Good ole beauty sleep does the entire body well. To support a glowing complexion, in particular, can benefit from the best night cream as a means to support skin’s renewal process while you sleep.
What is a night cream?
Think of a night cream as your daytime moisturizer, but supercharged—designed to target fine lines, pigmentation, and hydration concerns. “While both aim to hydrate the skin, night creams typically contain ingredients that specifically address skin concerns that are more prevalent at night, such as repairing and rejuvenating the skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Diva Shokeen. She continues that the nighttime variants tend to be thicker and richer as they’re formulated to deliver optimal moisture “when the body’s natural repair processes are more active.”
Best Night Creams
- Best for Everyday: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242, $150
- Best for Mature Skin: Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Night Crème, $103
- Best for Wrinkles: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, $30
- Best Retinol Cream: Skin Design LondonRetinol Crème, $135
- Best for Oily Skin: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask, $32
- Best Drugstore: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream, $22
- Best for Sensitive Skin: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallergo Moisturizer, $31
- Best for Combination Skin: Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Cream, $54
- Best for Dry Skin: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, $180
- For Dark Spots: RéVive Perfectif Night Even Skin Tone Cream, $275
What to Look for in a Night Cream
Dermatologist Dr. Kseniya Kobets explains that the best night cream is one suited to your skin’s particular needs. “Someone with acne-prone and oily skin may consider a good night cream that feels light and does not clog the pores,” she says. “On the other hand, someone with very dry and crepey skin may consider a night cream that has extra emollients with ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and even dimethicone for an extra smooth feel.”
Aside from compatibility, Shokeen outlines a few other tenets of a good nighttime cream: hydration and moisture (to replenish the skin barrier overnight), repair and regeneration (to promote cell turnover in order to diminish the look of wrinkles), nourishment (to combat oxidative stress caused by environmental stressors like UV exposure or pollution), and soothing properties to keep skin balanced. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, retinol, peptides, ceramides, niacinamide, and antioxidant-rich vitamins are considered the gold standard here.
Should everyone use a night cream?
Per Kobets, yes—anyone wanting to maintain a healthy skin barrier should use a bedtime moisturizer, especially if combating acne or signs of aging. With this guidance in mind, read on to discover the best night creams, according to dermatologists and Vogue editors.
SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 242
- Why We Love It: For those interested in a no-fuss everyday night cream, SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore is just the ticket. Why? It’s incredibly nourishing, yet gentle enough to couple with whatever skin-renewing actives the rest of your nighttime regime includes.
- More to Know: As the name suggests, essential skin lipids are the stars here: ceramides, natural cholesterol, and fatty acids. These blend to restore and repair the skin barrier to promote improved radiance, refined pores, and smoother skin. The brand even shares that this composition can aid the adjustment of your retinol.
- How to Apply: According to SkinCeuticals, warm the cream between your fingertips, then apply to the face, neck, and chest.
Estée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Night Restorative Crème Moisturizer
Revitalizing Supreme+ Night Restorative Crème Moisturizer
- Why We Love It: Shokeen recommends Estée Lauder’s cream for those with mature skin. “This night cream is enriched with ingredients like moringa extract and hyaluronic acid, which help visibly reduce signs of aging, improve elasticity, and promote a youthful glow.”
- More to Know: This has a rich, creamy texture that may be best suited for someone partial to intense hydration; come morning, skin feels refreshed, firm, and radiant.
- How to Apply: According to Estée Lauder, apply this to the face and neck nightly.
RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
- Why We Love It: RoC’s Retinol Correxion cream is a Vogue editor favorite to smooth fine lines; in fact, we named it one of the best wrinkle creams this year. What’s more, it’s earned Shokeen’s stamp of approval too: “This cream contains a high concentration of retinol, a potent ingredient for reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and improving overall skin texture.”
- More to Know: Glycolic acid, squalane, and shea butter are part of this non-comedogenic blend—working alongside retinol to reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles and hydrate sans irritation.
- How to Apply: According to RoC, apply to the face and neck. Those new to retinol might want to use it every other night, increasing frequency as your skin gets used to the formula.
Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream
The Rich Cream
- Why We Love It: Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream is one of the most sought-after face moisturizers out there. Highly concentrated and intensely moisturizing, this instantly quells dry skin through the brand’s TFC8 complex plus botanical oils, butters, and extracts.
- More to Know: Because it’s so rich, we think it’s best to use at night when makeup or sunscreen will not be following. That way, its regenerative blend can soften fine lines, even skin tone, and soothe stressed skin by morning.
- How to Apply: According to Augustinus Bader, apply two pumps to the face, neck, and décolletage in upward, sweeping motions.
Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Resurfacing Cream
High-Potency Night-a-Mins Resurfacing Cream
- Why We Love It: “This cream is formulated with skin-renewing ingredients like fruit extracts and vitamins to hydrate dry areas, while also balancing oiliness and refining texture in the T-zone,” Shokeen says.
