Whether you’re just starting to notice the first signs of aging or wrinkles, loss of tone, and textural changes have been the new normal for a while, perhaps you’ve been asking yourself, “What’s the best night cream for aging skin?” We’re glad you asked.
Even if you’re on the hunt for the best night cream for dark spots or the best night cream for 40s skin, there’s an anti-aging night cream for everyone. With time (and regular use), fine lines become softened, aging skin spots are lightened, and skin texture and tone improve.
Of course, searching for the best overnight moisturizer can be a bit overwhelming — especially if you have specific needs such as the best anti-aging night cream for 60s-aged skincare enthusiasts and beyond. Even finding the best night cream for 20s skin types can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. Not to worry. That’s where we come in.
Here at Deep Science, we’ve reviewed hundreds of brands under a scientific lens to ensure you’re crafting a skincare routine that’s both safe and effective.
Ahead are 15 of the best night moisturizers for aging skin so you can sleep a little bit easier knowing you’ll wake up to a more refreshed, youthful-looking complexion.
Best Night Creams for Aging Skin: The List
Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer, $60
Formulyst Anti-Aging Night Cream, $80
SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream, $125.
The Science Behind the Best Night Cream for Aging Skin
During the daylight hours, your skin is in defense mode, safeguarding itself from harmful UV rays, the weather, bacterial growth, and pollution — this is where a day cream formulated with protective antioxidants (think vitamins C and E, niacinamide, resveratrol) and SPF come into play.
However, when you’re sleeping, the skin is in a reparative state, working hard to regenerate and rebuild the damage precipitated by daily activities and habits. It’s the optimal time to restore your complexion with an anti-aging night cream. The erroneous notion that our skin needs to “breathe” at night is a myth. Studies have shown that the repair of DNA-damaged skin cells due to UV exposure peaks at night. With that said, coupling shuteye with an anti-aging night cream formulated with results-driven, evidence-based ingredients (more on that in a bit) is not just marketing hype.
Ingredients to Look for in an Anti-Aging Night Cream
Night creams moisturize, soothe, and repair your skin while you sleep. Look for products formulated with the following ingredients:
- Retinol: This vitamin A derivative is an anti-aging powerhouse that helps with fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration — it can also even out and brighten your complexion. If you’re new to retinol, you need to start with a small amount two to three times a week before working your way up to the daily application.
- Hyaluronic Acid: Every skin type can benefit from hyaluronic acid because it provides deep hydration without heaviness. As it’s a humectant, it can hold over 1,000 times its weight in water, so it’s safe to say it’s a super-hydrator of epic proportions. It also helps to plump up fine lines and wrinkles.
- Sodium Hyaluronate: Sodium hyaluronate is the salt of hyaluronic acid. It also retains water to a remarkable degree and plumps up your skin but has a smaller molecular weight to allow for deeper penetration.
- Alpha- and Beta-Hydroxy Acids: These agents are citric and other fruit acids suitable for dull or ashy-looking skin. They gently exfoliate and soften while helping your night cream penetrate your skin.
- Glycerin: Glycerin is another humectant that effectively locks in moisture to keep skin supple and smooth.
- Lactic Acid: helps to keep the skin moisturized and feeling less dry. When you use lactic acid regularly, it can also improve signs of aging. It stimulates collagen renewal and can firm your skin.
- Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant that moisturizes and brightens the complexion.
The Reality of using an Anti-Aging Night Cream
While anti-aging night creams work their magic while you’re sleeping, if you’re not getting ample sleep, you’re doing yourself — and your skin — a disservice. Research suggests just one night of poor sleep can cause more fine lines and wrinkles, swollen eyes, darker under-eye circles, paler skin, dryness, and hanging lids, so make an effort to make ample — and quality — sleep a part of your routine. It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing!
We also recommend using a serum. Serums have a higher concentration of actives and penetrate deeper. Try Carrot & Stick Defense Serum.
The most significant cause of aging skin is intrinsic aging, a genetically determined process that we cannot manipulate. Contributing factors include oxidative stress, glycation, your DNA, and fluctuating hormones.
On the other hand, extrinsic aging is caused by circumstances we can change, such as smoking, poor sleep habits, the environment (think pollution), an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol, and sun exposure — again, the number one cause of aging skin. Additional influences include:
The combination of the loss of elasticity and gravity leads to sagging skin, including drooping of the eyelids, looseness, fullness under the cheeks and jawline (aka jowls), lengthening of the ear lobes and sagging skin on the neck.
Fluctuating Weight Changes
Between fluctuating hormones, a slowing metabolism, and being less active, rapid weight changes can cause the skin to sag, making aging skin signs more prominent. If you need to lose weight for health reasons, work with a doctor so that the process is gradual and attainable for the long term.
Daily Facial Movements
Daily facial movements can cause wrinkling on the forehead, smile lines, wrinkles under the eyes, mid-cheek lines, number “11” lines between the brows, crow’s feet, or vertical smoker’s lines around the mouth from making a repetitive puckering movement. These lines morph into more visible wrinkles after the skin loses elasticity. Considering it’s impossible to live an expressionless existence, these lines are considered a natural part of aging.
