5 Best Retinol Face Washes for Satin Smooth Skin (2022)

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Find the best retinol face wash for your skin type, skin condition, and budget! Overall, my top recommendation is Pevonia Micro-Retinol Essential Foaming Cleanser.

Vitamin A is widely considered the gold standard for anti aging as it helps shed dead skin cells, unclog pores, and smooth out wrinkles by speeding up the rate of cell turnover.

Meanwhile, retinol is the most popular form of vitamin A that is utilized in some of the most revered skincare products. It’s mostly recognized for its ability to stimulate collagen and elastin production as well as improve skin tone and texture (Medicine Net).

Retinol is an absolute MUST for your skincare routine, especially as you age past your late 20s when your body begins to produce less collagen and elastin. 

But if you’re just getting started with this ingredient, you may want to try out retinol face washes first before more concentrated serums and creams.

With all the options out there, we want to help you find the best retinol face wash for you and your skin type. Let’s get you smooth and glowing!

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What Is The Best Retinol Face Wash?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor’s Choice: Pevonia Micro-Retinol Essential Foaming Cleanser
  2. Best for Wrinkles & Fine Lines: RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum Cleanser
  3. Best for Dark Spots: Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser
  4. Best Retinol Prep Cleanser: Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Prep Cleanser
  5. Best Retinol Alternative: Burt's Bees Refining Cleanser
Pevonia Micro-Retinol Essential Foaming Cleanser
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EDITOR'S CHOICE

Pevonia 
Micro-Retinol Essential Foaming Cleanser

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Best For:

✅ Anti-Aging
✅ Brightening
✅ Hydrating

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Retinol
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
⭐ Vitamin C
⭐ Safflower Oil
⭐ Calendula Flower

Key Features:

👍 Alcohol-Free
👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 Award-Winning

The Pevonia Micro-Retinol Essential Foaming Cleanser may very well become an essential part of your skincare routine.

Though it has less than a hundred reviews on Amazon right now, this retinol cleanser has been recognized with several beauty awards, including the DaySpa Professionals Choice Award, the Beauty Bible Award, and the American Spa Professionals Choice Award.

This is not surprising as every ingredient works in synergy with retinol to bring out brighter, more hydrated, and youthful skin.

While retinol works to reduce signs of aging and acne breakouts (Healthline), there is also:

  • Hyaluronic Acid: binds water to collagen and assists in tissue regeneration (Allure)
  • Vitamin C: brightens dark spots and accelerates the production of collagen 
  • Safflower Oil: forms a barrier over the skin’s top layer and prevents flaky skin
  • Calendula Flower Extract: promotes skin firmness and protects against UV rays

Meanwhile, the cleanser is free of alcohol, sulfates, and artificial fragrance. Reviewers say that it’s even excellent at removing make-up and they saw tighter skin within a couple of weeks!

Just remember to watch out for fakes and expired products on Amazon. This retinol product has a gel formula and foams up well so anything watered down should be immediately returned.

Our Verdict: At $10/oz, the Pevonia Micro-Retinol Essential Foaming Cleanser is the most expensive cleanser on this list but with its 75% 5-stars, it’s also the highest rated as every ingredient in its formulation provides an anti-aging benefit.

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RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum Cleanser
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best for wrinkles & fine lines

RoC Retinol Correxion 
Deep Wrinkle Serum Cleanser

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Best For:

✅ Mature Skin
✅ Wrinkles
✅ Fine Lines
✅ Skin Texture

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Retinol
⭐ Niacinamide
⭐ Grape Seed Oil
⭐ Aloe Vera
⭐ Licorice Root Extract

Key Features:

👍 Fragrance-Free
👍 Non-Comedogenic
👍 Budget Friendly

Cleanse your way to brighter, younger-looking skin with the RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum Cleanser!

Known as America’s most awarded retinol, this face wash is great at removing dead skin cells, dirt, excess oil, and makeup. As its formula steered clear of soap, sulfates, fragrance, and parabens, it can also be categorized as a gentle cleanser that’s suitable for sensitive skin.

Meanwhile, it contains:

  • Niacinamide: improves the skin barrier and minimizes pore appearance
  • Grape Seed Oil: increases skin elasticity and softness
  • Aloe Vera: replenishes and retains skin moisture
  • Licorice Root Extract: reduces redness and hyperpigmentation

A company study showed that after two weeks of daily use, users saw improved skin firmness and visible reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. For less than $2/oz, that’s quite the steal!

You can also pair this with the RoC Retinol Serum for maximum efficacy. Several Amazon reviewers mentioned that doing so speeds up the results even more!

Our Verdict: Great for every skin type, the RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum Cleanser uses retinol, niacinamide, grape seed oil, aloe vera, and licorice root extract to battle wrinkles, acne, and hyperpigmentation!

