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…
There's very little that this night mask doesn't tackle whilst you sleep. Its main aim is to counteract the damage done by environmental aggressors, like pollution, stress, smoke, UV damage. But in doing so it also brightens skin, rehydrates and acne marks are cleared up.
Banish dullness, drench skin in moisture and restore its bounce with Tilbury's balmy blend of retinol, peptides and botanicals.
This being Clarins, expect technology powered by plant extracts. In this case, Golden Poppy has been found to revive skin's radiance even if you didn't get much shut-eye. You can also choose between normal to dry skin and normal to combination, which is incredibly handy.
Even though this aims to reduce the appearance of dark spots and other pigmentation, you can use it for a perk me up. If your reflection shows a lacklustre complexion, pop this on before bed and wake up to natural radiance.
So skin goes into recovery mode when you're asleep. Fact. Augustinus Bader's The Rich Cream is made up using the brand's famous patented Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8), which heals skin. Fact. So when you put a healing cream onto skin that's repairing, you have a winning combination. A third and final fact.
Overnight is when you want to use the powerhouse ingredient retinol. Murad's version releases three different vitamin A derivatives into the skin at different rates to tackle lines, pigmentation and slackness. Algae extracts act like a buffer against dryness and irritation.
Yes, yes, we know – 'technically' it's a serum, but seeing as this wonder night time product sells 10 per minute around the world, it's deserving of a mention. Enriched with super hydrator hyaluronic acid and non pore-clogging, you'll wake to smoother fine lines and plumper skin.
If you think of your skin as bricks and mortar, ceramides are the mortar that seal in moisture. You'll find plenty of these in there - plus marula oil, which is like a tall drink for thirsty, sensitive skin.
If skin is eternally parched, there are three key ingredients that can reverse the situation: glycerin plus omegas 3 and 6. You'll find them all in this non-greasy gel/cream.
Bit of a hybrid this one. The two chambers work simultaneously to make your skin feel softer and look more plump. It's got two types of hyaluronic acid in it that gives skin its bounce back AND it has a slight peel quality to it so it exfoliates whilst you sleep.
This new night-time moisturiser from Elemis is an important all-round restorative addition to your night routine. It helps to boost and repair skin that has been damaged by daily external aggressors. And being 'Ultra Smart' it helps to build up your skin’s resilience over time.
Sarah Chapman's facials are legendary, just ask the Duchess of Sussex. For those of us not on her books, her product range is the next best thing. Her night cream is one of her heroes, because of how healing it is. Ideal for those with sensitive skin, it reduces inflammations, calms redness and strengthens the skin's barrier. It also works really nicely on skin that's suffering in the winter. Comfort, as it says on the pot, is what this cream is all about.
This brand was created to simplify skincare routines. Which is why there are so many incredible ingredients in just one night serum. A stem cell blend, a retinoid complex and hydrating whizz-kids squalane and hyaluronic acid. Meant to be used every single night, it's a step you'll never regret introducing once you start seeing the difference in the plumpness, tone and firmness of your skin.
This is one of those cults products that everyone should try. And then promptly fall in love with. Perfect for those with dehydrated skin, it flushes the complexion with every hydrating ingredient you could think of (hyaluronic acid, squalane, Omega 6 fatty acids, Evening Primrose Oil). For someone who's looking to improve their nighttime routine, this is the place to start.
Winter can wreak havoc with out skin. Being outside in the bitter cold is aggressive, but then coming in warm central heating is an aggressor itself. You might have incredibly well-behaved skin in summer, but consider investing in a night cream that looks after skin when the climate drops. Lumene's new night cream reinforces the skin barrier, making for a very happy complexion.
Skin pigmentation is a common issue for many women in the UK. Which is why so many night creams contain glycolic acid, as it's the ideal overnight exfoliator. It's the smallest AHA molecule, so is able to penetrate deep into the dermis and encourage cell turnover. If that wasn't enough to convince you, how about waking up to the softest skin you've had in ages? Honestly, like a baby's bottom.
If your main concerns are fine lines and uneven skin tone, then this little pot of joy promises to take away those worries. We all know that retinol is one powerful anti-ageing ingredient, and when that's combined with vitamin B3 (also know as niacinamide) you've got an all guns blazing formula. The retinol takes care of those pesky lines, whilst the vitamin B3 improves skin tone with every use.
There are external aggressors like pollution, UV rays and smoke that can damage the skin, which in turn ages it. But sometimes all it takes is fatigue. This cream is like three week's worth of good sleep in a pot.