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Any skincare aficionado knows that a nighttime routine is key to glowing skin. And it's different for everyone–so it's important you equip yourself with the very best products for your skin.
And if you're older than your mid-20's, that means adding a night cream to the mix. "Night creams are going to help with wrinkles, fine lines, and exfoliation," says Kelly Swanson, a physician's assistant based in Clarkson, Michigan who oversees care of clinical dermatology patients.
Peep a few of the best night creams below:
When it comes to finding the perfect night cream for your skin type, you should pay special attention to ingredients and the consistency of the cream (more on that below!).
What should I look for in a night cream?
Here are a few ingredients to keep an eye out for in your night cream, according to dermatology expert Maria Tempera, DO, and Swanson:
- Retinol: stimulates collagen and fights acne
- Peptides: helps with skin’s elasticity
- Chemical exfoliants: includes alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) that help with cell turnover, skin tone, and texture to help promote collagen production and get you glowing skin
- Ceramides: lipids (aka fats) to help lock in moisture by forming a protective layer
- Glycerin: helps with hydration and brings water into the skin
- Hyaluronic acid: holds 1,000 times its weight in water to help lock in moisture. However, Swanson recommends this ingredient only if you feel your skin lacks a lot of moisture.
- Bakuchiol: this alternative to retinol is safe to use while pregnant
According to Swanson, the consistency of your night cream totally depends on your skin type.
"If someone has sensitive skin, they're going to want more of a cream or a lotion," she says. "If someone has oily skin, probably more of a gel."
If you aren't sure of your skin type, a lotion is probably the best choice, Swanson says."If you don't know your skin type, chances are you probably have normal or combination skin so a lotion is a pretty safe bet."
When it comes to night creams, the prices swing from high to low. Luckily, Swanson says that pricey night creams aren't necessary for protecting your skin. "I would recommend affordable, effective skincare options. Typically I'll stick with [recommending] brands, like CeraVe or Neutrogena." These are both a little more budget-friendly.
Of course, sometimes a more luxury product is worth the price, Swanson concedes. But she'd never recommend using anything that cost more than $60—unless you just really want to.
Got that all down? Time to shop.
Below, find the 18 best night creams for every skin type, per skin experts and reviews.
What's the point of applying a night cream?
Sleeping is a time during which your skin is healing, restoring, repairing, and providing the dewy glazed doughnut look all of us are after.
“The goal of an evening skincare regimen is to treat and restore, whereas a morning skincare regimen’s goal is to protect and prevent damage,” says Tempera. “An effective night cream will have a more thick, rich consistency and contain active ingredients like retinol or AHAs to increase cell turnover, treat and prevent fine lines and wrinkles, improve texture and tone, and more.”
How often should you apply a night cream?
Eventually, you should apply your night cream every night–but you should start off slow, especially if your night cream has retinol in it.
"I usually recommend starting every two nights because dryness and irritation are going to be your top side effects," Swanson says. "The first six weeks [of using a night cream] isn't about the effects of it, but getting your skin used to using it."
Jacqueline Tempera is an award-winning writer and reporter living in New Jersey with her many pets. She is a business owner and a double Scorpio who loves all things astrology and reality television. She is passionate about body diversity and representation, mental health, and the fight to end sexual assault and harassment. To learn more about Jackie, follow her on Instagram @jacktemp or visit her website at jackietempera.com.
Neha Tandon is the senior commerce editor of Women's Health—she's an expert in discovering the best products and services you can buy and giving recommendations. She discovered her love for magazines when as a teen, she started stealing her mother's magazines. Determined to see more women who look like her and her family members on the glossy covers of magazines, she was guided by seasoned editors and mentors to write for brands including New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan, BRIDES, Harper's Bazaar, Business Insider, Byrdie, and Well+Good. When she’s not grilling dermatologists about the latest skincare trends, she’s doing candlelit yoga or watching Humphrey Bogart movies over vegan pizza. Follow her on Instagram.
Olivia Evans (she/her) is an editorial assistant at Women’s Health. Her work has previously appeared in The Cut and Teen Vogue. She loves covering topics where culture and wellness intersect. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, running, and watching rom-coms.
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