- More to Know: Known for its resurfacing benefits, this is like a moisturizer-meets-face peel. Here, the grape and sugar beet-derived acids slough away dead skin, leaving the remaining layer glowing and smooth—perfect for those with dullness or skin texture concerns.
- How to Apply: According to Origins, just apply the cream to the face and neck nightly.
La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermallergo Night Moisturizer
Toleriane Dermallergo Night Moisturizer
- Why We Love It: Kobets instructs that an option for sensitive skin can have the tell-tale night cream ingredients, but should feature them in lower concentrations while avoiding fragrances and parabens. This formula by La Roche-Posay ticks all of those boxes and then some.
- More to Know: Designed for allergy-prone, sensitive skin, Toleriane Dermallergo Night Moisturizer is as gentle as they come. The brand’s thermal spring water works alongside neurosensine, vitamin E, and a hydrating complex to soothe, protect, and condition skin. Having this on hand ahead of harsh winter conditions will do you well.
- How to Apply: According to La Roche-Posay, apply this to the face and neck in circular motions.
La Prairie Skin Caviar Luxe Cream
Skin Caviar Luxe Cream
- Why We Love It: La Prairie’s acclaimed Skin Caviar Cream just got a 2023 upgrade. In its reformulated elixir, powered by newly developed caviar micro-nutrients and bio-engineered caviar extract, the Luxe Cream promises to support skin’s metabolic activities for a youthful-looking complexion.
- More to Know: Specifically, one can expect a taut, lifted, and firmer visage with consistent use. Though the cream certainly offers skin benefits (botanical extracts, hyaluronic acid, and alpha hydroxy acids are also featured), the entire experience is a meditative one. Many believe one use of the luxe, indulgent cream is all it takes to be hooked.
- How to Apply: According to La Prairie, apply the cream to the face, neck, and décolleté in outward sweeping motions.
Skin Design London Retinol Crème
Skin Design London
- Why We Love It: Retinol is often considered the “gold standard” skin-care ingredient for its proven regenerative properties. That’s why it is recommended by the pros as a nighttime essential. From Fatma Shaheen’s Skin Design London comes this effective, retinol-powered elixir blended into a unique water-gel formula.
- More to Know: The draw to the Retinol Crème is its soothing and hydrating benefits without compromising the effectiveness of the vitamin A. Niacinamide and resveratrol are featured too, in order to smooth, even tone, and moisturize with ease.
- How to Apply: According to Skin Design London, massage a small amount to the face and neck.
CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
Skin Renewing Night Cream
- Why We Love It: Cerave’s formula is an excellent drugstore pick that has all the makings of a thoughtful night cream. Kobets explains that those with combination or “normal” skin should pair ingredients like ceramides with anti-aging actives like retinoids to maintain a healthy skin barrier.
- More to Know: The Skin Renewing Night Cream does just that. Three essential ceramides, peptides, and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and protect skin over time. Just pair with your favorite retinol treatment for optimal beauty sleep.
- How to Apply: According to CeraVe, apply a small amount to the face at bedtime.
Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
Water Sleeping Mask
- Why We Love It: Kobets explains that the secret to balancing oily skin is not using too many emollients (like botanical oils, butters, and fatty acids). Essentially, opting for something water-based, yet rich in weightless hydrators is best. Enter the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask.
- More to Know: Another editor favorite, this blends mineral water, probiotics, hyaluronic acid, and squalane into a hydrating gel to brighten and soften skin while you sleep.
- How to Apply: According to Laneige, apply the mask after face cream, leave on overnight, and rinse in the morning. (When my skin is particularly oily, I like to use this on its own a few times per week to achieve its promised benefits. Give it a go for yourself and alter your routine accordingly!)
RéVive Perfectif Night Even Skin Tone Cream
Perfectif Night Even Skin Tone Cream and Dark Spot Corrector
- Why We Love It: When it comes to diminishing dark spots and pigmentation, retinol and antioxidant-rich ingredients like vitamin C are two dermatologist-approved means to even skin tone. RéVive Perfectif Night utilizes both of these to brighten and balance skin over time.
- More to Know: While the blend features potent amounts of the aforementioned actives, proteins, peptides, shea butter, ceramides, green tea, and CoQ10 are also featured to protect skin from free radicals, hydrate, and smooth.
- How to Apply: According to RéVive, apply one to two pumps at night as the last step of your skin-care routine.
When should you see the results of a night cream?
“Some night creams that contain retinoids can show benefits in as little as a few weeks to a month,” says Kobets. Overall, “it takes about a month or 28 days for skin cells to turn over in the skin.” However, all of these options should provide instant hydration—locking in moisture and supporting skin barrier repair.
Meet the Experts
- Dr. Kseniya Kobets is a board-certified dermatologist and iDirector of Cosmetic Dermatology at Montefiore Einstein Advanced Care, who is an expert in all things skincare and scalp.
- Dr. Divya Shokeen is a California-based board-certified dermatologist at the Ocean Skin and Vein Institute.