If you’re a skincare buff, you probably know that one of the reasons serums are so effective is that they target specific issues. You probably also know that retinol, otherwise known as vitamin A, is one of the most effective, powerful skincare ingredients around. Put retinol in a serum and you’ve got one seriously effective product which is why, in this article, we’re discussing the 8 Best Retinol Serums, what retinol is, and how to use it. From bargains to bakuchiol (we’ll explain that in a bit), we’ve got a great retinol serum for everyone!
What Is Retinol?
Technically, retinol is a vitamin (vitamin A, to be precise), that is well known for its incredible ability to exfoliate the skin and therefore its ability to act as an extraordinary anti-aging ingredient. Not only does it help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it helps clean the skin of dirt and oil that clog it up, and helps get it prepared for taking in moisture.
How To Use Retinol
That said, retinol is so effective that it often takes some skins time to adjust. For that reason, we recommend using it either just once a day or every other day, especially if you have sensitive skin. It’s also a good idea to try to use a little patience as your skin might go through a period of adjustment as it gets used to the exfoliating action of retinol. And since you are exposing new skin, we recommend always following with a great moisturizer and a good SPF. Some people even feel it’s best to avoid retinol during the day since it does expose new skin to the sun. If you have sensitive skin, it’s not a terrible idea to consult with your dermatologist before using.
As promised, we’ve collected our 8 favorite retinol serums. From major splurges to serums that even help to moisturize the skin, we’ve covered all your retinol serum needs!
1. Best Overall Retinol Serum
Fleur & Bee: 'A' Game Retinol Serum
One try of this powerful retinol serum and you’ll see why it’s called 'A Game! Full of super-effective ingredients like organic rosehip oil which helps even out skin tone, glycolic acid which helps exfoliate the skin, and ubiquinone, also known as coenzyme Q10, which helps tighten the skin, this retinol serum is a true all-rounder! Of course, it also contains retinol to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reduce the appearance of dark spots. If you want brighter, more youthful-looking skin overall, this is a great choice!
2. Best Spurge Retinol Serum
StriVectin: Multi-Action Super-C Retinol Brighten & Correct Vitamin C Face Serum
If you’re a regular reader of our blogs, you probably know how we feel about vitamin C (in short, it’s a brilliant way to make your skin look, well, brilliant!). What you might not know is how effective acerola cherry is for the skin. Full of vitamin C itself, it also contains antioxidants that help protect the skin against environmental stressors that seek to harm it. As a retinol serum that contains acerola cherry, this product helps restore radiance to the skin, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and helps give skin a tighter, firmer look. Vegans take note: while this company does have a handful of products that are not vegan, this one is so you can use it worry free!
3. Best Retinol Serum with Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid
Naturium: Vitamin C Super Serum Plus
We love it when companies combine super-effective ingredients to give skin a one-two punch. That’s why we love this serum that combines retinol with niacinamide. Niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3, is well known for its ability to help balance skin’s natural oils, help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and minimize the appearance of pores. Not only that but this serum also contains hyaluronic acid which helps restore skin’s dewy look. Talk about playing well with others!
4. Best Bargain Retinol Serum
Tree of Life: Retinol Serum for Face Wrinkles
If you’re not familiar with this brand, it was founded by a doctor who was frustrated with the effectiveness and price of the skincare she was finding. As a result, she developed Tree of Life beauty which includes this retinol serum. Not surprisingly, it gets to work on skin’s fine lines and wrinkles while also helping to fade the look of dark spots. Made with hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin, it also contains soothing ingredients such as organic aloe, moisturizing jojoba, and vitamin E. And at under $11, it’s a true bargain!
5. Best Mid-Priced Retinol Serum
The Honest Company Honestly Pure Retinol Serum
Ever wonder how Jessica Alba gets her skin to glow the way it does? We’re thinking it might be because of her Honestly Pure Retinol Serum. Made with retinol, hyaluronic acid, and get this–tapioca, it’s known for its ability to smooth the texture of the skin, even skin’s tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Interestingly, the retinol in this product is time released, which means it’s gentle on the skin. It also contains mica, a group of minerals that help give skin a dewy glow. (Vegans take note: although this product is cruelty free, it does contain beeswax.)
6. Best High-Potency Retinol Serum (and Best Retinol Serum Packaging!)
LilyAna Naturals: Retinol Serum
Hold on to your horses because this serum is deep–as in, deep-reaching. This powerful retinol serum is known for its ability to provide exfoliation that helps brighten and refresh skin. Not only that, but it gets to work on dark spots and signs of aging. Made with some of our favorite ingredients like sunflower seed oil, vitamin E, and chamomile extract, it contains no artificial fragrances or colors, gluten, parabens, or phthalates. And while we know this doesn’t help your skin, it comes in great packaging!
7. Best Retinol Serum for Sensitive Skin
Cosmedica Skincare Advanced Retinol Serum
As a super-effective ingredient, retinol can be difficult for some sensitive skins to use. Luckily, with this retinol serum, sensitive skins can get in on the retinol action without having a bad reaction. Not only that, it’s gentle enough to use around the eye area (as long as you’re careful not to get it in your eyes, of course!). In fact, if you have dark circles around the eyes, this will get to work on those as well as the bags under them. If you’re in the market for a great anti-aging skin care product, this is a great choice.
8. Best Phyto-Retinol Serum
Biossance: Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum
Although it really isn’t all that hard to get used to retinol on the skin, if you’re concerned about it, this phyto-retinol serum might be a good alternative. Made with bakuchiol, a plant-based ingredient that pairs well with retinol and helps calm the skin, this retinol alternative is a good choice if you have super, super sensitive skin. Even on its own, bakuchiol helps the skin fight environmental stressors that want to harm it and, like retinol, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Yes, it’s a splurge, but if you have really sensitive skin, you might want to give it a try.
We hope that inspires you to give retinol serum a try. As long as you make sure to use retinol properly, we think you’ll find it’s an extraordinarily effective part of a great skincare routine.
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