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Best retinol creams and serums in Australia 2024

We've found the best retinol to keep your skin youthful and glowing.

The best retinol creams and serums in Australia

Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that has been proven to be an effective skincare ingredient. It is used to treat a variety of skin issues such as fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and acne. Retinol exfoliates the skin's top layer, helping remove dead skin cells and stimulate collagen production. This can result in a more youthful appearance and glowing complexion.

When picking the best retinol for your skin, there are several factors to consider: the concentration of retinol, other ingredients that may help address your specific concerns and how regularly you plan on using your product and if you have any sun sensitivity associated with it.

Our team has examined hundreds of retinol products available online to help you pick the best option for your skin's needs. We evaluated options from brands such as CeraVe, Versed, The Ordinary and many more.

Read our full methodology below.


Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment Cream

Best overall retinol

Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment Cream
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Light and non-greasy

Cons

  • There are cheaper options in the market
  • May be too strong for beginners

Our team has chosen the Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment Cream as the best overall retinol you can get online. This anti-aging product has garnered tons of positive reviews and a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

This cream is made with a special combination of retinol, antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients that all work together to improve skin tone and texture and to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It has peptides, licorice extract and vitamin C.

Customers said it has a light texture that doesn't feel greasy when applied. Instead, it absorbs easily into the surface without leaving any residue behind. It works gently on delicate skin so you don't need to worry about irritation or drying out the skin.


A313 Vitamin A Retinol Cream

Best retinol cream

A313 Vitamin A Retinol Cream
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Non-irritating according to users
  • Helps minimise acne scar

Cons

  • Limited availability
  • Some may find the texture too thick for their liking

The A313 Vitamin A Retinol Cream is worth considering if you prefer a cream-type retinol. This French cult favourite has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

This retinol cream features a rich pomade-like texture to deliver high-strength vitamin A, helping promote cell turnover for clearer, glowing skin. It can be applied directly to the face or neck area. It has a thick and rich texture that spreads easily and sinks in quickly, making it suitable for those with dry skin.

This cream also works wonders for acne as it helps reduce oiliness on the face while promoting clearer-looking skin with reduced breakouts. But as with all retinol products, it may cause slight dryness in some cases so regular moisturising is necessary when using this product.


Alpha-H Vitamin A Serum with 0.5% Retinol

Best retinol serum

Alpha-H Vitamin A Serum with 0.5% Retinol
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Suitable for beginners
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Some said it smells funky
  • Expensive

For the best retinol serum, we recommend the Alpha-H Vitamin A Serum with 0.5% Retinol, which has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Adore Beauty.

With its low concentration, this serum can be used by all skin types and those just starting their retinol journey. Apart from being made in Australia, it is cruelty-free and free from artificial fragrances, sulphates, mineral oils, alcohol and parabens. It helps protect against environmental damage such as pollution, sun damage and oxidative stress from free radicals which can lead to premature aging of the skin.

The serum is lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin so there's no heavy residue or greasiness left behind on the face after use. It also has a gentle yet effective formula, making it suitable even for sensitive skin. Despite being advertised as artificial fragrance-free, some users said it smells a bit funky, but added that it's not really a deal-breaker.

Today's Alpha-H Vitamin A Serum with 0.5% Retinol deals

Deal

18% off Alpha-H Vitamin A Serum with 0.5% Retinol

Was: $125.39Now: $102.82
Deal

Save on Alpha-H Vitamin A Serum with 0.5% Retinol

Was: $108.00Now: $103.68

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

Best retinol oil

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Lightweight and non-greasy
  • Helps soften and smoothen the skin

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not the best option for oily skin

With a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Mecca, the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil is our pick for the best oil-type retinol product.

Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Oil is a luxurious, lightweight oil with powerful retinol, essential oils and blue tansy that work together to improve texture and brightness while you sleep. Retinol helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots while essential oils provide nourishment and hydration. The blue tansy adds a cooling, calming effect on the skin while balancing excess sebum production.

Many users have said this oil is a game changer in their routine. They said it has softened the appearance of fine lines around their eyes and their overall skin looks smoother and softer. The oil itself is lightweight and absorbs quickly. However, it can be irritating for people who are new to retinol.

