Have you heard? L’Oreal has a new retinol serum out. It’s called L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum and it features the highest concentration of retinol the brand has ever used.
0.2% to be exact. I know what you’re thinking: “It’s great L’Oreal has jumped on the retinol bandwagon, but isn’t 0.2% too little? When The Ordinary & co have serums with 1%!?”
I’m on the fence. On one hand, I’m happy to see drugstore brands add proven-to-work anti-aging ingredients to their otherwise boring moisturising blends. On the other, they tend to keep their prices low by prioritising marketing over ingredient quality or concentration.
Question now is, should you give L’Oreal Revitalift Retinol Serum a go or is 0.2% still too small to make a dent in your wrinkles and you’re better off with The Ordinary? I’ve put the serum to the test to find out:
- About The Brand: L’Oreal
- Key Ingredients In L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum: What Makes It Work?
- The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients
- How To Use It
- Performance & Personal Opinion
- How Does L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum Compare To The Other L’Oreal Retinol Products?
- What I Like About L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum
- What I DON’T Like About L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum
- Who Should Use This?
- Does L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum Live Up To Its Claims?
- Is L’Oreal Cruelty-Free?
- Price & Availability
- The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
- Dupes & Alternatives
About The Brand: L’Oreal
In the early 20th century, young French chemist Eugène Paul Louis Schuelle created a hair dye formula called Oréale that he sold to Parisian hairdressers. Focusing on research and innovation in the area of beauty, the brand employed 3 chemists in 1920. By 2021, it employed a staggering 85K+ the world over!
Today, L’Oreal is the biggest beauty company in the world, featuring 20+ brands in his portfolio, including Shiseido, Skinceuticals, Garnier, Lancome, and L’Oreal Paris. They have products in skincare, makeup, haircare, and personal care, ranging from the most high-end to the cheaper drugstore offerings. This is truly a company that has something for everyone.
Key Ingredients In L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum: What Makes It Work?
RETINOL TO FIGHT WRINKLES AND DARK SPOTS
Retinol is the most common form of Vitamin A used OTC. Vitamin A is the only thing proven to reduce wrinkles, making retinol an anti-aging superstar. It fights wrinkles in three ways:
- It has antioxidant properties that fight free radicals. Free radicals are the nasty molecules, generated by pollution and UV rays among other things, that destroy collagen, elastin, cellular DNA… all that good stuff that keeps your skin soft, even-toned, and younger-looking. By neutralising free radicals before they can wreak their damage on your skin, they keep you looking younger for longer.
- It boosts the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm. Skin loses 1% of collagen a year once you turn 21. That loss drastically increases once you hit menopause. This just happens naturally as you age, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless against it. By using retinol, you’re helping your skin pump out more collagen than it wouldn’t on its own, keeping those pesky wrinkles at bay.
- It speeds up cellular turnover: That’s a fancy way of calling the skin’s natural exfoliating process. As old, dark, damaged skin cells leave their place to the new, even-toned, healthy cells hiding underneath, your skin gets smoother, softer, and brighter. Dark spots slowly fade away too. Retinol speeds up this process, making your skin look its best.
L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum contains 0.2% retinol. It’s high enough to work (yes, retinol works even at incredibly low doses!) and low enough not to cause irritations. If you’re just getting started on your retinol journey, this is made just for right for you.
Related: What Strength Of Retinol Do YOU Need?
HYALURONIC ACID TO HYDRATE SKIN
Hyaluronic Acid is a moisture magnet on steroids. It attracts and binds to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water! All that moisture makes your skin super happy: it plumps it up, so fine lines and wrinkles look smaller; it makes it softer to the touch; and it gives it a dewy glow.
The Koreans have known this for years. This is why they focus so much on hydration. When your skin has all the moisture it needs (plus a few extra dollops), your skin just look younger. That means you don’t need to focus so much on anti-aging.
Personally, I like to focus on both. It’s great to see this serum tackles both hydration and anti-aging. Why settle for just one?
