17 Night Creams That Work Overtime for Flawless Skin in the A.M.

Our best overall pick is CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Night Cream

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The 17 Best Night Creams of 2022

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Night creams get to work in the wee hours of the night to assist the skin’s natural self-repair and regeneration. A 2018 study published by the National Institutes of Health, (NIH) confirms the efficacy of night creams particularly when it comes to skin barrier health and repair, when the formulas contain active ingredients.

Byrdie Researched & Approved

Our best overall choice is CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Night Cream, a ceramide-rich non-greasy formula that contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and niacinamide to restore skin barrier health. We love that our best in show is an affordable, drugstore pick. If you want to brighten your complexion but are sensitive to retinol, consider Alpyn Beauty’s PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer with non-irritating plant-based ingredients like retinol-alternative, bakuchiol and vitamin C.

Night creams are typically thicker in consistency because they contain a high concentration of hydrating ingredients. "Look for formulas that are non-greasy, and non-comedogenic to avoid clogged pores and breakouts," says board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, Michele Green, MD. She tells Byrdie the best night cream ingredients to look for include retinol, alpha hydroxy acids, (AHAs) and antioxidants to "stimulate skin cell turnover and collagen production, as well as help correct hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone." You also want the formula to be moisture-rich. "Seek out hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin to restore the skin’s natural protective barrier, and replace plumpness and youthfulness to the skin."

We conducted hours of research on the best night creams and consulted with our product testers on their favorite dermatologist-recommended picks to compile this roundup. We considered dozens of top-rated dermatologist-recommended night creams, evaluating them on active ingredients, texture, targeted skin concerns, and value.

Ahead, find the best night creams for every skin type.

Best Overall: CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream

Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Strengthens skin barrier with ceramides and niacinamide

  • Hyaluronic acid adds moisture while delivering a non-greasy, non-comedogenic formula

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

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.

Active Ingredients: Biomimetic peptides, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide | Skin Type: Mature | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Budget: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

4
roc retinol

Amazon

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Contains retinol to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines

  • Glycerin helps address texture and tone

  • Non-greasy and non-comedogenic

What We Don't Like
  • Can irritate sensitive skin

This affordable cream is packed with the brand's own formulation of retinol, a clinically-backed ingredient to help reduce the look of lines and wrinkles while you sleep in as little as 12 weeks. The his non-greasy, non-comedogenic formula contains glycerin, which is effective with texture issues like uneven skin tone or dry skin, 

Active Ingredients: Pure ROC retinol | Skin Type: All | Size: 1 fluid ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream

Byrdie / Leigh Weingus

What Our Testers Say

"Overall, I was very happy with RoC’s Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream. On top of being affordable, it didn’t irritate my skin, and I noticed a reduction in fine lines within a week." — Leigh Weingus, Product Tester

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 Retinol-Alternative: Alpyn Beauty PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer

4.5
alpyn beauty
What We Like
  • Squalene and bakuchiol boost radiance and minimize the appearance of wrinkles

  • Hyaluronic acid locks in moisture

  • Works well under makeup

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

What do buyers say? 300+ Sephora reviewers rated this product 4.5 stars or above.

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.

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, squalene, bakuchiol | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, combination, oily | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Splurge: Augustinus Bader The Cream

4
AUGUSTINUS BADER THE CREAM
What We Like
  • Contains TFC8, the brand's proprietary blend of natural amino acids and high-grade vitamins to repair skin

  • Vitamin A helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles

  • Lightweight formula

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

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 like vitamin A, this ultra-lightweight cream visibly decreases wrinkles and signs of environmental damage. But the hero ingredient is TFC8, the brand's proprietary blend of natural amino acids, high-grade vitamins and synthesized molecules naturally found in the body. Ever since its release, celebrities and beauty experts alike have been singing its praises and we can’t blame them.

