The Best Retinol Face Creams

What’s the one ingredient you want in your skincare routine if you’re wanting a more youthful appearance? Why, it’s Retinol (aka Vitamin A), of course! Known for boosting the skin’s collagen, plumping skin out, and improving texture, it’s no wonder everyone wants to see this ingredient in their skincare set.

A Retinol-based product might make your skin seem a little drier than normal. One way to tackle that is to get on the hydration train with a Retinol face cream. A Retinol anti aging face cream will boost the skin’s appearance and add the moisture you might be craving. But with so many creams available, how do you know which one is right for your skin type?

The Adore Beauty team have done their research, answered the burning questions, and found the best Retinol cream for beginners and skincare connoisseurs.

SkinCeuticals Retinol 1 - hand holding small product against white wall - 670 x 442SkinCeuticals Retinol 1 - hand holding small product against white wall - 670 x 442

What is Retinol Cream?

Much like the more familiar Retinol serum, a Retinol cream contains an active form of Vitamin A. Vitamin A binds with the skin’s receptors to give your complexion a younger, fresher, plumper look. The best Retinol cream will help even out the skin’s appearance and improve texture.

You can also pick up Retinol eye cream to target the sensitive area around the eye specifically. If you’re looking for the best Retinol cream for wrinkles, it’s a good idea to also seek out a hit of hydration—Retinol is known for drying out the skin and making it look flaky when you first start using it. That’s why you need a top rated Retinol cream!

How to Apply Retinol Cream to the Face?

How you apply Retinol cream to the face depends on the type of product you’re using. If you’re using a high percentage Retinol cream or a moisturiser containing Retinol, you might need to slowly build up how often you apply it, just so your skin has time to get used to it.

As well as the best Retinol eye cream, you should also seek out the best Retinol night cream to complement your routine. Don’t overdo your Retinol products though! You want to make sure your skin is also getting the hydration it needs.

How to Use Retinol Night Cream?

Once you’ve (double) cleansed and toned your skin at night, you can apply a Retinol night cream. It’s always worth checking the label though, because you might only need to use the Retinol night cream a few evenings a week. There’s certainly more than one Retinol anti aging night cream to choose from, but when you’re looking to buy, make sure it’s got the balance that your skin will love to lap up. The products with the highest Retinol content can sometimes dry skin out a little.

Is Retinol Cream Safe?

A good Retinol cream is safe on the skin, but it’s always worth doing your research and testing things out in small doses first. You can get a Retinol cream for acne, which will help clear up annoying pimples. Or you can pick up a more natural Retinol face cream if your skin loves pure ingredients. If you’re just beginning your Retinol journey, it’s probably best not to start with the highest Retinol content. Keep the percentage in the product low, and you should be good to go!

What Does Retinol do for Skin?

Retinol is a powerful little ingredient that always makes an impression. It’ll help prevent wrinkles; brighten up dull, tired skin; help minimise breakouts; and even out your complexion over time—phew! We have some of the best Retinol face products that your skin would love to get to know. From gentle Retinol eye cream to the best Retinol cream for wrinkles, there’s a little something for everyone in our stash.

Some of our team voted this the best Retinol eye cream for wrinkles! Beauté Pacifique Vitamin A Eye Cream is cruelty-free and superintense. With a triple dose of Vitamin A, it’s perfect for all skin types and helps soothe tired eyes. By softening and hydrating this delicate area, the cream makes the eyes appear brighter and more youthful. It also helps rebuild skin that has slackened around the eye. If you’re looking for the best Vitamin A cream for skin around the eyes, look no further!

The 3 forms of Vitamin A work together to treat major eye concerns without causing any harm. Beauté Pacifique Vitamin A Eye Cream 15ml is also formulated with Squalane to mimic the skin’s hydration, helping the skin naturally improve itself.


Cosmedix Refine Refinishing Treatment 4% contains purified Vitamin A in its most natural state, which means the skin absorbs it more effectively. Cruelty-free and without any artificial fragrances, this medium-strength anti-ageing Retinol serum keeps the skin hydrated, plumps up the skin, and reduces pore size. Ideal for all skin types, the serum erases fine lines without causing irritation.

Even skin that’s been compromised by the sun will feel the benefit of mattifying and detoxifying Cosmedix Refine Refinishing Treatment 4%. Begin applying the serum every other night before bed. Then increase your use over time, depending on how your skin responds. You only need a pea-sized amount. And don’t apply to the eyelids!


Suitable for all skin types, PCA Skin Retinol Treatment For Sensitive Skin will particularly suit those with sensitive skin. If you’ve never used a top Retinol cream before, this could be a good place to start. The little treatment has been formulated with patented ingredient InflaShield to reduce the irritation that Retinol is known for.

Even though PCA Skin Retinol Treatment For Sensitive Skin 29.5g is suitable for sensitive types, that doesn’t make it any less effective. Hexylresorcinol helps promote a more even skin tone, making your complexion look soothed. And Niacinamide acts as a protective antioxidant. Start using before bed a couple of nights a week and increase use over time if you feel like your skin needs it.


