EXPLAINER: What is a night cream and do you actually need one?

In a world full of lotions and cremes, figuring out what to put on your face can be confusing.

We know skincare is trendy and dewy, glowy skin is in. But we also know there are approximately 4,678,546 skincare products out there claiming to deliver just that.

In 2018, skincare pushed ahead of makeup in the beauty trends hierarchy and the ‘skin first, makeup second’ mentality is set to hold its ground well into 2019 and beyond. What does this mean for you? Well, many of your favourite skincare brands are now bringing out new and innovative products designed to work harder and deliver results.

Enter, night creams.

What are night creams and are they really different to, well, day creams? Glad you asked because we’re going to tell you.

Side note – during your sleep is the best time to give your skin the attention it deserves, here are seven ways to improve your skin while you snooze. Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

What is a night cream?

Just quietly, a night cream near you is about to rock your dreams.

Night creams are a step up from your average moisturiser. While they can come in different textures – mostly gels or thick creams – the thing all night creams have in common is they’re packed with active ingredients (i.e. ingredients that actually do things) to work on your skin while you’re sleeping.


Some of the most common ingredients you’ll find in night creams are retinol, hyaluronic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), as well as nourishing shea butter and natural oils. They also serve as a barrier between your skin and the outside world, trapping your serums in between and forcing them to penetrate deeper into your skin.

Generally, night creams come in a pot and can be applied with your fingers directly onto the skin. Unlike other hydrating masks that come in pots, night cream formulas absorb into the skin quickly so you can plop your head on your pillow and doze off without sticking to your pillowcase.

In short: Think of your night cream as the Yoda of anti-ageing, hydrating moisturisers.

We're loving this L'Oreal Revitalift Night Cream right now. Image: Supplied.

How to use a night cream.

How you use your night cream will depend on which one you choose - always follow the instructions, folks.

Typically, you'll apply a night cream right before going to sleep, after cleansing and the rest of your nightly skincare routine. It's the last thing you'll put on your face before bed. Give it a few minutes to absorb, but applying your night masks should feel like putting on a really nourishing moisturiser.

Most night creams can be applied every night, but again, always check the instructions. Some night creams contain powerful active ingredients your skin may need to get use to, so go slow if you see the words retinol, vitamin A or anything 'acid' in the ingredients list.

Best night creams.

Alrighty, now onto the fun bit.

Here are a bunch of very excellent night creams to add to your evening skincare routine. From affordable supermarket bargains to exxy investment products, we've got you sorted.

L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Laser Night Cream, $44.95.

Image: Chemist Warehouse

Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask, $56.

Image: Clinique.

REN Evercalm Overnight Recovery Balm, $80.


Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream, $65 for 15ml.

Image: Charlotte Tilbury.

Lancome Génifique Night Cream, $148.

Image: Mecca.

asap Anti-ageing Night Cream, $65.

Image: Adore Beauty.

Weleda Skin Food, $14.95.

Image: Weleda.

Dermalogica Sound Sleep Cocoon Transformative Night Gel-Cream, $120.

Image: Dermalogica.

Have you got a good night cream to recommend? Tell us in the comments.


Disclaimer: L'Oreal is a sponsor of Mamamia's You Beauty podcast, and we really do love their night cream!