Retinoid Cheat Sheet




Products I am currently using: 

Allies of Skin 1A Retinol + Peptides Overnight Mask: ($109 1.7oz making it $64 per oz) I really Love this product– with consistent use my skin looks better with no irritation along the way. I love this for vacations (perfect one-and-done night routine) & I love it for any time I still want to use a retinoid but my skin is feeling sensitized. In addition to .05% retinal, it has peptides to tackle signs of aging & some great AOX (like spin trap, Glutathione, resveratrol), niacinamide, & brightening ingredients. Its a beautiful, creamy product that I always recommend. (Also, since this is 1.7 oz so its a good value!)

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment: ($58 for 1 oz)
I love the results I am seeing–my skin is smoother and fine lines are less noticeable. I have found a happy spot at about 2, maybe 3, days a week (any more than 3 & I get flaking around nose and chin which is normal for me with something of this strength). I love the ingredients this has, like peptides and ceramides, and overall I just really enjoy the creamy formula of this. I do two pumps and then sometimes I will follow up with an oil on top.

You Skincare Multivitamin Retinol Treatment: ($129 for 1 oz)
This has a serum consistency and delivers .02% retinol on the skin. Even though it has a small concentration of retinol it also has other great ingredients (as usual for Amy) like beta glucan, niacinamide and willow bark. I’ve been using this for less than a month but I am enjoying it! It hasn’t caused any flaking but in the mornings, my skin always feels really soft.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum: ($85 for 1 oz)
I think this is a really nice serum. I don’t like it more than Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol treatment, but I like having it in my collection. Thanks to @carolinehirons I found out that this contains 5% retinoid ester blend (HPR) and 1% liposomal-encapsulated retinol blend giving around 0.5-0.6% once on the skin. (Caroline has a great youtube video up on retinoids of different strengths that I highly recommend). I really like that it has CoQ10 and some soothing ingredients like honey & bisabolol.

Here is a link to the great series of videos by Caroline Hirons: 




Here is a running list of all of the other retinoids I have tried 


Mad Hippie Vitamin A serum ($32.99 for 1 oz)* – super super gentle. Unknown concentration but I am guessing it is somewhat low. Very hydrating and left my skin with a nice glow. (*received in PR)

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping oil ($105 for 1.18oz) – Nice but didn’t love and didn’t see huge results.

SkinBetter alpharet overnight cream ($110 for 1 oz) – This was one of my favorites for awhile but now I have shifted away from it because I didn’t want an AHA (glycolic and lactic) in with my retinoid anymore. But this has a great ingredient list and didn’t cause irritation while I was using it (if I didn’t use it too frequently). (I think you can still get this through Harben House but you may have to email them)


Allies of Skin Bright Futures overnight facial ($120 for 1.69oz) This is more of an AHA treatment than it is a retinal treatment, but it does have retinal in it. (For what its worth this is an awesome acid exfoliator).

HPR + Retinol

Biopelle KNR brightening serum ($126 for 1 oz) – I love this stuff. It is really great at brightening up the skin since it also has kojic acid and niacinamide. It is very very gentle. My husband used two bottles of this and never had any irritation (and neither did I) 


Envy medical trifecting night cream ($85 for 1 oz)* – I never see anyone talk about this but I think this is such a great retinol. They have a 0.2% and 1% strength. I had the 0.2% and I found it to be really gentle. My skin loved it. I was considering getting the 1% but then I ended up trying Paula’s Choice instead. (*received in PR)

Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster ($52 for 0.5oz)- Really effective and nice product. I had to buffer (mix with moisturizer) or I would get flaking. I now much prefer the PC 1% clinical to this.

Jordan Retinol Treatment Oil ($43 for 1 oz) – super gentle (0.2%) facial oil. I felt like it was best when I had very minimal routines (like cleanse, and then apply this). I have learned I don’t love for my retinol to be in an oil. I prefer a serum or cream. I think this was more effective than Sunday Riley Luna.  (This link will save you 15% – not an affiliate link, it just also gives me a coupon if you use it)

Peter Thomas Roth Retinol fusion PM ($65 for 1 oz)* – I liked this but didn’t love the oil/serum texture. I passed this on to my mom who does experience some flaking with it if she uses it too often. ((Also available at Sephora)) (*received in PR)

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum: ($85 for 1 oz)

Retinol +  Retinyl Propionate

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Facial Serum ($38.99 for 1.03 oz)* and Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer ($38.99 for 1 oz)* I just recently got these and haven’t had a chance to use it enough to provide any thoughts but I was impressed with the ingredients and that the retinol wasn’t buried too deep in the list. They also sent an eye cream that I have been using and I find it really hydrating! I’m very happy that they all don’t have added fragrance because I hate the smell of the other Olay regenerist products (*received in PR)

Retinyl Esters

Shani Darden Resurface ($95 for 1 oz) – this one bummed me out. There was all this hype around it and I didn’t think it did anything for my skin after finishing it.

A313 -Bought while in Paris – Thick vaseline-like product that I used to use on my hands and around my eyes because it made my face itch and didn’t give me great results, but when my tube ran out I didn’t miss it.








Just opened and tried once or twice:

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Facial Serum 1.3 $38.99

Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Moisturizer $38.99