Best Vegan Retinol Products for Anti-Aging and Glowing Skin that are Cruelty-Free
Discover the best vegan retinol products, so you can find the best retinol for your skin type with good-for-you ingredients.
If you’re looking for a natural way to keep your skin looking young and healthy, vegan retinol may be your answer. Retinol is a form of vitamin A that can improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin while reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Vegan retinol has all the same benefits as traditional retinol, but it’s made from plant-based ingredients rather than animal products making it clean and cruelty-free. Read on to learn more about vegan retinol and its powerful age-defying ingredients.
Is Traditional Retinol Vegan?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that is commonly used in skincare products to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. Retinol is not considered vegan because it is often derived from animal sources like beef, chicken liver, and fish oil.
The Difference Between Traditional Retinol and Vegan Retinol
Retinol and vegan retinol are two different types of skincare ingredients. While traditional retinol is often derived from animal sources, there are now plant-based alternatives to retinol that are vegan-friendly and just as effective in treating various skincare issues.
What is Vegan Retinol?
Vegan retinol is a type of antioxidant derived from plant sources that can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines while improving overall skin health. These vegan, cruelty-free retinol alternatives include bakuchiol, a natural ingredient derived from the seeds of the babchi plant, and carotenoids, which are found in fruits and vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes. By choosing vegan retinol, you can take care of your skin while also being mindful of animal welfare.
Benefits of Vegan Retinol for Your Skin
The benefits of vegan retinol and cruelty-free retinol products are numerous for a variety of skin types. First, it helps increase collagen production which keeps skin firm and reduces wrinkles and fine lines over time for more youthful skin. Additionally, it reduces dead skin cells and increases cell turnover rate which helps to keep skin looking bright and clear by reducing dark spots. Finally, vegan and cruelty-free retinol works to regulate oil production which helps keep oily areas balanced without stripping away essential moisture from the rest of your face.
The Key Benefits of Vegan Retinol include:
Reduce Signs of Aging: Vegan retinol helps promote collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making your skin look more youthful and radiant.
Brightening: It can help to brighten dull skin by promoting skin cell turnover, which helps to remove dead skin cells and reveal brighter, smoother skin.
Firming: Vegan retinol can help to improve skin elasticity, making it look firmer and more toned.
Minimizing pores: It can also help to minimize the appearance of enlarged pores and improve skin texture for overall smoother and healthy skin.
Acne-fighting: Vegan retinol has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce acne breakouts and prevent future ones from occurring.
Best Vegan Retinol Products
The best vegan retinols come in the form of oils, serums, and creams. These products are easy to apply and can be incorporated into your daily skincare routine for a variety of skin types. Oils are great for those with dry skin, as they provide intense hydration while also delivering the benefits of retinol. Serums are lightweight and absorb quickly into the skin, making them perfect for daytime use. Creams are thicker and more nourishing, making them ideal for nighttime use when your skin needs extra moisture. With so many options available, it’s easy to find a vegan retinol product that works for you.
Our editors curate our collections against our vetting criteria while also conducting extensive research, testing, and evaluating customer reviews. By shopping our curated collection below, you help support our publication as we may receive a portion of sales.
Best Vegan Retinol Serums
Vegan retinol serums are a great option for those with oily skin types. Unlike traditional retinol products, vegan retinol serums are formulated without the use of animal-derived ingredients and are often lighter in texture, making them ideal for oily skin. By incorporating a vegan retinol serum into your skincare routine, you can achieve smoother, more radiant-looking skin without exacerbating oiliness or clogging pores.
Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Potent PM Serum
Made in the USA, this lightweight serum features potent, stabilized vitamins that work together to lessen the appearance of wrinkles. This formula includes vegan retinol to reduce fine lines, Coenzyme Q10 which deeply enhances collagen production, Vitamin E which restores the skin and protects it from future damage, as well as Niacinamide and Vitamin C which are two anti-aging superstars that are not usually formulated together because of their different pH levels.
However, this formula uses the highest quality, most stable form of Vitamin C (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate), which has the same 6 pH balance as Niacinamide. This allows the two vitamins to work in tandem to restore a youthful, glowing complexion.
Retinol with Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, and Aloe Vera
The Yeouth Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, and Aloe Vera is a powerful retinol serum formulated with 2.5% retinol, a clinically-tested ingredient that effectively reduces the signs of aging, while gently exfoliating to reveal healthy new skin.
