Is there still room for heavy night cream in a modern-day skin regimen? I think the answer is yes, albeit not a resounding one. The best night creams out on the market today boast sophisticated, modern formulas, and they contain the same mixture of highly researched and trendy ingredients that you’ll find in other products.
1. OleHenriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Crème
This thick night cream totally renews the skin with a collection of active ingredients. Bakuchiol has been touted as an alternative to retinol, and we’re certainly impressed by its ability to soften fine lines and fight pigmentation. This night cream also contains AHA to exfoliate and promote cell turnover. While it does have a rich, hydrating texture, it is free of comedogenic ingredients so it should work for everyone. Reported results include: more luminous skin, reduction in breakouts, and smoother texture. Buy it from Sephora!
2. Paula’s Choice Defense Nightly Reconditioning Moisturizer
A vast collection of antioxidants, some peptides and barrier-forming ceramides are the secret to the skin-protecting and anti-aging effects of this night moisturizer. It has a light texture between lotion and cream, making it an awesome choice for those with oily or combination skin that would like to treat the early signs of aging without overloading their skin with greasy creams.
It comes in a squeeze tube, which already makes it one of the best night creams for anyone who is over unhygienic jar packaging, which requires a spatula. Those with sensitive skin might find that it’s a little too powerful for them. Order it online from Net-a-Porter!
3. Strivectin Advanced Retinol Intensive Night Moisturizer
If you’re looking to start using retinol, this might be the best night cream for you to start with. Notably, this night moisturizer seems to work well even for those who are sensitive or acne-prone despite its heavy and creamy texture. The retinol in it, especially when paired with NIA-114 (similar to niacinamide), does wonders for improving skin texture, acne bumps, and fine lines, particularly after sustained use. It comes in a squeeze tube, which we love, and is as moisturizing as possible. Pick it up from Ulta!
4. Ren Clean Skincare Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm
The focus with this natural formula was on making the best night cream for those with sensitive skin. This moisturizer has the texture of a thick balm so those with oily skin may not love it, even though the ingredients themselves are fine for everyone. It utilizes calendula extract and beta-glucan to soothe inflammation and diminish redness in the skin.
This night cream contains plant oil glycerides to soften the skin and prevent moisture loss without causing breakouts or clogging pores. I would recommend using it in conjunction with a hydrating serum or essence for an extra dose of moisture. You can buy it through Net-a-Porter.
5. Lancôme Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Lifting and Firming Night Moisturizer Cream
This wonderful night cream is ideal for those with dry, maturing and sensitive skin, while those with acne-prone skin should probably avoid it. It is meant to lift and firm the skin, although in practice it likely works by simply plumping it up with a dose of hydrators and then keeping them in the skin with the help of apricot oil and silicone. It has a mild rose scent that will put you in a great mood before bed. You can buy it from Nordstrom.
6. Omorovicza Rejuvenating Night Cream
Do expensive products work because they’re better formulated or because of some placebo effect? We’re not sure, but we do know that this night cream has thousands of adoring fans. The formula is an elegant and natural one, filled with super-antioxidant extracts and oils as well as barrier-repairing probiotics. The texture is silky smooth, and the ingredients are mostly non-comedogenic so it should work well for everyone except for the super acne-prone. It is available at Nordstrom.
7. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Dream Night Cream
This is a lighter take on night creams that will surely be cherished by those who don’t like that greasy feeling! It gives thorough hydration without feeling heavy and contains some really lovely plant extracts to nourish and soothe the skin. The formula does contain a bit fragrance, so while it smells beautiful it might not work for everyone. It’s a great choice for dry, normal, and oily skin types! You can get it from Sephora.
8. Caudalie Vinoperfect Brightening Glycolic Overnight Cream
This is one of the best night creams for fading pigmentation, as it combines glycolic acid and viniferine, a grapevine sap extract patented by Caudalie that has been shown to fade pigmentation. Despite the heavy-duty ingredients, the formulation itself is quite gentle and soothing to the skin, with lots of hydrators and light oils. It should work for all skin types and will be especially appreciated by those who prefer natural products. It is available at Sephora.
