As much as we love peeking inside people's vanities and medicine cabinets, can we just say that the bedside table is extremely overlooked? Think about it: Not only do we spend a good chunk of our 24 hours sleeping (on a good night, anyway), but that time is also, in many ways, half of our beauty routine. We rely on a good night's rest to keep our skin supple, our metabolisms humming, and our minds sharp, among other things. And to that end, our pre-bed rituals are just as telling as the way we apply our makeup in the morning.
With this in mind, we asked eight beauty editors to share what they keep within arm's reach when they're settling down for the evening. From the scented candles that lure them to sleep to the books they currently can't put down, keep reading to see the items that reside on their nightstands.
I don't like clutter, so I'm a nightstand minimalist. Still, a few things are never far from reach. Kiehl's Lip Balm 1, which keeps me from waking up with sandpaper lips, is a constant. I also keep a sleep mask nearby, since wearing one does help me fall asleep faster. And then there's always some sort of hand cream or moisturizer. Right now I'm trying out Lancôme Energie de Vie sleeping mask, and so far, it's been keeping my skin hydrated as the air starts to dry out. Finally, I love reading, and I just cracked open Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson—hoping it's a good one.
Diptyque's Baies in a black glass holder is the most elegant product on my nightstand, followed by Maison Martin Margiela's Replica Candle in Lazy Sunday Morning (because I have an obsession with candles, in case you couldn't tell). The rest is simple: some sort of hydrating lip balm to put on before bed (right now rotating between the balm in La Prarie's Anti-Aging Eye Lip Perfection, because it feels so incredibly luxe when applying, and my go-to, never-fail Eos lip balm), Rituals Chakra Water to spritz my pillow and make my bed smell like roses, and whatever book I'm reading at the moment (currently Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore).
As a beauty editor, I've got products stashed just about everywhere, but I try to keep my nightstand a little less packed. Every night, I put on Buly's Pommade Concrète, this insanely rich hand cream that a friend picked up for me in Paris—it's worth a flight to get your hands on a tube! I love Glossier's Balm Dot Com for chapped lips before bed and Red Carpet Manicure Cuticle Balm for dry cuticles, so I keep these stashed in my drawer at all times. Right now, I'm also really into Tata Harper's Aromatic Bedtime Treatment. It's an essential-oil blend that seriously makes me sleep better!
Aside from a family photo (back when my sister had a bowl cut and I had adorable bouncy curls) and whatever book I'm telling myself I'm reading at the moment (Go Set a Watchman has been holding that spot for a while now), my bedside table is filled with beauty products. It's where I keep the final steps of my nightly beauty routine. First and foremost, hand cream: Currently I'm loving Hand Chemistry's Intense Youth Complex. It has major anti-aging benefits, but mainly I just love who soft and moisturized it makes my hands feel. Equally important is my lip care. I keep Dr. Lipp's Original Nipple Balm for Lips ($14) nearby always. It's the best for my self-diagnosed chronic dry lip. Also, eye cream. While I'm pretty sure I'm destined to live with dark circles my whole life, I'm always trying something that promises to do away with them. Right now I'm using an eye serum from Hylamide. I top that off with Chantecaille's Stress Repair Concentrate, and since I'm not big on heavy night creams, I also use this on my forehead fine lines and laugh lines and call it a night. My lavender sachet and the best sleep mask ever (seriously, the domed eye pads are a game changer) are never out of reach either. And my favorite nightstand staple is my Corkcicle Canteen. I love ice water more than anything in the world (barely exaggerating), and this thing allows me to wake up to cold water by my side. It's a dream come true.
A lot of lip products—especially expensive ones—leave behind a whitish film, but Glossier Coconut Balm Dotcom is completely sheer and a little bit shiny without veering into gloss (apart from the title) territory. It gives lips that freshly injected look—which, yes I want, even before bed—plus, the coconut scent smells like summer. I use a Jurlique rose mist like Febreze and spray a huge cloud over my pillows, sheets—and myself—before bed. The idea is to do it so much that I develop a Pavlovian response to rose-scented things and just inhale it to fall asleep. That hasn’t happened yet.
Right now I’m burning Diptique’s Baies Noire. It smells like rose (again) and blackcurrant, and it’s a really divisive scent for some reason. I have a friend who burned it during press appointments for her jewelry line, and a famous buyer walked out because she couldn’t stand how the room smelled. I also collect/steal Bic lighters from all over the place. My favorite one says “Sky’s the limit,” because if I can’t think of a positive affirmation at the end of the day, there it is.
I'm kind of thankful that I'm in the process of moving, because it's forcing me to declutter, and my nightstand is definitely one of the biggest culprits. But then again, I can't imagine moving any of my essentials! I'm a light sleeper, so for me, getting ready for bed is about creating the most calming environment possible. I'm obsessed with scents in all forms, so I burn a lot of incense and palo santo sticks, as well as countless candles—I rotate through several, but one of my standbys is Haus's Mountain Haus. Really, anything with an earthy, woody scent is my jam. I also like spraying this crystal-infused atmosphere mist for good vibes.
While I'm watching Netflix or reading (right now I'm starting on Patti Smith's latest), I'll slather myself in body oil, since it's the only way to keep my dry, bumpy skin feeling smooth. I also love covering my feet in this shea butter, which was sent to me from South Africa—the wooden container is so pretty, and it really softens up calluses like nothing else. I think it may be discontinued, which is a real bummer!
Finally, I'll put a few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow, since that scent could put me to sleep anytime, anywhere. It's key for restless nights!
Falling asleep isn't easy for me—I'm a native New Yorker who drinks a lot of coffee. So everything I keep next to my bed helps me to relax and feel cozy. Tata Harper's Aromatic Bedtime Treatment is a pre-slumber must. I roll the essential oil over my wrists and palms, rub my hands together to create heat, and inhale the spa-like scent. My oil obsession doesn't stop there—I also pat La Mer's Renewal Oil onto my face to ensure that my skin stays hydrated overnight. It's not greasy, so I don't have to worry about stains on my satin pillowcase. Currently Jo Malone's new Mimosa & Cardamon scented candle is burning beside my bed; it has a subtly sweet scent with a hint of woods. On a recent trip to Paris, I picked up a tube of Homeoplasmine, which fuels my lip balm addiction. And in case my mind won't stop racing, I jot down any last thoughts in my chic Smythson notebook.
I tend to get dehydrated easily, especially in the fall/winter season, so I love keeping a big water bottle on my nightstand at all times in case I get thirsty throughout the night. Also, I keep my trusty jar of Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer there too in case my skin starts to feel "tight." One thing I never take off my nightstand (or travel without) is a tube of acne cream. Recently, I fell in love with Proactiv Emergency Blemish Relief and apply it to problem areas before I hit the pillow. I also keep a couple of hair clips (like the SS Big Lock Clips) on my nightstand to keep hair out of my face so it doesn't interfere with my face creams/products. Lastly, I'm a total sucker for mint lip balms and absolutely love C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine. It's so cooling and feels almost therapeutic before bedtime.
What are your nightstand essentials? Tell us in the comments below!