This retinol serum also contains hyaluronic acid which helps to hydrate and plump the skin, reducing the signs of aging even further. Vitamin E works as an antioxidant to protect against environmental stressors, while aloe vera soothes and balances the skin’s hydration levels, perfect for sensitive skin types.
Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum
Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Smoothing Serum is a game-changer for many skin concerns. This natural retinol serum helps to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while sealing in hydration. Its jelly-textured, water-based formula provides deep hydration, leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth. The serum is formulated with a blend of exfoliating ingredients like PHA and white willow bark bakuchiol that helps to resurface the skin without causing irritation or sensitivity.
FAB Skin Lab Retinol Serum
First Aid Beauty
This vegan retinol serum is specially designed for sensitive skin and beginner retinol users, containing 0.25% pure concentrate to help smooth and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What sets this serum apart is its gentle formula that doesn’t compromise results. It contains advanced peptides that work together with pure retinol to deliver powerful age-defying benefits without causing irritation or dryness.
Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum
This gentle vegan retinol serum is also specifically formulated for sensitive skin and first-time retinol users. It contains encapsulated retinol, bakuchiol, arophira, and chlorophyll that work together to stimulate your skin, reduce age spots, and even skin tone without causing any irritation or dryness.
0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment
If you’re looking for a powerful anti-defying solution, Paula’s Choice 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment offers truly impressive results. This advanced formula combines the benefits of retinol and bakuchiol to deliver rejuvenation to the skin by targeting fine lines, deep wrinkles, uneven texture, and dark spots.
Retinol 0.5% In Squalane
If you’re looking for a powerful anti-aging solution that’s also affordable, look no further than The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% In Squalane for rejuvenated skin. This vegan retinol serum is highly stable and free from water, which means that it won’t oxidize or degrade over time as some other retinol products can. Formulated with squalane to lock in moisture, even those with dry or sensitive skin can reap the benefits of retinol without experiencing irritation or dryness.
Best Vegan Retinol Face Creams
Vegan retinol face creams are a great alternative to serums and oils for individuals who prefer a more moisturizing and nourishing skincare routine. Unlike serums and oils, which are typically lightweight and fast-absorbing, vegan retinol face creams provide a thicker consistency that can help lock in moisture and improve the overall texture of the skin. They are best used as part of a nighttime skincare routine, as they work to repair and rejuvenate skin while you sleep. Additionally, vegan retinol face creams often contain other beneficial ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, and antioxidants that can further enhance their age-fighting properties and are perfect for problematic skin.
Vegan Retinol Night Cream
This luxurious night cream is formulated with vegan retinol derived from carrots which helps to promote cell turnover and improve skin texture. It also contains nourishing avocado butter and plant oils to soften skin and provide deep hydration. We love the nourishing texture of this vegan retinol cream and that this formula is naturally scented with a light infusion of skin-toning, organic jasmine essential oil. This formula is also free from harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances, making it a great choice for those with sensitive skin.
Dream Bio-Retinol + Shorea Butter Night Cream
This pillow-soft cruelty-free and vegan cream is formulated with an ultra-gentle retinol alternative that helps to smooth out fine lines and even out skin tone. The addition of shorea butter provides intense hydration, leaving your skin feeling plump and moisturized.
Vegan Retinol Complex Cream
With 0.25% vegan retinol, this cream helps to reduce the appearance of aging while also improving skin firmness. This all-in-one skin-perfecting moisturizer is formulated with a potent complex of multi-layered, encapsulated retinol, bakuchiol, and sugarcane-derived squalane. It also includes a photostable, synergistic blend of antioxidants and humectants that work together to improve the look of wrinkles, elasticity, and uneven skin tone while promoting overall radiance.
A-Passioni Vegan Retinol Cream
This retinol cream contains 1% vegan retinol to reduce wrinkles and Vitamin F to help improve skin texture and skin tone. In addition to being vegan-friendly, this cream is also free from essential oils, silicones, and fragrances – making it a great choice for not only those with normal skin but sensitive skin as well.
Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme
This retinol cream features bakuchiol, a plant-based alternative to retinol, along with AHAs and vitamin C for brighter, smoother skin. In addition to its powerful ingredients, Ole Henriksen Goodnight Glow Retin-ALT Sleeping Creme is also cruelty-free and vegan while made with organic ingredients. It’s an all-in-one skin-perfecting night cream that can help you wake up to glowing, refreshed skin.
