Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, is one of the most talked-about ingredients that can do everything from ironing out fine lines, to improving skin’s texture, reducing scarring and enlarged pores, and even unclogging pores to prevent acne.
Retinol creams are highly recommended for those with dry skin, especially for those with mature skin that needs a heavy-duty anti-ageing product in their routine. We’ve rounded up 15 of the best retinol creams that are highly recommended by dermatologists and beauty junkies for you, but first, take note of these things when you use retinol:
- You should always introduce retinol tentatively into your skincare routine at first, then build it up slowly as your skin becomes more tolerant.
- If you’re just starting out with retinol creams, use one with a low percentage of the active ingredient at around 0.3%.
- Take note that retinol creams are also best applied at night and should not be mixed with other active skincare ingredients, especially AHAs and BHAs which can dry your skin out.
1. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream
Give your ageing skin a reboot with one of the most widely raved-about retinol creams from Drunk Elephant.
This heavy 1.0% vegan retinol with nourishing, superfood-rich ingredients (think passionfruit, apricot, winter cherry, and even kale) to dramatically diminish the appearance of fine lines, deep wrinkles, and sun damage.
We’re not exaggerating when we say that this retinol cream can give you youthful skin – many reviewers have reported seeing incredibly smoother skin after using this, it just takes a little patience and diligence!
Get Drunk Elephant A-Passioni™ Retinol Cream at SGD105 from Sephora.
2. Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream
Retinol is a very powerful active ingredient that can dry out your skin excessively if used incorrectly, but you definitely can’t go wrong with this two-in-one night cream from Kate Somerville.
It is designed to gently infuse the skin with pure retinol over time so that it can help diminish the appearance of wrinkles, and even out skin texture and tone, all while minimising skin irritation and dryness.
In addition, this popular retinol cream is formulated with Seaweed Extract, infused with bio-derived hyaluronic acid, to lock moisture in your skin so that it remains hydrated – phew!
Get Kate Somerville RetAsphere 2-in-1 Retinol Night Cream at SGD129 from Sephora.
3. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream
Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Night Cream is a holy grail among many beauty junkies, and the key to the magic is time-released retinol, where small doses of retinol are slowly released into your skin once you apply this cream onto your skin.
Coupled with the fact that it is formulated with other powerful anti-ageing ingredients like Winter Daphne Stem Cell Extract and Red Algae Marigel, as well as emollient oils that reduce water loss, it is no wonder that users have reported seeing smoother, firmer, and younger-looking skin overnight!
Get Charlotte Tilbury Magic Night Cream at SGD210 from Sephora.
4. Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Moisturiser
A product from the latest skincare range from Olay, this night cream offers an anti-ageing solution that’s suitable for all skin types because it uses a form of Vitamin A that’s milder and less irritating on skin compared to covnentional retinol.
The Retinol24 range is the brand’s first foray into the retinol market and is formulated to ensures stability and effective delivery of vitamin A actives into the skin.
Besides a high concentration of Vitamin A, this cream also contains Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) to further deliver brighter, plumper, and more youthful-looking skin.
Get Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Moisturiser at SGD54.90. It is available at all Watsons, Guardian, and NTUC Fairprice outlets, together with the Regenerist Retinol24 Night Serum (SGD54.90)and Regenerist Retinol24 Night Eye Cream (SGD54.90).
From 9 to 11 April, you’ll get exclusive access to the new range through Shopee during the Shopee Super Brand Day at a discounted rate.
5. Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX
Ginseng is a key anti-ageing ingredient used in K-beauty, and Sulwhasoo has found a way to combine high concentrations of chemical compounds from ginseng and our miracle worker, retinol, into one bottle of anti-ageing goodness.
Apply this nutritious cream as part of your nighttime skincare routine – the subtle scent of ginseng helps you to relax into a deep slumber, and you’ll wake up to luminous, glowing skin with regular use.
Get Sulwhasoo Concentrated Ginseng Renewing Cream EX at SGD298 from Sulwhasoo counters and Sephora.
6. Alpha-H Multivitamin Super Cream
Environmental pollution is commonly identified as one of the leading causes of premature ageing, especially for those in their 20s and 30s.
Hence, in order to fully tackle signs of ageing, you need a retinol cream that tackles existing issues while protecting your skin from future damage.
Alpha-H’s Multivitamin Super Cream is an effective solution that not only hydrates parched skin for up to 48 hours, but also provides anti-oxidant protection against environment aggressors and boosts skin’s immunity with Vitamins A (retinol), B, C, and E.
Get Alpha-H Multivitamin Super Cream at SGD79 from Sephora.
7. Shiseido Vital Perfection Wrinklelift Cream
While most people use retinol creams only after the onset of wrinkles and fine lines, some users highly recommend that you get started early with the Shiseido Vital Perfection Wrinkle Cream.
It not only features retinol, but also Shiseido’s original whitening component 4MSK, which suppresses melanin production to reduce pigmentation. These two key ingredients work together to give you firm, supple, and bright skin that really shaves years off your actual age!
Get Shiseido Vital Perfection Wrinklelift Cream at SGD160 from Shiseido counters and Sephora.
