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Want to give retinol a go-ahead, then read on to learn the best drugstore retinol serums. Retinols are incredibly amazing to reverse the signs of wrinkles, slow aging clear acne, and hyperpigmentation. Retinol serums are a big deal in the market, no wonder it got the FDA approval.
Don’t confuse retinoids with retinol, if you are not sure what the differences are, you need to read “The complete guide to retinol” before moving on with this post. That will give you the basics of what retinol are, the difference between retinol and retinoids, and how to use retinol in your skincare routine.
In this post, I will dive into the best drugstore retinol serums for beginners on the market.
Best Drugstore Retinol Serums
Retinol is pure vitamin A with a proven drugstore ingredient that reverses the signs of aging. Although it is less potent than tretinoin due to the two-step breakdown, it is still effective. Skin becomes less wrinkled, firmer, smoother, and tighter and it is less irritating than Tretinoin.
Personally, I absolutely love this Canadian brand “The Ordinary”. They have taken the whole beauty brand by storm.
This product is an intriguing product as it contains 1% pure retinol with hydrating ingredients. But I really don’t think “The ordinary,” thinks much of this product, so I wonder why they made it? If you check their website, they clearly state that this product is irritating and they highly recommend starting with
The reason why I picked this product is that a lot of people love it. The opaque package helps to keep retinol stable over time and It contains no alcohol, or silicone plus it is cruelty-free.
I love this brand because all their products are well researched before production. This product combines lightweight powerful retinol with advanced peptides and vitamin C which are beneficial and soothing to the skin. With 1% retinol, you will see a considerable improvement in fine lines and uneven skin tone. This product works well with any skin type but I will not recommend it for oily/sensitive skin.
With this brand, you are certain that it comes fragrance-free. This product is a water-based serum with a tinted brown bottle to help protect from light and air exposure. It contains star ingredients such as Ferulic acid, Retinol, liquorice root extract, and bearberry leaf extract which have been researched to even skin tone. The product is absolutely good, especially for people with uneven skin tone. However, I find the price a bit expensive.
This is an alcohol-free, fragrance-free product. It comes as a lotion which is best for normal to dry skin or a not too oily skin type. The key ingredients here are Retinol, Niacinamide, squalane and Bisabolol (an active ingredient in Chamomile). These ingredients provide you with an outstanding antioxidant, skin restorative formula that is equivalent to prescription retinoids. Well done Skin Medica for this product.
Please note that this product contains 1% retinol, there are lesser ones like
This product is absolutely perfect for anyone with sensitive skin who is just starting to try out retinol. The formula combines retinol with advanced peptides to soften fine lines and wrinkles while giving a firmer smoother-looking skin. It is alcohol-free, fragrance, and essential oil-free.
Best Retinol serum derivative – Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR) products
A non-prescription that offers better effects against the signs of aging with little to no irritation. Absolutely perfect for anyone who wants to start incorporating retinol into their skincare regimen. This advanced retinoid does not have major drawbacks that are usually common with Retinol.
An alternative product to retinol if your skin cannot stand retinol. This product contains a high amount of squalane which is a natural skin moisturizer. Squalane is an awesome ingredient for the skin, it makes the skin feel nice and smooth. Not only does it contain Squalane, but there are also other ingredients in this product such as Tomato fruit extract and Bisabolol that act as an antioxidant. I believe “The Ordinary” is proud of this product.
This fragrance-free formula comes with a lightweight fluid texture that is perfect for any skin type. The combination of HPR with Retinol itself is a smart move. More importantly, Sunday Riley did not stop with retinoids, this serum comes with a combination of Ubiquinone (an antioxidant found naturally in human cells, in skincare; it helps to reduce wrinkle appearance) and sodium hyaluronate (a form of hyaluronic acid; an antioxidant as well as a moisturizer).
First of all, I love the colour variant of this product package. This serum is absolutely perfect if you have dry skin. It contains glycerin, hyaluronic acid and acetyl glucosamine which helps the skin to stay hydrated. It also combines antioxidants such as Safflower oil. Not to forget the star ingredient HPR to help even out skin tone and reduce skin aging.
Retinol serum derivative – Bakuchiol products
Bakuchiol is a special snowflake ingredient that acts similarly to Retinol. Gotten from a plant extract that is native to Indian and Chinese medicines. It has a lot of benefits which include anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-tumour, antioxidant, and hepatoprotective properties. Bakuchiol stimulates the production of collagen and inhibits the enzyme that breaks down collagen.
This brand harnessed the powerful natural effects of the ayurvedic Babchi plant. The plant has a magical purple hue to it that does not normally occur in the botanical world. Herbivore uses powerful effects to make this serum which helps to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This serum is Alcohol, fragrance, and essential oil-free. Not only is the serum featuring Bakuchiol, but it also contains glycerin (for moisture), Tumeric root extract (an antioxidant), Glucono Delta Lactone (a PHA; the next generation AHA which is a gentle exfoliant). The product is good for all skin types.
Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil is a lightweight oil that is easily absorbed by the skin. It comes with a nice blend of antioxidants such as rosemary leaf extract and vitamin E. I like this product but the one thing I don’t like is the fragrance in the serum. Over time, the fragrance could lead to skin sensitivity. However, users claim this product worked wonders on their skin. You should see the reviews on Amazon.
Drugstore retinol serums are amazing anti-aging ingredients that are well proven through various research. If you are just starting retinol, I suggest you start with retinol derivatives because they are less irritating and work perfectly on the skin.