Hardcore Faves: Paula’s Choice RESIST 1% Retinol Booster, Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair, Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream

Reitnol Faves

Proven to be the only damage reversing anti-aging ingredient, Retinol has come a long way since the highly aggressive prescription only formulas of the past. As a faithful user of Tazorac for years, I have my own set of personal horror stories that came with my having gotten the hang of something so hardcore. Eyebrow wax while on Retinol, anyone? Luckily for us all, the pure form of Vitamin A has gotten a makeover and an attitude adjustment, starring in some highly advanced launches that don’t require a visit to the derm. Painless, convenient, and ultra effective, my top three Retinol favorites are Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair, Paula’s Choice RESIST 1% Retinol Booster and Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream.

What Retinol *really* looks like! (image via google)

What is Retinol?

Before diving into my product picks, let me briefly describe what Retinol is and review why it’s such a sought after ingredient. Retinol, another name for Vitamin A really, is a powerful antioxidant with the ability to promote cellular turnover and interrupt the breakdown of collagen. While it helps to keep the skin firm fighting fine lines and wrinkles, it also addresses enlarged pores, acne, eczema, and hyperpigmentation from sun damage. Each Vitamin A molecule can also be broken down into smaller, more potent elements, called Retinoids, which make for the active ingredients in prescription strength options (Tazorac, Retin-A, Renova, and so on).


Ideal for pros and beginners alike, the Overnight Retinol Repair from Dermalogica is a two step system that allows for a customized dose of the star ingredient, ensuring maximum benefits without irritation. Buffer Cream, which is included, is an aloe based solution that can be mixed with the Overnight Retinol Repair (0.5% encapsulated pure Retinol) to soften its power without interrupting its efficacy. As a seasoned user, I skip the buffer altogether, but the Repair part of the duo is an all-in-one night cream I turn to when I really need to step it up. Infused with skin brightening Vitamin C and anti-aging Copper amino acid complex, this AGE smart therapy from Dermalogica is one of the most user friendly formulas on the market.

Two Step Therapy
Always follow directions.

Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice just released their brand new RESIST 1% Retinol Booster and as someone who’s been loving the Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, I must admit – this latest is a game changer. Light in consistency and suitable for either AM or PM use, this pro blend of 1% stabilized Retinol, antioxidants, and soothing Willowherb Extract mixes well with any face cream serum  you may have in rotation. This tailored approach lets you incorporate a Retinol powerhouse into an existing routine seamlessly and without any sacrifices. Remember, if you opt to use it during the day, follow with SPF 25 or higher. My combination skin has been loving it mixed with facial oils and gel creams. Extremely flexible, it is great to keep on hand year round.

THE Booster
THE Booster
Super blendable.
Plays Well With Others

Dr. Dennis Gross

Because nothing good ever comes from skipping an eye cream, finding one that targets multiple concerns around the fragile area is extremely important. The Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream is formulated with major key players that include Retinol, GABA, Ferulic, and Gallic Acids as well as Kelp, Cucumber, and Willowbark Extracts. Resurfacing yet hydrating and soothing, the creamy texture absorbs without feeling heavy and never dries out the delicate skin around the eyes. Lucky to have been on a testing panel before the release, I haven’t been without a jar since its launch. 

Desert Island Eye Cream
Desert Island Eye Cream
Perf for AM/PM.

Having used Retinol products for a decade, I’ve learned you need to be both diligent and patient to achieve optimal results. Start slowly, especially if you’re new to a pure Vitamin A product. After having graduated from twice a week to every other day to using Retinol daily, I found applying it at night achieved the greatest benefits. Follow with a moisturizer if your skin type leans towards dry.  Always wear SPF during the day since your skin becomes more susceptible to sunburn.

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