Active Ingredients: TFC8, vitamin A | Skin Type: Combination, oily, acne-prone | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

augustinus bader the cream

Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

What Our Testers Say

"Despite trying out many moisturizers, this was the first time I was actually noticeably shocked at the immediate difference in my skin." — Joline Buscemi, Product Tester

Best Luxury : Dr. Barbara Sturm Face Cream Rich

Dr. Barbara Sturm Rich Face Cream

Courtesy of Nordstrom 

What We Like
  • Botanical antioxidant formula boosts radiance

  • Vitamin E, grape seed oil, and avocado oil soothe irritation and inflammation

  • Hygienic packaging

What We Don't Like
  • Pricier than other options

A rich blend of botanical extracts give the formula a surge of moisture. Filled with antioxidants and botanicals with anti-inflammation properties, this retinol-free cream is works as a day cream as well.

Active Ingredients: Purslane extract, skullcap, urea, vitamin E, panthenol, avocado oil, shea butter, grape seed oil, corn oil, olive oil, glycerine | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, combination | Size: 0.67 or 1.69 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Brightening: Epara Skincare Brightening Night Balm

Epara
What We Like
  • Plankton extract boosts radiance and adds deep moisture

  • A blend of African botanicals fade hyperpigmentation

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Hyperpigmentation can be super frustrating, but this thoughtfully formulated brightening night balm has a solution. Formulated with a blend of African botanicals, it targets tone and texture while you sleep to help you wake up to a more even skin tone.

Active Ingredients: Plankton extract, sweet almond oil, argan oil | Skin Type: Dry, combination | Size: 1.76 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for All Skin Types: IT Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream

It Cosmetics Confidence in Your Beauty Sleep Night Cream

 Courtesy of Ulta

What We Like
  • Ceramides repair barrier health

  • Hyaluronic acid locks in moisture

  • Non-comedogenic and non-greasy formula

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

Key Ingredients

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 and is non-comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about clogged pores.

Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, adenosine, ceramides | Skin Type: All | Size: 0.47, 2, or 4 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Mature Skin: La Mer Crème de la Mer

3.5
Creme de la mer
Courtesy of Amazon.
What We Like
  • Contains patented Miracle Broth of fermented, anti-inflammatory ingredients

  • Sea kelp boosts radiance

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Hands down, this ultra-rich cream is one of the best to slather on your face before you hit the sheets. The brand's iconic Miracle Broth contains fermented ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties, making this cream ideal for anyone with inflamed, dry, or chapped skin. A mixture of sea kelp, vitamins and minerals, citrus oil, and eucalyptus are included in the patented Miracle Broth, clinically proven to plump skin's appearance and leave it soft and silky.

Active Ingredients: Miracle Broth, lime tea | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, combination, oily, mature | Size: 0.5, 1, 2, or 3.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

La Mer Crème de la Mer

Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

Runner-Up, Best for Mature Skin: Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen

Algenist Genius Sleeping Collagen

 Courtesy of qvc

What We Like
  • Contains alguronic acid to minimize appearance of wrinkles

  • Vegan collagen firms skin

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic container

Key Ingredients

Collagen refers to a family of proteins that are the primary structural component of connective tissues, such as skin, ligaments, and cartilage.

Algenist’s vegan night cream harnesses the power of collagen and algae—specifically, alguronic acid, which is sourced from algae, and vegan collagen—to visibly minimize the appearance of fine lines, as well as strengthen the skin barrier so it appears firmer.

Active Ingredients: Alguronic Acid, Active Vegan Collagen, ceramides, Mary thistle | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, combination, oily, mature | Size: 2 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Resurfacing Cream with Fruit-Derived AHAs

Origins Night-a-Mins Resurfacing Cream with AHAs

Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate skin and boost radiance

  • Non-greasy, oil-free formula

What We Don't Like
  • Strong smell

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.

Active Ingredients: AHAs, vitamins B, C, E, H, calcium | Skin Type: Dry, combination, acne-prone | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Oily Skin: Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream

Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream

 Courtesy of Sephora

What We Like
  • Liposome encapsulated retinol minimizes wrinkles

  • Squalene and hyaluronic acid add moisture with a lightweight formula

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Key Ingredients

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. This cream is formulated without parabens, sulfates, or phthalates, so you can feel good about what you’re putting on your skin.