8. CosMedix Define Age-Defying Treatment
If you have very dry and/or very sensitive skin, retinol can be a scary ingredient to work with, as it is not the gentlest of active ingredients. Skip the harsher formulas and try CosMedix Define, a retinol cream that has a gentle formula that is great for dry and sensitive skin, or those who are new to retinol.
The all-in-one product exfoliates dead skin cells while helping to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, and can also be used to treat acne breakouts. Seeing the
Tip: You can pair this with glycolic acid due to the low concentration of retinol, but always remember to follow up with a moisturiser.
Get CosMedix Define Age-Defying Treatment at SGD82.64 from Shopee.
9. Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1%
If your skin is used to retinols and you are looking for something that can deliver faster and more visible results, try Dermalogica’s Overnight Retinol Repair 1%.
As the name implies, this cream contains 1& pure retinol – powerful enough to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, uneven skin tone and, discolouration, sans the risk of drying your skin out.
It is also formulated with hydrating and soothing ingredients like squalane, active polysaccharides, licorice extract, and buffer cream which reduce the risk of flaking or irritation as your skin acclimatises to a higher percentage of retinol.
Get Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair 1% at SGD204 from these professional medical centres.
10. Chantecaille Retinol Intense+
Take care of your skin fatigue and mental weariness at the same time with a retinol cream that smells as amazing as its effects on your skin.
Retinol Intense+ uses botanical ingredients alongside retinol to help gently, yet effectively, lessen the appearance of fine lines and brighten the look of uneven skin tone.
You’ll love the subtle scent of roses from the Rosa Dama- Scena Flower Water used in this cream, which also works to reduce inflammation and also controls sebum production, particularly on dehydrated skin that is producing pore-clogging oil.
Get Chantecaille Retinol Intense+ from Chantecaille’s counter in Ngee Ann City.
11. Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream Intense
This revolutionary retinol cream has received nothing but glowing reviews from beauty junkies, and is often a top recommendation for those who are looking for a no-nonsense, heavy-duty anti-ageing product.
Medik8 uses a blend of retinyl retinoate and retinaldehyde, two forms of retinol, in order to effectively fade visible fine lines and give skin a glow from within. Ceramides and copper peptides are also added to the formula to ensure that the powerful retinol doesn’t strip moisture from your skin.
Most users reported visible tightening of skin and pores within the first few days, but the general consensus is that glowing skin will take a little longer (about a month) to fully appear. Seeing the reviews, this is certainly one of the best retinol creams you’ll be able to find in the market.
Get Medik8 r-Retinoate Youth Activating Cream Intense at SGD380.50 from Lookfantastic.
12. Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer
If you’ve started spotting signs of premature ageing in your 20s but don’t want to use something too strong on your sensitive skin, the Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer from Paula’s Choice can help you to sort that out.
The light, silky texture of this moisturiser not only provides instant hydration, but also reduces fine lines and wrinkles to give you firmer skin. It also has a unique blend of antioxidants that reduce the effects of environmental assault, which can speed up the ageing process.
Get Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer at SGD49 from Paula’s Choice website.
13. Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment
This award-winning retinol night treatment works like a dream when it comes to tackling signs of ageing, particularly skin pigmentation, large pores, and fine lines.
It uses a time-release delivery system to deliver retinol gradually to skin for less potential irritation, so you don’t have to worry about needing to follow up with intense or heavy moisturisers.
In addition to improving wrinkles, many users have also pointed out that the lightweight Help Me is very effective when it come to clearing congested pores, treating acne, and even clearing up acne scars!
Get Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment at SGD71.50 from Lookfantastic.
14. Advanced Skin Technology Green Cream High Potency Retinol Level 9
Experienced retinol users will love the Green Cream High Potency Retinol Level 9, a supercharged retinol cream that delivers all the amazing effects of retinol much faster.
Aside from gentle exfoliation and reducing fine lines and wrinkles, you can use this cream to minimise pores and scarring, and even prevent future blemishes from occurring.
Tip: Due to the high potency of Green Cream, there may be a transition period where you are advised against using it every night.
Get Advanced Skin Technology Green Cream High Potency Retinol Level 9 at SGD88.01 from Storkz.
15. Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream
Although retinol is a very powerful skincare ingredient, it is actually gentle enough for use on the delicate eye area, which is why you’ll find that the best eye creams often feature it as a key ingredient.
Dr Dennis Gross’ best-selling eye cream, for example, is powered by retinol, ferulic acid, and other anti-ageing ingredients to tackle crows’ feet, dark eye circles, and crêpe-y skin. It hydrates and smoothens the skin without irritating it, so anyone with any skin type can definitely enjoy its benefits. This is certainly one of the best retinol creams out there.
Get Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream at SGD105 from Sephora.
16. IT Cosmetics Confidence In An Eye Cream
Infused with apricot and the brand’s colour-correcting & brightening Drops of Light Technology™, IT Cosmetics Confidence In An Eye Cream is one of the top retinol eye creams that effectively brightens your undereye area and irons out crow’s feet.
In addition, you’ll find that this cream is filled with skin-loving ingredients such as collagen, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and squalane to hydrate your skin and plump out fine lines.
Get IT Cosmetics Confidence In An Eye Cream at SGD62 from Sephora.