It’s one thing to have a specialty moisturizer – one of the most important skin care products with a cleanser and exfoliator. But having a special night cream and using it in place of your day cream is an entirely different matter.
The reasoning is simple: you may not need the same defenses at night as you would during the day (against UV rays and pollution), but your sleep is also the best time to recharge your skin and treat it with targeted ingredients. This is because your body regenerates itself while you sleep and your skin cells turn over quickly. This means that when you use the right products for your specific needs, you will maximize and speed their benefits, especially when you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep and stay hydrated and healthy.
Night creams tend to be denser than their day counterparts, both physically and in terms of ingredient concentration. This is also because you don’t have to worry about excessive sweating as much as you are not exerting any energy.
But no two night creams are alike, as they typically target specific needs like dryness, acne, signs of aging, and more. Browse our favorites below that should include something that suits your own goals or skin type.
Best night creams to recharge your skin
1. For oily skin: Neutrogena Gel Moisturizer
For oily skin types, it’s still important to use a night cream as it delivers a proactive, skin-penetrating, corrective punch – and since oily skin can also become dehydrated (especially in colder / drier months and climates, or after a night of drinking). While this Neutrogena gel hydrator is touted for people with dry skin, its oil-free recipe makes it great for men with more oily conditions. It’s filled with hyaluronic acid, which greatly increases your skin’s moisture retention and wears away easily on the skin, so your oily pores don’t choke or clog.[$14; amazon.com]
2. For dry skin: Clinique Turnaround Overnight Moisturizer
Dry skin is particularly prone to rough spots, discoloration, dullness, and flaking. This Clinique moisturizer is made from stearic acid to prevent moisture loss and squalane to significantly increase that moisture level. Salicylic acid keeps pores clear and loosens dead / flaking surface cells, while a variety of extracts from fruits, seeds and herbs nourish and restore your skin.[$43; sephora.com]
3. For acne prone skin: Origins Resurfacing Cream with AHAs
If your skin likes to sabotage you in the form of frequent pimples and persistent dark spots, choose a night cream with gentle exfoliating hydroxy acids (Alpha or Beta, AHA / BHA). This Origins cream specializes in “resurfacing,” which means it helps remove dead, problematic skin cells from your skin, making way for your pores and healthier cells. The result is more frequent, healthy turnover (so that annoying dark spots disappear faster) and even better, fewer pimples at first.[$47; sephora.com]
4. For sensitive skin: Dr. Jart + Cicapair Tiger Grass Mask
If your skin is fussy about active ingredients, the light night mask from Dr. Jart + a gentle, calming solution. It prompts cica / tiger grass to soothe and moisturize the skin, while niacinamide carefully soothes inflammation and improves surface texture. A “night mask” is not that different from a night cream. Sometimes you feel them a little more on your skin and you may have to remove them the next morning (but you would still do that). These masks support the regeneration cycle of your cells even more.[$39; sephora.com]
5. For all-over firmness: Vichy LiftActiv night cream
Rhamnose sugar from plant sources is the main ingredient in this skin-firming, collagen-boosting night cream from Vichy. It also uses vitamin C to lighten your complexion overall (which takes it from dull or hyperpigmented to a smoother, sunnier finish). It’s even great for a little neck lift if you feel any sagging there.[$50; amazon.com]
6. For close-ups ready to zoom: Adipeau Active Face Cream
This is one of my favorite products lately. I wear it 24/7 in winter, but see the biggest gains overnight – although Adipeau is the first to remind you that your long-term skin care goals can’t be met in one sleep. Even so, I wake up with a real radiance on my face and see constant progress in terms of my overall tone, texture, brightness, and anything that suits my goals. Adipeau primarily uses oils made from safflower and sunflower seeds (which are extremely nutritious, anti-inflammatory, and rich in antioxidants) and collagen-stimulating extract from black ginger.[$75; adipeau.com]
7. For long-term correction: Clark’s Botanicals Retinol Overnight Cream
Retinol is the ideal ingredient for anyone wanting a proactive, long-term antiaging or anti-acne regimen. The vitamin A derivative minimizes and prevents fine lines, breakouts, the appearance of enlarged pores, discoloration and much more. Now is the time to consult a board certified dermatologist for a prescription retinol if you want to go to court with it. But you can find smaller doses in certain night creams and serums, like this great one from Clark’s Botanicals. It combines retinol with skin-lightening vitamin C, soothes colloidal oatmeal and jasmine, as well as collagen-repellent algae extract.[$105; dermstore.com]
8. For one-off rebounds: Aesop Replenishing Night Masque
Here is an outstanding high performance product that can be used with any dehydration. It is so good that it is best saved for those “special” occasions when you really need to wake up awake, alert, restored and rested. .[$125; nordstrom.com]
9. For wrinkles and fine lines: Paula’s Choice Anti-Aging Eye Cream
It’s not a bad idea to treat your eyes with your own night cream (even during the day). That’s because the skin around your eyes is the most delicate and thinnest on your face. It wrinkles faster and quickly shows signs of dehydration, fatigue, stress, and the like. Eye creams therefore tend to contain even higher concentrations of nourishing ingredients, as is the case with this shea butter-based eye cream from Paual’s Choice. It fills and tightens the area with peptides (which stimulate collagen production), while vitamin C promotes lighter, more even skin tone.[$34; amazon.com]
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