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There’s some real truth behind that oh-so-popular term "beauty sleep." The overnight hours are prime time for our entire body, skin included, to repair and regenerate. While you snooze, your skin cells kick into high gear, working to undo the day’s damage. Getting those magical eight hours of sleep is ideal, yes, but using a night cream can also do great things for your skin. Night creams are packed with active ingredients that can do everything from combat fine lines to fade spots and brighten dullness.
In other good news—you don’t have to spend a fortune to find an amazing, effective night cream that will support your skin’s natural reparative processes. Our round-up of wallet-friendly favorites is proof positive.
Read on for the best drugstore night creams.
Best Overall: Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Night Cream Moisturizer
From the brand’s best-selling Regenerist franchise, this night cream consistently pulls in rave reviews from fans. With an amino-peptide complex that penetrates deeply into the skin to help promote cell regeneration, it also hydrates, plumps, and gently exfoliates. It's one formula that can truly do it all.
Best Budget: Pond’s Rejuveness Advanced Hydrating Night Cream
To be fair, any kind of drugstore product is going to be more wallet-friendly, but this one really gives you tons of bang for your buck. It's one of the least expensive night creams we’ve seen—and it's amazing value considering the formula. It uses retinyl propionate, a retinol derivative that’s more potent than the many other drugstore products. It’s super hydrating and is ideal for smoothing out fine lines.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Differin Restorative Night Moisturizer
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the human body. It acts as a cushioning and lubrication agent for our joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes. When used in skincare, it acts as a moisture binder, which means that it will attach itself to the water in the cells (while also attracting and holding water from the air) giving them a plumping effect.
This brand is known for its retinoid gel, but there’s actually no retinol in this product, which was formulated to work in tandem with their hero SKU. As such, it’s super hydrating, super gentle, and super soothing. Use it to ward off retinol-induced irritation, or a solo product (particularly if you have easily irritated skin). It's fragrance-free and touts a trio of ingredients often recommended for sensitive skin—hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and allantoin.
Best for Dry Skin: Cetaphil Rich Hydrating Cream with Hyaluronic Acid
As you sleep, your skin naturally loses moisture through evaporation. A night cream can help not only lock in moisture but also adds back even more hydration. This formula, a perfect choice for those with dry to extra dry skin, does exactly that. Hyaluronic acid and olive extract are the stars of the show, offering plenty of moisture without a greasy feel. And on that note, it also won’t clog pores (a potential pitfall with similar rich night creams).
Best for Oily Skin: CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM
Ceramides are a part of a complex family of fats or lipids called a sphingolipid. They work to restore the skin barrier and lock in moisture.
In case you haven’t yet heard, moisturizing is a non-negotiable part of any skincare routine, even if you’re oily and constantly trying to fight slick spots. Why? Not moisturizing can cause your skin to dry out, ultimately triggering it to produce even more oil. The trick is to find a moisturizer that hydrates but won’t feel heavy or clog pores. This one checks all of those boxes and more. Oil-free and non-comedogenic, it’s also super lightweight and you get that necessary dose of hydration with ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid.
Generally speaking, lotions are generally a better bet for oily skin than thicker creams.
Best for Mature Skin: L'Oréal Paris Age Perfect Night Cream
Shea butter is a plant lipid that comes from African shea tree nuts and is rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins. It's used to help moisturize, nourish, and soothe the skin.
When it comes to giving more mature skin a youth boost, there's not much this multi-tasker can’t do. Namely, it tightens sagging, packs mega moisture, and fades spots to boot—all of which are issues that can plague more lived-in skin. The credit goes to nourishing ingredients like soy seed proteins and shea butter.
Best for Fine Lines and Wrinkles: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
Derms go ga-ga for this brand, and for good reason. This product features retinol, a superstar anti-ager known for delivering legit benefits. (Though FYI, because it’s inactivated by the sun, you'll definitely want to save it for your nighttime beauty routine.) Thanks to this brand’s exclusive combo of retinol and a mineral complex, the formula is said to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles in just 12 weeks.
Best for Hyperpigmentation: Neutrogena Bright Boost Overnight Recovery Gel Cream
This cream relies on a powerhouse list of ingredients—retinol, vitamin C, neoglucosamine—that are specially formulated to work synergistically with your skin’s natural processes, all while leaving your complexion brighter and more even. It's an oil-free gel that absorbs lightning-fast and won’t leave behind any greasy residue on your pillow, even if you apply it literally right before you hit the sack.
Best for Dullness: SheaMoisture Papaya and Vitamin C Brighter Days Ahead Night Cream
If your skin’s been looking a little lackluster as of late, this cream just may be the solution. The namesake ingredients work by gently exfoliating (that’s the papaya extract) and overall evening out skin tone and fading dark marks (that’s the vitamin C’s job). The hydrating formula also leaves your complexion feeling soft and supple, and it has a very delightful, ever-so-slight citrus scent.
Best Retinoid: Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Face Moisturizer
Here’s another great pick for anyone looking to reap the (many, many) benefits of a retinoid. This formula is a go-to for Byrdie Senior Editor Lindsey Metrus and features a retinol complex that fights wrinkles, spots, and even blemishes, along with vitamin B3 to hydrate and reduce irritation.
Best Natural: Burt's Bees Sensitive Night Cream
An impressive 98.9% of the ingredients in this formula come from natural origin, including powerful hydrators such as jojoba and shea butter. Calming ingredients like aloe and cotton extract are also added to make this formula extra soothing. It’s fragrance-free and dermatologist-tested, making it another great pick for the sensitive set.
Best Antioxidant: No7 HydraLuminous Overnight Recovery Gel Cream
It’s typically recommended to use antioxidants in the morning (under sunscreen, naturally) as an added layer of protection against free radical damage that can occur throughout a day. And that’s definitely true, but they’re also good to apply at bedtime, where they'll work overnight to undo any damage that was incurred during the day. That’s why we like this lightweight gel, which both offers just the right amount of moisture and contains antioxidants, including bisabolol, a chamomile-derivative that’s also nice and soothing.