Saturday, May 18, 2024

The 16 best night creams for radiant, nourished skin

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Thanks to the best night creams, you’ll wake up with hydrated, plump, and glowing skin every morning.

Amazon; Dermstore; Sephora/Business insider

While resting peacefully at night, your skin is hard at work regenerating new skin cells and repairing itself for the day ahead. The right night cream can enhance this process and give your skin a helping hand. There’s nothing wrong with using a great everyday moisturizer on your skin overnight, but the best night creams offer heavier, richer formulas for a bigger hydration boost. And there are a lot of rich creams out there. To help you cut through the noise, we curated a list of 16 of the best night creams you can buy online right now. They all target different skincare concerns, texture preferences, and budgets and are also approved by Dr. Joshua Zeichner, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Zeichner Dermatology

With so many great options to choose from, it’s hard to pick favorites, but we have to go with the pricey-but-worth-it SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore. Packed with nourishing ingredients, this cream is a dream for smoothing, plumping, brightening, and protecting your skin barrier from damage. Skincare products are highly subjective, but so many different skin types have benefitted from this product, so we think it deserves the number one spot. 

Our top picks for the best night cream

Best overall: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore – See at Dermstore

Best drugstore: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer – See at Dermstore

Best luxury: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream – See at Nordstrom

Best for mature skin: Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream – See at Amazon

Best for sensitive skin: Cerave Skin Renewing Night Cream – See at Amazon

Best for dry skin: Dieux Instant Angel – See at Sephora

Best for acne-prone skin: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream – See at Amazon

Best for oily skin: Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer – See at Amazon

Best for combination skin: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Nourishing Moisturizer – See at Amazon

Best for melanated skin: Klur Sculpture + A Overnight Enrichment Cream – See at Credo Beauty

Best for textured skin: Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair Cream – See at Sephora

Best for hyperpigmentation: Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Gel Cream – See at Nordstrom

Best with retinol: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Face Moisturizer – See at Amazon

Best smoothing: Purito Oat-In Intense Cream – See at Amazon

Best brightening: Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream – See at Sephora

Best firming: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream – See at Sephora

Best overall

While certainly pricey, SkinCeuticals medical-grade skincare products always deliver on their promises. This thick, non-greasy, fast-absorbing cream is no exception. It’s loaded with essential lipids—which, as you age, your skin produces less of on its own—to restore skin elasticity, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and boost moisture for a radiant glow. 

The Triple Lipid Restore tops our list of best night creams because it targets many different skin concerns (redness, uneven texture, fine lines, free radical damage) and works wonderfully for all skin types. But, plenty of great options are much more affordable below. One of our editors also loves the Peach & Lily Overnight Star Night Cream as a more budget-friendly alternative for a nourishing night cream.

Read our full SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore review here.

Best drugstore

La Roche-Posay is one of our favorite drugstore skincare brands–and that statement is cosigned by over 90,000 dermatologists worldwide who recommend it too. So it’s no wonder the Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer is the best night cream you can find at the drugstore. It has everything you need in a great night cream: soothing niacinamide, hydrating and moisturizing ceramide-3, allergy-tested and non-comedogenic formula. La Roche-Posay is owned by L’Oreal, which also owns SkinCeuticals, the brand that makes our top pick on this list.

Best luxury

As a skincare aficionado by trade, I’m always skeptical when trying the super-hyped, super-expensive skincare products. In part because I’ve been burned by many overpriced, undereffective products. And partly because I don’t want to adopt a new habit of using a $300 cream daily. For these reasons, I was suited up to be disappointed by the Augustinus Bader Rich Cream, and unfortunately, I was not. 

As the name states, this cream is rich but soaks into the skin beautifully, with no pilling left behind. It’s intensely hydrating without feeling heavy or greasy. Every day I’ve used it, I notice my skin looks brighter, plumper, and dewier—and it’s not just me, multiple friends have complimented how soft and clear my skin looks. If the cost is no obstacle to you and you’re looking for a nourishing, plumping cream, this is probably one of the best creams money can buy. 

Best for mature skin

As we age, our skin undergoes many changes. While you can’t control most of those external and internal factors, you can get products catered to mature and aging skin, like the Premier Cru Anti-Aging Cream Moisturizer. This moisturizer targets 8 signs of aging, using its proprietary TET8 technology to plump skin, diminish fine lines, reduce deep wrinkles, brighten dark spots, firm skin, boost elasticity, and more.

