The best night cream to give skin a much needed boost overnight

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • Searching for the best night cream to add to your evening skincare routine? Look no further...

    So, you’ve got your skincare order nailed. You know exactly what to put on your skin and when. The last step of this routine is your night product, which is arguably one of the most important. We recommend that you start using one in your 20s. It’s vital that you find the best night cream or serum to suit your skin’s needs. Trust us your skin will thank you for it.

    How does our skin change at night time?

    It’s important not to use your normal best moisturiser because the truth is your skin behaves quite differently when you’re asleep. Therefore, your skincare should change accordingly.

    ‘A number of physiological changes occur in the skin overnight,’ consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk tells us. She says that our skin is affected by our circadian rhythm, ‘the skin blood flow rate has been shown to increase in the late afternoon and evening. Higher melatonin levels at night are associated with hair growth, suppression of ultraviolet (UV) damage in skin cells, and better wound healing.’ Basically your skin goes into repair mode whilst you’re dreaming sweet dreams. Dr Kluk goes on: ‘The repair of skin cells with DNA damage from the sun appears to peak at night. Skin permeability is also higher in the evening than in the morning, leading to increased moisture loss.’

    This is why what we apply to skin before we turn the lights off at night is so important. We need to ensure that the products we’re applying are aiding, not hindering, this process.

    ‘By understanding the basic principles of the circadian rhythm, including skin changes throughout the day, we can better organise our routines by applying skin care products at optimal times of the day,’ she continues. ‘For example, sunscreen during the day to reduce UV damage, retinol at night for optimised DNA repair and richer moisturisers at night to ameliorate increased transepidermal moisture loss.’

    What’s the difference between day and night cream?

    So, how different does my night cream need to be, we hear you ask? It’s all about consistency and ingredient type.

    Kate Somerville, Hollywood’s go-to aesthetician, puts it simply: ‘Day creams tend to be lightweight and have an SPF to protect your skin from the sun. They should also be less greasy, ideal for makeup application. Night creams tend to be heavier with no SPF and include ingredients such as retinols and glycolics, which help in polishing your skin and promote cell renewal.’

    Facial aesthetics specialist Dr Pamela Benito agrees: ‘A night time moisturiser will help to maintain your skin’s health and reduce the signs of ageing,’ she continues. ‘With a thicker and richer consistency, night moisturisers tend to include a larger concentration of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol and peptides.’

    ‘Night is when cells need nutrients the most and when their anti-aging benefits have maximum impact,’ she goes on. ‘Skin sebum production is less at night and when you don’t have a protective layer of natural oils on your skin, you lose more water. Due to their slow-absorbing nature, night creams can gradually penetrate the skin throughout the night. This means they’re able to moisturise, repair and rebalance the skin for a clear and healthy complexion.’

    What makes the best night cream?

    ‘I look for ingredients such as peptides, Hyaluronic acid, ceramides, emollients, antioxidants, retinols – depending on your skin type of course,’ says Somerville. ‘Those with dry skin look for something really creamy. If you have oily skin, I’d recommend an oil-free moisturiser. And for sensitive skin, you should use a product with ceramides.’

    Without further ado, let’s dive in to the Marie Claire approved list of the best night cream and serum buys on the beauty market…

    Reading now

    Popular beauty stories