Active Ingredients: Wild indigo seed extract, tripeptide, shea butter, squalane, hyaluronic acid, aloe vera | Skin Type: All | Size: 1.6 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Dry Skin: SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Dry

SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Dry

 Courtesy of Dermstore

What We Like
  • Hydroxy acid mix boosts radiance and repair

  • Botanic blends including aloe, chamomile, and rose oil calm inflamed skin

What We Don't Like
  • Has parabens

Formulated with a potent hydroxy acid mix, for accelerated repair, this cream works hard to reveal fresher, healthier skin day after day. A blend of aloe, chamomile, and evening primrose extract calms and nourishes dry skin.

Active Ingredients: Malic acid, lactic acid, tartaric acid, citric acid, glycolic acid, aloe, chamomile, rose oil | Skin Type: Dry, balanced | Size: 2 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Sensitive Skin: Goop Replenishing Night Cream

Goop Replenishing Night Cream

Courtesy of Goop

What We Like
  • Ceramides and hyaluronic acid repair skin barrier

  • USDA-certified organic ingredients

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

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 including sandalwood nut oil. A blend of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and linseed extract will repair and hydrate your skin overnight, so you’ll wake up looking refreshed.

Active Ingredients: Ceramides, squalene, schisandra fruit, illipe butter, caviar lime | Size: 1.7 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best Drugstore Pick: Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Face Moisturizer

Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Face Moisturizer
What We Like
  • Retinol minimizes wrinkles

  • B3 formula fades hyperpigmentation

  • Fragrance-free

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Unhygienic packaging

The retinol and vitamin B3 formula works to improve the appearance of lines, sunspots, and uneven texture. We love that the fragrance and dye-free formula is also surprisingly affordable for how effective and fast-acting it is.

Active Ingredients: Retinol Complex, vitamin B3, amino peptides | Skin Type: Combination | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With Antioxidants: Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream

4.8
fresh lotus

Courtesy of Fresh

What We Like
  • Shea butter and vitamin E strengthen skin barrier

  • Super lotus and peach leaf extract detox skin

What We Don't Like
  • Contains fragrance

Shea butter and vitamin E work to strengthen and repair skin barrier health overnight, while super lotus and peach leaf extract help to detox the skin, ideal for people who encounter daily pollution. We love this intense formula; the cream is smooth and spreads easily.

Active Ingredients: Super Lotus, peach leaf extract, shea butter, vitamin E | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, combination, oily | Size: 1.6 fluid ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Eyes: Revision Skincare D·E·J eye cream®

D·E·J eye cream®

Courtesy of Revision Skincare

What We Like
  • Peptides help repair delicate skin around eyes

  • Amino acid complex plumps fine lines around eyes

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

This top-rated eye cream is full of  antioxidants to help protect the skin from free radicals and peptides to help with the production of collagen while you sleep. We also love its amino acid rich-formula that hydrates delicate skin around the eyes.

Active Ingredients: Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, peptides, amino acids, goji fruit extract | Skin Type: All | Size: 0.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Organic: Eminence Organic Skincare Blueberry Soy Night Recovery Cream

Eminence Blueberry Soy Night Recovery Cream

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Organic blueberry extract fefines pores

  • Grape seed oil, calendula oil calm and hydrate skin

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note it leaves behind a residue

Organic blueberry extract helps clean and tighten pores, while the non-GMO sourced soy works to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and lines. Calendula, a natural antibacterial and ant-inflammatory, helps calm and soothe skin. Suited for most skin types, this is an effective addition to any skincare routine. 

Active Ingredients: BioComplex, blueberry, soy, shea butter raspberry juice, grape seed oil, calendula oil | Skin Type: Balanced, dry, mature | Size: 2 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Final Verdict

Our best overall choice is CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Night Cream, a ceramide-rich non-greasy formula that contains hyaluronic acid to hydrate and niacinamide to restore skin barrier health. We love that our best in show is an affordable, drugstore pick. If you want to brighten your complexion but are sensitive to retinol, consider Alpyn Beauty’s PlantGenius Melt Moisturizer with non-irritating plant-based ingredients like retinol-alternative, bakuchiol and vitamin C.

Meet the Expert

Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, Michele Green, MD has a practice in New York City and is a frequent media contributor and skincare expert.

