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Beauty/Skin/Serums & Treatments/Face Serums
Top 10 Retinol Creams

Everyone Needs Retinol—Here Are The Best Creams For Every Age And Routine

Retinol is often regarded by many as the skincare silver bullet. The powerhouse ingredient is a form of vitamin A, and its rather extensive list of benefits for different skin types is impressive, to say the least. Retinol can handle a variety of your most common skincare concerns in one fell swoop. In brief, retinol stimulates collagen, increases cell turnover, and can visibly fix the signs of sun damage. So, whether you’re struggling with hyperpigmentation, fine lines, deep wrinkles, acne, or textured skin, retinol is up for the task.  

Ahead, we're breaking down all the information you need to know about retinol, the best retinol-infused products, and how you can make it a regular part of your skincare regimen.

What is Retinol?

As mentioned earlier, retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that stimulates the production of collagen, giving skin a firmer structure and, as a result, diminishing the look of fine lines, wrinkles, and loose saggy skin. Retinol can also increase cell turnover and stimulate new blood vessels, which can improve texture and skin color, too. When users introduce retinol into their skincare routine, it’s only a matter of time before they start to experience smooth texture, even skin tone, and plump skin. With this kind of anti-aging power, it's not uncommon for retinol users to experience some not-so-pleasant side effects. With that, we’re here to give you the best ways to combat those risks and side effects, so you can still enjoy all of the age-fighting benefits retinol has to offer.

Best Practices When Using Retinol

A general rule of thumb when using retinol: start slow. Retinol is known to cause drying, irritation, and redness, so it's important to proceed with caution and use a low concentration of retinol when first introducing the ingredient into your skincare routine. Dermatologists suggest starting with a low concentration of 0.05% in pea-sized amounts two to three times a week before building up to more frequent use. To avoid irritation and dryness, you should also consider using only one vitamin A product at a time and layer on a moisturizer before and after you apply retinol. It’s also worth noting that retinol doesn’t mix well with every skincare product. Avoid using retinol with products that contain active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acid, beta-hydroxy acid, or benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients are chemical exfoliants and can lead to even more irritation. 

To protect your skin when using retinol, it’s important to follow the aforementioned best practices and use a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen. Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so applying sunscreen ensures your skin is protected from the harsh environmental elements that can exacerbate the very issues—dark marks, fine lines, wrinkles, acne—you’re trying to fix.

How We Found The Best Retinol Products

In search of the best retinol products out there, we looked to our data-driven algorithm for answers. Our shopping recommendations are backed by best-seller lists, real user reviews, editorial mentions, and more, so you can shop our Top 10 list with full confidence. Whether you’re looking to reduce the appearance of wrinkles or fade dark marks, keep scrolling for the best retinol products with age-fighting benefits you’re sure to fall in love with.

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January 17, 2023

Written By:Naomi Venerable

Product Expert:Georgia Jones

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Top 10 Lists serve as unbiased shopping guides to the most trusted product recommendations on the internet. Products are scored and ranked using an algorithm backed by data consumers find most valuable when making a purchase. We are reader-supported and may earn a commission when you shop through our links.

The Rankings


10
Rank & Style Approved

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Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Advanced Retinol + Ferulic Intense Wrinkle Cream

Our Score

4.45

Best For Dry Skin

WHAT IT DOES
The Intense Wrinkle Cream from Dr. Dennis Gross does a few things. For starters, it provides intense hydration and transforms dry, patchy skin into a soft, hydrated texture. But it also supports skin’s natural collagen production, which is what gives skin a youthful glow and plump appearance.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
Powerful enough to lift skin and reduce even deep set wrinkles, this cream is gentle enough to use daily, day and night.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream

Our Score

4.55

Best For Acne-Prone Skin

WHAT IT DOES
If you’re concerned about the loss of elasticity, fine lines, dullness, or uneven texture, this is the night cream for you. The Youth Retinol Night Cream is powered by a fast-acting retinoid that works quickly to improve firmness and radiance, minimize lines and deep wrinkles, and even skin tone in a matter of a few weeks.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
In a clinical trial, participants used this product for four weeks, and 83% noticed more firm, supple skin, and 80% saw an increased radiance and glow.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Josie Maran Pro-Retinol Megamoisture Face Cream

Our Score

4.6

Best Vegan

WHAT IT DOES
This cream combines pro-retinol with 30 moisturizing and conditioning ingredients like glycerin and argan oil to attract and lock in moisture while preventing skin from becoming easily dry or irritated.

