Gold, Silver and Bronze in this category all notched up phenomenally high marks – over 9 out of 10, for the top three. Research is proving ever-more-conclusively that nighttime is the best time to harness the body’s natural repairing systems for skin – so if you’re in any doubt about whether or not you need to add in a night cream to your regime, let any one of these convince you. (See also SLEEP MASKS, here – because despite the slightly deceptive name, these are actually akin to night creams. Interestingly, though, none of those scored as well as this high-performing line-up.)
GOLD AWARD Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Facial
Cue drumroll, cue trumpets: a spectacularly splendiferous score (an average of 9.3/10 across our tester panel) for one of this superfacialist’s star products, designed to ‘recreate the effects of a Skinesis facial overnight.’ It’s not a cream, but hovers somewhere between a facial oil and a serum in texture (and you won’t need additional moisture). As ever with Sarah’s products, there are lots of high-tech patented molecules (Lipobrite® HCA-4, Renovage and Dermaxyl, anyone?), along with coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C and so on. But the whole point of these Awards is to find out what real people experienced while using them, rather than be bamboozled by scientific jargon – and testers saw very visible benefits, while very much enjoying the scent of jasmine, frangipani, rose and tuberose essential oils.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This is my absolute favourite of all the products. The oil smells divine; the pump dispenser is fantastic and doesn’t spew out too much so you waste it. It smells gorgeous and sinks in very quickly, especially when you use the massager. My dry skin felt immediately soft and hydrated. It seems to look more radiant and I have had compliments!’ • ‘Within 24 hours, I saw an improvement in terms of softness and smoothness and brightness. My acne prone skin was not shinier and it did not lead to breakouts. This lived up to the promises of improved skin texture and appearance. I would buy it’ • ‘This oil is totally amazeballs! I loved the fragrance. Within 24 hours I saw amazing improvements. My skin felt ridiculously smooth, plump and moisturised. After using for a while, it looks smoother and plumper. It looks so much better and I have had compliments. Just lead me to the next bottle…’ • ‘I really loved the product a lot. It smelt absolutely amazingly relaxing and helped me sleep. Within 30 minutes my skin felt softer, plumped, silky and brighter. It was so soft I kept touching it. My skin looks better and my cousin noticed that. It promised to lift, firm and make skin feel like cashmere – it did all of that’ • ‘This oil coupled with the massage tool provides you with a delicious skincare duo that creates a perfect home spa experience every evening. My skin felt so soft and smooth, it felt very similar to when I have had a facial or slept with a facemask on all night’ • ‘People have commented how well my skin looks on make-up free days, which is amazing. Wow... I'm very tempted to change from my 15-year addiction to [a leading premium brand]. It's that good.’
£49 for 15ml - click to buy
SILVER and BEST NATURAL AWARD This Works No Wrinkles Night Repair
Another incredibly high score, here – this also scored over 9/10 average. From our friend and former Vogue Beauty Director Kathy Phillips’s much-loved skincare collection, this is also a serum – but unlike the Skinesis product, you’ll need to layer a moisturiser over the top. The key skin-brightening ingredient in this is retinol, to revitalise and repair fatigued skin. (Note from us: although our own touchy skins have had problems with some vitamin A-derived ingredients, we’ve got along fine with this.) Persian silk tree and cactus flower extracts are also showcased in the serum.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘For me this was the hero product. I felt "treated" and as though I was doing good to my skin and my mood. It’s easy to apply and my skin immediately felt nourished and moist. In my nursing job I rarely get enough sleep so this was like a good eight hours in a pump dispenser. I’m in love with this product’ • ‘This has a beautiful aromatherapy type fragrance. My skin looked clearer and brighter, softer and more hydrated after just 24 hours. After using it for a while my skin looks much more radiant, brighter and smoother. My husband thought I looked more rested’ • ‘I loved this product and will definitely be repurchasing, my skin felt amazing after using it, I'll also investigating more of the This Works range of products as well. My skin definitely looks better and my husband commented on how well I was looking’ • ‘My skin looked and felt happy with this. My doctor told me I was looking good and young! I emailed the company to find out about the retinol content and they replied which was very good not all companies are so open’ • ‘A lovely product. I don’t usually bother with a night cream but am totally converted. It’s great waking up looking so much better than before. I love this product. My sin looks younger and people are saying I look well. It promises to dramatically improve tired skin and it really delivers. I fully intend to buy more’ • ‘Lovely rich serum, perfect for over 40 skins, especially in the winter when you might need a heavier product.’
