At the end of a long day, completing a multistep skincare routine may be the last thing you want to do — but if you reach for one product (after washing your face, of course), there are some very compelling reasons to go for a night cream.
According to dermatologists, nighttime is the restorative time for your skin, so you should give your skin the extra TLC by using a night cream. Night creams are also known to address different concerns than daytime moisturizers — typically, they provide intense hydration and concentrated ingredients to fight signs of aging and other concerns. Also, night creams tend to be thicker than daytime moisturizers, use exfoliators to improve skin texture, and contain more hydrators to replenish moisture lost during the day (so you wake up looking less tired and puffy). They also contain ingredients like retinol, which shouldn’t be used during the day.
Like many classic skin-care products, there are many night creams to choose from. Generally speaking, it’s best to look for one with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides for hydration, retinol as an acne fighter and anti-ager, or antioxidants like resveratrol for protecting against environmental stress.
To find the one that’s perfect for your skin, check out these top-tested picks we’ve put together especially for you, whatever your budget may be.
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer
Olay’s light cream with the gold-standard anti-aging ingredients retinol, niacinamide and peptides outperformed the rest at making skin look brighter and more lifted and feel softer.
Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Night Cream
This cream from Cetaphil is a safe bet for acne-prone skin and mature skin. According to skin experts, Cetaphil can hydrate skin without clogging pores, which would also make it a great pick for those struggling with breakouts.
Philosophy Anti-Wrinkle Miracle Worker+ Line-Correcting Overnight Cream
This Philosophy formula, packed with skin-softening, nourishing hyaluronic acid, glycerin and squalane, was the hero hydrator of all the winners. The cream rated best for smoothing texture, being gentle on skin and its subtle scent, and it earned high marks for firming. Almost 100% of testers said it didn’t irritate or cause redness.
Exuviance Age Reverse Night Lift
Despite its featherweight, gel-like formula, Exuviance is a heavy hitter, winning for minimizing the look of lines. The treatment, loaded with actives like glycolic acid, peptides and retinol, gave faces a “lift” too. Several testers reported that they noticed fewer lines too.
L’oreal Paris Age Perfect Hydra Nutrition Day/Night Cream
Not only is L’Oréal’s formula a night cream, it also works well as a go-to day cream. It works to fortify skin’s moisture barrier and helps firm with calcium and natural oils like passionfruit and apricot.
Garnier SkinActive Ultra-Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream
This moisturizer combines the hydrating power of an anti-aging mask with the light texture of a face lotion, for a night cream that delivers moisture and lessens the appearance of wrinkles so you can wake up looking younger. The hyaluronic acid in Garnier’s formula is the not so secret ingredient that helps restore moisture to combat everything from signs of agine to dryness to dull-looking skin. Even better? It could actually help you catch some zzz’s thanks to the lavender scent which is known to promote sleep.
Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen
The Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen is a vegan, buttery, collagen sleeping cream that delivers essential nutrients and nurtures the skin for a dewy, cushioned glow by morning. This one made our list because it’s proven to tighten sagging skin with its dense balm-esque formulation, made with fortifying collagen, ceramides and fatty acids. With all its ingredients combined, skin is left more hydrated, softer, supple, and radiant.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Water Face Gel Moisturizer for Dry Skin
This is definitely an all-time favorite among many night cream users. It has a cool-on-contact feel and contains hyaluronic acid which provide extra moisturization (due to its ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water).” The gel formulation also helps the cream sink into skin quickly. This cream is something of a cult-dermatologist favorite. It’s made appearances on our lists of the best moisturizers for dry skin, best moisturizer for mature skin, and best moisturizers for oily skin — which makes us think it’s a truly versatile (and affordable) night cream that would work for a lot of skin types.
Algenist Overnight Restorative Cream
The Algenist Overnight Restorative Cream is a rich, moisturizing cream that renews and repairs the skin overnight. The regenerative power of alguronic acid supports natural cell renewal to improve skin structure during the night. Peptides nourish the skin and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles as firmness and elasticity are restored. Skin is left renewed, smoother, and more radiant in the morning. With all these powerhouse ingredients (vitamins C and E, peptides, glycerin, and shea butter), plus algae-based nutrients, Algenist’s came out as one of the top 10 contenders in the night cream category.
La Prairie Cellular Power Charge Night Treatment
Yes, this is a serious splurge, but if you’re in the market for a high-end cream, it doesn’t get better than La Prairie. We’d also give it extra points for being gentle and non-irritating.
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