Related: Why You Need To Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine
ALCOHOL DENAT TO ENHANCE DELIVERY
Alcohol Denat is one of the most misunderstood ingredients in skincare. Word on the street is that it’s terribly drying and irritating.
To an extent, that’s true. The reason you feel so bad after you gulp down one too many cocktails is that alcohol is drying out every cell in your body, giving you a bad case of dehydration.
Does the same thing apply to skin when you slather alcohol on it? It depends. If alcohol’s all you’re slathering on, then yes, it will dry out your skin.
But if you use alcohol together with moisturizing ingredients, they’ll counteract its drying effects. Science confirms this. Recent studies show that alcohol isn’t as drying as we once thought.
Having said this, everyone’s skin is different. If your skin is particularly sensitive to alcohol denat and doesn’t tolerate it well, this serum isn’t for you.
But what does alcohol do here? It’s a volatile carrier that helps create a thinner solution and texture.
Related: The Truth About Alcohol-Free Skincare: What Does It Really Mean? (Hint: It’s Not What You Think)
Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):
The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients
NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.
- Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
- Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
- Red: What is this doing here?!
- Aqua / Water: The base of the serum, it dissolves other ingredients in the formula.
- Glycerin: A humectant, a fancy way of saying it attracts moisture from the air into your skin and binds it there. The extra moisture makes your skin softer, brighter, and smoother.
- Isononyl Isononanoate: Although it doesn’t do anything for skin itself, it helps to improve the texture and feel of the formula. Who would use it if it were grainy or gross?
- Pentylene Glycol: It helps to stabilise and thicken formulas.
- Dicaprylyl Ether: A plant derived oil rich in fatty acids that strengthen the skin’s protective barrier and deeply moisturise it, leaving it softer and suppler.
- Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil: Rich in fatty acids, this oil strengthens the skin’s protective barrier so that moisture stays in and germs stay out. It makes skin softer and smoother and protects it from environmental aggressors that could dry it out and irritate it. It also has antioxidant properties.
- Propylene Glycol: It helps active ingredients, like retinol, better penetrate your skin. Plus, it has some hydrating properties.
- Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides: Rich in fatty acids, it strengthens the skin’s protective barrier to prevent water loss. In turn, this keeps skin soft and healthy.
- Citric Acid: It’s used to adjust the pH of the serum, so that it’s skin-friendly (if it weren’t, it may burn your skin!).
- Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate: A synthetic antioxidant that’s said to fight free radicals. It’s usually used together with other antioxidants to boost their effectiveness, but this formula is terribly low in antioxidant. Still, that’s better than nothing.
- Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate: It neutralises the metal ions in the formula that would otherwise make the serum go bad faster.
- Dicaprylyl Carbonate: A dry emollient that moisturises skin, leaving it softer and smoother instead than greasy and oily. It works by creating a protective barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in and germs and irritants out.
- Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate: It improves the texture and feel of the formula, so it’s more pleasant to use.
- Butylene Glycol: It hydrates skin and helps to stabilise and thicken products.
- Caprylyl Glycol: Although it has moisturising properties, it’s used here as a preservative. It keeps. other ingredients from going bad, thus extending the shelf life of the formula.
- Glyceryl Isostearate: An emollient that makes skin softer and smoother.
- Ppg-6-Decyltetradeceth-30: It keeps the oily and watery parts of the formula from separating (oil and water alone don’t mix, remember?)
- Tocopherol: A form of Vitamin E, it has both antioxidant and hydrating properties. But here, it’s mostly used to extend the shelf life of the serum.
- Xanthan Gum: It thickens skincare products and improves their texture.
- Benzyl Alcohol: A preservative that extends the shelf life of the serum.
- Citronellol: A molecule that gives fragrances a grassy, citrusy-like smell. It must be listed separately because it’s a common allergen (if you’re allergic to that, you need to know it!).