Today's Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil deals

Deal

22% off Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

Was: $89.97Now: $70.18

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex

Best retinol eye cream

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Helps brighten the under eye without irritation
  • A little goes a long way

Cons

  • Takes about a month or 2 before you can see results
  • Tube only contains 15ml of product for the price tag

For people looking for a retinol eye cream, we recommend the Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The product contains a complex blend of powerful ingredients that work together to create an effective anti-aging solution. The key active ingredients are vitamin A, palmitoyl tripeptide-5, licorice root extract and soy protein extract. It also contains natural oils to help soothe redness and hydrate the skin.

Apart from its non-irritating formula, customers said the eye cream is lightweight and doesn't have any weird smell. It sinks quickly and leaves the under-eye area hydrated overnight. The formula is also gentle to ensure you get the full benefits without any adverse side effects. However, several reviews mentioned that it requires continuous use for months before you can see any noticeable difference.

Deal

15% off Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex 15ml

Get 15% off Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex 15ml at Active Skin while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

Best affordable retinol

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Sinks in quickly
  • Suitable for beginners

Cons

  • May be too greasy for some
  • Has a slight chemical smell

The Ordinary's Retinol 0.5% in Squalane is our pick for the best affordable option, with a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Myer.

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane is a beginner-friendly and affordable anti-aging treatment designed to reduce the signs of aging such as fine lines and wrinkles. This product contains a concentration of 0.5% pure retinol and squalane, a natural emollient that helps protect skin from environmental stressors while leaving it feeling hydrated and soft.

Customers gave positive feedback on the product's ease of use, lightweight texture and value for money. You only need 2–3 drops each use to cover the entire face. It sinks in quickly without any residue, leaving the skin feeling hydrated. However, people with oily skin may find it heavy even for night use.


Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10

Best high-strength retinol

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Helps reduce the appearance of fine lines in as short as 4 weeks
  • Ideal for all skin types

Cons

  • Not recommended for beginners
  • Expensive

For the best high-strength retinol, our team selected the Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10, which has a rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on Adore Beauty.

Medik8 Crystal Retinal 10 is specially formulated with a unique crystal encapsulation system to slowly release retinaldehyde into the skin for minimal irritation. This helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving skin tone and increasing collagen production.

This retinol has a lightweight, creamy formula suitable for all skin types and can be used in the evening only. Many customers reported fantastic results after just 4 weeks, adding that they noticed improvements to their skin tone and decreases in wrinkles and fine lines. In addition, several reviews mentioned that it helps reduce blemishes and acne while still protecting against further signs of aging.


The Inkey List Retinol Serum

Best retinol for beginners

The Inkey List Retinol Serum
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Slow-release formula
  • Targets hyperpigmentation and signs of aging

Cons

  • Some said it pills when layered with other cream products
  • Not for sensitive skin

We picked The Inkey List Retinol Serum as the best option for beginners. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Featuring a slow-release formula, this retinol serum helps target the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles without irritation. It's ideal for normal, oil, dry or combination skin types. Apart from a lightweight texture, the serum is cruelty-free and vegan.

A relatively affordable retinol, this serum is gentle enough for daily use in the evening. It has a thin yet creamy texture that absorbs quickly without leaving any sticky residue. Users said it doesn't irritate their skin but cautioned that those with sensitive skin may experience redness at the beginning.


La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum

Best retinol for sensitive skin

La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Formulated without alcohol or sulphates
  • Lightweight formula for all skin types

Cons

  • An undisclosed percentage of retinol
  • The dropper-style bottle means that it is exposed to air (which can change the colour of the product)

You might want to check out La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum if you have sensitive skin. It's our best pick for this category, earning a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum is a powerful anti-ageing serum formulated to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. With a combination of pure retinol for instant release and gradual retinol for progressive release, this serum works to effectively fight visible signs of ageing without compromising the skin barrier.

It also features some skin-nourishing supporting ingredients such as vitamin B3 and 10% glycerin, which work to keep the skin hydrated and retain its natural moisture barrier. Despite these hydrating ingredients, the formula is thin and won't clog pores even if you have oily skin.

