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There's a point in the evening where our bodies just start to physically reject the idea of wearing anything other than pajamas or trying to find another true-crime series to start. So off to bed we go, but not before a trip to our bathroom cabinets.
Our bodies are busy repairing bees when we've drifted off to sleep, and while we're dreaming, our skin is working the night shift, which is why switching up our nighttime skincare routines can be well worth it. We throw a lot at our skin during the day—sun, pollution, and grime—so using products that serve as supportive assistants to the regenerative process will increase the benefits of that elusive "beauty sleep" tenfold.
The best place to get your souped-up nightly skin hit is through a good serum. Serums are packed with potent actives, and as our skin is most receptive to the delivery of these ingredients at night, bedtime is the best time for their application, right between cleansing and moisturizing.
We've found powerful night serums that target specific skin concerns, so you'll be spending your time in the morning staring at your reflection instead of downing a cup of coffee.
Best Overall: La Mer The Regenrating Serum
Not only will La Mer's miracle broth work hard to improve skin clarity and brightness, but this serum also contains a bio-ferment and marine peptide ferment, both of which support skin's natural collagen and elastin production. The effect is a bouncier complexion with blurred wrinkles and pores. Bonus: The silky formula is utterly divine to apply.
Best for Firming: Avène Eau Thermale Physiolift Serum
This serum would be the kid in school who always aced their tests. This genius formula works on skin both above and below the surface, thanks to two types of hyaluronic acid, so it'll smooth out lines and firm the skin as you sleep. If you've got important meetings in the morning, this is the one you need to apply the night before.
Best for Radiance: L'Occitane Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Essence
With skin-smoothing peony extract, this serum will leave your skin feeling as smooth as a petal. When applied at night, the plant sugars will boost your complexion—you'll have a radiant glow when you look in the mirror in the morning.
Best for Exfoliating: Pixi Overnight Glow Serum
A gentle peel-as-you-sleep formula—it doesn't get better than that. Pixi's glycolic acid serum will exfoliate your skin as you rest, offering the same glow you get after a facial or mask, but without any hassle. It also has soothing aloe vera, too, so you won't have any redness when you head out for the day.
Best for Repairing: Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic and Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum
Dr. Dennis Gross's serum is addictive stuff—we're talking free radical eliminator ferulic acid combined with line-reducing retinol, so you'll notice a big difference in the overall texture of your skin as well as some plumping action. It'll get you even more excited about heading to bed.
Best for Repairing, Runner-Up: Alpha-H Liquid Gold Midnight Reboot Serum
Just as you take your daily supplements in the morning, this nighttime serum is a daily staple that repairs skin while you sleep. A combination of glycolic acid and granactive retinoid help to renew the look of dull skin, leaving it radiant. It improves the look of discoloration, plumps up the skin, reduces lines, and then ups the moisture for a smooth result.
Best for Darker Skin Tones: Epara Hydrating Serum
Formulated with the particular skincare needs of women of color in mind, this nourishing serum expertly tackles skin discoloration, without any harsh skin-lightening ingredients. It also takes into account how dry darker skin can get, using a wealth of plant-based ingredients to up the moisture.
Best for Oily Skin: Dr. Hauschka Night Serum
If you're not a fan of dense creams and oils at night, this light serum needs a place in your skincare routine. It uses gentle fruit waters and extracts that won't weigh skin down or make it any oilier than it already is.
Best for Sensitivity: Dermalogica UltraCalming Serum Concentrate
Our skin just loves letting us know when it's not happy, and it usually shows up in redness, sensitivity, and inflammation. At times like that, the last thing you want to do is add potent ingredients to irritate it further. Consider this serum your nighttime superhero, rushing in to save your skin with calming oat and botanical extracts along with nourishing oils. It'll work through the night to prevent further skin issues and help with discomfort.
Best Natural: Vanderohe No.1 Nourishing Face Serum
With oils of the absolute highest grades, this serum is a miracle worker. One sniff of the instantly relaxing scent of rose, cedarwood, lavender, and Roman chamomile essential oils is enough to send you straight to sleep. But the skincare benefits are even more special; it goes deep into the skin to balance and repair.
Best for Dehydrated Skin: Elemis Hydra-Boost Serum
Our skin loses more water at night, so it's important to apply a serum that adds moisture. Using ingredients like hyaluronic acid that are a match for thirsty skin, Elemis's moisture booster is vying for a spot on your top shelf.
Best for Aging: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II
We could spend an entire day discussing why Estée Lauder's serum is such a beauty-editor favorite. The short story is that it works on all the major signs of aging, smoothing over fine lines and plumping areas that have lost their volume. Put simply, it just makes you look rested, and we all need that.
If you have a complex morning routine to make you look more like yourself, try these night serums instead so you can set your alarm for a little later.