- Isoeugenol: Another fragrant component that makes the product smell good, but can cause allergies.
- Limonene: It’s the chemical responsible for the characteristic bright scent of lemons and other citrus fruit. But it’s a common allergen too.
- Linalool: It has a fresh, flowery scent that smells divine but can cause irritations and allergies.
- Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that kills a wide range of bacteria, keeping your skincare products safer for longer.
- Parfum / Fragrance: It makes the product smell. But it can cause allergies and irritations for sensitive skin.
The serum is a white lotion more than a serum. Yet, the texture is lightweight and sinks immediately into your skin without leaving a greasy residue behind. I admit it’s not what I expected, but it’s lovely and a pleasure to use.
Floral and perfumey. It’s strong when you first apply it, but quickly fades away. If you like this kind of scent, it’ll make every application a walk in a blooming garden. I personally appreciate a good floral scent, BUT I don’t really want it in my skincare – especially in a retinol serum. Fragrance is one of the most irritating ingredients in skincare – and so is retinol.
The difference? Retinol helps you fight wrinkles, so it’s worth it to build up tolerance to it. Fragrance has no practical benefit for skin, so it can be left out. Of course, if your skin can tolerate a fragrance well, no need to stop using fragranced products. But, if your skin is sensitive, I wouldn’t recommend this to you. Go for a fragrance-free formula instead.
How To Use It
FYI, this advice apply to ALL retinol products:
- Use it every other night. Retinol is too irritating for daily use. If this is your first retinol products, start with a couple of times a week and increase to every other day slowly.
- Use it right after cleansing and before other hydrating serums. The closer to your skin retinol gets, the better it’ll work. Only if your skin is very sensitive, you should apply it after moisturiser. Yes, it’ll dilute its effectiveness but it’ll be gentler too. For sensitive skin, the trade-off is worth it.
- Never use retinol on days you’re exfoliating. This combo can easily be too irritating for skin. By using them on alternate nights, your skin gets the best of everything without the irritation.
The serum comes in a dark blue bottle with red accents. I personally find it too much, but one thing’s for sure: it’s eye-catching. You can’t miss it! I do appreciate the opaque bottle, though. Retinol loses a bit of its effectiveness when exposed to light and air, so this type of bottle keeps it stable and working for longer. Plus, the dropper applicator makes application easy and smooth.
Performance & Personal Opinion
L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum has quickly become one of my fave drugstore retinol serums. Here’s why:
The lightweight texture makes the serum a pleasure to use. It’s slightly hydrating and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy residue behind.
When I woke up the morning after my first use, I already saw a difference: my skin looked plumper, my crow’s feet a little smaller, my texture smoother. Overall, my skin just looked better.
Retinol is good, but it doesn’t work this quickly! I believe all these benefits have more to do with the extra hydration this serum provides than with the retinol. For that to work, I need to wait a bit more time. But it’ll work. The science here is solid.
I don’t know about you, but I appreciate an anti-aging serum that makes my skin look better in the short run while fighting and reducing wrinkles in the long term. Makes me feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds.
I’m also not experiencing any kind of dryness, peeling, or irritation with this serum. It’s very gentle and suitable for most skin types.
The only thing I could do without is the scent. It’s a bit too perfumey for my taste. Plus, scents can irritate sensitive skin. Luckily, mine isn’t, so it’s not causing any issues.
Related: Is Fragrance In Skincare As Bad As Paula Begoun Says?
How Does L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum Compare To The Other L’Oreal Retinol Products?
While L’Oreal doesn’t have any other retinol serums, they do have a few moisturisers and creams with retinol. How do they compare to this serum? Are they a good alternative or better, so you can skip the serum and shorten your skincare routine? Let’s find out:
WARNING! All L’Oreal creams come in jars. Retinol is an unstable molecule that loses a bit off its effectiveness every time it’s exposed to light and air – i.e. every time you open the jar. I personally don’t like this type of packaging for retinol. But, if you still want to go ahead and use the cream, close that lid quickly to minimise retinol exposure to the elements, so it lasts longer.