How you sleep (and for how long) can play a role, too. Sleep creases are commonly seen on the side of the forehead, around the eyes, and the middle of the cheeks. Changing your sleep positions and investing in a silk pillowcase may improve these sleep creases or prevent them from becoming worse. As mentioned above, get those 7-8 hours (or more) of sleep per night, too. Studies suggest that lack of sleep is associated with aging skin changes such as fine lines, wrinkles, and droopy corners of the mouth.
People who smoke tend to have more wrinkles than nonsmokers of the same age, complexion, and history of sun exposure. Experts believe this is because the nicotine in cigarettes causes the blood vessels to constrict in the outer layers of the skin, which in turn impairs blood flow. Decreased blood flow means your skin isn’t getting as much oxygen or vital nutrients like vitamin A.
The Best Night Creams for Aging Skin
Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer, $60
Save money (and counter space) with The Moisturizer from Carrot & Stick. This cream can be used day and night and does a little bit of everything. It moisturizes and nourishes the skin while also firming and brightening it.
The plant-based formula includes plant proteins, vitamins, peptides, and amino-collagen. A caffeine boost helps perk up the skin, while five distinct coconut elements help with cell renewal and overall conditioning.
Carrot & Stick The Face Oil, $70
This formula contains a next-generation retinoid and potent antioxidants to help reduce visible signs of aging.
Formulyst Anti-Aging Night Cream, $80
A long-term anti-aging formulation explicitly developed for mature and devitalized skin, this night cream hydrates, soothes, and visibly transforms your skin while you sleep. Formulated with a nutrient-rich blend of complexes that are high in plant oils, essential fatty acids, and omega oils, this ultra-nourishing night cream with reparative properties gently exfoliates and regenerates the upper layer of your skin.
As a brand committed to anti-aging, it makes sense that one of the best-selling Algenist products is an anti-aging cream. The Algenist GENIUS anti-aging cream is designed to dramatically reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines while working to boost the skin’s elasticity and vibrancy.
Based on the Algenist brand anti-aging technology, the Algenist GENIUS anti-aging cream utilizes alguronic acid and microalgae oil to help tighten, tone, and revitalize the skin for a brighter complexion and a more youthful appearance. For the best results, apply consistently twice a day.
While it’s a splurge (a little does go a long way), this luxe night cream for aging skin is formulated with SK-II’s highest concentration of their proprietary PITERA complex for maximum hydration. The skin becomes more firm and radiant immediately and over time.
Thanks to a proprietary niacinamide and retinol complex, this popular anti-aging night cream visibly improves fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, tone, and texture. This fragrance and dye-free moisturizer absorbs quickly and deeply, so you wake up to younger-looking, radiant skin. Use daily for 28 days and see true skin transformation.
This anti-aging facial cream detoxes and regenerates the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in radiant and youthful-looking skin. Some of the key ingredients you’ll find in this formula include peptides, echinacea, and hyaluronic acid.
SkinBetter Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream, $125
As the name suggests, this intense, results-driven night cream harnesses the power of an alpha hydroxy acid and a retinoid to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving elasticity and tone. Thanks to SkinBetter’s proprietary retinol technology (and a blend of skin-soothing ingredients), you’ll reap all the benefits minus any irritation. The addition of glycolic acid visibly improves the skin’s texture while stoking the other components to increase efficiency.
The Korres Wild Rose Sleeping Facial is perhaps the brand’s most popular product. It is an overnight facial in a jar that addresses uneven skin tone while improving the look of skin texture for a brighter, more luminous complexion in as little as one night. It just may be the best overnight moisturizer.
This budget-friendly yet potent anti-aging facial moisturizer is formulated with powerful peptides, Pacifica’s proprietary Fleuracell Complex, antioxidants, and advanced extracts that join forces to moisturize and profoundly improve skin’s youthful glow.
Love to multi-task? Have a hard time committing to a nighttime beauty routine? This cream pulls double duty as a moisturizer and a gentle exfoliator. It leaves skin hydrated while alpha hydroxy and lactic acids work to gently dissolve dead skin cells while you’re sleeping.
Before we get into why this night cream truly lives up to its name, let’s talk a little bit about Tula’s mathematics: probiotics + superfoods = glow. All of the brand’s products are formulated with these ingredients to ensure that your skin’s microbiome remains balanced. Beauty Sleep is Tula’s most potent cream.
This anti-aging night cream is also formulated with alpha hydroxy acids and vitamin C to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve texture and tone, and brighten the skin’s appearance. While nothing truly replaces a solid 7-8 hours of sleep, this night cream comes pretty darn close.
This bouncy, breathable sleeping mask smoothes and perfects overnight. All skin types can use it to address acne, dullness, dark spots, and signs of aging. Star ingredients include hyaluronic acid, watermelon extract, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which work to reveal a fresh complexion. It could be considered as the best night cream for 40s skin.
