Retinol Oils Are Having a Major Moment—Here Are 15 Worth Trying

A powerhouse at reducing wrinkles and fine lines, evening skin tone, and reducing acne, retinol is one of the world's great skincare ingredients. But using retinol isn't without its challenges. The ingredient is notoriously irritating and is known to cause redness and flaking on some, especially those with sensitive skin. But skincare science has come light-years. There are now more ways than ever to get your retinol fix, from gentler forms of retinol to plant-based alternatives. One of them? Retinol oils, which tend to be gentler, more nourishing, and less irritating than traditional serums. 

If you've been hesitant to try retinol (or have a shaky past with the ingredient), retinol oils may be a safe entry point back in. They often have lower concentrations of retinol and are cushioned with skin-loving oils and hydrators. Plus, they can be used on their own or mixed in with moisturizer for an added ingredient boost. Some may even be gentle enough to use morning and night; although, it's best to start out just at night and build up from there. 

Looking to give retinol oils a shot? Read on for 15 of the best options, including retinol alternatives (which are safe for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding).

1. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

2. Drunk Elephant A-Gloei Retinol Oil

3. Dermalogica Retinol Clearing Acne Oil 


(Image credit: @champagnemani )

4. StriVectin S.T.A.R Light Retinol Night Oil

5. Naturally Serious Sleepover Retin-Oil Nighttime Treatment

6. Mara Evening Primrose + Green Tea Algae Retinol Oil


(Image credit: @marina_torres)

7. Naturopathica Holy Basil Retinol Ageless Night Oil

8. Naturium Retinoid Face Oil

9. Tata Harper Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil With Vitamin A


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

10. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil

11. Evolve Organic Beauty Bio-Retinol + C Booster


(Image credit: @madisonelainechertow)

12. Darphin Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Oil Concentrate Capsules

13. Jordan Samuel Skin Retinol Treatment Oil


(Image credit: @ivycoco23)

14. Pixi Overnight Retinol Oil

15. Ren Clean Skincare Bio Retinoid Youth Concentrate Oil

Want more retinol? Check out the best retinol creams.

Freelance Contributor

Lindy Segal is a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. She's originally from Atlanta, but she's sorry to report she doesn't have an accent. However, she does still have her taste for carbohydrates, love of losing sports teams, and fear of driving during rush hour. She's been in editorial for over eight years as a social media manager and writer covering beauty, fashion, and lifestyle at Glamour and People. Most recently, she was the women's editor at Express. These days, in addition to Who What Wear, you can see her byline at places like Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Ipsy, and WeWork. Both a skincare obsessive and a minimalist, she keeps her routine short, sweet, and effective—and she doesn't go a day without sunscreen. She's also deeply passionate about sustainability, and she strives to recommend products she truly believes are worth the investment. When she's not writing about the best and brightest beauty finds, she can usually be found hunting for vintage and secondhand treasures, attempting to find zen at a yoga class, bingeing Bon Appétit YouTube videos, or napping under her weighted blanket.