There's a point in the evening where our bodies just start to physically reject the idea of wearing anything other than pyjamas or trying to find another true crime series to start. So off to bed we go, but not before a trip to our bathroom cabinets.
Our bodies are busy repairing bees when we've drifted off to sleep, and while we're dreaming, our skin is working the night shift, which is why switching up our nighttime skincare routines can be well worth it. We throw a lot at our skin during the day—sun, pollution and grime—so using products that serve as supportive assistants to the regenerative process will increase the benefits of that elusive "beauty sleep" tenfold.
The best place to get your souped-up nightly skin hit is through a good serum. Serums are packed with potent actives, and as our skin is most receptive to the delivery of these ingredients at night, bedtime is the best time for their application, right between cleansing and moisturising.
We've found 12 powerful night serums that target specific skin concerns, so you'll be spending your time in the morning staring at your reflection instead of downing a cup of coffee.
Best for the full experience
Not only will La Mer's miracle broth work hard to improve skin clarity and brightness, but this serum also contains a bio-ferment and marine peptide ferment, both of which support skin's natural collagen and elastin production. The effect is a bouncier complexion with blurred wrinkles and pores. Bonus: The silky formula is utterly divine to apply.
Best for firming
This serum would be the kid in school who always aced their tests. This genius formula works on skin both above and below the surface, thanks to two types of hyaluronic acid, so it'll smooth out lines and firm the skin as you sleep. If you've got important meetings in the morning, this is the one you need to apply the night before.
Best for radiance
With skin-smoothing peony extract, this serum will leave your skin feeling as smooth as a petal. When applied at night, the plant sugars will boost your complexion—you'll have a radiant glow when you look in the mirror in the morning.
Best for exfoliating
A gentle peel-as-you-sleep formula—it doesn't get better than that. Pixi's glycolic acid serum will exfoliate your skin as you rest, offering the same glow you get after a facial or mask, but without any hassle. It also has soothing aloe vera, too, so you won't have any redness when you head out for the day.
Best for repairing
Dr. Dennis Gross's serum is addictive stuff—we're talking free radical eliminator ferulic acid combined with line-reducing retinol, so you'll notice a big difference in the overall texture of your skin as well as some plumping action. It'll get you even more excited about heading to bed.
Best for skin repair
This is like taking your daily supplements in the morning, knowing it's helping your body repair itself and prevent future damage. This serum does just that with a host of vitamins that tackle the environment's impact on skin. It helps with discolouration and lines, and then ups the moisture for a smooth result.
Best for darker skin tones
Formulated with the particular skincare needs of women of colour in mind, this nourishing serum expertly tackles skin discolouration, without any harsh skin-lightening ingredients. It also takes into account how dry darker skin can get, using a wealth of plant-based ingredients to up the moisture.
Best for an oily skin
If you're not a fan of dense creams and oils at night, this light serum needs a place in your routine. It uses gentle fruit waters and extracts that won't weigh skin down or make it any oilier than it already is.
Best for sensitivity
Our skin just loves letting us know when it's not happy, and it usually shows up in redness, sensitivity and inflammation. At times like that, the last thing you want to do is add potent ingredients to irritate it further. Consider this serum your nighttime superhero, rushing in to save your skin with calming oat and botanical extracts along with nourishing oils. It'll work through the night to prevent further skin issues and help with discomfort.
Best for an organic routine
With oils of the absolute highest grades, this serum is a miracle worker. One sniff of the instantly relaxing scent of rose, cedarwood, lavender and Roman chamomile essential oils is enough to send you straight to sleep. But the skincare benefits are even more special; it goes deep into the skin to balance and repair.
Best for dehydrated skin
Our skin loses more water at night, so it's important to apply a serum that adds moisture. Using ingredients like hyaluronic acid that are a match for thirsty skin, Elemis's moisture-booster is vying for a spot on your top shelf.
Best for smoothing fine lines
We could spend an entire day discussing why Estée Lauder's serum is such a beauty-editor favourite. The short story is that it works on all the major signs of ageing, smoothing over fine lines and plumping areas that have lost their volume. Put simply, it just makes you look rested, and we all need that. ■
If you have a complex morning routine to make you look more like yourself, try these night serums instead so you can set your alarm for a little later.