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Intelligent Beauty

The reasons you need a night cream

Verity Douglas
Writer and expert6 years ago
View Verity Douglas's profile

We all recognise the importance of day cream - whether yours is formulated to maintain moisture levels, minimise shine, protect from the sun or deflect pollutants - but you may have stopped to wonder, why is night cream necessary? How does it differ and do I really need both - or is it just an opportunity for skin care companies to sell me something else.

Well, the truth is that there's no reason you can't use day lotion at night-time however, day and night treatments are formulated differently - day creams generally 'protect' while night creams work hard to repair and regenerate - which is why they are usually richer in texture and brimming with potent reparative extracts to 'undo' the ravages wrought in the daytime.

You may also find that your skin requires 'special treatment' while you're sleeping - perhaps your environment is dehydrating, or you wake up looking lacklustre? It's worth taking time to establish your skin's nighttime needs; cleanse in the evening and go to bed naked-faced - when you wake up, head straight to the mirror and do an assessment. Do you have any dry patches? Does your complexion look red or feel sensitive? Are you looking a little 'deflated' - in which case, you might need something 'plumping'. Or does your skin feel oily and congested - in which case you should opt for something balancing.

Hormones/stress may also have an impact - it's worth acquiring a skin care wardrobe, to address the changing needs of your complexion. An oil will help to normalise, while a decadent cream will not only replenish much-needed moisture, but the act of 'going through the motions' provides a perfect opportunity for end-of-day 'me time', to help you relax and unwind before bed.

Conversely, night creams aren't strictly for 'night'. If your skin is particularly stressed, parched or sensitive, the souped-up formulations can deliver an intensive dose of conditioning nutrients - especially beneficial as we head towards the colder, winter months.

So, how do you know which one you need? Here are some recommendations:

If your skin is oily/combination, apply a normalising oil. SkinOwl's {Lavender Beauty Drops} help to control excessive sebum synthesis, while the soothing (all-natural) fragrance is incredibly aromatherapeutic. Or try Sarah Chapman's bestselling {Overnight Facial} - it's a certified A-List favourite that feels heavenly when applied and ensures you wake up looking otherworldly... trust us, it's a winner.

If you skin is congested/acne-prone, try something lightweight and detoxifying. Disciple Skincare's {Dreamy Skin} is a retinyl oil that helps to regulate and battle breakouts as it soothes and strengthens stressed-out and reactive skin types. Promising to 'sort your skin out', this has rapidly become a #TeamCultBeauty have-to-have.

For those prone to dullness, try something rich in brightening AHAs. LIXIRSKIN's {Night Switch PHA/AHA 10%} s a cocktail of lactobionic acid (polyhydroxy) – a potent antioxidant – phytic acid (to detox) and lactic acid – a component of skin’s NMFs (natural moisturising factors). There is a synergy between these acids, so it’s beneficial to combine them in this 'intelligent' blend which exfoliates gently, brightens pigmentation and boosts cell turnover to restore misplaced radiance.

Dehydrated? You need something brimming with glycerin or hyaluronic acid to optimise moisture-retention and recover skin's plumpness. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare's {Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion} stars both, to attract and retain much-needed water, with additional 'plumping' benefits.

If your skin is particularly dry and scaly, try something thick and nourishing - a cocktail of nut butters, oils and extracts will 'lock in' moisture and promote skin strength and elasticity. Omorovicza's {Rejuvenating Night Cream} is incredibly indulgent, while Allies of Skin's {1A Overnight Mask} is a nourishing 'pack' that seals all 'good things' in and keeps 'bad things' at bay so you skin care repair and recover its bloom.

And if you're concerned about skin ageing, The Ordinary's {"Buffet"} is a multi-peptide serum with a multitude of – anything but ordinary – benefits, this powerful all-in-one treatment tackles multiple signs of ageing. Featuring a comprehensive array of advanced anti-ageing technologies (including hyaluronic acid and Matrixyl 3000), this will become your time-turning skin care go-to.


Verity Douglas
Writer and expert
View Verity Douglas's profile
Cult Beauty’s Content Editor and a Cult Beauty OG, Verity loves nothing more than the marriage of language and lip balm. A quintessential Libran, she’s a self-professed magpie for luxury ‘must-haves' and always pursuing the new and the niche — from the boujee-est skin care to cutting-edge tech. Balancing an urge to stop the clock with her desire to embrace the ageing process (and set a positive example for her daughter), Verity's a retinol obsessive and will gladly share her thoughts about the time-defying gadgets, masks and treatments worth the splurge...