Is Night Cream Necessary?

Does night cream just seem like a way for companies to sell you another product that you don’t really need? While in some cases that may be true, you may be surprised to learn that there can be a good reason to use a different face cream at night.

Why should I use a night cream?
There are two basic types of night creams. Of course, they can be called numerous things, but for my purposes I’m going to divide night creams into two broad categories so we can see the main benefits.


  1. Anti-Aging – can also be called firming, anti-wrinkle and lifting. These products often contain ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid, salicyclic acid and retinyl acetate. All of these ingredients help your skin to increase turnover (meaning new skin replaces older skin quicker), which can help diminish the appearance of age spots and fine lines and wrinkles. However, these ingredients can be irritating and increase skin sensitivity. Skin sensitivity can increase when exposed to UV rays, so it’s best to avoid sun exposure when using certain anti-aging creams. Therefore the best way to avoid UV exposure is to wear these products at night. Makes sense, right?
  2. Deep Moisture – can also be called ultra-hydrating, deep nourishing and restorative. These products often just use higher levels of emollients so they are more moisturizing than their daytime counterpart. There is no real reason why you need more moisture at night, your skin doesn’t “absorb” ingredients any better. Your skin is constantly regenerating, so if you are happy with the level of moisture you receive from your daily moisturizer than you likely don’t need a separate night cream. However, if you find that your skin is drier when you are at home you may want to use a heavier cream at night (or invest in a humidifier!)

Are night creams different than day creams?
In many cases, not really. Day moisturizers tend to be lighter and nowadays they usually contain SPF. Night creams don’t contain SPF (which does make them feel different) and are often heavier and more hydrating. Anti-aging night creams may contain higher levels of active ingredients since they are specifically intended to be worn at night to minimize irritation from UV exposure. Of course, they are many anti-aging day creams available as well. But if you find that your anti-aging day cream is irritating, you may want to switch to a night cream and stick to a regular moisturizer for day use. Also, be sure to look for the ingredients I mentioned earlier (in particular, retinol and retinyl acetate) since they can be especially irritating when worn during the day.

Bottom Line
If you are happy with your daily moisturizer and don’t experience irritation then you probably don’t need a separate night cream. However, if you are looking to amp up those anti-aging benefits or you find your current anti-aging cream to be irritating, you may want to consider a separate night cream to help minimize the increased skin sensitivity these ingredients can cause when exposed to the sun.


RMS Beauty

Like dainty pots of finger paints for the post-kindergarten set, RMS Beauty’s cosmetics line is a palatable, pigment-rich palette for the color-obsessed. Packaged in tiny glass jars, the creamy formulations melt into your complexion like butter on a midday sidewalk, adding hydration, coverage, and definition with a few strategic sweeps of your finger.

Cold-pressed certified-organic coconut, jojoba, and argan oils co-mingle with unrefined Shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, botanicals, and chemical-free natural minerals to moisturize, enrich, and tone your epidermis, while adding flushes of color to your eyes, cheeks, and lips. The result? A lush, near-flawless countenance that masks imperfections and reveals healthy skin without veering into three-ring-circus territory. Starting at $30, these products won’t go easy on your purse strings, but they’re also ultraconcentrated, so a little does go a really long way. Tap the satiny, incandescent Living Luminizer around your eyes to perk tired peepers instantly, or get subtle coverage with the “Un” Cover Up concealer, which camouflages dark undereye circles but deftly sidesteps any reverse-panda gloppiness.

The pièce de résistance in RMS Beauty’s arsenal is its collection of rouge/blush stains. Available in six dreamy tints, the Lip2Cheek (in “Promise”) polished off my winter pallor without caking or streaking.

**My only grouse: The containers don’t identify their contents, so unless you remember to replace the paper sleeves, you’ll have to go through the glass tubs one by one to ferret out which product they hold. Otherwise, playing with different looks by dipping, dabbing, and layering has never been easier, or more fun. You might even call it child’s play.


Deliciously tart-smelling, the frothy concoction has the consistency of clotted cream. Hydration-wise, well, talk about intense; the 97 percent organic lotion rallies the moisturizing talents of sweet almond oil and beeswax with lemon, orange, tea tree, bergamot, and litsea essential oils for an instant olfactory pick-me-up. After massaging a dollop into my heels and soles of my feet, the effect was almost immediate: Goodbye rough, chapped dogs, hello smooth, supple tootsies. The Rose & Geranium Moisturizer and the Marigold & Sweet Basil Shea Butter Hand Cream, both 99 percent organic, were equally scrumptious. (I had to stop typing several times just to sniff my hands.) But a word of warning, fair reader, these products are powerful emollients and not for the oily or easily clogged of pores, because they’ll grease you up faster than a mechanic from Hackensack, even if all three leave behind no sticky residue upon drying—just soft, compliant skin.

Made in small, artisanal batches in the United States—and free of synthetic preservatives and fragrances—HollyBeth’s Natural Body Products uses all-natural ingredients that are as inoffensive as you can get, although the jury is still out on sodium borate, otherwise known as borax, which is considered a potential irritant.

Plus, beauty-loving do-gooders (or do-gooding beauty lovers) can take heart: A percentage of proceeds goes to UNICEF every year.



Beeline honey-based beauty products are made with lots of luscious golden honey untampered by preservatives like paraben and formaldehyde. Instead, these products are able to offer the full benefits of the sweet stuff (antioxidant, moisturizing, healing) because they do not contain synthetic ingredients that prevent honey’s beneficial compounds from being absorbed into the skin. Organic? you ask. Probably not, as the honey comes from city bees that likely visit conventionally grown flower gardens. Raised by participants in the social purpose business Sweet Beginnings, the little buzzers gather nectar from urban blossoms that may give the final product a sweeter taste due to the diversity and frequency of blooms. Sweet Beginnings employs residents of the North Lawndale community of Chicago who are often locked out of the traditional labor market due to past criminal records and other barriers to employment. The enterprise provides men and women who are re-entering the community from prison opportunities to establish a work history, learn work habits, and gain skills as a stepping stone to further employment.


Ms. Healy’s simple yet elegant approach is refreshing. Using organic ingredients whenever feasible and natural ingredients always, her products are health food for your skin.While all of Ms. Healy’s products are formulated to be gentle and respectful of the skin’s need to “breath,” the two lines (Rose and Blue) are crafted for different skin sensitivities. The Rose line is for skin that is dry or devitalized while the Blue line is for sensitive or ruddy skin. However, both product lines are perfectly appropriate for all skin types; Ms. Healy recommends using your sense of smell and your intuition to choose the product that is right for you.


Claiming to have the highest percentage of certified organic ingredients available, Primavera’s four product lines, including face care, body care, wellness therapies and home fragrance products, set a high standard for natural skincare in the U.S.:
Not only is the entire range of products certified as natural and organic by Natrue, but their business is growing strong with 23 years of fair-trade partnerships under their belt. They work with 18 organic farms around the world who provide over 125 ingredients (farmed in their natural habitats), including tea tree from Australia, chamomile from Morocco, and black pepper from Sri Lanka.


Located in South Africa and sells 100% natural products. Check out this “cool” feature — all Esse moisturizers (available in Light, Rich or Deep) are sold in an aluminum cylinder which contains five pots of moisturizer. The pots that are not being used can be stored in the refrigerator which will help them to maintain their potency. The cylinder will last for at least a month and a half (if used twice a day, as advised) and refills are available. All of Esse’s packaging is recyclable and 5% of their net profit is donated to biodiversity preservation. We wish we could find Esse in the States because there are certainly a few products on their site that we wouldn’t mind indulging in.