LAST UPDATED: 03/31/2019
Regardless of your age, a natural night cream is an essential part of a nighttime skincare routine. Night time is when our bodies quite literally go into rest and repair mode. In fact, did you know that your skin is able to absorb more topical treatments between the hours of 9pm and 11pm? During this period of time our skin is physically more permeable and able to better absorb products; however, for the same reasons, this permeability also means that our skin is more susceptible to moisture loss at night as well. Combine this natural moisture loss with environmental factors such as low humidity due to heaters and furnaces, and you’ve got a recipe for dry skin.
That’s where a luscious and nourishing natural night cream comes into play! A truly exceptional night cream will be packed with potent active botanicals in order to take advantage of the absorbency boost during the “golden hours” of skin care. It will also contain tons of hydration boosting ingredients to combat nightly transdermal moisture loss.
If you are using your standard daily moisturizer at night, you may be missing out on the skin reparative benefits of a dedicated night cream. Day creams are typically light, non-greasy, and contain ingredients that are suitable for use in sunlight. These formulas are usually too light to effectively combat nighttime moisture loss.
What is a Natural Night Cream?
A natural night cream is like a traditional night cream except that it is made with natural and organic ingredients. A truly natural night cream will be free from toxic, synthetic, and irritating ingredients. Other than that, natural and conventional night creams are made with the same intentions—repair skin and reduce moisture loss. Night creams are thicker, richer and more emollient. They contain ingredients that are protective, slow absorbing, and reparative. This means, yes, night creams tend to be richer than day creams. However, this is a good thing! At night there is no need to fear greasy looking skin or a need to wear makeup, so it’s OK if you use a heavier formula.
Additionally, night creams also contain many ingredients which simply cannot be worn during the day. Anti-aging ingredients such as retinol (1), carrot seed essential oil, and vitamin C can increase our skin’s sensitivity to the sun and cause skin damage. However, when worn at night, these ingredients have been scientifically proven to dramatically increase skin firmness, elasticity, and moisture levels. Night also creams boost blood circulation to the face as you massage it into the skin. Even better, collagen production can be increased by using a night cream with vitamin C (3), helping to plump the skin and retain that youthful glow and reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Who Should Use a Night Cream?
A solid night cream is a good addition to any skin care routine at any age. Night creams aren’t just for anti-aging. You can use a night cream as a specialty treatment for acne, rosacea, dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and eczema. When it comes to anti-aging, adding a natural night cream to your routine becomes especially crucial after age 30. This is because after 30, our skin cells renew far less frequently, and our skin becomes increasingly dry due to loss of hyaluronic acid in the skin (2). Additionally, collagen production decreases rapidly after age 25 and steadily declines at a pace of 1-2% each year until menopause (2).
We can’t just blame maturity for aging our skin either. There are environmental factors (indoor air conditioning and heating, stress, diet, dry outdoor air during cold seasons, sun damage, excess alcohol consumption, smoking and sleeping face down) which cause premature aging as well. A night cream will help to combat these factors and replace what’s been removed by lifestyle and environmental conditions.
Which Natural Night Cream is Best for My Skin?
The right night cream for your skin depends on your individual goals and skin type. There really is a night cream for every skin condition! Exfoliating night treatments may be beneficial for those with dry skin, blackheads, and clogged pores. Natural night creams made with vitamin c and/or retinol are ideal for those who want to target or prevent fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, dark spots, and collagen loss. Dry skin types will want to look for thick, rich night creams and balms made with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, beeswax, and rich oils and butters (like avocado, shea, coconut, and tamanu). Acne prone skin types will want to look for willow bark (salicylic acid), tea tree oil, rosemary, rose oil, jojoba oil, and other antibacterial and oil balancing ingredients. Here is a closer look at three common and ultra-potent ingredients commonly found in high quality natural night creams:
Retinol: Also known as vitamin A. Boosts collagen production, resulting in plumper skin with fewer wrinkles. Retinol also manages acne by clearing the pores and allowing medicated skin products to penetrate the skin more effectively (4).
Vitamin C: Also known as ascorbic acid. Vitamin C is wonderful antioxidant which boosts collagen production creating smooth, plump, nourished skin as you sleep (3).
Hyaluronic acid: Crucial for dry skin types. Draws and retains moisture to the skin. It also helps the skin’s repairing and restoring process for plump, glowing skin when you wake up (6).
How to Find the Best Natural & Organic Night Cream?
In a world filled with marketing claims and greenwashing galore, it can be difficult to find a truly clean, non-toxic, and all natural skin care product. Lucky for you, we’re experts at organic and natural skin care. Our team spent hundreds of hours researching, testing, and evaluating over one hundred potential natural and organic night creams to bring you this list of the best of the best. This list is comprised of highly potent and actually natural night creams, night serums, night treatments, and even a few nighttime eye treatments. You can also sort the list by vegan skin care, gluten-free, and skin type. All are free from harmful ingredients like sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals + mineral oils, synthetic fragrances + dyes, PEG compounds, ethoxylated Ingredients, and anything else from our list of banned ingredients. As always, we’ve also cross-referenced our final list against the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database so you can rest assured you’re only using the highest quality ingredients on your skin at night. Sweet Dreams!
1. (2006) Mukherjee, Siddharth et al. “Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety” Clinical interventions in aging vol. 1,4: 327-48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/
2. (2006) Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin; The American Journal of Pathology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/
3. (2005) Farris PK. Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions. Dermatol Surg. (7 Pt 2):814-7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16029672
4. (2006) Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety; Dovepress Clinical Interventions In Aging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2699641/
5. (2015) Glycerin: A Significant Humectant https://knowledge.ulprospector.com/2264/pcc-glycerin-significant-humectant/
6. (2012) Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging; Dermato Endocrinology https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/
7. (2001) Potential of honey in the treatment of wounds and burns. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11702616