We all recognise the importance of day cream - whether yours is formulated to maintain moisture levels, minimise shine, protect from the sun or deflect pollutants - but you may have stopped to wonder, why is night cream necessary? How does it differ and do I really need both - or is it just an opportunity for skin care companies to sell me something else.

Well, the truth is that there's no reason you can't use day lotion at night-time however, day and night treatments are formulated differently - day creams generally 'protect' while night creams work hard to repair and regenerate - which is why they are usually richer in texture and brimming with potent reparative extracts to 'undo' the ravages wrought in the daytime.

You may also find that your skin requires 'special treatment' while you're sleeping - perhaps your environment is dehydrating, or you wake up looking lacklustre? It's worth taking time to establish your skin's nighttime needs; cleanse in the evening and go to bed naked-faced - when you wake up, head straight to the mirror and do an assessment. Do you have any dry patches? Does your complexion look red or feel sensitive? Are you looking a little 'deflated' - in which case, you might need something 'plumping'. Or does your skin feel oily and congested - in which case you should opt for something balancing.

Hormones/stress may also have an impact - it's worth acquiring a skin care wardrobe, to address the changing needs of your complexion. An oil will help to normalise, while a decadent cream will not only replenish much-needed moisture, but the act of 'going through the motions' provides a perfect opportunity for end-of-day 'me time', to help you relax and unwind before bed.

Conversely, night creams aren't strictly for 'night'. If your skin is particularly stressed, parched or sensitive, the souped-up formulations can deliver an intensive dose of conditioning nutrients - especially beneficial as we head towards the colder, winter months.

So, how do you know which one you need? Here are some recommendations:

If your skin is oily/combination, apply a normalising oil. SkinOwl's {Lavender Beauty Drops} help to control excessive sebum synthesis, while the soothing (all-natural) fragrance is incredibly aromatherapeutic.

If you skin is congested/acne-prone, try something lightweight and detoxifying. African Botanics' {Neroli Infused Marula Oil} works to encourage purification whilst soothing, strengthening and calming stressed, reactive complexions to quickly recapture skin's clarity.

For those prone to dullness, try something rich in brightening AHAs. REN's {Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial} stars glycolic acid to 'melt' the glue that binds dulling, dead cells to skin's surface so you literally, wake up looking wonderful. Or try Allies of Skin's silky {Bright Future Overnight Facial} - a revitalising 'peel' that brightens pigmentation patches and recaptures lost radiance, without aggravating your complexion.

Dehydrated? You need something brimming with glycerin or hyaluronic acid to optimise moisture-retention and recover skin's plumpness. Fillerina's {Night Treatment} stars both, to attract and retain much-needed water, with additional 'plumping' benefits.

If your skin is particularly dry and scaly, try something thick and nourishing - a cocktail of nut butters, oils and extracts will 'lock in' moisture and promote skin strength and elasticity. Omorovicza's {Rejuvenating Night Cream} is incredibly indulgent, while Dr. Jackson's {02 Night Skin Cream} is entirely natural - soothing and healing your complexion with pure and potent botanical ingredients.

And if you're concerned about skin ageing, DNA Renewal's {DNA Night Renewal} supplements your skin's own overnight repair processes with 'DNA Repair Enzymes'. Found naturally in skin, these enzymes act like seamstresses - 'cutting out' damaged DNA and patching the gaps with 'undamaged' fabric - to diminish fine lines, wrinkles and other tell-tale signs of cellular slow-down.