We have some thoughts.
Night creams are a polarising topic amongst those of us who consider skincare to be more of a hobby than a matter of personal hygiene. Ask whether they’re necessary and you’ll get one of two answers: a strong yes or a strong no.
Many swear by them as the fastest way to fake a glowing complexion. (They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing.) Others put night creams in the ‘marketing spin’ pile next to skincare fridges and primer for your eyelids.
But seriously: do you really need to use a night cream? To help get to the bottom of this age-old beauty dilemma once and for all, we asked renowned celebrity facialist and CHANEL Skincare Expert Melanie Grant to share her professional opinion.
“A night cream is a hydrating medium applied as the final step in your evening regime,” Grant tells Gritty Pretty. “Ideally, it’s layered over serums to lock in actives and assist in facilitating healthy skin functions of regeneration and repair overnight while you sleep.”
Often, it’s ingredients that separate a night formula from a day formula. “Night creams are often fortified with ingredients to correct and repair overnight, whereas day creams are more geared towards protection and prevention.” When you sleep, cell renewal is 30 times more active than during the day, making this the perfect time to boost your skin with anti-ageing ingredients.
When it comes to ingredients, “look for lipids, antioxidants and even potent botanical extracts that will work hard on your behalf to yield results while still allowing your skin to function optimally while you sleep,” Grant says.
Yes and no — it depends on the formula and whether or not it has photosensitising ingredients including “AHAs, BHAs, enzymes, fruit acids, vitamin A derivatives and some botanical extracts like St John’s wort.” These ingredients can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, irritation, redness and dark spots so if they’re in your night cream, it’s best to wear it at night. However, if the formula is “clean and simple” there’s no reason you couldn’t wear it during the day.
Convinced? If you’re ready to take the plunge, Grant endorses CHANEL’s new Le Lift Crème de Nuit ($225). “It’s rich in antioxidants, minerals, amino acids and trace elements like those found in alfalfa concentrate, all of which work to boost barrier function and the skin’s defenses against oxidative stress and irritants.” Le Lift Crème de Nuit is gentle enough for sensitive skin types that can’t tolerate retinol and is “really effective at firming, toning and promoting optimal cell function, without sensitising the complexion.”
Recently, cult-favourite brand It Cosmetics released their take on a night cream, aptly named: Confidence In Your Beauty Sleep ($79). This non-comedogenic formula contains hyaluronic acid, jojoba seed oil and ceramides to hydrate, soothe and plump skin while you snooze. Meanwhile, the calming scent of lavender instantly relaxes a wired mind.
On the more budget-friendly end of the spectrum, Olay Regenerist RETINOL24 Facial Moisturiser ($59.99) does its best work overnight with a little help from retinol. A firm favourite of dermatologists everywhere, retinol is an anti-ageing powerhouse: it helps speed up cell turnover which reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
Tell us, do you use a night cream? And if so, which one is your favourite?