Finns have been hooked on this Nordic brand since it launched back in 1970, but beauty fanatics in the States had to wait until 2006 to see what all the buzz was all about. The brand’s formulas embrace Finnish women’s beauty rituals — who manage to have flawless skin despite frigid temps and whipping winds come wintertime.
With that said, you’re going to want to get your hands on this night cream that supports continuous hydration due to Lumene’s Hydra-Technology. Other vital ingredients include pure Arctic spring water to balance the skin’s pH, organic Nordic birch sap to nourish and hydrate, and shea butter to heal and tone.
This serum-like formula provides deep hydration while increasing your skin’s firmness and elasticity. It’s perfect for those who live in warmer, humid climates or as a part of a summer skincare routine. It absorbs on contact, so skin immediately feels smooth, tighter, and renewed. You can use the Anti-Aging Hydrator after applying the Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion or on its own.
One of Dermalogica’s best-selling products, this incredibly nourishing night cream for aging skin restores lipid balance for optimal barrier performance. A prebiotic chlorella algae complex helps rebalance the skin’s natural microbiome, while two forms of hyaluronic acid help enhance the skin’s moisture content and fade the appearance of fine lines.
Boasting over 14,000 nearly perfect five-star reviews on Amazon, it’s safe to say this wallet-friendly night cream does what it promises, which is to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Along with a glucose complex and hydrating hyaluronic acid, it’s retinol (SA) to the rescue once again. In just one week, clinical studies showed that 100% of the women tested saw visible results (reducing crow’s feet, cheek, and forehead wrinkles). It’s considered the best anti-aging night cream for 60s skin, but it’s suitable for all ages dealing with the signs of age.
Best Night Cream for Aging Skin: The Bottom Line
What’s the Best Night Cream for Aging Skin? Overall, our suggestion is Carrot & Stick The Moisturizer. We also recommend Carrot & Stick The Face Oil. We also recommend using a serum. Serums have a higher concentration of actives and penetrate deeper. Try Carrot & Stick Defense Serum.
When treating aging skin, don’t be fooled by any common myths. You can’t wholly “reverse” the signs of age, stress is not the leading cause of wrinkles, and there’s no such thing as a miracle cream. However, when you’re sleeping, the skin is in a reparative state, working hard to regenerate and rebuild the damage precipitated by daily activities and habits. It’s the optimal time to restore your complexion with the best night cream for aging skin.
When you’re sleeping, the skin is in a reparative state, working hard to regenerate and rebuild the damage precipitated by daily activities and habits. It’s the optimal time to restore your complexion with an anti-aging night cream. Fine lines and wrinkles become softened with regular use, aging skin spots are lightened, and skin texture and tone are improved. Look for a formula that contains vital ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, and alpha and beta hydroxy acids.
Remember, no anti-aging night cream in the world can replace the effects that come with a good night’s sleep!
What’s the best night cream, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below!
Essentially, a night cream provides a deeper level of moisture to your skin because it’s thicker — a texture you wouldn’t want to wear during the day, especially if you wear makeup or tend to perspire a lot during the day.
The active ingredients in night creams have been specifically chosen to work in conjunction with your skin’s nightly reparative process, which is important because your skin absorbs around 15% more of what you put on it at night than during the day.
Yes. As mentioned, the skin loses water while you sleep. Night creams are thicker and designed to hydrate and support aging skin. These P.M. creams are formulated with ingredients that hydrate and repair over several hours — like hyaluronic acid and encapsulated retinol, for example. These ingredients work better at night when sunscreen doesn’t interfere.
The best anti-aging night cream will result in skin that appears hydrated, plump, and nourished upon waking up. Who knows? You may find yourself wearing less makeup as your complexion approves.
No — that’s why we have the best drugstore night creams like Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer on this list! Luxury brands can afford fancy packaging, splashy advertising, and marketing via an influencer or celebrity spokesperson.
However, many of the products these brands carry rely on fragrance and ingredients that only temporarily make the skin look and feel better. Don’t equate the best overnight moisturizer with a high price tag. Read the ingredient label instead.
Both serums and night creams provide anti-aging and reparative benefits. However, even though moisturizers are heavier in texture, serums are more concentrated, and their molecular structure is more diminutive. Serums can penetrate the skin at a deeper level and can be more effective in treating skincare concerns — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use a moisturizer. The two go hand-in-hand.
For example, you can pair your night cream with Drunk Elephant’s TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum, SK-II GenOptics Aura Essence Serum, or Sunday Riley’s A+ High Dose Retinol Serum. Make sure your night moisturizer doesn’t contain the same active ingredients as your serum to prevent irritation.
”How Chronic Stress is Harming Your DNA,” American Psychological Association, October 2014.
”Wrinkles: Symptoms and Causes,” Mayo Clinic.
Study Reveals the Face of Sleep Deprivation,” JAmerican Academy of Sleep Medicine.
“Circadian Rhythm and the Skin: A Review of the Literature,” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, September 2019.