Day vs. Night Moisturizer: Is There a Difference?
Moisturizing is the name of the healthy-skin game. The benefits—from hydration to silky smoothness and beyond—speak for themselves, and simply cannot be overlooked. That said, have you ever wondered why you need two creams in your arsenal? Us, too. To find out the difference between day and night creams, we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali. Read on to find out if both are really necessary to have!
During the day, our skin is exposed to UV rays, pollution, and environmental aggressors, all of which can wreak havoc on skin that’s not adequately protected. Not surprisingly, most day creams are formulated to defend skin against these assailants. If yours isn’t, pick another. (Seriously, we mean it.) “Day creams also tend to be lighter in consistency and texture,” Bhanusali says. This is because most of them—the good ones, anyway—are designed to be worn underneath cosmetics, so the formulas are lightweight, easily absorbed, and non-greasy. “They also typically have SPF in them, the single most important part of your anti-aging regimen,” he adds. To save you the SPF spiel, remember this: you need to wear sunscreen or a moisturizer with broad spectrum SPF 15 or higher during the day if you plan to be outdoors (or indoors by a window) to protect your skin against UV damage—no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
5 DAY CREAMS TO TRY NOW
Want to add a new day cream to your routine? Check out the five below:
LANCÔME ABSOLUE PREMIUM BX
As we mentioned above, sunscreen is one of the most important ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. So, when a day cream is formulated with broad-spectrum SPF, it’s already won points. This formula by Lancôme is a replenishing and rejuvenating day cream with—you guessed it—broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 15. Wear it on its own or under makeup.
Lancôme Absolue Premium BX, $200 MSRP
L’OREAL PARIS REVITALIFT TRIPLE POWER INTENSIVE ANTI-AGING DAY CREAM MOISTURIZER
Want firmer-looking skin and a reduced appearance of wrinkles, without spending a pretty penny? Go ahead and take this drugstore anti-aging cream for a spin. It’s a luxe, lightweight cream that helps transform the look of aging skin with its formula enhanced with hyaluronic acid and Pro-Xylane. Upon application, the skin is deeply hydrated, revealing a more refined-looking complexion. After just one week, you’ll also notice a skin texture that appears smoother. Four weeks in? The skin appears firmer, younger, with skin elasticity increased.
LANCÔME RENERGIE MULTI-GLOW INSTANT ROSY TONE REVIVING CREAM
If you feel as though your skin has lost its vital radiance, it’s time to incorporate Lancôme’s Rénergie Multi-Glow Instant Rosy Tone Reviving Cream into your routine. The formula features a non-greasy, melt-in texture that provides all-day hydration and comfort.
LANCÔME ABSOLUE L’EXTRAIT DAY CREAM
This day cream may set you back a pretty penny, but we assure you that it’s worth the splurge. Beyond its divine smell of elegant roses, this creamy formula practically glides onto the skin and feels delicate and silky. In terms of results, expect skin that feels smooth and hydrated.
Lancôme Absolue L’Extrait Day Cream, $365 MSRP
LANCÔME HYDRA ZEN DAY CREAM
Normal to dry skin types need a dose of Lancôme’s Hydra Zen Day Cream. It’s an anti-stress moisturizing cream that helps reduce the look of visible signs of stress on the skin for instant comfort. As an added bonus, you can feel pampered by its creamy texture and delicate fragrance. With continued use, the skin will look more even and luminous.
Lancôme Hydra Zen Day Cream, $48 MSRP
It’s during deep sleep that our skin repairs and regenerates itself. So, wearing night cream that works while you snooze is recommended by dermatologists. Typically, most night creams are formulated with higher concentrations of anti-aging ingredients—think: retinol, glycolic acid, LHA, and hyaluronic acid—that are perfect for evening use. UV damage is not a factor at night, so night creams usually don’t offer any SPF benefits. “The consistency of night cream tends to be thicker and heavier,” Bhanusali says. Since we don’t sleep with makeup on (right!?), a rich cream that takes longer to absorb should not be an issue at night. Just make sure whatever you’re using is formulated for your skin type.
5 NIGHT CREAMS TO TRY
Want to add a new night cream to your routine? Check out the five below:
KIEHL’S SUPER MULTI-CORRECTIVE CREAM
Looking for a multi-corrective cream that can help target your skin’s texture? One of our favorites is Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream. Powered by beech tree extract, jasmonic and hyaluronic acid, this multi-corrective cream helps re-texturize the skin.
Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream, $64 MSRP
LANCÔME RÉNERGIE LIFT MULTI-ACTION NIGHT CREAM
If you’re on the hunt for a night cream that can lift and firm your skin (with continued use), look no further than Lancôme’s Rénergie Lift Multi-Action Night Cream. Suitable for all skin types, you’ll love how the silky cream texture provides all-day hydration and comfort.
GIORGIO ARMANI CREMA NERA SUPREME RECOVERY BALM
If you’re ready to wake up to revitalized skin, we suggest putting this recovery balm at the forefront of your nighttime routine, stat. The balm works while you sleep for skin that looks visibly fresher, plumper, and rested by morning. For best practices, use two or three times a week, and apply a thick layer as the last step of your nighttime routine.
VICHY IDÉALIA NIGHT CREAM
Between fatigue and daily skin aggressors, there’s no doubt your lifestyle habits can take a toll on the appearance of your skin. When you start to experience visible signs of fatigue, dullness and/or an uneven skin tone, take that as your cue to incorporate Vichy’s Idéalia Night Cream into your routine. Enhanced with licorice root extract, ceramides and the brand’s Mineralizing Thermal Water, this night cream enhances skin plumpness so that your skin can look well-rested, even if it’s not.
L’ORÈAL PARIS AGE PERFECT NIGHT CREAM
Mature skin types should put the L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Night Cream on their radar. The formula—with soy seed proteins––helps menopausal and post-menopausal skin. After just one use, you’ll notice more hydrated skin. After about four weeks, you’ll be pleased to discover firmer skin that’s smooth, with a reduced appearance of surface wrinkles and fine lines. Eight weeks in? Age spots are visibly reduced.
L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Night Cream, $17.99 MSRP
As you can see, there’s a real difference between the purpose, consistency, and texture of day versus night creams, so it’s important to have both in your beauty bag. Now, if you were stranded on an island somewhere and only allowed to bring one cream with you (the horror!), reach for the day cream. Why? Because you shouldn’t go even one day without sunscreen on your skin. And though you don’t need those benefits at night, there’s no harm in having it on your skin when it’s dark out. If you only chose to use night cream, your skin would likely feel greasier than usual and wouldn’t be protected from the sun—and that, dear friends, is just not going to fly on our radar.
While we’re talking moisturizers, take a peek at the best moisturizers that can be worn under makeup!