9. Tula Probiotic Skincare Hydrating Day & Night Cream
Making products with probiotic ingredients is one of the more interesting recent skin care trends in recent years. Various fermented extracts are used in cosmetics to load the skin up with good bacteria, which has been shown to hydrate and soothe the skin quite effectively.
Beyond those ferments, however, this light and non-greasy gel-cream also contains retinol’s gentle cousin retinyl palmitate, soothing turmeric extract, and a ton of antioxidants. While it is promoted as a day and night cream, keep in mind that it won’t provide sun protection. This night cream should work for all skin types including the very sensitive or acne-prone, although those prone to fungal skin issues should avoid it. Pick it up at Nordstrom!
10. Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Overnight Recharging & Refining Moisturizer
Before I jump into the details, let’s make it clear: this is not your grandmother’s night cream. It’s a serious product with some powerful active ingredients, and would be the best night cream for those who are looking for a real resurfacing effect.
The main ingredient here is glycolic acid, at a percentage that exfoliates the skin very effectively. It also contains mandelic acid and vitamin C for some additional renewing, anti-aging and brightening effects.
While it is an incredible anti-aging and brightening night cream, and though it does have a creamy texture, it’s still not the most moisturizing option on this list, so we’d recommend it to those who have normal or combination skin with either texture issues, dead skin build-up or fine lines. Some folks do find that it tingles the first few times they use it, while for others it’s simply too strong so make sure to patch test it first. You can buy it from Sephora.
11. Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream
The power of vitamin A is the secret to this night cream’s efficacy. It evens out the skin’s tone and textures and helps fade fine lines and shallow wrinkles. There is also some hyaluronic acid in the mix to hydrate and plump up the skin, and quite a few antioxidant-imbued extracts to protect.
The amount of retinol in this night cream is high enough that some customers note that it made their skin flakey after they’ve used it. If you’re newer to retinols you’ll likely want to use it just a few nights a week rather than every night. We think it should work for all skin types, though you might prefer something richer for other nights if your skin is very dry. It is sold via Sephora.
12. Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream
For many people the best night creams have shorter ingredient lists, as this means they are less likely to irritate or cause breakouts. While this night moisturizer does have a pretty short list of ingredients, the ones in here are impactful: a large amount of antioxidant-rich seaweed extract and lots of hyaluronic acid to keep the skin plump and well-moisturized. It’s one of the few totally oil-free night moisturizers on this list, as well, and it should absolutely work for all skin types – especially the very sensitive. It is available at Nordstrom.
13. Eve Lom Time Retreat Intensive Night Cream
Eve Lom is a brand that generates a lot of buzz, perhaps because of its dreamy white packaging or maybe because the products are just lovely, despite the price tag. This night cream is an anti-aging multi-tasker, containing a bit of retinol, hyaluronic acid, and dipeptide.
The formula is very creamy and hydrating, with a light lavender scent, and it should work nicely for all skin types. It’s a great blend of proven actives and natural extracts that should appeal to a very wide variety of people. You can find it on Net-a-Porter.
14. Herbivore Moon Fruit Superfruit Night Treatment
That gorgeous glass packaging, the lavender color, the all-natural and exotic formula – this is truly a night cream for the Instagram age. The formula is thick and creamy, loaded with ingredients like kokum and shea butter, and it smells sweet and fruity.
It takes a bit of massaging to become fully absorbed, and a small amount of product goes a very long way, but you will be happy to wake up with soft, nourished skin thanks to the aforementioned butters as well as a few other incredible natural ingredients. This night moisturizer should work for all skin types, although the formula doesn’t always play nicely with silicone or gel-based skin care products applied beneath it.
Please note that since this night cream is preserved with natural ingredients you definitely do not want to dispense it with anything other than a clean small spatula – some customers have complained that it will go bad especially if used or kept in unsanitary conditions. You might also want to keep it in the fridge in order to increase its shelf life. Get it at Sephora!