Best Vegan Retinol Oils
When it comes to retinol skincare, oils are the most nourishing, especially for dry skin types. Retinol oil is typically an anhydrous formula, meaning it does not contain any water. This allows for a higher concentration of retinol to be present in the product, making it more potent and effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Additionally, because it is an oil-based formula, it can penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers and provide long-lasting hydration. Overall, retinol oil is a great option for those looking for a powerful treatment for more youthful skin that also nourishes and moisturizes the skin.
Luna Sleeping Night Oil
Voted the number one face oil in the US, this next-generation retinol oil is formulated with ultra-stable and gentle retinol ester and blue tansy to deliver luminous, visibly even-toned skin by morning. It’s perfect for new retinol users or anyone with sensitive skin.
Not only does Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil improve the appearance of wrinkles, radiance, and skin smoothness in as little as four weeks, but it also smells amazing and leaves your skin hydrated all night long.
Bio Retinoid Concentrate Oil
This vegan retinol oil features a blend of natural oils like rosehip seed, jojoba, and sunflower seed along with retinoid analogue to help reduce the signs of aging with clinical trials showing results after just 28 days.
COSRX The Retinol .5 Oil
This lush formula is suitable for all skin types, with vegan retinol to support collagen production and skin cell turnover, squalane to protect and moisturize the skin, and vitamin E to nourish the skin and reduce the signs of aging and skin damage.
Best Vegan Retinol Eye Creams
Eye creams that are infused with plant-based retinol help to accelerate skin renewal and reduce the appearance of aging. Vegan retinol eye creams also contains natural ingredients that are gentle yet effective, making them ideal for the sensitive skin around your eyes. With regular use, vegan retinol eye creams can help to firm, moisturize, and brighten the delicate skin around your eyes. So if you’re looking for a natural and effective way to make your eyes look more youthful, vegan retinol eye cream is worth adding to your beauty routine.
Smooth Landing Advanced Retinoid Eye Balm
The key ingredient in this eye balm is 1.0% granactive retinoid, which is known for its powerful age-defying properties. It works by stimulating collagen production and accelerating cell turnover, resulting in smoother, brighter, and more youthful-looking skin.
Aside from granactive retinoid, this eye balm also contains shiitake mushroom extract, vitamin E, and black currant seed oil. These ingredients work together to nourish and hydrate the delicate skin around your eyes while providing antioxidant protection against free radicals that can cause premature aging.
5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum
This powerful serum is designed to fight wrinkles with a 6% retinoid complex and bioactive centella asiatica, while also soothing, smoothing, and rehydrating the skin overnight. With ingredients like olive oil and shea butter to hydrate and restore the skin, this lightweight formula is perfect for TLC for tired eyes. We absolutely love the cooling ceramic applicator before bed.
Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Cream
This eye cream is formulated with encapsulated retinol that gently time-releases for hours, effectively smoothing fine lines and firming the delicate area around your eyes. Paired with avocado oil and extract, it nourishes and soothes the skin, while niacinamide fights fine creases, dullness, and wrinkles to give you that youthful glow.
This best-selling eye cream visibly firms and smooths lines around the eye, reducing puffiness and dark circles. It’s perfect for those who want to achieve a brighter, more rested look without harsh ingredients.
How to Apply Vegan Retinol
To use vegan retinol, start by cleansing your face thoroughly. Apply a small amount of the product to your face and neck, avoiding the eye area. It’s best to start with a lower concentration and gradually increase it over time to avoid irritation. Additionally, it’s best paired with other gentle ingredients like hyaluronic acid which will help hydrate the skin while preventing any potential irritation caused by vegan retinol use.
If you are using a vegan retinol with a higher concentration, you can try the retinol sandwich method where you layer a moisturizer underneath and over top the retinol to help protect the skin. It’s best to use vegan retinol at night, as retinol can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, and of course, remember to always wear sunscreen during the day when using retinol products.
With consistent use, vegan retinol can help brighten and plump the skin while minimizing enlarged pores, boosting firmness, and diminishing fine lines.
What to Consider When Purchasing Vegan Retinols
If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly way to care for your skin, then vegan retinol may be the perfect solution. Here are some things to consider when shopping for vegan retinol:
Look for products that use natural and organic ingredients, such as bakuchiol, which is a plant-based alternative to retinol.
Choose brands that do not test on animals and are certified cruelty-free.
Check product reviews and ratings to ensure that the product is effective in reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. All the products on this list are loved by our editors and customers.
Consider your skin type when choosing a vegan retinol product. Some products may be too harsh for sensitive skin or too oily for combination skin types.
Compare prices of different brands and products to find one that fits your budget.
By considering these factors, you can find a vegan retinol product that is both effective and ethical.