What to Look For in Neck Creams

Retinol and Bakuchiol

Retinol is an over-the-counter version of retinoids, a derivative of vitamin A. "The small molecules of retinol penetrate the dermis and neutralize free radicals, leading to increased elastin and collagen production to minimize fine lines and create a youthful skin," explains cosmetic dermatologist, Michele Green, MD . "Retinol increases cellular turnover and new skin cell growth, helping to slough off dead skin cells to make way for new, healthy cells." 

She says retinol helps to achieve a more even skin tone and diminish pigmentation. "Retinol is especially a great ingredient for night creams because it makes your skin photosensitive, so it is best to use it at night instead of daytime.  SPF 30+ should be used the following day to protect your skin from sun damage." People with retinol sensitivity can consider retinol-alternatives like bakuchiol, which has similar benefits to retinol, without the irritation.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

AHAs are a type of chemical exfoliant that helps slough off dead skin cells and clean out pores to provide anti-aging benefits. Green explains, "AHAs exfoliate by disrupting the bond between the dead skin cells and the outer layer of the skin. Glycolic acid, the strongest of the AHAs due to its small molecular size, penetrates deeper into the skin to stimulate collagen production." AHAs are also effective at treating acne as well as hyperpigmentation as they remove excess sebum and reveals healthy new skin.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are great for addressing redness and sun damage. Green explains, "Antioxidants work by fighting free radical damage and protect the skin from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. This means that antioxidants in night creams will help prepare the skin from the sun during the day. Vitamin C also aids in collagen production, brightens the skin, and reduces discoloration."

Hyaluronic Acid

Hydration is key in a night cream because the moisturizing ingredients help restore the skin’s natural protective barrier. Green says, "Hyaluronic acid is a popular moisturizing ingredient often found in night creams. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant that can hold one thousand times its weight in water. Hyaluronic acid seeps into the skin and pulls water from the environment to hydrate the skin."

FAQ
  • Why should you use a night cream?

    According to Green, "Night creams work on a cellular level to repair the skin as you sleep."


    She explains "nighttime is when your skin has a chance to restore and repair the damage that occurs during the day. Using the right night cream for your skin type will provide nutrients for the skin to prepare and withstand free radical damage endured during the daytime."

  • Do night creams work?

    Yes. Night creams are effective because of their high concentration of active ingredients. Green explains, "Night creams typically provide intense hydration and concentrated ingredients to fight signs of aging and other concerns. Night creams are usually formulated with active ingredients designed to correct skin issues such as hyperpigmentation, acne, dryness, and aging."

  • At what age should you start using night cream?

    Anyone can incorporate night cream into their routine, according to Green. "Night creams that contain anti-aging ingredients are recommended for those in their 20s and 30s, as early prevention is key in slowing aging. Collagen and elastin production begins to slow during the 20s," she says. "Using a night cream that has hydrating properties is recommended for everybody."

  • How do you use night cream?

    Night cream is the final step in your skincare routine, and is applied with your hands, explains Green. "Apply night cream after any serums and eye creams that are a part of your skincare routine. Because night creams tend to be thicker in consistency and have ultra-hydrating ingredients, applying it after serums will lock in moisture as well as the beneficial ingredients in the serums. If you don’t use any serums, you can skip to the night cream after cleansing."


How We Researched & Tested


To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the best products on the market in this category, evaluating their key features—like ingredients, shade range, or design—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. Our team also incorporated their own personal experiences testing products in their own lives. We then used these insights from our research and testing to assign a star rating from one to five (five being the best; one being the worst) to certain products on the list

Why Trust Byrdie

Byrdie contributor Agne Numaite is a senior analyst covering beauty topics and is constantly testing out the best products, both new launches, and beloved classics. For this roundup, she considered dozens of night creams, evaluating each on its formula, active ingredients, skin-feel, and how well it hydrated skin. Additional input was provided by Board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Michele Green, MD.

Updated by Jill Di Donato
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. Santoro F, Teissedre S. A Novel Night Moisturizer Enhances Cutaneous Barrier Function in Dry Skin and Improves Dermatological Outcomes in Rosacea-prone Skin. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2018;11(12):11-17.

    1. Dhaliwal S, Rybak I, Ellis SR, et al. Prospective, Randomized, Double-blind Assessment of Topical Bakuchiol and Retinol for Facial PhotoageingBr J Dermatol. 2019;180(2):289-296. doi:10.1111/bjd.16918

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