15. NARS Restorative Night Treatment
This night moisturizer is more of a balm that melts into an oil, a product category I would recommend only to those with dry, non-acne-prone skin. This is because balms are comprised primarily of oils, and in the case of this one the main oil is soothing, vitamin E-rich almond oil, which is fabulous for dry skin but won’t really work for other skin types.
Despite it being an oily formula, the texture itself is actually light and sinks into the skin quickly. It does contain some notable anti-aging ingredients like the extract of alaria, a type of seaweed rich in antioxidants. It is best used in combination with a hydrating toner or essence. You can order it from Net-a-Porter.
16. CeraVe Skin Renewing Night Cream
Night creams are often very expensive, so if you’re on a budget this would be the best night cream for you to choose. It might not have the most beautiful packaging, but the formula within it makes it a worthy competitor for any one of the other creams on this list.
It contains some luxurious anti-aging ingredients like hyaluronic acid and a few different peptides, along with some more low-key ones that are extremely effective at improving skin texture and hydration, like niacinamide, ceramides, saccharides, and shea butter. It’s a phenomenal formula for all skin types that moisturizes very thoroughly while helping to prevent premature aging. Buy it from Ulta!
17. SkinCeuticals Renew Overnight Dry
Formulated specifically for dry skin, this night moisturizer is rich, creamy and silky smooth. Silky smooth is also the condition it’ll get your skin in! This might be the most elegant formula on this list, with a range of ingredients meant to restore the skin’s barrier and to hydrate it thoroughly. This gentle night cream should also work for those with sensitive or irritated skin, since it contains a high amount of healing vitamin E. Order it online from Dermstore!
18. Algenist Overnight Restorative Cream
If you’re worried about losing firmness and elasticity in your skin, this is probably the best night cream to try. It is formulated with algae polysaccharides (trademarked by Algenist as alguronic acid) that have been shown to do a fabulous job of hydrating the skin and boosting its firmness.
This night moisturizer contains a few other anti-aging yet non-aggressive powerhouses like vitamin C and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. This is the best option for those with dry and maturing skin that cannot tolerate resurfacing actives like retinol or AHA. This night cream is available at Sephora.
19. Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon Night Gel-Cream
The unique thing about this night cream is its fragrance, which comes from lavender and patchouli and is meant to create a sense of calm that should ease you into sleep. The texture is creamy but silicone-based so it doesn’t feel greasy at all and it does a great job of locking moisture into the skin.
There are also a lot of natural extracts rich in antioxidants in the blend, to prevent free-radical damage. It’s perfectly fine for all skin types, as well! Oh, and don’t let the squat packaging fool you – this night cream actually comes in a unique squeeze jar that keeps things super hygienic! Find it at Sephora!
20. Glytone Age-Defying Antioxidant Night Cream
I think that having a night cream that doubles as a chemical exfoliant can make life very easy. This night moisturizer is creamy without being heavy and should work for everyone except those are sensitive to glycolic acid, which is the main ingredient here. Overnight, the moisturizer will slough away dead skin and promote cell regeneration to improve skin texture, luminosity, and youthfulness.
It also contains shea butter to smooth and soften the skin, xylitylglucoside and glycerin to hydrate, and peptides to give some more anti-aging power. If your skin is not used to chemical exfoliation, this is the kind of night cream to start using slowly, just two or three times a week. Pick up a jar from Dermstore!
21. Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream
This is touted as one of the best night creams for those with sensitive skin, and there are great examples to prove it. The star ingredient in this cream is centella asiatica, an extract with potent skin-soothing capabilities that can calm irritated skin near instantly.
The formula is creamy and super moisturizing, but light enough to work for oily skin. Those with active breakouts will relish its ability to calm down the redness associated with acne. It is also phenomenal for mitigating the drying or irritating effects of harsh skin treatments. It comes in a squeeze tube that is sold at Sephora.
Photos via @elle_ferguson, Sephora, Nordstrom, Ulta