Best for sensitive skin

The CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream boasts an effective but minimalist formula that deeply nourishes your skin while you sleep. Peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide work together to boost and retain moisture, making skin look and feel plumper, firmer, and more radiant when you wake. While some thick creams are too heavy for sensitive skin, this one is non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and allergy-tested to support sensitive skin types. For more of our favorites, check out our guide to the best face moisturizers for sensitive skin.

Best for dry skin

The key to an ethereal, angelic glow? Dieux’s Instant Angel Moisturizer. This lipid-rich cream is loaded with nourishing ingredients that hydrate and repair skin. If your skin barrier has been compromisedwhether from over-exfoliating, using harsh products, or naturally with age—Instant Angel will help bring your skin back to equilibrium.

Best for acne-prone skin

The rich, non-greasy Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is a great choice for those with acne-prone skin. The dermatologist-tested, non-comedogenic formula intensely hydrates without clogging pores or further irritating blemishes. It’s also fragrance, essential oil, lanolin, dye, and paraben-free, so you can get all the nourishment of a great night cream and feel good knowing your skin won’t be aggravated. At less than $20 for a whole pound of the stuff, you can apply liberally and this cream will still last you months. 

While it’s great for acne-prone skin, its gentle and effective ingredients work well for all skin types. It was recommended to me by my dermatologist to calm my sensitized skin and repair my moisture barrier, which was dry and rashy after overusing skincare products with alcohols. Now, I use it on my face, decolletage, and body morning and night.

Check out our guide to the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin for even more of our favorites.

Best for oily skin

All skin types need hydration, but overly rich night creams may make oily skin feel greasy. That’s why the lightweight Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer is a winner for those with oily skin and was the best for nighttime in our guide to the best face moisturizers for oily skin. The airy cream uses electrolytes to draw just the right amount of moisture to your skin without weighing it down.

Best for combination skin

Skin that’s dry in some areas and oily in others will love the Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Nourishing Moisturizer. The light-as-air whip melts into skin like a dream and boosts hydration for a more luminous appearance. It also targets fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity.

Best for melanated skin

Seeing how the mainstream beauty industry often overlooks Black consumers, licensed aesthetician Lesley Thornton founded Klur to fill the gap and bring clean, ethical, and inclusive beauty to the space. The Sculpture + A Overnight Enrichment Cream features retinol, enhancing the cell turnover your skin naturally goes through naturally each night. Combined with peptides and 19 botanical actives, this night cream firms the skin, lifts hyperpigmentation, and fortifies the skin for a healthier glow. 

Best for textured skin

Whether your textured skin is caused by acne, dryness, or skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, your skin likely needs some extra TLC. That’s why we love this product, which is a serum-in-a-cream. It’s loaded with nourishing ingredients like Japanese indigo extract to soothe redness and dryness and hyaluronic acid to strengthen the skin barrier. 

Read our full Tatcha skincare review here.

Best for hyperpigmentation

Dark spots and discoloration don’t usually go away on their own, which is why adding products to your routine that target them specifically is so beneficial. This cream gets to the root of your skin concerns with gentle ingredients like anti-oxidant boosting Yoshino cherry extract. The gel texture is ultra-hydrating but super lightweight, making it a winner for day and night use.

Best with retinol

Retinol is a powerful ingredient to keep in your anti-aging repertoire. It increases cell turnover and renewal, making skin smoother, softer, and plumper. Retinol is quite strong, though; it can cause redness, dryness, and flaking, so start gradually. Use this every other night until you feel your skin is well-adjusted. 

Best smoothing

Oatmeal has long been used as a home remedy to soothe and smooth dry, itchy, and irritated skin, so it’s no wonder this cream (which contains 71.95% oat) is so loved. Purito uses all of the best parts of the hearty and humble grain, including the oat kernel flour, which has a mildly abrasive texture for gentle exfoliation, and the fatty acid-rich oat kernel oil, which helps repair the skin barrier, maintains moisture, and protect skin from environmental stressors. 

The cream is silky, rich, and ultra-hydrating but absorbs into the skin quickly. The simple formulation features 15 non-irritating ingredients, making it an easy choice for sensitive and easily sensitized skin.

Best brightening

When it comes to brightening dark spots and overall complexion, vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient. In this rich, hydrating cream from Sunday Riley, lime pearl extract gently exfoliates skin so that vitamin C can really penetrate your skin barrier and work its brightening magic. There’s also the addition of exopolysaccharides, which help protect your skin from the dulling effects of air pollution.

