You already know how much sleep can benefit your body and mind (when you can get a solid night’s rest, of course). But it can work wonders for your complexion too—especially if you dab on a good night cream before bedtime. While applying any moisturizer is better than none, regardless of your skin type, a cream formulated for overnight use can rehydrate your skin and improve its texture, tone, and overall appearance too.
What should you look for in a night cream?
Skin tends to lose moisture throughout the day and into the night, so it can be helpful to use a particularly nourishing product that’ll make up for that water loss before going to bed, as SELF previously reported.
That’s why the most obvious difference between night creams and daytime moisturizers is their consistency, Randie H. Kim, MD, an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, tells SELF. They’re usually thicker, heavier, and, well, creamier. (That’s the texture you can expect to find in a traditional night cream, but there are other products marketed for overnight use, including facial oils and thinner creams, that can be just as moisturizing in a lighter-weight, faster-absorbing formula.)
Many night creams contain humectants like hyaluronic acid, which draw more water into the skin, Samantha G. Stoler, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at AboutSkin Dermatology in Englewood, Colorado, tells SELF. She notes that certain night creams also contain occlusive ingredients, like mineral oil, squalane, or silicone, which create a “seal” over the skin to help it retain moisture. As slugging fans already know, combining ingredients that attract and trap water can help you maximize your routine’s hydrating effects.
Night creams are also meant to be restorative, and may contain ingredients like ceramides that help repair and strengthen your skin barrier. It’s important to show this protective, outermost layer of your skin some love, because when it’s healthy your face will be less prone to irritation and dehydration. Additionally, if you want to address fine lines and other signs of aging, look for night creams that contain retinol or peptides, which can help make your skin look smoother and brighter with consistent use.
The best night creams for every skin type
Adding a night cream to your routine is an easy way to help your skin wake up on the right side of the bed. Below, we’ve listed the best night creams you can try, according to dermatologists, ranging from drugstore workhorses to splurge-worthy masks.
1. Best Overall: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
2. Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallergo Night Cream
3. Best for Irritation-Prone Skin: Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Sleepair Intensive Mask
4. Best for Signs of Aging: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer
5. Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242
6. Best for Skin Texture: Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer
7. Best for Dry Skin: La Mer Crème de La Mer
8. Best for Firming and Brightening: Augustinus Bader The Cream
9. Best for Lightweight Moisture: Biossance Squalane + Omega Repair Moisturizer
10. Best for Skin Barrier Repair: Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen
11. Best Oil Option: Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil