10 best night creams for your 20s

Put your skincare regime to work while you sleep with a hard-working product

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We all want to age gracefully, and there’s no denying that looking after your skin while you’re young is the best way to start. But when picking a night cream in your twenties, you’ve still got to tread the fine line between moisturising well and causing a breakout. We’ve rounded up the best night time products on the market for reducing the early signs of ageing – aimed at a range of budgets and skin types.

1. Clarins Multi-Active Nuit: £44 for 50ml, Clarins


Clarins formulated this cream specifically to target the effects of stress and lack of sleep – so it’s ideal for millennials, then. It’s super silky, not at all greasy and left our skin with a smooth base for make-up the next morning. It’s our favourite because it felt ultra-nourishing but didn’t cause our skin to break out. It’s enriched with organic California poppy, which closes its petals at night to regenerate itself, and the shea butter, also organic, adds plenty of moisture. Even better, there’s a version for normal-to-combination skin and an option for normal-to-dry skin.

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2. Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb: £5.33 for 50ml, Boots


This night cream even did the trick when travelling, leaving our skin feeling plump and hydrated after a 13-hour flight. It’s a realistic option for young skin that dries out easily as it offers a surge of moisture but doesn’t make skin oily, and it’s affordable – definitely the best of the bunch for sheer value. Includes antioxidants amla berry and pomegranate.

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3. No 7 Early Defence Night Cream: £19.50 for 50ml, Boots


Aimed at women aged from 20 to 35, this hypo-allergenic, quick-absorbing night cream (intended to be used with the Early Defence day and eye creams) works to delay ageing signs by helping skin recover from daily skin damage caused by sun and pollution. It doesn’t block pores and also contains vitamin A, often used as an acne treatment, while lipopeptides help to reduce early fine lines.

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4. M&S Formula Absolute Ultimate Sleep Cream: £22 for 50ml, M&S


Shea butter, kukui oil and vitamin E keep skin well moisturised, while anti-wrinkle peptides improve skin elasticity and firmness. M&S reckons its new cream “makes skin look like you’ve had eight hours of sleep – even when you haven’t”. A bold claim, but it did make our skin tone more even, our complexion brighter and it felt smoother, softer and firmer after a week’s use. Go M&S.

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5. Estée Edit Pink Peony Overnight Water Pack: £34 for 50ml, Selfridges


From Estée Lauder’s new youthfully branded collection aimed at millennials, this night mask smells amazing, with its fruit and flower ingredients (peonies, plus goji berry, blueberry and cranberry for anti-oxidants). After using, our skin was immediately more hydrated (but not oily) and make-up went on smoother the following morning. We wouldn’t suggest using it on acne-prone skin (we had a minor breakout after a week’s use), but we would definitely recommend it for normal to dry skin.

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6. Verso Night Cream: £85 for 50ml, Cult Beauty


With spot-busting, skin-repairing retinol 8, a form of vitamin A that’s supposedly better than your standard retinol, this is great for younger and combination skin – and industry experts advise starting on the retinol in your twenties. The cell production-boosting retinol helped give our skin an autumn boost. Anti-oxidant ingredient oats are intended to protect skin from damage and overall it’s formulated to stabilise skin and help it react less to outside stresses. It’s pricey, but if you’re going to splash out, this is the one to buy – or put on your Christmas list.

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7. Nivea Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream: £9.99, 50ml, Boots


A popular classic, this intensively moisturising cream uses Q10 and creatine – these occur naturally in the skin but decrease with age. And as they decrease, they leave your skin open to damage from the environmental stresses (such as the sun and pollution). A great tried-and-tested budget option.

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8. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate: £37 for 30ml, Kiehl’s


Technically, this isn’t a cream, but a non-greasy formula of essential and botanical oils, extracted from plants, that strengthens skin’s natural barriers. Still, that doesn’t stop it being a good thing to put on your skin at night time. It works between 12am and 4am to soften, hydrate, soothe and generally help your skin recover from daytime aggro. Our skin texture improved within a few nights’ use.

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9. Lancome Energie de Vie Nuit Sleeping Mask: £42 for 75ml, Lancome


When we tried it, this sleeping mask blitzed any windswept autumn roughness, and was ultra-moisturising. It’s full of anti-oxidants (energising goji berries, inflammation-reducing lemon balm and cell-boosting gentian root) and we like the fact that it can be used as both a nightly cream and applied generously two or three times a week as an ultra-nourishing mask if you’re in need of extra oomph.

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10. Korres Advanced Repair Sleeping Facial Wild Rose: £26 for 40ml, M&S


This is a soothing night cream made from wild rose, which has a high vitamin C content (great for skin repair and brightening) and is known for healing properties, plus anti-ageing go-to ingredient hyaluronic acid (for boosting elasticity). The easily absorbed, non-greasy formula gave us a much-needed moisture boost and skin felt plumper after a week’s use.

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The Verdict: Night creams for your 20s

Clarins Multi-Active Nuit left our skin the brightest and with the smoothest texture, which continued weeks into using the cream. There’s no denying it’s pricey, though, so if you're not ready for such a big investment, the Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb is a great budget option, while the No 7 Early Defence Night Cream is a good mid-range choice.

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