Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (2023)

So, you've done your homework on the correct skincare routine. You know exactly what to apply and when. You've bought a good cleanser, a serum that meets your skin's needs and found the best facial sunscreen that you gladly use every day – now you need the best night cream for your skin type.

This last step of your nighttime routine is arguably one of the most important, so it's vital that you find the right cream to suit your skin's needs. We recommend that you start using one from your twenties onwards. Trust us, your skin will thank you for it.

But before we get into what makes the best night cream, as experts in all things beauty, here on the Marie Claire UK beauty desk, we know that the best way to get into a routine with a product is to really understand its importance. To help shed some light on exactly why a night cream is so important to your evening routine, we've enlisted the help of some of the industry's most esteemed skin experts. Here's everything you need to know.

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If you're after one of the best night creams (and a little discount) then you're in luck. These products have all made it to our list of the best and are currently on offer. So, what are you waiting for? Get shopping!

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (1)

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum, now £57.29 was £81.65 | Amazon

Yes, it's technically a serum, but it's so good that one sells almost every 10 seconds. Our Senior Beauty Editor, Katie Thomas swears by it and says "it really, actually, works". Give it a go, you won't look back.

Why is night cream so important?

Can't I just use the best moisturiser from my morning skincare routine, we hear you ask? Our skin actually behaves quite differently while we sleep, so your nighttime formula should be tailored to those needs.

"A number of physiological changes occur in the skin overnight," explains consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Kluk. Our skin is affected by our circadian rhythm. "The skin blood flow rate has been shown to increase in the late afternoon and evening," she continues. "Higher melatonin levels at night are associated with hair growth, suppression of ultraviolet (UV) damage in skin cells and better wound healing."

Essentially, your skin goes into repair mode while you're catching those all-important eight hours. Dr Kluk elaborates: "The repair of skin cells with DNA damage from the sun appears to peak at night. Skin permeability is also higher in the evening than in the morning, leading to increased moisture loss."

This is why what we apply to skin before we turn the lights off at night is so important. We need to ensure that the products we apply aid, rather than hinder, this process.

"By understanding the basic principles of the circadian rhythm, including skin changes throughout the day, we can better organise our routines by applying skin care products at optimal times of the day," she continues. "For example, sunscreen during the day to reduce UV damage, retinol at night for optimised DNA repair and richer moisturisers at night to remedy increased transepidermal moisture loss."

What's the difference between day and night cream?

So, how different does my night cream need to be, we hear you ask? It's all about consistency and ingredient type.

Kate Somerville, Hollywood's go-to aesthetician, sums it up nicely: "Day creams tend to be lightweight and may have an SPF to protect your skin from the sun. They should also be less greasy, which is ideal for make-up application. Night creams tend to be heavier, with no SPF, and include ingredients such as retinol and glycolic acid, which helps polish your skin and promote cell renewal."

Facial aesthetics specialist Dr Pamela Benito agrees: "A nighttime moisturiser will help to maintain your skin's health and reduce the signs of ageing. With a thicker and richer consistency, night moisturisers tend to include a larger concentration of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, retinol and peptides."

"Night is when cells need nutrients the most and when their anti-ageing benefits have maximum impact," she continues. "Skin sebum production is lower at night and, when you don’t have a protective layer of natural oils on your skin, you lose more water."

What's more, "Due to their slow-absorbing nature, night creams can gradually penetrate the skin throughout the night. This means they're able to moisturise, repair and rebalance the skin for a clear and healthy complexion."

What makes the best night cream... the best?

Now that you're well-versed in the importance of night cream, you're probably now wondering which ingredients to look out for on the label. "I look for ingredients such as peptides, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, emollients, antioxidants, retinol – depending on your skin type of course," says Somerville.

"Those with dry skin look for something really creamy, while if you have oily skin, I'd recommend an oil-free moisturiser. And for sensitive skin, you should use a product with ceramides," she adds.

The best night creams: as tried and tested by our beauty editors

Finding a good night cream is tricky and difficult to do, we get it. Luckily, our Beauty Editor has rigorously trialled and tested many, many in her time to try and give you a comprehensive round-up of the best night creams to suit you and your skin's needs.

Testing against the above criteria as outlined by skin experts, we've pulled together a list of the 18 best night creams out there are the moment. The best bit? There's something for every budget, skin type and routine.

1. Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (2)

(Image credit: Very)

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturiser

Best drugstore buy

Reasons to buy

+

Relatively affordable

+

Hardworking actives

+

Proven ingredients

Reasons to avoid

-

Not ideal for sensitive or reactive skin

-

Can't be used with other ingredients such as, alpha-hydroxy acids

If your main concerns are fine lines and uneven skin tone, then this little pot of joy promises to take away those worries. We all know that retinol is one powerful anti-ageing ingredient, and when that's combined with vitamin B3 (also known as niacinamide) you've got an all guns blazing formula. The retinol takes care of those pesky lines, whilst vitamin B3 improves skin tone with every use. "This is such a brilliant and affordable night cream," says Katie Thomas, Senior Beauty Editor. "Skin looks and feels more youthful and I guarantee that you'll end up buying quite a few more pots."

2. No7 Future Renew Night Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (3)

(Image credit: No7)

No7 Future Renew Night Cream

Best peptide night cream

Reasons to buy

+

Hardworking peptides tackle an array of skin concerns

+

Lightweight, melting texture

Reasons to avoid

-

Works best when using the other products in the collection

If you're after a relatively affordable night cream that delivers luxury results, look no further. Acting Senior Beauty Editor, Shannon Lawlor has named this her favourite night cream of the year so far. "I like my skincare products to do it all—I can't be bothered with layering product after product. The No7 Future Renew Night Cream has proven to be the best addition I've made to my skincare routine this year. With a whole bunch of peptides, it makes my skin look more alive, plump and healthy."

3. The Inkey List C-50 Night Treatment

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (4)

(Image credit: Cult Beauty)

The Inkey List C-50 Night Treatment

Best night cream for oily skin

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

+

Great at reducing excess oil

+

Helps to prevent breakouts

Reasons to avoid

-

Doesn't look particularly pretty on the shelf

-

Not ideal for skin prone to dryness/irritation

Cult skincare brand The Inkey List is loved both for its straightforward approach to skincare and the purse-friendly price tags. The C-50 Night Treatment is a two-pronged attack against blemishes: sodium ascorbyl phosphate (AKA a form of vitamin C) works to reduce the visibility of blemishes, while salicylic acid helps to decongest pores and reduce oil production. It's just as important to use a night cream specifically for your skin type, as it is using the best moisturiser for oily skin.

4. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (5)

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair

Best night serum

Reasons to buy

+

Global bestseller

+

Suitable for every skin type

+

Hydrating but not heavy

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Heavy packaging

-

Not rich enough to use alone (without a cream) if your skin type is dry

Yes, yes, we know – *technically* this is a serum, but seeing as this wonder nighttime product is one of the best-loved in existence and sells 10 per minute around the world, it's deserving of a mention. Enriched with super hydrator hyaluronic acid and non pore-clogging, you'll wake to smoother fine lines and plumper skin. "I couldn't put together a list of best night products and not include ANR," says Katie. "Why does it have such a cult following? Well because it really does work. It's like a magic potion that tackles uneven skin tone, firmness, hydration, lines and radiance. I love it."

5. Caudalie Vinoperfect Dark Spot Correcting Glycolic Night Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (6)

(Image credit: Cult Beauty)

Caudalie Vinoperfect Dark Spot Correcting Glycolic Night Cream

Best for pigmentation

Reasons to buy

+

Contains hardworking actives

+

Visibly reduces dark spots

+

Non-greasy texture

Reasons to avoid

-

Not suitable for sensitive skin

-

Can turn reactive skin a little red at first

Skin pigmentation is a common issue for many people in the UK. This is why so many night creams contain glycolic acid, as it's the ideal overnight exfoliator. It's the smallest AHA molecule, so is able to penetrate deep into the skin and encourage cell turnover for a smooth finish. "I have a few areas of pigmentation, but nothing that worries me too much," Katie says. "I love using this because of how soft my skin feels when I wake up the next morning. Baby's bottoms spring to mind."

6. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (7)

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream

Best for plumping and smoothing

Reasons to buy

+

Full of hardworking active ingredients

+

Rich, hydrating texture

+

Refillable

+

Looks pretty on the shelf

Reasons to avoid

-

Bulky packaging

-

Expensive

Banish dullness, drench skin in moisture and restore its bounce with Tilbury's balmy blend of retinol, peptides and botanicals. This is hands down one of the best moisturisers for dry skin.

7. L'Oréal Paris Dermo Expertise Triple Active Hydrating Night Moisturiser

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (8)

(Image credit: Lookfantastic)

L'Oréal Paris Dermo Expertise Triple Active Hydrating Night Moisturiser

Best for dehydrated skin

Reasons to buy

+

Lightweight but deeply hydrating

+

Fresh texture

+

Affordable

+

Suitable for all skin types

Reasons to avoid

-

No targeted actives

-

Lacks luxury bonus points

If skin is eternally parched, there are three key ingredients that can reverse the situation: glycerin, which is deeply moisturising, plus omegas 3 and 6 to calm and help improve skin texture. You'll find them all in this non-greasy gel/cream.

