5 Best Retinol Moisturizers

5 Best Retinol Moisturizers

If you haven’t incorporated retinol into your skincare routine yet, you’ve been missing out. Retinol is one of the most used and most well-studied anti-aging ingredients on the market, effectively transforming the look and feel of your skin by encouraging collagen production and increasing cell turnover. This makes this powerhouse skincare ingredient the perfect answer to combatting the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, acne breakouts, and uneven skin tone. 

One of the easiest ways to add retinol to your regimen is with a retinol moisturizer. While retinol is often derived from animal sources, plant-based retinol is becoming more readily available on the market. We’ve rounded up our 5 favorite face creams with retinol and each of these recommendations are 100% vegan and cruelty free. Keep reading to learn more.


Main Takeaways: Retinol is a traditionally animal derived skincare ingredient, whose anti-aging powers are virtually unmatched. But plant-based forms of vitamin A are now popping up in moisturizers all over the market, so you can keep your skin smooth and bright without compromising your values.

Good to Know: Retinol, no matter where it comes from, can amplify the effects of UV rays on the skin. So be sure to either use it only at night or follow with a meticulously applied SPF to prevent sun damage.

Recommended Products: Youth Fairy Retinol Moisturizer.


Looking for the perfect retinol moisturizer? We've got you covered.

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What Is Retinol?

For decades, retinol has dominated the anti-aging skincare industry for its incomparable ability to deliver supreme smoothness to skin of varying conditions. Nothing is magic, but retinol is probably as close as it gets. A form of vitamin A that works by complimenting your skin’s natural renewal process, it effectively reveals fresher, smoother, more radiant skin. It is known  for its ability to minimize the look of pores, enhance tone and texture, boost your skin’s bounce, and visibly reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and dullness.

However, retinol used in most skincare formulas is often either animal derived, or a synthetic molecule designed in a lab to unerringly mimic retinol found in animal products. Hailing from things like eggs, dairy, fish, and beef or chicken, traditional forms of retinol are unfortunately not earth-friendly. The good news is that vegan retinol is becoming more and more readily available.

Found in plants like carrots, squash, pumpkin, plant-based retinol is just as effective as its animal-unfriendly counterparts. A great way to incorporate plant-based retinol into your routine is through a moisturizer. It allows your chosen formula to do double duty, as the retinol helps renew the skin’s surface area so moisturizing agents can absorb even deeper for radical hydration. Here are our top picks for the best vegan retinol moisturizers:Shop Fleur & Bee

1. Best Overall Retinol Moisturizer

Fleur & Bee: Youth Fairy Retinol Moisturizer

Rich with 18 natural, age-defying actives– including squalane, plant-based stem cells, and of course, vegan retinol– Youth Fairy is the perfect beginner’s retinol moisturizer. This silky formula features 0.03% retinol for a powerful, yet gentle-on-your-skin, foray into plant powered age defense, without the typically nasty retinol-related side effects. Youth Fairy will radically rejuvenate your appearance, minimizing the look of dark spots and renewing your complexion for brighter, more even, and highly hydrated skin. It is designed for all ages and skin types, so add this to your evening routine and be prepared to transform your complexion.

Fleur & Bee Youth Fairy

2. Best Retinol Moisturizer for Dry Skin

LilyAna Naturals: Retinol Cream

This max power retinol cream will lift and brighten the skin with tone-evening and fine line-blasting powers that pack a punch. It’s rich with a blend of hyaluronic moisturizers, while added jojoba and shea butter offer all day hyper-hydration. This makes it a great option for dry skin, but those with excess oils may want to proceed with caution; shea butter can be comedogenic and may lead to blemishes for some.


3. Best Retinol Moisturizer for Oily Skin

bareMinerals: Ageless Phyto-Retinol Face Cream

Protein peptides and hyaluronic acid work together to infuse skin with humectant-based hydration without the use of heavy, possibly problematic oils. This soothing, non-irritating, natural plant-based phyto-retinol (a traditional retinol alternative) moisturizer by bareMinerals is equally effective as its animal-derived counterparts. In fact, clinical data shows that the Ageless Phyto-Retinol Cream can offer results in as little as one week. Reduce the appearance of fine lines, amp up hydration, and kick uneven tone for smoother, more youthful-looking skin that will make you want to go bare.


4. Best Drugstore Retinol Moisturizer

Pacifica: Wake Up Beautiful

This feather-light moisturizer literally melts into skin with a buttery texture that will leave you dreaming of your morning toast. You may not be able to eat it, but this food-for-your-face is clinically proven to hydrate and repair skin while you sleep. Address various signs of aging with Pacifica’s RestLab Complex - an amalgamation that features melatonin, mushroom, quinoa, and a non-irritating vegan retinoid for a youthful glow. Wake up beautiful, indeed.


5. Best Retinol Moisturizer for Sensitive Skin

REN: Bio Retinoid Youth Cream

 For those with sensitive skin, reach for Ren’s Bio Retinoid Youth Cream. This sumptuous moisturizer is proven to naturally and gently fight signs of aging for firmer looking skin in 28 days. Get smoother, more youthful looking skin without the irritation and side effects common to retinol use. Made for those with sensitive skin, it features retinol-mimicking bidens pilosa and a blend of plant-based oils to rejuvenate your complexion.


So, what are you waiting for? Snatch one of these ground-breaking formulas and get your clean and cruelty-free retinol on… literally!

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