Skinstitut Retinol promotes skin cell renewal, improves the skin’s texture, and helps prevent the signs of ageing. Now, that’s a powerful little serum! The intense gel-formula with Retinol (also known as Vitamin A) smooths the skin and gives it that radiant look we all crave. And that’s not all: it’ll also keep breakouts, pimples, and redness under control!

By shedding dead skin cells, uneven skin appears corrected. Using Skinstitut Retinol will also help combat signs of too much time spent in the sun. Apply a small amount to the face and neck at night and massage into the skin. If you do apply in the morning, always make sure you apply a high-protection sunscreen.


Ella Baché Crème Royale is perfect for ageing and very dry skin. This ultranourishing face cream with most retinol has a luxurious touch and instantly hydrates the skin to plump it up. Rich in Vitamins A, D, and E, this antioxidant moisturiser helps restore the skin’s natural dewiness and gives it a boost for a younger-looking complexion.

Working to improve the skin’s natural barrier, Ella Baché Crème Royale helps prevent moisture loss for all-day hydration. The formula also includes Beeswax and Wheat Germ Oil to continue to soften the skin. It’s been hailed as the best Retinol cream for 20’s. To use, thoroughly cleanse and tone the skin. Next, rub a pearl-sized amount of the cream between your fingers and apply to the face. Use morning and night a few times a week to start with, and build up your tolerance over time.


This is a powerful night moisturiser containing Retinol, which works hard to balance uneven skin tone and lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. Also, a massive bonus to using Medik8 Night Ritual Vitamin A Age-Defying Retinol Cream is that it decongests pores to help prevent pimples.

A vegan formula, Medik8 Night Ritual Vitamin A Age-Defying Retinol Cream 50ml improves the skin’s elasticity to visibly fight the signs of ageing. Skin is repaired while you sleep, and the 0.2% Retinol helps smooth out those annoying wrinkles. Use twice a week for the first 2 weeks, every other night for the next 2 weeks, then every night.


If you’ve never used a product with Retinol in it before, Medik8 Crystal Retinal could be the perfect place for you to start. This Retinol treatment is perfect for newbies and those with sensitive skin, but you’ll still feel the benefit. Helping to reduce wrinkles, fine lines, pores, and uneven texture, Medik8’s Retinal formula works 11 times faster than classic forms of Retinol do.

This potent overnight serum has a lightweight texture and absorbs instantly into skin. The Retinal in Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 formula is the closest Vitamin A molecule to Retinoic Acid. Use this advanced treatment to soften skin and reduce wrinkles. Apply in the evening before bed and let it sink in while you sleep.


Some bottles are built to make a real difference, and Medik8 Retinol 3TR Advanced 0.3% Vitamin A Serum is one of them! With 0.3% Retinol, the formula is supported by caring Vitamin E to work as a powerful anti-ageing serum. Complementing your skin’s nightly regenerative cycle, this fast-absorbing serum promotes an even skin tone and reduces the appearance of fine lines.

Perfect for those who are new to Retinol, the intelligent formula works overnight on problem areas while preventing any irritation. And that’s not all! Medik8 Retinol 3TR Advanced 0.3% Vitamin A Serum 15ml balances your sebum production, helping make blemishes a thing of the past.


Making a real mark on the Retinol market, SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 is up there with the strongest Retinol cream available. In fact, with 1% pure Retinol, it’s the highest concentration you can currently purchase over the counter. Perfect for photodamaged and problematic skin, this powerful cream reduces fine lines, evens out blotchy patches, and helps correct skin discolouration.

This high performing face cream with most Retinol should be applied only at night to increase cell turnover and improve the skin’s clarity. SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 is a high-potency product, so it’s essential you use SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 prior to introducing this version into your skin’s routine.


So, it’s true: if you’re looking for a way to really make a difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, a Retinol cream is definitely going to help. Just remember to always read the instructions before using, and introduce the product mindfully into your routine.

Everything you need to know about Retinol

Want to discover more amazing Retinol/Vitamin A products? Check out some of our guides:


BeautyIQ Podcast - Episode 2: The Anti-Ageing Ingredient Everyone Should Be Using


Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.


So, let's recap the 9 Best Retinol Face Creams

  1. Beauté Pacifique Vitamin A Eye Cream 15ml

  2. Cosmedix Refine Refinishing Treatment 4%

  3. PCA Skin Retinol Treatment For Sensitive Skin 29.5g

  4. Skinstitut Retinol

  5. Ella Baché Crème Royale

  6. Medik8 Night Ritual Vitamin A Age-Defying Retinol Cream 50ml

  7. Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1

  8. Medik8 Retinol 3TR Advanced 0.3% Vitamin A Serum 15ml

  9. SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0


Vitamin A/Retinol