Best firming

A bad night’s sleep can wreak havoc on our skin, making it look saggy and dull. When you can’t get the eight hours (or even when you can), take the support of a rich, firming cream like this one from First Aid Beauty. Calming colloidal oatmeal soothes stressed, red skin, but the hero ingredient here is niacinamide which stimulates collagen and helps skin bounce and snap back. 

What to look for

Ingredients:

“The evening is this time of rest and repair,” Dr. Zeichner shares, “so I recommend using night creams that enhance these activities.” What exactly should you look for? “Ingredients like retinol, peptides, and/or exfoliating acids that enhance skin cell turnover and collagen production.”

Consistency:

When looking online at different night cream options, you’ll likely come across many kinds of creams and might be confused about what they all mean. Dr. Zeichner helped us break down the different types of night creams. At the most basic level, creams and lotions (also known as emulsions) contain oil and water. Gels are solely water-based and tend to have a lighter consistency. 

Those with oily skin will likely do best with gels, while those with dry skin will benefit from the richness of a heavy cream.

FAQs

Do you actually need a night cream?

The answer to this question depends on the individual, but many people with all different skin types can benefit from night creams. If you feel that all of your skincare concerns are being addressed with your current routine, you don’t need to add another product. But, if you feel you’re waking up with fine lines, dryness, or uneven texture, getting a night cream that targets your skincare concerns while you sleep can be very beneficial. 

What is the best way to use a night cream?

A night cream can be every night as the last step in your skincare routine. There is one exception. “If you’re using products that contain ingredients like retinol, be cautious and start every other night initially,” Dr. Zeichner shares. “It takes a few weeks to fully adjust. Using too much too quickly can lead to dryness and irritation.”

Why should you use a night cream?

Not everyone needs a night cream. If your skin is dull, dry, and dehydrated when you wake up, a night cream would be a great addition to your skincare routine. Additionally, if you’re dealing with skincare concerns like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or uneven texture, a night cream with ingredients that target those concerns will be very helpful. 

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When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Thanks to the best night creams, you’ll wake up with hydrated, plump, and glowing skin every morning.

Amazon; Dermstore; Sephora/Business insider

While resting peacefully at night, your skin is hard at work regenerating new skin cells and repairing itself for the day ahead. The right night cream can enhance this process and give your skin a helping hand. There’s nothing wrong with using a great everyday moisturizer on your skin overnight, but the best night creams offer heavier, richer formulas for a bigger hydration boost. And there are a lot of rich creams out there. To help you cut through the noise, we curated a list of 16 of the best night creams you can buy online right now. They all target different skincare concerns, texture preferences, and budgets and are also approved by Dr. Joshua Zeichner, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Zeichner Dermatology

With so many great options to choose from, it’s hard to pick favorites, but we have to go with the pricey-but-worth-it SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore. Packed with nourishing ingredients, this cream is a dream for smoothing, plumping, brightening, and protecting your skin barrier from damage. Skincare products are highly subjective, but so many different skin types have benefitted from this product, so we think it deserves the number one spot. 

Our top picks for the best night cream

Best overall: SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore – See at Dermstore

Best drugstore: La Roche-Posay Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer – See at Dermstore

Best luxury: Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream – See at Nordstrom

Best for mature skin: Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream – See at Amazon

Best for sensitive skin: Cerave Skin Renewing Night Cream – See at Amazon

Best for dry skin: Dieux Instant Angel – See at Sephora

Best for acne-prone skin: Vanicream Moisturizing Cream – See at Amazon

Best for oily skin: Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer – See at Amazon

Best for combination skin: Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Nourishing Moisturizer – See at Amazon

Best for melanated skin: Klur Sculpture + A Overnight Enrichment Cream – See at Credo Beauty

Best for textured skin: Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair Cream – See at Sephora

Best for hyperpigmentation: Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Gel Cream – See at Nordstrom

Best with retinol: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Face Moisturizer – See at Amazon

Best smoothing: Purito Oat-In Intense Cream – See at Amazon

Best brightening: Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream – See at Sephora

Best firming: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Night Cream – See at Sephora

Best overall

While certainly pricey, SkinCeuticals medical-grade skincare products always deliver on their promises. This thick, non-greasy, fast-absorbing cream is no exception. It’s loaded with essential lipids—which, as you age, your skin produces less of on its own—to restore skin elasticity, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and boost moisture for a radiant glow. 