£45 for 30ml - click to buy
BRONZE AWARD Romilly Wilde Night Duty Face Cream
Romilly Wilde is the luxury ‘clean beauty’ brand established by Plum Baby entrepreneur Susie Willis in 2016, following five years of R&D. RW call it ‘adaptive skincare’, with each formula based around adaptogenic plant compounds – in this case, plant stem cells from Chinese hibiscus, white water lily and cherry blossom, camellia and sea buckthorn oils, polysaccharides from Mexican poppy seeds, Ayurvedic herbs and a highly concentrated hyaluronic acid, setting out to ‘charge’ your skin at night by taking advantage of its natural receptiveness and regenerative powers.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
'This was my favourite of all the products I tested. It genuinely did what it promised and the results were amazing. I usually spend about £60 on a night cream so this would be a bit out of my price bracket (being a mum of four!) However I would treat myself to this product especially over the winter month when your skin needs the extra boost. At first I was worried that my sensitive skin might react to the strong fragrance, but I had no need to be concerned. I really would recommend this product to friends/family whose skin feels tired and in need of a boost or anyone who’s after a good anti ageing night cream. You see results the following morning: my skin felt and looked smoother, refreshed and plumped. It was amazing’ • ‘Yes, my husband complimented the fragrance and said I smelt like I have just left a spa and he also said that in the mornings I looked really fresh and bright’ • ‘After using this cream for four weeks my skin looked plumper and more youthful. There was an improvement in fine lines. My husband commented on how soft my face felt. It promised supercharged hydration and nourished complexion and it does exactly what it says on the tin!’ • ‘Within 24 hours my skin had a glow, which I have never noticed with other creams. It looked smoother and felt lovely and soft. After four weeks of use, my skin is smoother and dare I say it younger looking. It definitely looks better. My husband has noticed a difference in my skin without make-up on. This product delivers and what a refreshing change that makes! You can almost see it repairing your skin in front of your eyes’ • ‘Goes on like a dream - only need the tiniest amount but smooths on for instant intense moisturising. It penetrates the skin so it feels really enveloped in moisture. It has massively reduced the wrinkles on my forehead. An amazing product and a real alternative to high-tech creams that may be filled with synthetic chemicals. My skin looks better and I feel better in myself.’
£125 for 50ml - click to buy
BEAUTY STEAL AWARD M&S Formula Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream
This has proved something of a phenomenon since its launch, with India Knight, Nadine Baggott (and us!) all raving about it. It’s not super-cheap – but against the other winners in the line-up, it’s a deffo steal and the highest-scoring of the more affordable night creams. (We do try to acknowledge that many women are on budgets, wherever we can – but at the same time, lots of cheaper products just fall short and it wouldn’t be right to point you in their direction.) Lots of whizz-bang high-tech ingredients (it’s certainly not ‘natural’), but also some shea butter, niacinamide and sundry peptides in there. It’s also hypoallergenic, M&S tell us.
OUR TESTERS' COMMENTS:
‘This is not fancy or luxurious, but it is a hardworking, honest and affordable product that I will be happy to repurchase and recommend to any of my friends and family. The morning after I first used it, I noticed my skin looked more rested, even toned and radiant. I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at myself in the mirror first thing in the morning! Excellent value for money. Extremely pleased with it’ • ‘As well as radiance boosting and anti-ageing promises, this cream is supposed to make you look like you've had eight hours sleep. I would vouch for every word of it! I had a few nights with a broken sleep, when my son was not well and I can assure you, in spite of this, in the morning I was looking well rested and radiant!’ • ‘I loved this! Lovely smell. Great to apply and made skin feel amazing. I have found this product excellent. I felt it made my skin smoother and softer. It claimed to make you look like you have had eight hours sleep and promote plumping and glowing effect. It did all this and I loved it. Would definitely buy it!’ • ‘My skin looked softer and smoother, hydrated and slightly plumped (I would need something pneumatic to plump up my wrinkles though!). It definitely looks better and healthier. I have bought this product in the past as I enjoy using it and I will buy it again’ • ‘I didn't notice a massive difference within 24 hours use, but within a few days my skin looked plump and soft. My skin looked shiny immediately after applying, but this soon disappeared. I think the softness and plumpness that this moisturiser gives me does make my skin look younger’ • ‘Overall this was a really nice product to use. The results were very quick and the price is affordable. Every morning my skin looked more hydrated and felt smoother.’
£22 for 50ml - click to buy