Day vs. Night Moisturizer: Is There a Difference?
Moisturizing is the name of the healthy-skin game. Truth be told, our skin-care shelf definitely has an excess of moisturizers. From heavy, thick creams to lightweight gels packed with SPF, our collection is overflowing. But we got to thinking: Is there a difference between moisturizers that are supposed to be used in the morning and those reserved for nighttime? To find out if we actually need to use different creams in the AM and the PM, we tapped board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali. Ahead, find out why having two separate moisturizers is worthwhile.
Is There a Difference Between Day Creams and Nighttime Moisturizers?
In short, yes. It comes down to texture, ingredients and protection from UV rays. 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. Most day creams are formulated to defend skin against these assailants. “Day creams also tend to be lighter in consistency and texture,” Bhanusali says. This is because most of them 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 to protect your skin against UV damage.
When it comes to night creams, you can expect heavier formulas and a different set of ingredients. 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 like retinol, glycolic acid, LHA and hyaluronic acid. 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. Because we don’t sleep with makeup on, a rich cream that takes longer to absorb should not be an issue.
Day Creams to Incorporate Into Your Morning Skin-Care Routine
If you’re in need of some day cream recommendations, check out some of our favorites.
A moisturizer and sunscreen duo, this luxe day cream has anti-aging properties and SPF 30. It helps to firm, lift and correct dark spots while also helping to protect your skin from UV rays. It’s lightweight and breathable but still ultra-hydrating, soothing and creamy. SPF is a must every day and this moisturizer makes applying it a no-brainer.
Want firmer-looking skin and a reduced appearance of wrinkles without spending a ton? 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 that’s enhanced with hyaluronic acid. 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 and younger, with skin elasticity increased.
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 delicate fragrance. With continued use, the skin will look more even and luminous thanks to a formula packed with 14 amino acids and hyaluronic acid.
If you have dry, dull skin but still want a moisturizer that packs in hydration, look to this Vichy pick. The mineral-rich formula plumps skin and helps protect against environmental aggressors like pollution. While it’s a go-to for morning use, we also like to layer it underneath our night cream for an added burst of moisture.
Getting glowing skin for the day to come starts with skin care. This Kiehl’s cream works to give you a dewy, youthful-looking complexion. Formulated with manuka honey and red ginseng root, the lightweight hydrator glides onto skin, boosts radiance and improves your skin’s texture all at once.
Night Creams to Incorporate Into Your Nighttime Skin-Care Routine
Want to add a new night cream to your routine? Check out our favorites below.
Looking for a multi-corrective cream that can help target your skin’s uneven texture? One of our favorites is the Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream. Powered by beech tree extract, jasmonic and hyaluronic acid, this multi-corrective cream helps smooth skin for a softer and more even feel.
If you’re on the hunt for a night cream that can lift and firm your skin and address discoloration (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 hydration and comfort.
If you’re ready to wake up to revitalized skin, we suggest putting this recovery balm at the forefront of your nighttime routine. The balm works while you sleep for skin that looks visibly fresher, plumper and more rested by morning. For best results, use two or three times a week and apply a thick layer as the last step of your nighttime routine.
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 or an uneven skin tone, take that as your cue to incorporate the Vichy Idéalia Night Cream into your routine. Enhanced with licorice root extract, ceramides and mineralizing thermal water, this night cream enhances skin plumpness so that your skin can look well-rested, even if it’s not.
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 a more hydrated texture. After about four weeks, you’ll be pleased to discover firmer skin that is smooth, with a reduced appearance of surface wrinkles and fine lines. Eight weeks in? Age spots are visibly reduced.
This ultra bouncy night cream works to plump, hydrate and regenerate surface cells while you sleep. It targets fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, loss of firmness and dryness overnight, so you wake up with skin that feels hydrated, youthful and supple.