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Oh what a Night Cream

India Knight thought they were a waste of time. Then a star product changed her mind.

I don't really believe in night creams. I have this notion that the poor skin needs to be bare at some point in order to breathe and just be, and that given the stuff we slap on in the daytime, it makes sense to leave it alone when we go to bed. There are exceptions - if it's parched in winter, and so on. Even then, I see no reason why you wouldn't use your normal moisturiser. it's not like normal moisturiser goes "No, It's after 10pm, I will now stop being effective."

Having said that, I'm quite keen on oils when skin is parched, and obviously, these are better applied at night, because (Holmesian deduction here) they’re oily, and because make-up slides off them. Other than that, though, I’ve never met a night cream that impressed me. I think they’re a swizz – yet another thing you don’t really need. However: U-turn.

I was sent a pot of this cream called Cult51, with a note saying: “Just try it for a few days.” And so I did, with the express intention of seeing no difference and confirming my view that night creams are pointless. (“The revolutionary 3D cream,” the packaging said. What does “3D cream” even mean? It doesn’t make sense. I hate nonsense beauty-speak.) 

Cult51 (£125) was launched earlier this year with a degree of press hysteria: “The most expensive night cream on the market,” and so on (it isn’t – not even close). Anyway, on it went.

I looked pretty good the next morning, but that sometimes happens and it seems wholly random. The third day: I woke up completely matt as if I was wearing make-up. Weird. Again, didn’t think that much of it – I’d been away for the weekend, caught the sun, looked quite well. But by the end of the first week, it was time to stop being churlish and admit that something was definitely happening. Something good.

The waking-up matt continued, but my skin looked both tighter and more plumped. By the end of the second week, it also looked much brighter – really perky, like the skin of someone who has never had a fag or a late night, let alone decades of both. After three weeks of nightly use, my pores have shrunk. (This is not technically possible, but I promise you it’s true. I have no idea how or why.) Little marks – the odd red bit, the odd mark from a dead spot – have not quite gone, but close: it’s as though someone had taken a rubber and done a pretty good job of erasing them.

Also, my skin feels great. It drinks this stuff in, so you can’t tell I have it on by the time I get into bed. It feels lovely – the cream, though also my skin – not sticky, not greasy, not “Urgh, why is this stuff so heavy?”. The dry bits are not dry anymore, and the oily bits have, incredibly, gone. I’m not mad about the smell, but it seems a small price to pay for a product that is, for once, transformative.

Now, it’s not cheap, and you don’t need it if you’re under 40. But if you have little wrinkles and blotches you don’t like, and if you’re worried about withering collagen, sun damage, puffiness, dark circles and all the other fun stuff, give this a shot.

I approached this product with extreme scepticism and have come out a convert, which isn’t a thing that happens very often. 

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Article written by India Knight for the Sunday Times

Sunday, May 25 2014.