Retinol products have come a long way since their genesis. Originally used as an acne treatment, scientists quickly realised that this heavy-hitting exfoliator was actually a powerful and untapped anti-ager. A byproduct of vitamin A, retinol works by removing dead skin cells to encourage cell turnover. Thus, pores are unclogged and dull skin is diminished to make way for a new, healthy complexion.
Today's retinol features a more stabilised form of the ingredient that has an advanced shelf life and is even more potent than earlier formulations. But because retinol products (especially serums) are growing in popularity, the market is inundated with a ton of variations, and thus, it can be hard to choose one that will work for you. So, to round up the best retinol serums money can buy, we turned to the top picks of the girls who have the most enviable and flawless complexions: models. And as it turns out, many of them lean toward the same fast-acting serum. Keep scrolling to find out the most popular formula as well as its close contenders.
The Number One Pick
Celebrity aesthetician Shani Darden is something of a legend when it comes to skin. With a client list that boasts names like Kim Kardashian West and Jessica Alba, it's no surprise that her retinol serum is beloved by Hollywood stars and models alike.
In an interview with Glamour, Suki Waterhouse explains that she uses it twice a week. "I feel like it tightens everything," she says. Emily Ratajtowski told InStyle that it's the top product she'll splurge on. On top of that, supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley credits this magical serum for her glowing complexion. She told Violet Grey that it's her favourite product of all time: "It leaves skin flawless," she says.
The Honorable Mentions
A go-to for many, Paula's Choice offers this straightforward retinol serum at an affordable price. A blend of retinol and antioxidants provides deep penetration to minimise wrinkles while brightening and diminishing dark spots simultaneously. Model Andrej Pejic cited this as one of their favorites while speaking with Into the Gloss.
On her blog, A Model Recommends, model Ruth Crilly raves about Verso Skincare's line of retinol products. Formulated with retinol 8, a unique style of stabilized vitamin A that's proven to be more effective than a standard retinol, Verso's face serum helps support and rejuvenate skin. Crilly reported that she experiences no dryness when using this product, which is a common side effect of retinol products. "In fact, I've found the serum on its own to be very moisturising," she says.
On the pricier end of the spectrum is this offering from Natura Bisse. Pat it onto the eye area every night for a reduction in crow's feet, puffiness, and dark circles, thanks to a potent dose of retinol that promotes a visible lift and increase in elasticity. Model Elle Macpherson told Into the Gloss that this product has a place in her nightly routine.
Opening Image: @Emrata/Zunaira Sulman