (Will not be repurchasing.)
  • Rose Hip Oil (I dot this on particularly dry areas.)
  • Lanolin (I'm a mouth breather at night which causes unsightly, chapped lips. I use the lanolin layered over rose hip oil, to wake up with a smooth kisser.)
  • Teeth whitening strips, used only once per week or less to keep my smile bright, yet natural shade of white.
  • Q-tips, Cotton Balls, Dental Floss
  • Dusting Powder (Feels absolutely elegant on a balmy summer night.)
  • Body lotion
  • Polish remover, nail file, clippers, and OPI's Bubble Bath nail laquer.
  • Multi-vitamin, Current RXs, and melatonin for night sleep won't come.
  • Black silk eye mask

I also keep a decanter of water, and pretty glass on my night table. But a plastic bottle of water in your basket or drawer would work too.

Other items to consider: small mirror, tweezers, small trash receptacle.

Step 5: Multitask that face mask.

Now that you've put in place the items you need to complete your night routine, enjoy an evening in your comfy chair, slathering on face lotion while watching Downton Abbey. Or relax in bed next to your love, spending the last moments of your day chatting while you dot your cheeks and lips with rose hip oil. 

There was a reason you repeatedly skipped your nightly beauty routine in the past. Maybe you never thought through your needs much past a bar of soap and toothpaste. Perhaps standing one more moment on the hard tile floor after a long and hectic day of being your feet was more than you could take. Many women find it hard to tear themselves away from the chatter and time spent relaxing with loved ones. Regardless of the reason, our worthy and achievable goal is to make nightly skincare an easy, luxurious part of our day. 

Step 6:  Beauty Sleep

Alright, Sleeping Beauty, if you're not in the habit of getting a goodnight's sleep, there's no night like tonight to start. Muster all of the self-discipline you possess and turn the lights out in time for you to wake feeling rested and cheerful. Soon, the routine of nighttime skin cleansing and moisturizing will signal bedtime has arrived. Bedtime rituals don't just work magic for toddlers, as you will soon discover.


And they all lived happily ever after.