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Even if you’re a total skincare minimalist, you should (at the very least) have two separate moisturizers in your arsenal—one for daytime and one for nighttime. According to the Cleveland Clinic, day creams with SPF and/or vitamin C are most ideal because they can protect the skin against aggressors like UV rays and free radicals. Night creams, on the other hand, get to work in the wee hours of the night to aid the skin’s natural self-repair and regeneration.
To find the best night cream for you, you’ll want to take your skin type and concerns into account. Are you dealing with acne? Fine lines and wrinkles? Dullness? Uneven tone? From there, you can choose a night cream that will help you tackle these issues while you catch some Zzz’s. The Cleveland Clinic recommends keeping an eye out for retinol, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, glycerin, AHAs as ingredients in your night cream of choice.
Don’t know where to start? You’re in luck. With those guidelines in mind, we researched the best night creams for every skin type. Peep our top picks, below.
Best Overall: Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer
We love the way this cream makes the skin feel plump, firm, and unmistakably brighter, which is why we’re giving it top honors. Made from plant-based ingredients, this beloved moisturizer is primed to fight signs of aging thanks to the inclusion of bakuchiol, a natural alternative to retinol that gently accelerates cell regeneration and is recommended for those with sensitive skin. Antioxidant vitamin C and squalane round out the formula’s moisturizing and brightening prowess.
Best Budget: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
You can count on CeraVe to deliver a night cream that’s equal parts effective and affordable. This formula is seriously moisturizing, which comes as no surprise given that it’s formulated with hyaluronic acid—a powerhouse hydrator that can hold up to 1000x its weight in water—as well as ceramides and peptides. All of this helps to replenish and strengthen the skin’s barrier for extra moisture retention and, over time, an improvement in the appearance of tired-looking skin.
Best Splurge: Augustinus Bader The Cream
Backed by 30 years of research by Augustinus Bader, a stem cell and biomedical scientist, this cream comes with a hefty price tag but is oh-so-worth it. Packed with anti-aging and hydrating ingredients, this ultra-lightweight cream visibly decreases wrinkles and signs of environmental damage. Ever since its release, celebrities and beauty experts alike have been singing its praises and we can’t blame them. Heck, even Byrdie editors are obsessed—check out our product review here for our full verdict.
Runner-Up, Best Splurge: Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich
No, this ultra-rich cream isn't exactly pocket change, but according to Byrdie senior editor Hallie Gould, the high-end result (aka glowing skin) is well worth the splurge. Filled with antioxidants and anti-inflammation properties, this one can also play pinch-hitter and works as a day cream as well.
Best Brightening: Epara Skincare Brightening Night Balm
Hyperpigmentation can be super frustrating, but this thoughtfully formulated brightening night balm has a solution. Made of African botanicals, it targets imperfections while you sleep to help you wake up to a more even skin tone. Though it's quite the splurge, the natural ingredients and gentle formula make this luxury product worth every penny. The results? Skin that looks brighter and feels more hydrated.
Best Drugstore: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream
Packed with retinol—a vitamin A derivative that’s widely considered to be the gold standard anti-aging ingredient—this affordable cream can help reduce the look of lines and wrinkles while you sleep in as little as 12 weeks. The result is younger-looking skin that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Are you a retinol rookie? If so, we recommend starting slow since the overuse of retinol can irritate and dry out the skin. Also, be careful to only use retinol products at night as they can cause skin sensitivity to sunlight. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen during the day to minimize the risk of irritation.
Best for All Skin Types: IT Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream
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.
Let your skin reap all of the benefits of a good night’s rest. Formulated with ceramides and hyaluronic acid, this cream will hydrate skin, so when you wake up, you’ll find it looking less dull and tired. It’s also mildly scented with lavender (relaxing, much) and is non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about clogged pores. It’s a solid choice for any and all skin types.
Best for Mature Skin: La Mer Crème de la Mer
Honestly, the name (and iconic white jar) speak for themselves and begs little to no need for introduction. However, please let us indulge ourselves: Hands down, this ultra-rich cream is one of the best to slather on your face before you hit the sheets. You'll wake up to plump, healthy, and radiant-looking skin. And in case you're not in on the secret, the powers lie within the brand's iconic Miracle Broth, which simultaneously renews and soothes skin.
Runner-Up, Best for Mature Skin: Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen
Collagen refers to a family of proteins that are the primary structural component of connective tissues, such as skin, ligaments, and cartilage. Topical collagen creams are said to improve fine lines and wrinkles by replacing the lost collagen, though its main benefit is moisturizing the skin.
Algenist’s vegan night cream uses the power of algae and collagen to nourish and plump the look of mature skin. Alguronic acid, sourced from algae, visibly minimizes the appearance of lines, while vegan collagen helps strengthen the skin so it appears firmer.
Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Resurfacing Cream with Fruit-Derived AHAs
Not all skin types can tolerate alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) in a night cream, but most acne-prone skin types can see a ton of benefit from it. This one works to remove dead skin cells, so you can expect fresh and brighter-looking skin every morning. The acids work to improve the texture and tone of the skin as well, making this cream an excellent pick for those with acne-prone skin.
Best for Oily Skin: Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream
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) making them plump.
This rich moisturizer uses liposome encapsulated retinol to even out skin tone and helps plump up fine lines and wrinkles. Shea butter, squalene, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera work wonders on keeping skin visibly moisturized. On top of all of the benefits, this cream is formulated without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates, so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your skin.
Best for Dry Skin: SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Dry
Formulated with a potent hydroxy acid mix, this SkinCeuticals cream works hard to reveal fresher, healthier skin day after day. Formulated with dry skin in mind, this cream contains aloe, chamomile, and evening primrose extract to calm and nourish dry skin.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Goop Replenishing Night Cream
Packed with soothing and hydrating ingredients, this skin-replenishing cream is just the ticket for those with sensitive or easily irritated skin. The cream is formulated with USDA certified organic ingredients and boasts sandalwood nut oil for soothing sensitized skin. Trusty hyaluronic acid and linseed extract will hydrate your skin overnight, so you’ll wake up looking refreshed.
Best With Retinol: Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Face Moisturizer
Whether you’re just starting your search for a perfect night cream or are looking for a change, the Olay Regenerist Retinol24 cream should be on your must-try list. The retinol and vitamin B3 formula works to improve the appearance of lines, sunspots, and uneven texture. The fragrance and dye-free formula is also surprisingly affordable for how effective and fast-acting it is.
Best With Antioxidants: Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream
This night cream is as dreamy as its name suggests. Not only does it smell fantastic (it's scented with lotus and peach) but it's the perfect texture for a night cream—smooth and spreads easily. Particularly in its frosted glass bottle, it feels luxurious, but it comes in at a relatively accessible price point. Its primary selling point, though, is that it's detoxifying; perfect for people who live in cities.
Best for Eyes: IlluminEyez Hyaluronic Intense Night Recovery Cream
This ultra hydrating eye cream is like a good night's sleep in a jar. It reduces the appearance of dark circles while smoothing texture and restoring firmness. Users love it for it's anti-aging properties and plant based ingredients. Unlike many other eye creams that target dark circles, you won't find any mercury, hydroquinone, parabens, or any other yucky ingredients.
Best Organic: Eminence Organic Skincare Blueberry Soy Night Recovery Cream
Not only is this cream the dreamiest lilac color, but it is also packed with organic ingredients like blueberries and soy. The blueberry juice helps clean and tighten pores, while the non-GMO sourced soy works to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and lines. Suited for most skin types, this is an effective addition to any skincare routine.