Today's La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum deals

Deal

15% off La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum

Was: $75.28Now: $63.99
Deal

35% off La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum 30ml

Get 35% off La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol Serum 30ml at Amazon while stocks last. T&Cs apply.

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

Best retinol for acne

CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • Suitable for oily skin
  • Contains ceramide for nourishment and hydration

Cons

  • Some said the product smells like gasoline
  • Flimsy pump

With a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, the CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum is our best pick for acne.

This retinol serum is formulated for smoother and more even-toned skin. It has a gel texture and a non-greasy feel, making it ideal for those with oily skin. For added benefits, it has licorice extract to brighten the complexion and 3 essential ceramides to maintain the skin's natural moisture barrier.

Customers loved the gel texture, easy application and affordable price tag. While it's not the strongest retinol option out there, it's more than enough to help eliminate acne flare-ups and fade marks. It leaves the skin feeling nourished and soft while balancing excess sebum. A few customers said it smells a bit like gasoline, but added that it fades a way after a few seconds.


Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum

Best plant-based retinol

Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum
Image: Supplied/Finder

Pros

  • No parabens, sulphates or artificial fragrances
  • Suitable for sensitive skin and beginners

Cons

  • Results take longer because of how gentle it is
  • Creamy texture may be too rich for those with oily skin

The Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum is our pick for the best plant-based retinol. On Cult Beauty, this product has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The serum contains non-drying encapsulated retinol and natural retinol alternatives that help retexturise skin, smoothen the appearance of fine lines and improve overall skin health. It also keeps pores clear, which is great for preventing breakouts.

This is vegan, cruelty-free and does not contain any parabens, silicones, sulphates or artificial fragrances. The serum is suitable for sensitive skin and is a great starter retinol. It does take time to see results with this product, but customers said it's worth the wait. Some added that it has helped fade acne scars and minimise the appearance of pores.

Today's Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum deals

Deal

23% off Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum

Was: $23.19Now: $17.86

What is retinol and what can it do?

Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. It's one of the only skincare ingredients that's been extensively tested and studied, so we know that it does work.

Retinol works to increase the rate of cell turnover in the skin, helping with issues such as skin aging, pigmentation and acne.

How do you use retinol?

Retinol comes in different forms, with the main 2 being creams and serums.

At times, retinol can be irritating, especially if too much is used at a time. It's highly recommended to start slow. Beginners should use it once a week, slowly building that up to every other night.

Try to avoid using other active ingredients at the same time. Instead, follow up retinol with a gentle and hydrating moisturiser.

Retinol is best used at night as it can increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun. Always make sure you're lathering on plenty of sunscreen during the day.


Save on retinols with these deals and discounts:

Adore BeautyAdore Beauty

Up to 50% off clearance beauty items

Fresh Beauty CoFresh Beauty Co

15-60% off + Extra 5% off makeup, skincare & fragrance

Cosmetic CapitalCosmetic Capital

Up to 85% off makeup sale

ActiveSkinActiveSkin

Up to 45% off sale


Amazon prices last updated on 18 May, 2024 at 06:02 pm
eBay prices last updated on 18 May, 2024 at 09:27 pm

Methodology

20+
Brands considered
100+
Products compared
11
Best retinol products chosen

Why you can trust our picks

We compared retinol products from the following brands:

  • A313
  • Alpha-H
  • Aspect
  • CeraVe
  • Dermalogica
  • Dr Dennis Gross
  • L’Oreal
  • La Roche-Posay
  • LilyAna Naturals
  • Mad Hippy
  • MediK8
  • Murad
  • Neutrogena
  • Olay
  • Ole Henrikson
  • Paula's Choice
  • Peter Thomas Roth
  • SkinCeuticals
  • Sunday Riley
  • The Inkey List
  • The Ordinary
  • Versed

We narrowed down our choices based on customer ratings and reviews (as of February 2023). We also considered each retinol's key product features, ease of use, strength, texture, packaging and value for money. We came up with what we believe are the 11 best retinol you can get right now in Australia.

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