Consider opting for serums that contain ingredients like retinol to aid cell turnover and nourishing ingredients like to repair the skin’s barrier. “Rejuvenating ingredients and serums such as retinol are great to use at night,” says Elyse Love, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Glamderm in Manhattan. “In addition, many forms of retinol are broken down by the sun, so they’re significantly more effective if used at night. Bakuchiol is a gentler alternative to retinol. It can be used twice a day since it does not make the skin sun sensitive. For those with sensitive skin, barrier repair ingredients are also helpful at night as the skin heals itself. This includes ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, lipids, ceramides.”

You can put serums on after any toners or essences, but before any night creams or balms. “Slugging with balm- or ointment-based products can also be helpful for nighttime repair,” says Love.

When thinking about what skincare products to use when, it’s a good rule of thumb to think about it this way: Nighttime is for repairing, while morning is for protecting. That’s why at night, it’s best to opt for repairing ingredients like retinols, lipids, and ceramides, while in the morning, it’s best to start mixing in topicals like vitamin C and sunscreen to defend against environmental aggressors you may encounter in your day to day life.

I reached out to dermatologists to get a comprehensive list of some of the best serums to use before you snooze. Every single serum on this list is recommended by a derm, so you can rest assured that any one you choose will help you on your journey to the glowiest skin possible when you wake up. Keep reading for the absolute best nighttime serums. 

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