Night creams may seem like just another way for beauty brands to get hold of your hard-earned cash but the best night cream can make a world of difference to your complexion – particularly those of us with mature skin.
You can, of course, use day creams at night – they’re better than using nothing at all – but if you can afford a night cream or oil, it really is a worthwhile investment. As we explain in our list of the best overnight beauty treatments guide, when we sleep, our bodies go into “recovery mode” and it’s when the majority of our cells regenerate.
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This is why it’s so important to use an exfoliator or toner to get rid of dirt and dead skin cells before you go to bed, in order to help renew your skin overnight. It also means it’s the time when our skincare products can be most effective, meaning you get much more value for money.
Below we’ve outlined what we consider to be the best night creams for different skin types and ages. We also explained what ingredients to look out for in night cream and answer a question we’ve received a number of times from you lovely readers – is Charlotte Tilbury night cream worth it?!
As we age, our oestrogen levels drop and this reduces the amount of collagen we product. Collagen is a key protein that makes skin strong and elastic. Any reduction in elasticity can cause the skin to become loose and wrinkly, lead to bags under your eyes and the skin on your chin to sag. The best night creams contain a host of ingredients designed to combat these changes, which is why night cream is a favourite of people over the age of 40, when the changes start to become more pronounced.
READ NEXT: Science of moisturiser
When it comes to night cream, look out for ingredients that help hydrate the skin, reduce puffiness and help with cell renewal while protecting it from the elements. These include:
Within this list is a whole host of additional ingredients but any night creams that list any of these will help restore and regenerate the skin. You can read more about skincare and how these different ingredients work in our guide to the acids in skincare. We’ve also explained more in our science of moisturiser explainer, and our article on what happens to skin and hair during menopause.
These ingredients do not come cheap, so night creams tend to be on the pricer side, compared to day creams and moisturisers, as a rule. There are some exceptions and we’ve listed what we consider to be the best cheap night creams if you are on a budget below.
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£43 | Buy from IT Cosmetics
Why we love it: Aside from the fact this purple whipped delight of a cream smells like Parma Violet sweets, it contains all the anti-ageing properties your skin will love and need. It works overnight to improve surface cell renewal, as this is when your skin cell turnover is at its most productive. The Rest and Restore technology within the cream promotes anti-ageing, while also making your skin appear smoother with fewer visible fine lines, wrinkles and unevenness in skin tone. Not only will your skin feel hydrated and healthy, it will also appear firmer.
The Memory Bounce technology in this cream is essential to ensuring it works effectively, preventing product transfer from other elements of your nighttime skincare routine. Enriched with hyaluronic acid, adenosine and ceramides, your natural skin barrier will repair overnight, leaving you with soft and supple skin.
£10 | Buy now from Amazon
Why we love it: Q10 is a powerful co-enzyme found naturally in the skin. As we get older, it gradually decreases and this makes our skin more prone to damage from the sun, pollution and other environmental factors – just some of the main causes of premature skin-ageing. We love Nivea Visage’s Q10 Plus moisturiser and its anti-wrinkle night cream complements it marvellously. It supports your natural Q10 level at night, fights the appearance of wrinkles and visibly smoothes your skin. It also replenishes skin and supports its ability to regenerate. The result is smoother, firmer skin without spending a fortune to get it.
£100 | Buy from Charlotte Tilbury
Why we love it: This is definitely one of the pricier beauty products on the market – in fact, we think it might be the most expensive standalone product we’ve ever recommended – but the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream is most definitely worth it.
Not only does it hydrate the skin, Charlotte Tilbury’s wonder product leaves skin looking more youthful, refreshed and glowing overnight. The combination of shea butter and red algae marigel nourishes the skin and leaves it softer and more supple, while the rosehip oil helps revitalise the skin’s appearance.
Another power ingredient in this Magic Night Cream is bionymph peptide which brightens the skin’s appearance, leaving it looking smoother and more plump with the formula within the cream containing plant-derived stem cells, vitamins and retinol. It is very expensive for 50ml but this cream is the proud recipient of many converts and, just like the fantastic Magic Cream – which tops our best moisturiser list – a little goes a really long way so it will last.
£20 | Buy from R & R Luxury
Why we love it: R&R Luxury’s products are all about stripping things back and using the most natural and simple formulas so it’s no surprise its baobab oil works wonders for the face overnight.
So many products these days come with a long list of ingredients that we’ve never heard of but baobab, even if less familiar, is full of health benefits. Rich in Vitamin C, as well as minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, pure baobab oil is not only full of antioxidants, it also acts as a great moisturiser for the skin.
Clean and vegan, this baobab oil is free from chemicals and harsh agents, making it the perfect overnight oil if you have sensitive skin. Despite being an oil, the liquid is fast-absorbing and delivers a healthy glow to your skin, leaving it nourished, soft and supple – even if your skin is naturally oily.
£45 | Buy from Cult Beauty
Why we love it: Sunday Riley’s Luna Sleeping Night Oil does come in a larger size, should you decide you’re a fan but, in the meantime, its smaller bottle allows for you to give it go, and take it wherever you want with ease. When we’re allowed out again, of course!
Packed full of botanicals, this oil has got a fragrant scent. It’s full of retinol, which is the key to ridding your skin of any damage caused by the sun, air pollution, a bad skin day and also wrinkles and fine lines. The oil is also great for tackling skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea and acne.
This blue potion not only hydrates and nourishes the skin overnight, it kickstarts the cell renewal process. The cells will be encouraged to repair overnight, simultaneously encouraging a boost of collagen within the skin and elasticity to, over time, improve its appearance.
£49 | Buy from Elemis
Why we love it: If you’re unsure whether you should step away from the familiarity of creams and move over to face oils, this cream-oil hybrid from Elemis could be the one for you. You can read more in our guide to serums, moisturisers and facial oils.
The benefit of this two-in-one product is that its texture and application process is the same as a regular cream-based moisturiser but the product has all the protective elements of a face oil. Overnight, the cream-oil triggers cell renewal, making the skin look and feel firmer while improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles too.
It’s enriched with Omega 3, Vitamin E and antioxidants to fully restore and rebalance the skin overnight, leaving it feeling nourished and replenished the next day. Your skin is left protected thanks to the perilla seed oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil too.
£14.99 – buy from May 2020
If you’re not used to using a night cream, you might want to start off with a less expensive version and L’Oréal’s new anti-ageing cream may be a great first product. An intensive night cream containing a cooling formula, it is designed to revitalise the skin, energising its thermoreceptors to cause microcirculation overnight. This effect on the skin’s activity as you sleep ensures some heat is removed from your skin, while the menthol offers a cooling sensation. This is particularly beneficial for mature skin due to its slowing metabolism.
Not only does this cream nourish and moisturise the skin overnight, it is also the latest in L’Oréal’s collection for delivering an anti-ageing effect. It claims to leave your skin feeling firmer while iris florentina root extract works to reduce the depth of wrinkles, while increasing hydration and elasticity to improve the overall skin tone.
Amira Arasteh is a freelance journalist and content creator. Find her making sense of beauty trends, tips and topics – when she’s not stuffing her face with the best food in London or travelling the globe