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The Best Retinol Cream for Face | 2023

Last updated on January 20, 2023

We looked at the top 10 Retinol Creams for Face and dug through the reviews from 26 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Retinol Creams for Face.

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Our Picks For The Top Retinol Creams for Face

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Top Pick
10.0

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Cream for Face

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Neutrogena

Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Take

Visible ResultsThis cream promises to temporarily diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a smooth complexion.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus Retinol, Elle, A Beauty Edit and 1 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Target and Walmart.
Pros
" Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Cream is a very strong retinol cream and works well to help with fine lines and wrinkles."
Cons
"Some may dislike the scent"
  Runner Up

Simplified Skin 2.5% Retinol Cream for Face

Simplified Skin

2.5% Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Take

Lightweight and ComfortableYou'll like this retinol product with aloe vera, which gives a cooling effect to the lightweight formula.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus Retinol, InStyle, Skincare Ox. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Simplified Skin's Retinol Moisturizer is filled with ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and green tea to receive and moisturize the skin."
  We Also Like

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream for Face

RoC

Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream for Face

Overall Take

Gentle and NourishingWhether you're targeting fine lines and wrinkles or dark circles under your eyes, this cream adds radiance.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus Byrdie, Retinol, Allure. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" RoC’s Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream is a great gentle, affordable retinol option that works quickly."
Cons
"As for downsides, it dries kind of sticky once you’ve applied it and it doesn’t have a lot of skin-soothing ingredients to help with irritation."
  Strong Contender

Radha Beauty Miracle 2.5% Retinol Cream for Face

Radha Beauty

Miracle 2.5% Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Take

Absorbs QuicklyThe quick-drying formula of this retinol cream makes it easy to use under your makeup or while you sleep.

Experts Included
DWYM Beauty and Personal Care Experts plus InStyle, Retinol, BuzzFeed. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo, the inclusion of 2.5 percent retinol (along with the skin-soothing ingredients mentioned above) is likely what makes this formula a success for so many."
Cons
"Radha Beauty Miracle Retinol Moisturizer didn’t do much for my skin in the way of moisturizing or helping with anti-aging."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
17

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the retinol creams for face available to purchase.
10

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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26

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Retinol, Byrdie, Style Caster, Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar.

390,794

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 10 Retinol Creams for Face and also dug through the reviews from 26 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Retinol Creams for Face.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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The Best Overall

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Cream for Face


Our Expert Score

7.0
4 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.9
43,973 user reviews

Our Take

In this jar, you’ll get 1.7 ounces of face cream. The formula includes retinol to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark spots plus hyaluronic acid for moisture. The formula contains no parabens, mineral oil or dyes and you can choose a fragrance-free version.

What other experts liked

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Cream is a very strong retinol cream and works well to help with fine lines and wrinkles.
- Retinol
The fine lines around my eyes were still there but softer, and my complexion was more even, my pores less prominent. Not the miracle fountain of youth I'd been hoping for, but "noticeable results in one week" nonetheless.
- Reviewed
In addition to a fast-acting form of the ingredient, the rich cream is packed with ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid.
- Elle
This award-winning Neutrogena face cream is lightweight and absorbs easily, making it a great choice for under makeup.
- A Beauty Edit

What other experts didn't like

The smell of this product is also way too strong for my liking.
- Retinol
I began to feel a stronger burning sensation after application
- Reviewed
Some may dislike the scent
- Elle
If you use this cream during the day, be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- A Beauty Edit

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Simplified Skin 2.5% Retinol Cream for Face

Our Expert Score

2.0
3 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

8.6
7,999 user reviews

Our Take

With a list of ingredients designed to reduce fine lines and keep your skin smooth, this anti-aging cream is a great option. In addition to retinol, it includes Vitamins E and B5, shea butter, green tea and jojoba oil. It adds no harmful chemicals to your beauty routine.

