Avene RetrinAL skincare products are popular for their ability to visibly reduce signs of aging. This French brand’s collection of products contains the retinoid retinal and other anti-agers that work together to target wrinkles, expression lines, and other signs of aging.
I can never pass by over-the-counter retinoids, so I purchased four Avene RetrinAL products and put them to the test to see how they performed.
In this Avene RetrinAL review, I’ll share my experiences and results after using the products for a full month.
This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.
Don’t Miss Avene‘s Flash Sale:
20% OFF Sitewide*
Use Code: GLOW20
*Discount valid through August 7, 2023
Avene RetrinAL Collection
Avene RetrinAL products are physician-strength anti-aging products formulated to reduce the look of wrinkles and deep lines for a more youthful complexion.
A key ingredient in this Avene skincare collection is retinal (also called retinaldehyde), a retinoid and vitamin A derivative known for its powerful anti-aging properties and ability to boost collagen production.
Retinal is more potent than retinol yet less likely to cause irritation, which has quickly made it my go-to for tackling wrinkles and fine lines.
Retinal converts directly to its active form of retinoic acid (a.k.a. the potent prescription tretinoin) in the skin, which is what makes it so effective at correcting the signs of aging.
Retinol must convert to retinal and then to retinoic acid, so it’s not as direct in its action and can cause more skin irritation.
Retinal even offers antibacterial benefits, making it ideal for oily acne-prone skin types.
When it comes to correcting the signs of aging, Avene RetrinAL products target the most stubborn ones, like fine lines and wrinkles, without causing the same irritation that retinol does, making it much better suited to sensitive skin and those prone to allergies or eczema.
The other stand-out quality of these Avene products is the packaging. Avene uses its Sterile Cosmetics packaging to avoid the use of unnecessary preservatives in its products.
Their airtight D.E.F.I. (Device for Exclusive Formula Integrity) packaging encases the formulas so that product effectiveness won’t degrade over time. This is another benefit for skin that is sensitive to preservatives!
You can read more about Avene’s patented sealing system here.
NOTE: Since some of these products contain retinal (retinaldehyde), it is important to use daily sun protection while using these products and for a week after since retinal can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
I tried a retinal face cream, retinal eye cream, bakuchiol serum, and bakuchiol moisturizing balm from Avene’s RetrinAL collection.
Note that Avene’s RetrinAL face cream and eye cream contain retinal, while the serum and balm contain bakuchiol, a plant-based retinol alternative.
You’ll notice that these are NOT inexpensive anti-aging products. The Sterile Cosmetics packaging surely contributes to the price of some of the products, which is much more expensive than drugstore pricing.
The good news is that Avene often has sales, and who doesn’t love a discount? Check out their offers page for the most up-to-date deals.
Let’s start with my favorite Avene RetrinAL product:
Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream
Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream is formulated to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and deep lines with its 0.1% concentration of retinal (retinaldehyde).
The yellow fragrance-free cream also contains pre-tocopheryl, a photo-stable form of vitamin E that provides antioxidant protection against free radicals that can break down collagen and elastin in the skin and cause wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and dark spots.
Relastide, a pro-elastin peptide, is also in the formula. This peptide is designed to help support skin firmness and make it appear more plump.
Like other Avene products, RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream contains Avene Thermal Spring Water from Avene, France. This spring water is rich in postbiotic microflora that soothes and calms sensitive skin.
Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream is the most potent retinal product I’ve tried.
I was a little reluctant to start this 0.1% retinal cream (vs their 0.05% retinal cream) since I have somewhat sensitive skin, but since I am a regular user of retinoids and retinol, I figured I’d dive right in with the stronger concentration since it came highly recommended.
I am glad I did! This 0.1 Intensive Cream causes no irritation when used every other night, which is surprising since my skin likes to act up when I use more potent retinoids.
I tried to increase usage to nightly too quickly, and I noticed my skin feeling extra tight during the day, and I experienced redness after washing, so I switched to every other night.
The cream sinks right into my skin without any stickiness. It has a thicker texture that doesn’t feel super moisturizing, so I always follow with a moisturizer after applying the cream, which Avene also suggests.
After a few weeks of use, I noticed a difference in the texture and tone of my skin. My fine lines are smoothed, and my complexion is more even-toned than before I started using it.
Formulated for all skin types, the cream should last about 60 days with nightly use. You can use it on your face, neck, and décolleté.
The main drawback? The price! The Avene RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream, which comes in an airtight bottle, is a bit pricey, but with its effectiveness and gentleness on the skin, it’s certainly worth it, in my opinion.
NOTE: The collection also includes Avene RetrinAL 0.05 Cream, a lower-concentration retinal cream if you want to start with a gentler retinal product.
Bakuchiol is gentler on the skin while offering similar anti-aging benefits to retinol, such as reducing wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation, as noted in this clinical study.
Bakuchiol, derived from the babchi plant, is an excellent option for sensitive skin since it is not as irritating as retinol but provides similar results.
Bakuchiol has been shown to regulate gene expression like retinol and stimulate collagen production, improving lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, elasticity, and skin firmness.
The serum also contains hyaluronic acid in its sodium salt form of sodium hyaluronate, which is great for boosting hydration while keeping the skin feeling plump and nourished.
Niacinamide, vitamin B3, helps reduce inflammation and improve skin texture and tone. Niacinamide also helps to reduce oil production, making it great for oily and acne-prone skin.
RetrinAL Advanced Correcting Serum also contains pre-tocopheryl, a stable form of vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect the skin against environmental stressors.
Avene Thermal Spring Water is a key ingredient to help soothe and hydrate the skin.
Formulated for all skin types, the serum should last about a month if you use it twice daily or two months if you use it once daily.