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Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser
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best for dark spots

Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser

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Best For:

✅ Dark Spots
✅ Uneven Tone
✅ Dullness

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Vitamin A (Retinyl Palmitate)
⭐ Vitamin C
⭐ Vitamin E
⭐ Allantoin
⭐ Panthenol
⭐ Phospholipids
⭐ Rice Amino Acids
⭐ Zinc Aspartate

Key Features:

👍 1.9K+ Reviews
👍 6.75 oz Value Size

Feed your skin with the nutrients it needs using Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser!

This exfoliating skin cleanser contains retinyl palmitate, a derivative of vitamin A and the least irritating retinoid (Byrdie). Like retinol, it promotes skin cell turnover, improves your skin’s texture, unclogs pores, and reduces signs of aging.

This makes it an excellent option for those looking for a non irritating retinol cleanser.

The Murad face wash also includes vitamin C, which brightens dark spots and uneven skin tone, and vitamin E, which assists in cellular restoration and protects the skin barrier. 

Other ingredients include: 

  • Allantoin: soothes dry skin and improves skin texture 
  • Panthenol: moisturizes and softens the skin
  • Phospholipids: assists in skin repair
  • Rice Amino Acids: reduces fine lines, spots, and wrinkles
  • Zinc Aspartate: clears acne causing bacteria

This gel cleanser has over 2,000 reviews and 85% 5-stars on Amazon, making it the best-rated of all the retinol products on this list. 

Plus tt’s a great deal at $6/oz, especially since you just need a pea-sized amount for your entire face and neck. According to users, it can even remove waterproof mascara!

Note that it contains several oils and fragrances that may irritate sensitive skin types.

Our Verdict: Get rid of fine lines AND dull skin using the Murad Environmental Shield Essential-C Cleanser and its mix of vitamin antioxidants, allantoin, rice amino acids, and phospholipids!

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Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Prep Cleanser
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BEST RETINOL PREP CLEANSER

Neutrogena 
Rapid Wrinkle Repair Prep Cleanser

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Best For:

✅ Pre-Retinol Cleanse
✅ Exfoliation
✅ Clogged Pores

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Glycolic Acid
⭐ Salicylic Acid
⭐ Vitamin E

Key Features:

👍 25K+ Reviews
👍 5 oz Value
👍 Cleanses and Preps Skin

They say that failing to prepare is preparing to fail so make sure your skin is prepared to maximize all the benefits of retinol using Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Prep Cleanser!

Technically speaking, this cleanser’s NOT a retinol face wash. Instead, it’s a glycolic acid face wash you use BEFORE retinol serums, moisturizers, and creams.

It employs glycolic acid to lift dead skin cells and improve collagen production, salicylic acid to unclog pores and treat blackheads and acne, and vitamin E to reduce UV damage to the skin.

It also contains micro-exfoliants which gently scrub away oil, dirt, and debris.

Using this cleanser gives you a fresh base to apply retinol treatments so that they can produce the best possible results. According to Neutrogena, it can even improve skin texture on its own after just one week of use!

PLUS its creamy texture provides such a luxurious experience that you couldn’t even guess it’s just $3/oz. 

Our Verdict: With 25,000 reviews and 70% 5-stars on Amazon, the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Prep Cleanser proves that it’s a must-have if you’re using retinol products. We recommend pairing this face wash with the retinol serum and retinol cream from the same line! 

Just remember that with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and retinol, you should be applying sunscreen daily.

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Burt's Bees Refining Cleanser
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BEST RETINOL ALTERNATIVE

Burt's Bees 
Refining Cleanser

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Best For:

✅ Sensitive Skin
✅ Retinol Alternative
✅ Wrinkles & Lines
✅ Uneven Tone

Key Ingredients:

⭐ Bakuchiol
⭐ Vitamin E
⭐ Organic Extracts

Key Features:

👍 10K+ Reviews
👍 6 oz Size
👍 Creamy Texture

Are you scared that retinol may be too potent for your skin? Then Burt’s Bees Refining Cleanser has a promising alternative for you!

This gentle cleanser uses bakuchiol, dubbed as the natural retinol alternative derived from the babchi plant.

A third-party clinical trial shows that bakuchiol reduces signs of aging just as well as retinol. The only difference is that bakuchiol does not have the stinging and other side effects of retinol such as redness, burning, or peeling (Dahliwal et al., 2018).

Other notable ingredients include:

  • Vitamin E: protects against free radical damage
  • Sunflower Oil: helps the skin retain water
  • Coconut Oil: repairs the skin barrier
  • Soybean Oil: rich in antioxidants
  • Lactic Acid: fades dark spots and softens fine lines

This Burt’s Bees wash is just a little over $1/oz, making it the best value out of all the facial cleansers on this list. With 10,000 reviews, 75% five stars, and the brand’s overall reputation, there isn’t much to lose if you want to try this product.

However, be aware thatit has exfoliating beads, a fact not included in the description. Its creamy texture also doesn’t foam up as much as most customers want it to.

Our Verdict: If you want to go the natural route, look no further than the Burt’s Bees Refining Cleanser as it delivers all the benefits of retinol without the risk of dryness and irritation.

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