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10 of the best retinol serums to get a glowing, smooth complexion

10 of the best retinol serums to get a glowing, smooth complexion

Retinol serums and retinol products are quite easily the most useful products in your skincare routine. From helping to smooth out the skin, to reducing acne and improving the appearance of pigmentation, they’re the products all facialists can agree work.

Shani Darden is one the leading celebrity facialists in L.A, and handles the complexions of a bevvy of beauties including Jessica Alba and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. She believes that retinol is the ingredient everyone should be using, and attributes it to the glowing skin of all her supermodel clients.

I personally think everyone should be on retinol if they can handle it. It can totally turn your skin around – Shani Darden, The Cut

If you’re not familiar with retinol, you might also have heard of Vitamin A, which is what predominantly makes up retinol. To read more about why you should include it in your skincare routine, take a look at our “Why is Vitamin A essential for the skin?” post.

The best retinol serums and retinol products

  1. Paulas’c Choice CLINICAL 1% Retinol Treatment
  2. Pestle & Mortar Superstar Night Oil
  3. Eve Lom Time Retreat Eye Treatment
  4. Zelens Power A Treatment Drops
  5. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Overnight Exfoliating Booster
  6. Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Overnight Serum
  7. Dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Thermofoliant
  8. REN Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil
  9. ESPA TriActive Advanced Night Booster
  10. Murad Environmental City Shield

As one of the most trusted dermatological brands in the US, Paula's Choice doesn't mess around when it comes to delivering effective skincare. The Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment is ideal for skin that is pigmented and dull, as it helps to smooth, brighten and reduce the appearance of blemishes.

Pestle & Mortar is a natural skincare brand, dedicated to providing your skin with only the very best and safest ingredients. Their Superstar Night Oil contains a cocktail of vitamins and antioxidants, including Vitamin A, which helps to reverse the appearance of ageing.

The skin around your eyes is incredibly delicate and one of the thinnest parts on your body, and so shows the signs of ageing very quickly. Eve Lom's Time Retreat Eye Treatment is a blend of retinol and vitamin C, to smooth, tone, brighten and tighten this delicate skin. We're hooked.

Loved by skincare expert Caroline Hirons, the Zelens Power A Treatment Drops contain a blend of pure retinol and two retinoids; a real shot of anti-ageing power for the complexion. By helping to clear blemishes and even out the skin tone, this unique treatment should be a staple part of any beauty lover's skincare routine.

As retinol serums are excellent at smoothing out the skin, they make great exfoliants and can help clear dead skin cells and dulling areas. The Sarah Chapman Overnight Exfoliating Booster contains retinol and salicylic acid, which helps to clear blemishes and leave the skin glowing. Plus, the brand is a favourite of none other than Victoria Beckham; need we say more?

The Dr. Dennis Gross Overnight Retinol Serum is a potent blend of Retinol, Niacinamide and Ferulic Acid, which helps to visibly reduce the appearance of blemishes, fine lines and wrinkles, as it smooths out the skin, calms redness and reduces pigmentation. It's our go to favourite when our complexion is in need of an overhaul.

Dermalogica is one of the most trusted skincare brands on the market, and loved by Glamour Beauty Editor, Alex Steinherr. The Age Smart Multi Vitamin Thermafoliant is a lightweight exfoliant that contains both physical and chemical exfoliation technology for a gorgeously renewed complexion.

If you have sensitive skin and are worried about using retinol on your delicate complexion, you can use retinoid, which is a much gentler ingredient. The REN Bio Retinoid Anti Wrinkle Concentrate Oil acts as a lightweight retinol serum, without using retinol itself.

Formulated using gentle Bio Retinol technology, the ESPA TriActive Advanced Night Booster helps to renew the skin; working with its natural renewal process overnight to support and protect so you awake with a seriously glowing complexion.

This beautifully lightweight day cream from Murad helps to shield skin from both sun damage and environmental aggressors. Containing a blend of Vitamin C and Retinol, the cream helps to brighten and resurface; perfect for dulling complexions.



Skincare Specialist

I am a big believer in the idea that beautiful Make Up begins with a superb skincare regime. I like to enhance my natural beauty rather than cover up and I am always on the lookout for great products which really work. When I am not writing about all things beauty, I like to do Yoga and I make an amazing brownie. It is all about balance!