The contenders: Creams and lotions created to keep skin moisturized and boost its overnight-repair function. These formulas often include antioxidants and wrinkle-fighting ingredients such as retinol.

Testing time: Eight weeks.

And the winners are... It's a tie! When lab and consumer results were tallied, L'Oréal Paris Advanced RevitaLift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair Night Creme ($20, drugstores) and Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Night ($42, CVS) shared the top spot.

The differences between them: Pro-retinol-A–infused L'Oréal received the best overall consumer performance score, including the highest ranking from panelists for firming and reducing wrinkles. Budget-friendly L'Oréal was also tops, per lab results, in minimizing forehead lines and wrinkles. Visia analysis showed that Vichy, on the other hand, was best at evening out skin tone and addressing fine lines and wrinkles around two other age-sensitive areas — the mouth and nose. Both treatments received impressive moisturizing scores and high praise from consumers for their light textures and unobtrusive scents, and for not causing skin irritation. "A couple of people have commented on how nice my face looked in the past month," said one volunteer who tried the Vichy. "I don't know if it's the product, but this has never happened before."

Tip: While panelists were generally pleased with the softening and smoothing benefits of night creams, the treatments were less successful at minimizing age and UV spots than more targeted treatments, such as the winning age-spot faders.

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