the overnight formulas that really work

Searching for the best night cream to add to your evening skincare routine? Look no further…

So, you’ve done your homework on the correct skincare order. You know exactly what to apply and when. You’ve bought a good cleanser, SPF and serums – now you need the best night cream for your skin type.

This last step of your nighttime routine is arguably one of the most important, so it’s vital that you find the right cream to suit your skin’s needs. We recommend that you start using one from your twenties onwards. Trust us, your skin will thank you for it.

Why is night cream so important?

Can’t I just use the best moisturiser from my morning skincare routine, we hear you ask? Our skin actually behaves quite differently while we sleep, so your nighttime formula should be tailored to those needs.

‘A number of physiological changes occur in the skin overnight,’ explains consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. Our skin is affected by our circadian rhythm. ‘The skin blood flow rate has been shown to increase in the late afternoon and evening,’ she continues. ‘Higher melatonin levels at night are associated with hair growth, suppression of ultraviolet (UV) damage in skin cells and better wound healing.’

Essentially, your skin goes into repair mode while you’re catching those all-important eight hours. Dr Kluk elaborates: ‘The repair of skin cells with DNA damage from the sun appears to peak at night. Skin permeability is also higher in the evening than in the morning, leading to increased moisture loss.’

This is why what we apply to skin before we turn the lights off at night is so important. We need to ensure that the products we apply aid, rather than hinder, this process.

‘By understanding the basic principles of the circadian rhythm, including skin changes throughout the day, we can better organise our routines by applying skin care products at optimal times of the day,’ she continues. ‘For example, sunscreen during the day to reduce UV damage, retinol at night for optimised DNA repair and richer moisturisers at night to remedy increased transepidermal moisture loss.’

What’s the difference between day and night cream?

So, how different does my night cream need to be, we hear you ask? It’s all about consistency and ingredient type.

Kate Somerville, Hollywood’s go-to aesthetician, sums it up nicely: ‘Day creams tend to be lightweight and may have an SPF to protect your skin from the sun. They should also be less greasy, which is ideal for make-up application. Night creams tend to be heavier, with no SPF, and include ingredients such as retinol and glycolic acid, which helps polish your skin and promote cell renewal.’

Facial aesthetics specialist Dr Pamela Benito agrees: ‘A night time moisturiser will help to maintain your skin’s health and reduce the signs of ageing. With a thicker and richer consistency, night moisturisers tend to include a larger concentration of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol and peptides.’

‘Night is when cells need nutrients the most and when their anti-aging benefits have maximum impact,’ she continues. ‘Skin sebum production is lower at night and, when you don’t have a protective layer of natural oils on your skin, you lose more water.’

What’s more, ‘Due to their slow-absorbing nature, night creams can gradually penetrate the skin throughout the night. This means they’re able to moisturise, repair and rebalance the skin for a clear and healthy complexion.’

What makes the best night cream… the best?

Now that you’re well-versed in the importance of night cream, you’re probably now wondering which ingredients to look out for on the label. ‘I look for ingredients such as peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, emollients, antioxidants, retinols – depending on your skin type of course,’ says Somerville.

‘Those with dry skin look for something really creamy, while if you have oily skin, I’d recommend an oil-free moisturiser. And for sensitive skin, you should use a product with ceramides.’

Without further ado, let’s dive in to the Marie Claire approved list of the best night creams on the beauty market right now…

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