You may be happily drifting in dreamland during the wee hours, but inside your skin it’s a hive of activity. Nighttime is when skin carries out repair work on the damage that was inflicted during the day by UV rays, pollutants and other aggressors.
In fact, research has shown that cell regeneration nearly doubles at night, especially between 11pm and 2am. Skin is also more receptive to skincare ingredients in the dark, but tends to lose more moisture, especially if you sleep under air-conditioning.
In the, erm, light of all this, we’ve come up with a list of some of the best night creams that will help skin recharge and renew overnight.
This fluffy-light detoxifying moisturiser protects skin from external stressors so it can focus on the business of repair and recovery. It’s packed with antioxidants derived from lotus flowers that are hand-picked and freshly pressed at the farm, thereby preserving the potency of their active molecules.
This is a creamy passionfruit night treatment that’s chockfull of gentle skin-exfoliating acids and hyalruonic acid. A light layer every night puts dull, dehydrated skin to bed.
This cream is part of a Kanebo skincare line that reportedly follows your biological rhythms to deliver different kind of care at different hours.
Its star ingredient: the Night Botanical Complex, which works to counter skin damage by pollutants.
Its formulation is specifically designed to lock in moisture, and was inspired by vernix – a fatty substance that protects babies in their mother’s womb and has high water-retaining properties.
Even the cream’s scent (an apple-and-pearish fragrance derived from Japanese and Chinese tea flowers) is intended to help you relax and pack you off to sleep.
$130, from Kanebo counters islandwide
Oils do wonders for the complexion, because not only are they packed with essential nutrients, they also have a high affinity with skin. Meaning: those nutrients can actually sink in.
This cushiony but lightweight cream is packed with three seed oils rich in antioxidants, omega 3 and 6, and oleic acid.
On top of that, it also has seven essential oils like lavender, chamomile and geranium which are well-known for their relaxing therapeutic effects. Fast-absorbing and non-sticky, it’s a great way to incorporate oils into your routine if you’re not keen on applying them directly as facial oils.
$59.90, from all The Body Shop outlets
Here, its immense antioxidant properties have been put to use to support skin’s natural repair processes at night.
The formula has been boosted with a vitamin-based blend, as well as intensive moisturisers such as shea butter, cocoa butter and glycerin. Together, they help to smooth lines, even skin tone and brighten so you wake up looking more rested and radiant.
$272, from all Elizabeth Arden counters islandwide
This cream promises to address all of that. Organic extracts from the Montpellier rock-rose (nicknamed the “phoenix plant” from the way it sprouts from ashes after a fire) and a Madagascan “healing tree” called Harungana are said to help restore weakened fibroblasts to health, bringing about a more even complexion with reduced age spots and denser, firmer skin.
Price unavailable, from Clarins counters islandwide
The multi beauty award-winner (96 to be exact) boasts eight anti-ageing ingredients such as centella, white birch extract and linoleic acid that work in combination to help boost collagen production, amp up skin’s metabolism to prevent sagging, fight free radical damage and prevent dehydration.
After eight weeks, look forward to improved luminosity, a more defined jawline and facial contours and smoother, tauter-looking skin. Use it over your neck and decollete too to minimise the look of wrinkles and crepey skin.
$115, from Clinique counters nationwide
Sun exposure and free radicals don’t just set off dark spots and dull skin tone, they also figure in problems such as dehydration, redness and collagen damage. That is why this multi-talented moisturiser has been designed to not only brighten and clarify your complexion, but address these other concerns as well.
How it works: it encourages the production of an anti-inflammatory agent that tackles damage caused by UV rays and other external stimuli, thereby boosting skin’s natural repair . On top of that, this cream also contains Shiseido’s sakura-based whitening complex, which can reportedly block the skin signals that create melanin as well as deliver anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory benefits.
$115, from Shiseido counters islandwide
Very dry or dehydrated skin will love this. Rich and comforting, it provides an immediate hydration boost while strengthening the moisture barrier and building up skin’s moisture reservoir over time.
Almost all the key ingredients in this are geared towards moisturisation, from the exotic Rose of Jericho – a desert plant that can “come back to life” from a dried, dormant state with just a drop of water – to proven skin thirst-quenchers like mango butter, trehalose and liquorice leaf.
Bonus: a soothing essential oil blend of spear mint, sweet orange and lavender to lull you to sweet sleep.
$82, from Origins counters islandwide
Rich and luxurious, this anti-wrinkle firming cream is a godsend for mature or very dry skin. And, get this, it was formulated based on space biology research, which studies the effects that being in space has on the body.
In other words, it’s made to deal with skin deterioration induced by extreme conditions like being in zero gravity. Weighty or what?
For us regular users, what we can look forward to is smoother, tauter skin with increased plumpness and decreased lines. By strengthening the skin structure and boosting fibroblast activity so that more collagen and elastin gets produced, the cream helps to restore skin firmness and density, giving your skin back its youthful bounce.
$165, from all Lancome counters islandwide
Fix dull, rough and dehydrated skin with this deeply moisturising cream. Its blend of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) helps to slough off dead skin for smoother, more refined skin texture and less visible pores. The rich texture means a little goes a long way, especially for those with oily and combination skin.
For those with spare cash – a lot of it – or a belief that your skin is among the best investments you can make, this insanely pricey skin saviour is the big gun.
Backed by Cle de Peau Beaute’s most advanced R&D, it’s drawn plenty of rave reviews from users who swear to waking up with smoother skin sans puffiness within a few days of using it.
While most anti-ageing creams work on boosting collagen production or speeding up cell renewal, this focuses on strengthening skin’s lymphatic channels – the tiny capillaries that function as a drainage system to remove toxins and waste material. According to the brand, age and environmental aggressors will cause these channels to weaken.
When that happens, waste builds up, skin’s functions are compromised, and you get a whole cascade of ageing symptoms.
Apart from its reported wrinkle-smoothing and firming prowess, it’s also chock full of moisture-retaining ingredients and brightening actives so you also tackle concerns like dehydration and dark spots in one fell swoop.
$1,800, from Cle de Peau Beaute counters at Takashimaya and Tangs