8. Formula Sleep & Replenish Ultimate Sleep Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (9)

(Image credit: Marks and Spencer)

Formula Sleep & Replenish Ultimate Sleep Cream

Best for tired skin

Reasons to buy

+

Great value for money

+

Over 500 5-star reviews

+

Suitable for all skin types

Reasons to avoid

-

No specific actives for targeted issues

This is the night cream that M&S customers have been raving about for years. In a way, it's like the beauty industry's hidden little secret. Why is it so brilliant? Well because it's been labelled eight hours sleep in a pot, for its remarkable ability to basically recharge your skin's batteries. There are essential peptides and antioxidants in the formula that help to improve your skin's overall appearance so that you wake up looking like you've had your full eight (even if you haven't).

"I recently moved house and couldn't find any of my skincare," says Katie. "I found this at work and brought it home and honestly, I am now hooked. I have a toddler and another baby on the way and this might just be my #1 new mum recommendation."

9. Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (10)

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Clarins Multi-Active Night Cream

Best all-rounder

Reasons to buy

+

Luxurious

+

Beautifully hydrating

+

Glow-boosting

Reasons to avoid

-

No science-backed, line-minimising actives (i.e. retinol), despite fine-line claims

This being Clarins, expect technology powered by plant extracts. In this case, Golden Poppy has been found to revive skin's radiance even if you didn't get much shut-eye. You can also choose between normal to dry skin and normal to combination, which is incredibly handy.

10. StriVectin Advanced Retinol Nightly Renewal Moisturizer

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (11)

(Image credit: Sephora)

StriVectin Advanced Retinol Nightly Renewal Moisturizer

Best retinol night cream

Reasons to buy

+

Science-backed actives

+

Fast results

+

Smooths skin texture effectively

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Requires a tolerance build-up

Here's our Marie Claire Skin Awards Best Night Cream 2021 winner. It was given the top award by judges, after they applauded it for the best over-the-counter retinol product. It combines both retinal and retinol to help tackle fine lines, as well as skin soothing ingredients to prevent irritation.

11. Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (12)

(Image credit: Cult Beauty)

Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

Best for irritated skin

Reasons to buy

+

Gentle formula

+

Deeply hydrating

+

Suitable for all skin types

+

Barrier supporting

Reasons to avoid

-

Relatively expensive

-

Too rich for oily skin

If you think of your skin as bricks and mortar, ceramides are the mortar that seals in moisture. They are integral for a healthy and balanced skin barrier, which you need intact for happy and glowy skin. You'll find plenty of these in there – plus marula oil, which is like a tall drink for thirsty, sensitive skin.

12. Elemis Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Night Genius

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (13)

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Elemis Ultra Smart Pro-Collagen Night Genius

Best for mature skin

Reasons to buy

+

Extremely luxurious

+

Barrier-supporting

+

High-tech antioxidant benefits

Reasons to avoid

-

Eye-wateringly expensive

-

Potentially too rich for oily skin

This night-time moisturiser from Elemis is an important all-round restorative addition to your night routine. It helps to boost and repair skin that has been damaged by daily external aggressors. And being 'Ultra Smart' helps to build up your skin’s resilience over time.

13. Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream

Best luxury night cream

Reasons to buy

+

Cult buy

+

Celebrities and beauty editors adore it

+

Intense antioxidant benefits

+

Impressively glow-boosting and plumping

Reasons to avoid

-

Eye-wateringly expensive

-

Not ideal for oily skin

So skin goes into recovery mode when you're asleep. Fact. Augustinus Bader's The Rich Cream is made up using the brand's famous patented Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8), which heals skin. Fact. So when you put a healing cream onto the skin that's repairing, you have a winning combination. A third and final fact. "Yes, it's a punchy price and we only recommend you spend this much on beauty if you can," Katie says. "However, it is a brilliant product and I trust the science completely."

14. Lumene Arctic Hydra Care Rich Night Balm

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (15)

(Image credit: Lookfantastic)

Lumene Arctic Hydra Care Rich Night Balm

Best for dry skin

Reasons to buy

+

Intensely rich

+

Luxurious feel

+

Barrier-supporting

+

Soothing

Reasons to avoid

-

No targeted active ingredients

-

Not suitable for oily skin

Winter can wreak havoc with our skin. Being outside in the bitter cold is aggressive, but then coming in warm central heating is an aggressor itself. You might have incredibly well-behaved skin in summer, but consider investing in a night cream that looks after skin when the climate drops. Lumene's new night cream reinforces the skin barrier, making for a very happy complexion.

15. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (16)

(Image credit: Very)

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

Best for retinol newbies

Reasons to buy

+

Gentle enough for reactive skin

+

Improves skin texture and uneven pigmentation

+

Glow-boosting

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Not ideal for nightly use on sensitive skin to start with

Overnight is when you want to use the powerhouse ingredient retinol. Murad's version releases three different vitamin A derivatives into the skin at different rates to tackle lines, pigmentation and slackness. Algae extracts act as a buffer against dryness and irritation.

16. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Comfort Cream D-Stress

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (17)

(Image credit: John Lewis)

Sarah Chapman Skinesis Comfort Cream D-Stress

Best night cream for sensitive skin

Reasons to buy

+

Suitable for all skin types

+

Soothing

+

Deeply hydrating without being too rich

+

Visibly plumping

+

Antioxidant benefits

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

-

Not a very big pot

Sarah Chapman's facials are legendary – just ask Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. For those of us not on her books, her product range is the next best thing. Her night cream is one of her heroes, because of how healing it is. Ideal for those with sensitive skin, it reduces inflammations, calms redness and strengthens the skin's barrier. It also works really nicely on skin that's suffering in the winter. Comfort, as it says on the pot, is what this cream is all about. "This is my go-to night cream in winter," Katie says. "My skinalwayshas a freak out in mid-winter and this is the only cream that I trust to calm it down and bring it back to life."

17. Decree Treat Tincture

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (18)

(Image credit: Net-A-Porter)

Decree Treat Tincture

Best 'does-it-all' formula

Reasons to buy

+

Science-backed, line-minimising actives

+

All-in-one product

+

Noticeably plumping

Reasons to avoid

-

Very expensive

-

Not hydrating enough to use alone (without a cream) if your skin type is dry

This brand was created to simplify skincare routines. Which is why there are so many incredible ingredients in just one night serum. Although it's a serum (rather than a cream), it works really hard. A stem cell blend, a retinoid complex and hydrating whizz-kids squalane and hyaluronic acid. Meant to be used every single night, it's a step you'll never regret introducing once you start seeing the difference in the plumpness, tone and firmness of your skin.

18. Aveeno Calm + Restore Re-hydrating Night Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (19)

(Image credit: Aveeno)

Aveeno Calm + Restore Re-hydrating Night Cream

Best fragrance free night cream

Reasons to buy

+

Affordable

+

Nourishes the skin’s moisture barrier

+

Suitable for sensitive skin

+

Fragrance free

Reasons to avoid

-

Doesn't look particularly pretty on the shelf

If you have sensitive skin that doesn't react well to fragrance, then we recommend this night cream by Aveeno. "I have to be so careful with what I put on my skin," says Grace Lindsay, Marie Claire UK's Beauty Writer. "This Aveeno cream leaves my skin feeling softer than ever without irritating it, and it's become an absolute staple in my evening skincare routine."

19. EviDenS de Beauté The Night Recovery Solution

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (20)

(Image credit: Harrods)

EviDenS de Beauté The Night Recovery Solution

Best night mask

Reasons to buy

+

Refreshing gel-like texture

+

Noticeably plumping

Reasons to avoid

-

Expensive

Ok, so this is technically more of an overnight mask than a night cream, but that doesn't mean we love it any less. It has a refreshing, gel-like texture that feels incredible to apply after a long day, and works overnight to boost the skin's natural cell renewal process. The result? Smooth, soft and plump skin in the morning.

20. Liz Earle Skin Repair Night Cream

Experts say a hardworking night cream is essential for skin repair—these 20 are the best around (21)

(Image credit: Liz Earle)

Liz Earle Skin Repair Night Cream

Best botanical night cream

Reasons to buy

+

Lightweight gel-cream texture

+

Mind-soothing scent to help you drift off

+

Contains seed oils for glowing results

Reasons to avoid

-

Doesn't contain any particularly hardworking actives—it's all about hydration

"If you're looking for a no-fuss night cream that just makes your skin feel plump, soothed and hydrated, this one is for you. I'm all about a pre-bed skincare ritual and the beautiful botanical scent of and lightweight texture of this gel-cream helps to melt away the stresses of the day for the perfect night's sleep," says Acting Senior Beauty Editor, Shannon Lawlor.

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