Night Cream Vs Day Cream: Do You Need Both?

When it comes to moisturisers, there’s something that many of you might be wondering: what’s the difference between day and night cream? Do I really need two different products for morning and night?

Well, it depends - and not on just one thing, either. Whether you use two different moisturisers in the morning and night depends on your skin goals and your skin type. But first, let’s go over the difference between day cream vs. night cream!

Woman applying skincare cream from a jar

Day Cream vs. Night Cream: What’s the Difference?

I know what you’re thinking - obviously day creams and night creams are just a little marketing trick so that we buy two jars of moisturiser from a brand instead of one!

Well, this isn’t always the case - here’s why.

Dr Irena Eris Volumeric Day Cream SPF 20Dr Irena Eris Volumeric Day Cream SPF 20 
Boost elasticity and firm skin with this daytime moisturiser from Dr Irena Eris.

What is Day Cream?

A day cream is tailored to how your skin behaves and what it needs over the course of the day. In the daytime, your skin needs protection from UV rays - so many day creams have SPF ingredients to shield your skin from sunlight.

Day moisturisers also tend to be slightly lighter in texture compared to their nighttime counterparts. Skin produces the most sebum during the day and can be stimulated into producing even more because of hotter weather. 

Another benefit of using a separate day cream vs. night cream is that day creams tend to be formulated with ingredients that are best used during the daytime. The best day cream usually includes a blend of antioxidants and sunscreen ingredients to protect your skin from any external stressors you might be exposed to during the day, 

Estee Lauder Revitalising Supreme+ Global Anti Ageing Power Cell CreamEstée Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Ageing Cell Power Cream
This nourishing day cream from Estée Lauder fortifies skin with antioxidants and peptides for some serious glow. 

What is Night Cream?

The best night cream tends to be heavier and richer - night creams are customised to how your skin acts at night. Did you know that your skin tends to be the driest overnight? That goes for oily skin types, too. 

Overnight, your skin is undergoing a crucial process of trying to repair and regenerate from the day’s stresses. Night creams are optimised to support your skin during this process overnight for glowing skin in the morning.

Nighttime moisturisers are often formulated with ingredients that are sensitive to daylight - most notably, retinol. Retinol should only ever be used at night because it breaks down in daylight, rendering it ineffective if used in a daytime moisturiser.

Sisley Night Cream with Woodmallow Sisley Night Cream with Collagen & Woodmallow
Sisley’s night cream nourishes and restores skin overnight for a noticeable glow in the morning.

Do I Need a Different Night Cream & Day Cream?

The number one reason to use different moisturisers day and night is your skin type!

The two skin types that benefit the most from using two different moisturisers day and night are oily and combination skin. They have the unique challenge of needing to find something that doesn’t make their skin feel heavy and greasy during the day, but still serves their skin’s needs overnight. 

For combination and oily skin, the best day cream will be a gel or lotion rather than a cream to keep lightness on the skin while maintaining hydration. A heavier night cream still benefits these skin types, too; ensuring skin is well moisturised and hydrated overnight prevents uncomfortable dehydration that makes oily skin even more uncomfortable. 

Guerlain Abeille Royale Night CreamGuerlain Abeille Royale Night Cream
Royal Jelly and Honey work hard in this night cream from Guerlain.

Normal skin and dry skin need similar levels of deep moisture during the daytime and overnight, so using a moisturising cream day and night works well for both. 

The bottom line is, using a different moisturiser morning and night is totally up to you. If you want to use the same moisturiser, morning and night, double-check that it doesn’t have sunscreen and that it doesn’t have any ingredients that get deactivated in the sun.

It’s also important to protect your skin in the daytime with a dedicated SPF product - they tend to have higher protective ratings compared to day creams with SPF!

At the end of the day, the best night cream and the best day cream for your skin will be the ones that you use. If you need a little bit of help choosing the best ones for your skin, try our skin analysis!

Beauty Affairs Skin Analysis Quiz

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Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne

Alexis Adrienne is a passionate beauty writer with over 10 years of experience. She’s incredibly keen on all things skincare, makeup and cosmetics, with a fingertip on the pulse of the latest global beauty trends at all times.

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