The Triple Lipid Restore tops our list of best night creams because it targets many different skin concerns (redness, uneven texture, fine lines, free radical damage) and works wonderfully for all skin types. But, plenty of great options are much more affordable below. One of our editors also loves the Peach & Lily Overnight Star Night Cream as a more budget-friendly alternative for a nourishing night cream.

Read our full SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore review here.

Best drugstore

La Roche-Posay is one of our favorite drugstore skincare brands–and that statement is cosigned by over 90,000 dermatologists worldwide who recommend it too. So it’s no wonder the Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer is the best night cream you can find at the drugstore. It has everything you need in a great night cream: soothing niacinamide, hydrating and moisturizing ceramide-3, allergy-tested and non-comedogenic formula. La Roche-Posay is owned by L’Oreal, which also owns SkinCeuticals, the brand that makes our top pick on this list.

Best luxury

As a skincare aficionado by trade, I’m always skeptical when trying the super-hyped, super-expensive skincare products. In part because I’ve been burned by many overpriced, undereffective products. And partly because I don’t want to adopt a new habit of using a $300 cream daily. For these reasons, I was suited up to be disappointed by the Augustinus Bader Rich Cream, and unfortunately, I was not. 

As the name states, this cream is rich but soaks into the skin beautifully, with no pilling left behind. It’s intensely hydrating without feeling heavy or greasy. Every day I’ve used it, I notice my skin looks brighter, plumper, and dewier—and it’s not just me, multiple friends have complimented how soft and clear my skin looks. If the cost is no obstacle to you and you’re looking for a nourishing, plumping cream, this is probably one of the best creams money can buy. 

Best for mature skin

As we age, our skin undergoes many changes. While you can’t control most of those external and internal factors, you can get products catered to mature and aging skin, like the Premier Cru Anti-Aging Cream Moisturizer. This moisturizer targets 8 signs of aging, using its proprietary TET8 technology to plump skin, diminish fine lines, reduce deep wrinkles, brighten dark spots, firm skin, boost elasticity, and more.

Best for sensitive skin

The CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream boasts an effective but minimalist formula that deeply nourishes your skin while you sleep. Peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and niacinamide work together to boost and retain moisture, making skin look and feel plumper, firmer, and more radiant when you wake. While some thick creams are too heavy for sensitive skin, this one is non-comedogenic, fragrance-free, and allergy-tested to support sensitive skin types. For more of our favorites, check out our guide to the best face moisturizers for sensitive skin.

Best for dry skin

The key to an ethereal, angelic glow? Dieux’s Instant Angel Moisturizer. This lipid-rich cream is loaded with nourishing ingredients that hydrate and repair skin. If your skin barrier has been compromisedwhether from over-exfoliating, using harsh products, or naturally with age—Instant Angel will help bring your skin back to equilibrium.

Best for acne-prone skin

The rich, non-greasy Vanicream Moisturizing Cream is a great choice for those with acne-prone skin. The dermatologist-tested, non-comedogenic formula intensely hydrates without clogging pores or further irritating blemishes. It’s also fragrance, essential oil, lanolin, dye, and paraben-free, so you can get all the nourishment of a great night cream and feel good knowing your skin won’t be aggravated. At less than $20 for a whole pound of the stuff, you can apply liberally and this cream will still last you months. 

While it’s great for acne-prone skin, its gentle and effective ingredients work well for all skin types. It was recommended to me by my dermatologist to calm my sensitized skin and repair my moisture barrier, which was dry and rashy after overusing skincare products with alcohols. Now, I use it on my face, decolletage, and body morning and night.

Check out our guide to the best moisturizers for acne-prone skin for even more of our favorites.

Best for oily skin

All skin types need hydration, but overly rich night creams may make oily skin feel greasy. That’s why the lightweight Paula’s Choice Water-Infusing Electrolyte Moisturizer is a winner for those with oily skin and was the best for nighttime in our guide to the best face moisturizers for oily skin. The airy cream uses electrolytes to draw just the right amount of moisture to your skin without weighing it down.

Best for combination skin

Skin that’s dry in some areas and oily in others will love the Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Nourishing Moisturizer. The light-as-air whip melts into skin like a dream and boosts hydration for a more luminous appearance. It also targets fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity.

