The best retinol serums for resurfacing a rejuvenated complexion
New serum, new you
By Briar Clark
BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / October 18 2022
Forget faffing about with products that make wild claims about anti-ageing because as far as we (and the skin care accredited) are concerned, it's all about retinol.
Since its inception, retinol has been minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promoting cellular turnover and giving us our most youthful-looking complexions yet.
So why bother with lukewarm results when you can go ham with a results-driven retinol serum (unless you’re a newbie, in which case let us direct you to the best retinol serums for beginners) – here are our absolute favourites...
La Roche Posay Retinol B3 Anti-Ageing Serum
There isn’t a La Roche-Posay serum we don’t like in all honesty, and the La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum does not stray from the stellar blends we’ve previously encountered from the French pharmacy brand. Formulated with supportive ingredients such as vitamin B3 and glycerin, this Chemist Warehouse find helps to alleviate any discomfort or redness one might typically experience when introducing retinol into their routine. Look forward to softened skin, a minimisation of fine lines and wrinkles and a refinement in skin texture with continued use.
$50.39 at Chemist Warehouse
Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum
Powered by a combo of bio-available retinoid complex and vitamin B3, this night serum is devoted to visibly improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also hydrating, brightening and evening the skin. It doesn't mess around when it comes to efficacy, either; it earned an impressive 4.5 stars from our Review Crew® with reviewers raving about the results it delivered, as well as its non-sticky, non-irritating nature.
$29.99 at Chemist Warehouse
Medik8 Intelligent Retinol 6TR
The perfect Goldilocks formula, this pick from Medik8 isn’t for beginners but it also probably won’t tear your face off and give you a whole new one, quite like a prescription retinol tends to do. The medium-strength formula is perfect for taking down any unwanted fine lines and wrinkles, promoting radiance, smooth skin and a unified tone. Plus, it also helps to encourage the skin’s natural exfoliation process. Younger-looking skin, here we come.
$95 at Adore Beauty
The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane
There’s really no match to be found for this penny-saving pick from The Ordinary. Enjoy a healthy dose of retinol (one per cent to be exact) in a comforting swathe of skin-nourishing squalane that helps to alleviate any itchiness or peeling one may typically associate with higher concentrations of retinol. Fine lines, photo-damage and visible signs of ageing be gone!
$13.10 at Adore Beauty
Murad Resurgence Retinol Youth Renewal Serum
Just like every other Murad product you’ve ever owned, you can expect deliverable results from this serum without stressing out your skin. Utilising retinol tri-Active technology, which combines a cocktail of retinol with different purposes (a fast-acting retinol, time-released retinol and a retinol booster to be exact), this skin-renewing formula evens tone, smooths texture, and minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a noticeably more youthful-looking appearance.
$138 at Adore Beauty
SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3%
If you have sensitive skin, the last thing you probably want to do is add a retinol serum to your skin care routine. But actually, sensitive skin was what Skinceuticals had in mind when they formulated this extra-gentle variation of their cult-fave retinol. By introducing this super low concentration of just 0.3 per cent retinol into your routine, you can prepare your skin for higher doses in the future. Think of this addition as a first step in your goal to ultimate skin glory.
$97 at Adore Beauty
asap super a+ serum
The fact that this serum is constantly getting inundated with positive reviews is one surefire selling point, but now that it’s retailing for 20 per cent off at Adore Beauty, honestly, we have no excuse not to add to cart. Its impressive credentials include: firming skin, minimising fine lines and wrinkles, and promoting skin renewal and collagen production literally overnight. Plus, it’s formulated with a slew of antioxidants that help to protect skin against premature aging caused by environmental pollutants too. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
was $99 now $77.22 at Adore Beauty
BOOST LAB Retinol Night Renewal Serum
Lack of sleep starting to affect your precious complexion? BOOST LAB Retinol Night Renewal Serum boosts cellular repair and renewal, stimulates collagen production, minimises the visible signs of ageing (fine lines we’re looking at you) and hydrates and nourishes while it’s at it. Beauty sleep just turned out to be an absolute cinch (even if you’re not actually getting any).
$29.95 at BOOST LAB
Stemlab Anti-Aging Retinol Serum
A retinol topical suitable for sensitive, blemish-prone, combination and oily skin? Blessings! This super-serum does everything you'd hope a retinol one would (addresses signs of ageing, improves breakouts, helps to counteract pigmentation, etc.), but it also actually hydrates the skin (yes, we swear) and strengthens your skin elasticity.
$78 at Stemlab
The Body Shop Edelweiss Daily Serum Concentrate
Want to reap the benefits of retinol but not sure it's right for you? Allow us to point you in the direction of this schmancy serum concentrate. Heroing its namesake ingredient (edelweiss), this formula is the newly named (and improved) take on The Body Shop's fan-favourite Drops of Youth™ Youth Concentrate. As for edelweiss' efficacy, it's a natural alternative which actually possesses 43% more antioxidant power than retinol^ anyway. Let's just say stronger*, smoother skin is in your face's future with this serum on your side.
$55 at The Body Shop
^Retinol expressed as Trans Retinyl Acetate. The radical protection factor (RPF) was measured in vitro by electron spin resonance.
*Skin that looks plump with moisture, with a smooth surface. Skin looks re-energised and refreshed.
Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.