Ah, beauty sleep.
We may have been struggling to catch our pre-pandemic levels of ‘Zs’ as of late - a recent study found that 42 per cent of us are having ‘more disturbed’ sleep amid the pandemic - but thanks to the wonders of science, there is a legion of lotions and potions to help stave off tired and lacklustre skin. Welcome, dear reader, to the restorative world of the night cream.
If you’re new here and unsure where to start, let’s get one thing straight first. There’s no one-size-fits-all offering as it pertains to night cream, but we thought it might be nice to brush you up on the basics. After all, time may currently feel as though it’s suspended but it’s not, and our skin is continuing to age, regardless of *you know what*.
So here’s a bumper beginner’s guide to night cream that breaks down why they’re important, and which you should be reaching for according to your skin type. Now all that’s left to do is to lather some on, and hit the hay.
What’s the difference between day cream and night cream?
“The main differences between night and day creams are texture and ingredients,” says Andrea Pfeffer, founder of cult London salon, Pfeffer Sal. “Your skin is at its most active between the hours of 11pm - 4am so you want your night cream to contain ingredients that take advantage of your skin’s regeneration and healing processes. ”
While day creams are, generally speaking, lighter in texture and focus on protection by way of anti-pollutants, antioxidants, and SPF, night creams tend to be thicker and more geared towards nourishment. According to Pfeffer, night creams tend to “contain more active ingredients such as vitamin A, peptides, and small amounts of exfoliating acids which can work overnight without increasing sun sensitivity.”
At what age should you start wearing night cream?
“The skin’s renewal process naturally begins to slow down at approximately age 25,” states Dr. Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon, and founder of MZ Skin. “Prevention is key to keeping skin at its best so this is an ideal time to introduce a dedicated night cream as the skin naturally starts to need more nourishing ingredients and actives.”
Pfeffer advises looking for formulations with collagen-stimulating ingredients such as peptides, vitamin A, and barrier-strengthening ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, and omega oils.
What ingredients should you look for in a night cream?
“It depends on what you are targeting but in general you want a night cream with regenerative, healing, and rejuvenating properties as your skin will be most receptive to them at night,” Pfeffer advises. “You can also introduce richer textures and hydrators in the evening as they will have all night to sink into the skin and deliver some intensive moisture. This is especially important in winter as the humidity is a lot lower which leads to dehydration.”
Now we know the nitty-gritty, let’s get down to which night creams you should be buying for each of the five skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination and sensitive.
Best night creams for normal skin
Normal skin types should look for night creams with brightening niacinamide and skin-restoring ceramides. “Brad Biophotonic Skincare Ultra Elastin Cream is a facial in a jar - packed full of omega-rich oils, CQ10, and lactic acid, it’s a great night cream for improved hydration, texture and elasticity,” says Pfeffer.
Typology Firming Moisturiser
Boasting 0.2 per cent retinol and tsubaki, this cream from Typology is 96 per cent naturally derived and promises to plump up dull skin.
Brad Biophotonic Skincare Ultra Elastin Cream
This thick and luxurious offering will stimulate collagen production which will, in turn, improve skin texture and leave skin feeling rejuvenated.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Overnight Sleeping Cream
This purse-friendly offering offers some serious bang for your buck, with its innovative and unique peptide blend to help deeply nourish your skin.
Best night creams for dry skin
“The skin loses more water as we sleep compared to the day, which is a problem particularly for those with dry skin," explains consultant dermatologist, Dr. Anjali Mahto.
In order to soothe parched and cracked skin, look for night creams with ceramides, niacinamide and, omega oils.
SkinCeuticals Triple Ceramide Lipid Cream
Science-led SkinCeuticals is revered for its CE Ferulic serum, but its ceramide-packed moisturiser is also a replenishing choice for dry skin. Slather it on at night and wake up to some seriously soft skin.
Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream
Clean and vegan beauty behemoth Drunk Elephant velvety rich Lala Retro Whipped Cream is perfect for those with dry skin to use in the evenings.
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
Science supremo Augustinus Bader’s luxuriously thick - and cult status - The Rich Cream is a best-seller for a reason. Use during the winter months for soft and supple skin come morning.
Best night creams for combination skin
For those whose skin is a combination of oily and dry, look for calming and natural ingredients which will work to reduce inflammation and restore the skin’s barrier.
A.D.C’s vegan and cruelty-free cult moisturiser is Pfeffer’s recommendation, as, according to her, it’s “packed full of the best actives that nature has to offer.”
A.D.C High Performance Moisturiser
Revered make-up artist Adam de Cruz’s plant-based High Performance Moisturiser imparts moisture like no other. It also smells like heaven. Lather on before bed and wake up with deliciously smooth skin.
Liz Earle Superskin Moisturiser
The queen of good skin, Liz Earle, knows her way around a good moisturiser. This is one of her best and is full to the brim of natural and glow-giving ingredients.
REN Skincare V-Cense Revitalising Night Cream
REN’s unique mixture of frankincense and vitamin C imparts a serious injection of hydration for parched skin.
Best night creams for sensitive skin
For sensitive skin, lighter and more natural night creams will be more efficacious in repairing the skin overnight. CeraVe’s PM moisturiser is a favourite among dermatologists, while Burt’s Bees’ ultra-hydrating offering struggles to stay in stock owing to its cult status.
CeraVe PM Facial Moisturising Lotion
For efficacious beauty budget buys, CeraVe is the brand to know. Its light and non-greasy moisturiser won’t irritate the skin, but will instead replenish it with its bevy of ceramides.
Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream
An all-natural offering from Burt’s Bees that leaves skin feeling seriously hydrated and replenished. For the price, you can’t go wrong.
Aurelia Cell Probiotic Skincare Night Moisturiser
The key to glowing skin? Probiotics which when applied topically, do a seriously good job of replenishing and nourishing. This Aurelia night cream is proof.
Best night creams for oily skin
Oily skin can benefit from using regenerative ingredients, such as retinol and glycolic acid. “A gentle retinol can plump up the skin and encourage collagen production, so if you're not sleeping well you might wake up looking like you have,” adds Arabella Preston, co-founder of Votary.
Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream
If you’re new to the retinol game, this is a wonderful product to initiate you. Simply use in lieu of your usual evening moisturiser and get ready for a serious glow up.
Synergie Skin UberZinc Moisturiser
“This is a healing, anti-inflammatory, and sebum-regulating cream that’s great for managing oiliness and breakouts,” recommends Pfeffer.
SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight Cream
This night cream’s star ingredient of glycolic acid will slough off dead skin cells as you sleep to reveal some seriously glowing skin.