USER REVIEW
“Josie Maran does it again! Their products are some of the most hydrating and nourishing I have ever tried and they always leave me impressed. This moisturizer makes my skin look so plump and healthy! The added pro-retinol has made my skin so soft and isn’t irritating at all. I am so excited to see the long term results!”

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


bareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Face Cream

Our Score

4.6

Best Retinol Alternative

WHO IT’S FOR
Whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin, this cream uses a plant-based retinol alternative to drastically reduce the look of visible fine lines and uneven texture while smoothing and hydrating skin in just one week sans the sensitivity, dryness, and irritation often experienced by retinol users.

AS SEEN ON
Hailey Bieber uses this plant-based retinol cream during her nighttime skin care routine and loves the natural glow it leaves behind.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Facial Night Cream

Our Score

4.65

Best Night Cream

WHO IT'S FOR
If you struggle with deep wrinkles or noticeable expression lines, this retinol night cream can help. Thanks to RoC’s exclusive mineral complex and award-winning retinol, this formula adds a boost of hydration while reducing the look of wrinkles and lines while you sleep.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
RoC's retinol is combined with ingredients like vitamin E, making it a gentle, non-irritating formula. Proof: clinical studies show virtually no signs of irritation with continued use.


Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

Our Score

4.75

Best Clean

WHY IT MADE THE LIST
With 1% vegan retinol, there is nothing this clean, cutting-edge formula can’t handle. Whether you’re experiencing dark spots, a loss in firmness, dullness, or uneven texture, Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream uses fatty acids and a triple-Peptide blend to boost the age-fighting benefits of the retinol at work, while restoring your skin’s bounce and texture.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
Not a trace of silicones, essential oils, or fragrances can be found in this clean formula, so you can rest assured this product will benefit the health of your skin without compromising your skin in the slightest.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 Maximum Strength Refining Night Cream

Our Score

4.8

Best Luxury

WHO IT'S FOR
Regular retinol users can look to this highly concentrated retinol night cream to exfoliate the skin, which in turn encourages cell turnover, minimizes breakouts, and diminishes the look of pores. And since it contains a blend of chamomile and frankincense, it also promotes calm skin.

HELPFUL TIP
Use a high, broad-spectrum SPF while using this product, as retinol may increase photosensitivity.


It Cosmetics Hello Results Daily Retinol Serum-Cream

Our Score

4.8

Best For Oily Skin

WHAT IT DOES
This powerful hybrid formula is equal parts anti-aging serum and cream. A dual retinol blend that reaches down at least 15 layers into the skin’s surface is packed into a lightweight cream that also contains vitamin B3 and vitamin E to soothe, hydrate, and calm the skin.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
The IT Cosmetics advisory board of plastic surgeons and dermatologists worked together to ensure the Hello Results Daily Retinol Serum-Cream delivered effective results with care.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty Free


Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Cream

Our Score

4.85

Best Affordable

WHAT IT DOES
Praised for its effectiveness and affordability, this regenerating cream works deep within the skin’s surface to keep fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots at bay. Thanks to pure retinol and hyaluronic acid, you can expect to see visibly plump and younger-looking skin in just a week.

ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW
This dermatologist-trusted retinol cream has racked up nearly 30,000 five-star reviews for its anti-aging and skin-loving benefits.


Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 + Peptide Night Face Moisturizer Cream

Our Score

4.85

Best Overall

WHAT IT DOES
Formulated with a blend of retinol and niacinamide (aka vitamin B3), this deeply hydrating nighttime facial moisturizer goes down into the skin’s layers for an overnight rejuvenation you’re sure to notice in the morning.

WHO IT’S FOR
If your skin is mature, sensitive, or dry, look to this ultra-hydrating formula for a much-needed fix.

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