Best for melanated skin

Seeing how the mainstream beauty industry often overlooks Black consumers, licensed aesthetician Lesley Thornton founded Klur to fill the gap and bring clean, ethical, and inclusive beauty to the space. The Sculpture + A Overnight Enrichment Cream features retinol, enhancing the cell turnover your skin naturally goes through naturally each night. Combined with peptides and 19 botanical actives, this night cream firms the skin, lifts hyperpigmentation, and fortifies the skin for a healthier glow. 

Best for textured skin

Whether your textured skin is caused by acne, dryness, or skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, your skin likely needs some extra TLC. That’s why we love this product, which is a serum-in-a-cream. It’s loaded with nourishing ingredients like Japanese indigo extract to soothe redness and dryness and hyaluronic acid to strengthen the skin barrier. 

Read our full Tatcha skincare review here.

Best for hyperpigmentation

Dark spots and discoloration don’t usually go away on their own, which is why adding products to your routine that target them specifically is so beneficial. This cream gets to the root of your skin concerns with gentle ingredients like anti-oxidant boosting Yoshino cherry extract. The gel texture is ultra-hydrating but super lightweight, making it a winner for day and night use.

Best with retinol

Retinol is a powerful ingredient to keep in your anti-aging repertoire. It increases cell turnover and renewal, making skin smoother, softer, and plumper. Retinol is quite strong, though; it can cause redness, dryness, and flaking, so start gradually. Use this every other night until you feel your skin is well-adjusted. 

Best smoothing

Oatmeal has long been used as a home remedy to soothe and smooth dry, itchy, and irritated skin, so it’s no wonder this cream (which contains 71.95% oat) is so loved. Purito uses all of the best parts of the hearty and humble grain, including the oat kernel flour, which has a mildly abrasive texture for gentle exfoliation, and the fatty acid-rich oat kernel oil, which helps repair the skin barrier, maintains moisture, and protect skin from environmental stressors. 

The cream is silky, rich, and ultra-hydrating but absorbs into the skin quickly. The simple formulation features 15 non-irritating ingredients, making it an easy choice for sensitive and easily sensitized skin.

Best brightening

When it comes to brightening dark spots and overall complexion, vitamin C is a powerhouse ingredient. In this rich, hydrating cream from Sunday Riley, lime pearl extract gently exfoliates skin so that vitamin C can really penetrate your skin barrier and work its brightening magic. There’s also the addition of exopolysaccharides, which help protect your skin from the dulling effects of air pollution.

Best firming

A bad night’s sleep can wreak havoc on our skin, making it look saggy and dull. When you can’t get the eight hours (or even when you can), take the support of a rich, firming cream like this one from First Aid Beauty. Calming colloidal oatmeal soothes stressed, red skin, but the hero ingredient here is niacinamide which stimulates collagen and helps skin bounce and snap back. 

What to look for

Ingredients:

“The evening is this time of rest and repair,” Dr. Zeichner shares, “so I recommend using night creams that enhance these activities.” What exactly should you look for? “Ingredients like retinol, peptides, and/or exfoliating acids that enhance skin cell turnover and collagen production.”

Consistency:

When looking online at different night cream options, you’ll likely come across many kinds of creams and might be confused about what they all mean. Dr. Zeichner helped us break down the different types of night creams. At the most basic level, creams and lotions (also known as emulsions) contain oil and water. Gels are solely water-based and tend to have a lighter consistency. 

Those with oily skin will likely do best with gels, while those with dry skin will benefit from the richness of a heavy cream.

FAQs

Do you actually need a night cream?

The answer to this question depends on the individual, but many people with all different skin types can benefit from night creams. If you feel that all of your skincare concerns are being addressed with your current routine, you don’t need to add another product. But, if you feel you’re waking up with fine lines, dryness, or uneven texture, getting a night cream that targets your skincare concerns while you sleep can be very beneficial. 

What is the best way to use a night cream?

A night cream can be every night as the last step in your skincare routine. There is one exception. “If you’re using products that contain ingredients like retinol, be cautious and start every other night initially,” Dr. Zeichner shares. “It takes a few weeks to fully adjust. Using too much too quickly can lead to dryness and irritation.”

Why should you use a night cream?

Not everyone needs a night cream. If your skin is dull, dry, and dehydrated when you wake up, a night cream would be a great addition to your skincare routine. Additionally, if you’re dealing with skincare concerns like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or uneven texture, a night cream with ingredients that target those concerns will be very helpful. 

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