The serum has a dropper applicator that is uniquely designed to dispense the same amount every time. The top of the dropper becomes flat when you tighten the lid. When you untwist the lid, the top pops up and fills with serum.
Press the top of the lid to dispense the perfect amount of serum. Simple and easy!
Avene RetrinAL Advanced Correcting Serum has a runny, milky texture that absorbs quickly into my skin, leaving no residue.
I love using this serum during the day to give my skin a hydrating boost before applying sunscreen and makeup, and It’s lightweight enough to layer under sunscreen and makeup.
My skin looks more nourished and hydrated, and I think it’s the perfect anti-aging day serum to pair with RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream (or RetrinAL 0.5 Cream) at night. They work to provide a more even skin tone and texture and improved skin radiance.
Overall, Avene RetrinAL Advanced Correcting Serum is an excellent product if you can’t tolerate retinol or are looking for a gentle yet effective anti-aging serum.
Again the main drawback is the price. Still, I can see keeping this in my morning skincare routine and alternating it with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) serums.
Avene RetrinAL Eyes Eye Cream
Avene RetrinAL Eyes Eye Cream is a 3-in-1 eye cream that is formulated to:
- Provide skin hydration
- Reduce the look of fine lines
- Reduce the look of dark circles and puffiness
The eye cream contains retinal (retinaldehyde), known for its impressive ability to reduce visible signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet.
Retinal is gentler than retinol yet highly effective, making it an excellent choice for the delicate under-eye area.
Hyaluronic acid MO is also included in the formula to mimic the size of natural hyaluronic acid for optimal skin absorption. Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that helps retain water and hydrate your skin.
Dextran sulfate helps minimize the look of dark circles and puffiness.
Avène’s signature Thermal Spring Water, renowned for its natural, healing qualities, provides a calming effect.
The eye cream comes in an airtight pump bottle. Formulated for all skin types, this eye cream is designed to last 60 days with nightly use around the eye contour.
The eye cream has a silky, velvety feel, thanks in part to the silicone in the formula. While it’s not the most lightweight eye cream I’ve ever tried, my eye area feels super smooth and soft after application.
I have dark circles and can’t say I’ve seen a noticeable improvement, but no eye cream has helped my dark circles. I have noticed that the milia (white bumps) I used to get under my eyes are not noticeable anymore.
I’ve experienced zero irritation with Avene RetrinAL Eyes. I can’t say the same thing for some retinol eye creams I’ve tried.
This retinal eye cream, along with 0.1 Intensive Cream, really packs a punch for anti-aging benefits.
I’ll continue to use and repurchase. My new favorite night eye cream!
The balm helps strengthen your skin barrier while providing up to 48 hours of hydration.
Bakuchiol, a natural retinol alternative, is the star ingredient of this balm. This active helps reduce wrinkles and smooth skin texture without irritating your skin as other retinoids do.
The ceramide-rich formula also contains niacinamide to brighten and even skin tone, while Avene Thermal Spring Water provides a soothing effect on your skin.
A ceramide complex improves your natural skin barrier and intensely hydrates your skin. Safflower seed oil is filled with moisturizing fatty acids and antioxidant vitamin E.
Shea butter is a soothing moisturizer and also contains skin protective antioxidants. The balm also contains sunflower seed, olive, soybean, and castor oils.
Formulated for dry, mature, and aging skin types, the balm should last about 30 days. It can be used once or twice a daily usage.
The texture of this moisturizing balm is smooth and creamy, so it glides on effortlessly and absorbs quickly into my skin. It feels very rich on my skin yet isn’t thick or heavy.
Since my skin leans toward the oily side, and I tested it during the summer, it was too rich for my skin during the day.
So I prefer to use this on the evenings when I’m not using 0.1 Intensive Cream since bakuchiol has retinol-like effects, and I don’t want to overdo it with my somewhat sensitive skin.
If you have mature or dry skin or want a gentle yet rich anti-aging cream, this bakuchiol balm would be a great choice.
What are the differences between Avene RetrinAL 0.05 and 0.1?
The primary difference between RetrinAL 0.05 Cream and RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream lies in the concentration of retinal (retinaldehyde), an active ingredient known for its anti-aging benefits. RetrinAL 0.05 contains a 0.05% concentration, while RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream contains a 0.1% concentration.
The higher concentration may yield faster and more noticeable results but could also increase the risk of irritation for users with sensitive skin.
What are the common side effects of using Avene RetrinAL?
While Avene RetrinAL is generally well-tolerated, some users may experience mild side effects such as redness, dryness, or irritation.
If you have sensitive skin, it’s recommended to patch test the product to determine your skin’s compatibility. Discontinue use if you experience any severe or persistent side effects.
Is Avene RetrinAL suitable for all skin types?
Yes, Avene RetrinAL is formulated to be suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
However, as with any skincare product, it’s important to patch test these products first to ensure compatibility with your skin.
How long does it take for Avene RetrinAL to show results?
The time it takes for Avene RetrinAL to show results can vary depending on individual factors such as skin type, age, and the extent of the signs of aging.
You may see improvements in as little as a few weeks, or it may take months to notice significant change. To achieve the best results, it’s important to be patient and consistent with your skincare routine.
Related Post: Dermelect Review
Avene RetrinAL Review: The Bottom Line
Are Avene RetrinAL products worth it? Even though they are not cheap, I think all the Avene products I tried are worth it. From the package and ingredients to product experience and results (and no irritation!), I am very impressed.
I have to admit, I have no intention of returning to retinol products anytime soon since I discovered these retinal products!
Remember to be patient and give your skin the time it needs to show visible improvement.
It’s important to note that everyone’s skin is different, and results may vary. But incorporating Avene RetrinAL products into your skin care regimen may help unlock smoother, more youthful skin.
Thanks for reading!