What other experts liked

Simplified Skin's Retinol Moisturizer is filled with ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid, shea butter, and green tea to receive and moisturize the skin.
- InStyle
Clean skin care brand Simplified Skin has worked its magic to create a powerful cocktail of antioxidants combined with retinol
- Skincare Ox

What other experts didn't like

I gave Simplified Skin Retinol Moisturizer Cream 1/5 stars because it left my skin broken out and feeling irritated.
- Retinol

Overall Product Rankings

1. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Score: 10.0
Reviews Included: 7

2. Simplified Skin 2.5% Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 5

3. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream for Face

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 6

4. Radha Beauty Miracle 2.5% Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Score: 7.9
Reviews Included: 6

6. Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Max Cream for Face

Overall Score: 7.3
Reviews Included: 6

7. REMEDIAL PAX Day & Night Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Score: 7.2
Reviews Included: 4

8. LilyAna Naturals Anti-Aging Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Score: 6.9
Reviews Included: 6

10. Arvesa Day & Night Retinol Cream for Face

Overall Score: 4.3
Reviews Included: 2

Our Retinol Cream For Face Buying Guide

Retinol has become one of the top beauty trends in recent years. You’ll see it listed on moisturizers, lotions and serums. But retinol isn’t just a buzzword — its claims are backed by science, with multiple studies showing that it is effective in reducing wrinkles, fading age spots, and softening skin. With prolonged use, retinol has been found to thicken the epidermis and boost collagen production. Using retinol regularly can improve your skin in numerous ways.

Perhaps the best thing about retinol is that it’s more or less a topical form of vitamin A. It’s used not only for reducing fine lines, but also to help lessen the appearance of blemishes and spots. Prescription versions called retinoids are more potent, but as an over-the-counter product, retinol is pretty powerful in itself.

Retinol products can come with side effects, though, especially if you start out using it aggressively. Some experience red skin or peeling skin and itchiness after using them. It’s best to try small amounts every few days at first, then use it more often once you’re comfortable that you won’t have a reaction.

To counter the drying effects of retinol products, many of them build in moisturizers. If you’re concerned about chemicals, you’ll want to look for one that uses natural oils and vitamins for hydration, such as the humectant hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in your eyes and joints. Since hyaluronic acid production slows with age, many anti-aging products build this ingredient in.

For additional moisture, aloe vera and natural oils like jojoba oil and shea butter are popular add-ins. Some products claim a proprietary mix of vitamins and oils designed to nourish the skin.

Over the years, researchers have looked into retinol’s effectiveness in wound healing. The ability to thicken the epidermis and boost collagen production can be a great help when you’re waiting for skin to repair itself. However, if this is important to you, please consult a physician for proper retinol use.

DWYM Fun Fact

Although ancient Egyptians and Greeks didn’t realize it, they were using vitamin A as a treatment when they tried to cure night blindness with the use animal livers.  But it wasn’t until 1912 that Frederick Gowland Hopkins discovered the factors in milk that would eventually be recognized as vitamin A.

Then, in 1943, the first study using retinoic acid to treat acne was published. This led to this topical form of vitamin A becoming a widely used acne treatment in the decades to follow. But the big breakthrough came in 1983, when a published study confirmed that retinoic acid could be a suitable treatment for skin aging. Due to the skin irritation that came from using products with retinoic acid, though, a milder form called retinol was developed in the 1990s.

The Retinol Cream For Face Tips and Advice

  • Retinol can work well to improve skin appearance. If you have a blemish you’re concerned about, though, make sure you consult a physician.
  • If you’re worried you may react badly to retinol, test a small patch of skin and wait a day or two to make sure all is good before expanding to a wider area.
  • Retinol makes skin more sensitive to UV rays. Most products are designed to be used at night, but you should still wear sunscreen during the daytime while you’re using retinol regularly. If you’re leaving for a sun-filled vacation soon, take a break from retinol treatments until you return.
  • Clogged pores can be a problem with some moisturizers. Make sure you choose moisturizers marked non-comedogenic, which means they’re designed not to clog pores.
  • Some products build retinol in, but if you’re looking for noticeable results quickly, you’ll need something more concentrated. These are often sold in 1- to 2-ounce bottles or tubes. A great thing about this smaller format is that it’s easy to slide into a pocket of your overnight bag or into a corner of your makeup kit.
  • You can find retinol products that are free of parabens and other synthetic substances. You can also find retinol products that promise no animal cruelty was involved in their manufacture along with ones that use sustainable packaging.
  • Fragrance can be a problem, especially if you have sensitivities. Some retinol products promise to be fragrance-free but may still have a light scent to them.

About The Author

Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and professional writer. She enjoys writing about beauty, and her work has been featured on some popular beauty sites.