I Tried The High Street’s Bestselling Retinol Serum & Here Are The Results

Thanks to pandemic-induced stress, anxiety and the dreaded maskne, lots of us have become more invested in skincare over the past year. Whether you're looking to quell breakouts, minimise fine lines and wrinkles or give cooped up skin a much-needed glow boost, a handful of brilliant skincare products have gone viral recently for totally transforming skin.
Last week we were obsessed with No7's Line Correcting Booster Serum; before that, Drunk Elephant's T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial was the product to watch. But right now, there's only one beauty buy on everyone's radar: L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Deep Anti-Wrinkle Night Serum, £24.99.
The brand-new serum is L'Oréal's biggest skincare launch of 2021 and, like all buzzy beauty products, it's currently making waves on social media, especially @fun_fearless_beauty.
So is it worth the hype? Here's everything you need to know.

What's in L’Oréal's Retinol Night Serum and what are the benefits?

The star ingredient in this serum is 0.2% retinol, which is a relatively low but effective dose. Retinol is derived from vitamin A and encourages skin cells to regenerate fast. As a result, it reduces blackheads and whiteheads, helps improve hyperpigmentation left behind by acne and minimises the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and rough skin texture.
Other ingredients in the bestselling serum include hydrating hyaluronic acid, which attracts moisture to skin, as well as moisturising glycerin, which makes skin soft and plump.

Does L’Oréal's Retinol Night Serum work?

On, the product has almost five stars, with reviewers saying their skin looks "alive", "healthier" and "glowing" since using it. Of course, I had to try it for myself.
I'm most impressed by how the serum has minimised my faint lines. It's hard to tell in pictures but up close in the mirror, my skin looks and feels a little more bouncy and plump. In this selfie, I'm wearing a dot of concealer around my nose and chin to blanket redness but no foundation whatsoever. As you can see, my forehead is especially smooth and glowing.

#ad @lorealparis Pure Retinol Night Serum is a GAME CHANGER😱 It helps improve my skin texture and prevents wrinkles!❤️ #revitalift #retinolserum

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In some skin types, one side effect of retinol is skin purging, which I experienced in the form of tiny little whiteheads on my cheeks, chin and forehead. Skin purging means increased breakouts and while it's difficult to tell the difference between purging spots and acne spots, I put it down to the retinol working its magic. Slowly but surely, my spots began to let up. While my skin is still a tad bumpy, it usually takes 12 or so weeks to notice a big difference from any new skincare product or routine. I'm three weeks in so I'm going to persevere and will use it as part of my anti-ageing routine rather than an acne treatment.
One thing I'm not too keen on is the floral fragrance. I'm not a fan of perfumed skincare in general as my skin can be very sensitive. That said, this didn't sting like other perfumed products and the smell doesn't linger.

How should you use L’Oréal's Retinol Night Serum?

If you're a retinol beginner, experts suggest starting at a low percentage. Luckily, this serum contains 0.2% retinol, which is a great number to ease you in.
Retinol breaks down sunlight so it works best as part of an evening skincare routine, especially as skin tends to regenerate when you're sleeping. A retinol serum should be applied after cleansing and before moisturiser, as it's quite light in texture. You can take it up to your eye area but the skin here is delicate so you might like to apply an eye cream as a barrier beforehand. In terms of frequency, start by using it two to three times a week.
As retinol makes skin sensitive to sunlight, it's important to wear a high factor, broad spectrum sunscreen in the daytime to protect against damaging sun rays. Your chosen product should read UVA and UVB on the label. Try the new La Roche-Posay Anthelios Age Correct SPF50+ Cream, £25, which is light but moisturising; Vichy Idéal Soleil Dry Touch Face Cream SPF 50, £16.50, which doesn't leave behind a white cast; or Eucerin Sun Oil Control Face Protection SPF 50+, £16, which is great for oily, acne-prone skin.
Side effects of retinol include peeling, redness and flaky skin, the latter of which I noticed around my nose and lips. This is all normal but if your skin becomes very sore and irritated, stop using the product and switch to a bland, hydrating moisturiser instead. If you're worried about any side effects, consult a skin expert as necessary.

What are the best retinol serums?

Aside from L’Oréal's serum, skin experts such as SKNDOCTOR's Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe recommend La Roche-Posay 0.3% Retinol + Vitamin B3 Serum, £38. This contains 0.3.% retinol, which is a little higher but still gentle. The addition of vitamin B3 boosts hydration and moisture in the skin. Also try skinSense Retinol Serum 0.3%, £39. It was created by skincare expert Abi Cleeve, who believes in a very slow and gentle approach when it comes to retinol products. R29 rates Typology's Fine Lines & Wrinkles Serum 0.3% Retinol, £15.30, for combating signs of ageing, too.
Overall, the L’Oréal retinol serum is a brilliant route into trying retinol products (which can often be quite scary and complicated) for the first time. It was so easy to slot into my routine and once I got past the purging stage, my skin loved it. With retinol, consistency is key so I'll be sure to stock up on another bottle to keep up my newfound glow.
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