- L’Oreal Revitalift Anti-Ageing Day Cream (£8.66): This is my least fave cream from the lot because it’s a super basic moisturiser with Hyaluronic Acid. It hydrates skin and makes it softer and smoother. If you’re on a budget and are looking for a no-frills moisturiser, this’ll do. But it has no anti-aging properties. Instead of retinol, it uses retinyl palmitate, a much weaker form. Available at Boots.
- L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Day Cream SPF25 ($13.99): This cream does NOT contain retinol – and that’s a good thing because retinol makes skin more prone to sun damaged and should NOT be used during the day. Instead, it contains retinyl palmitate, a cousin of retinol (they’re both forms of Vitamin A) that’s way gentler and almost completely ineffective. This is just a moisturising cream with niacinamide to strengthen the protective barrier and Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate skin. Oh, you’ll get SPF25 only if you apply the cream as generously as a sunscreen. Available at Boots.
- L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Renew Anti-Ageing Night Cream ($13.99): Another cream that promises to use retinol but it gives you the much weaker retinyl palmitate. It promises Vitamin C and it delivers a tiny % of a weak form. In other words, forget the anti-aging properties. This night cream is a basic formula that makes skin softer and smoother. Nothing more, nothing less. Available at Boots.
- L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Renew Retinol + Niacinamide Pressed Night Cream ($13.99): In addition to retinol, this moisturise includes Niacinamide, a form of Vitamin B3. Niacinamide is a multitasker that hydrates skin, fights acne, fades away dark spots, soothes irritations, a and helps skin better tolerate retinol. While it comes in a jar, it’s a modern one that allows you to release the cream from the cap without you ever opening the jar, so it’s a good type of packaging for this formula. Available at Boots and Sephora.
What I Like About L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum
- Lightweight, fast-absorbing texture.
- Hydrating, it makes skin softer and smoother.
- Retinol helps to smoothen out wrinkles in the long run.
- Opaque bottle keeps retinol safe and effective for longer.
What I DON’T Like About L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum
- Fragrance may irritate sensitive skin.
- Retinol takes weeks to work – be patient.
Who Should Use This?
This serum is strictly for retinol newbies. If you’ve never used a retinol before, 0.2% is a good place to start. You can graduate to something higher after a few months – if you don’t experience any irritating side effects.
If you’re using 0.5% or a higher concentration of retinol already, this’d be a step back. Unless that high concentration irritates you, no reason to go back.
Does L’Oreal Revitalift Laser Pure Retinol Night Serum Live Up To Its Claims?
|Our highest concentration of pure Retinol, delivers 3X more pure retinol to the skin.||It’s true it’s the highest % of retinol L’Oreal has ever used. But it’s still a low % suitable only for beginners.|
|So effective, it reduced wrinkles for 100% of women.||Retinol has been scientifically proven to reduce wrinkles. But, it works slowly. Don’t expect results overnight, especially at low concentrations.|
Is L’Oreal Cruelty-Free?
Unfortunately, L’Oreal isn’t cruelty-free. They perform a lot of innovative skincare research and, in some countries, this process still sadly requires animal testing by law.
Price & Availability
£24.99 at Asos and Feel Unique
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
If you’re looking for your first retinol serum (and you’re over 25 – teenagers don’t need retinol), this is a good option to consider. Just don’t stay at 0.2% for long.
Dupes & Alternatives
- The Ordinary 0.2% Retinol In Squalane ($7.00): A simple formula for retinol beginners. 0.2% retinol helps you fight wrinkles while the Squalane base is very moisturising. Available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, The Ordinary, and Ulta.
Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Isononyl Isononanoate, Pentylene Glycol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol, Peg-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Citric Acid, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Retinol, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Isostearate, Ppg-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum / Fragrance. (F.I.L. B264237/1).