Day cream vs. night cream: here’s the difference, according to expert Abigail James

If you want your complexion to glow and radiate health, proper moisturising is a must – around the clock. We asked skincare ambassador Abigail James to explain the differences between day and night cream, and why both are essential for a healthy complexion.  


Moisturisers have been a staple in our beauty routine for decades and we often use one for day time and another for night. On this topic, the question that I am always asked is - what’s the difference? 


Protect your skin with day cream

A day cream is applied to the skin in the morning as a comforting blanket to nourish, hydrate and protect the skin. This gives an immediate feeling of plumpness, softening the outer layers of the skin to reduce the appearance and feeling of dryness. Day creams also feed the skin with essential nutrients and oils, acting as a protective layer, keeping moisture in and pollution out. Skin cells require a mixture of ingredients and moisturisers offer this. They normally consist of a blend of water and oil with lots of other lovely ingredients, all of which the skin benefits from.


To me, a day cream is one of those non-negotiable daily products. Your make-up sits better on a moisturiser because the skin is nourished and not dry. Ingredients can really vary from product to product, some being richer and others having a lighter gel type texture. This means anyone can wear a day cream, you just need to find a good one for your skin type. Day creams are best applied after cleansing, toning and serum application, and before your daily SPF.


Renew your skin with night cream

Night cream is used before bed, and is best applied after cleansing, exfoliating and using a night serum. It may look and feel similar to your day cream, but it will have different ingredients in it to support skin cell renewal while you sleep. Night creams will likely contain more actives and the texture may vary from your day cream.


You may benefit from tailoring your night cream with a drop of oil if you experience really dry, parched skin. If you are prone to oily skin, then you need to select your night cream with care; something too rich and heavy is going to bring you out in spots. You might want to opt for using a serum and/or oil instead. 


Don’t be afraid to mix it up

Just because there is the option for a day and night cream, this doesn't mean that these products need to be from the same collection. You can mix it up depending on your skin type. 


For example, I love the Ageless Day Cream, but at night, I might choose to use the Hydrating Overnight Cream, combined with serums. Mixing my night cream with a serum makes it a little lighter on my skin, which is ideal in more humid temperatures.


Or, if you want to build on overnight radiance, then the Glow Night Cream is perfect. Finally, if you’re prone to sensitivity and/or breakouts, I would opt for a hydrating cream.


Interested in some more advice on which skincare products best suit your skin type? Take our online test.



Abigail James

One of the beauty industry’s most celebrated skincare experts, British-born Abigail James is famous on both sides of the Atlantic for her holistic approach to healthy skin. Known for her healing hands and “vibrant skin, vibrant life” philosophy, Abigail is the author of Love Your Skin, which has been labeled “the ultimate guide to a glowing complexion.”