My Honest Review of Avène RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream

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Kim Chwalek

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I'm a 25-year old girl based in Denver, Colorado. Kim Collective is a space where I share about beauty, faith, food & home, style, travel, well-being, and everything in between. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi, I'm Kim


You’re here to find out if Avène RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream is worth the hype. Well, spoiler alert: it is! I’ve used this product for two months now and I have already seen significant improvement in the appearance, texture, and elasticity of my skin. I’m not surprised because Avène is one of the best French beauty brands on the market. I love all of their products, including their gentle but powerful RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream, RetrinAL Advanced Correcting Serum and RetrinAL EYES. In this article, I’ll give my complete and honest review of Avène, as well as my nightly skin care routine and favorite products to pair with my RetrinAL.



Avène RetrinAl o.1 Intensive Cream Review

My skin type & concerns

I decided to buy Avène’s RetrinAL cream after a conversation with my friend who works as a Dermatology Assistant in Denver, Colorado. In this conversation, I touched upon a few of my skin concerns:

  • I have sensitive skin, so I need a product that doesn’t irritate my skin barrier.
  • My skin is combination/oily with a tendency for mild acne flare-ups, so minimizing acne purging is a must.
  • At 25 years old, I’d begun to notice subtle fine lines appearing on my forehead, in between my eyebrows, and around my mouth. In five to ten years, I knew these areas would be susceptible to aging, so I wanted to invest in a product that would work against my skin’s natural aging process in the long run.

My friend immediately recommended Avène because their RetrinAL line is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of deep lines and wrinkles. It’s also a best-seller at her dermatology clinic. Her clients are always raving about the results!

My honest review of Avène RetrinAL o.1 Intensive Cream

After two months of nightly use.


The pros

  • Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin (like me!)
  • Non-irritating: no redness, flaking, or peeling
  • Non-drying: skin feels hydrated and moisturized after application
  • Non-scented: no headache-inducing scents or perfumes
  • Acne-friendly: I experienced no breakouts or purging
  • Powerful 0.1% retinaldehyde: softens/smoothes my forehead and frown lines
  • Visible results: skin feels firmer/softer and looks brighter

The cons

  • Costly at $79 a bottle: try to take advantage of their 30% off sales
  • Takes longer than Tretinoin (a prescription retinoid) to work
  • Difficult pump: it can be hard to get the product out at the end of the bottle


Quick Tip #1: if you’re curious about your skin type, you can take Avène’s Find Your Routine Quiz to get started with a customized skincare routine.

Quick Tip #2: If you’re considering purchasing Avène RetrinAL o.1 Intensive Cream, I’d recommend setting up an auto-shipment, which saves you 15% on your order.



Avène RetrinAL o1. Intensive Cream FAQs

How do you apply RetrinAl o.1 Intensive Cream?

After using my CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, I apply a pea-sized amount of RetrinAL to my face, neck, and décolleté. With nightly use, I’ve found that one bottle of RetrinAL lasts about two months.


What type of skin is Avène for?

According to Avène, the RetrinAL line is suitable for all skin types. I can vouch for this! As someone with highly sensitive skin, I find that this product is as gentle as can be. In my two months of using Avène RetrinAL o.1 Intensive Cream, I’ve experienced no dryness, redness, or irritation. This is a big deal for me, considering I have had not-so-pleasant reactions to products like Retin-A in the past. I attribute Avène’s gentleness to retinaldehyde, which is far less irritating than traditional retinol. It’s also mixed with thermal spring water from France, which has natural soothing and anti-irritating properties.


What are Avène’s anti-aging benefits?

Avène RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream is a staple in any woman’s anti-aging skincare routine. According to Avène’s website, the cream is “formulated to visibly reduce the appearance of deep wrinkles and furrows while smoothing and renewing skin.”

Avène RetrinAL Clinical Results:

  • 58% reduction of visible wrinkles
  • 54% improvement in skin texture

Avène RetrinAL Benefits:

  • Renews: Visibly smoothes and reduces the appearance of deep wrinkles and furrows
  • Firms: Skin appears plump and firm with even skin tone while brightening the skin
  • Defends: Provides antioxidant protection and helps neutralize free radicals


What % of retinaldehyde is best?

Products with retinaldehyde often have concentrations ranging from 0.025% to 0.1%. If you’re new to using retinoids, I recommend starting with a lower concentration (0.05%), and then gradually increasing to a higher concentration (0.1%) as your skin builds tolerance. For example, you can purchase Avène Retrinal 0.05 Intensive Cream for your first two months, then switch to Avène RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream afterward.


Is RetrinAL the same as Retinol?

The main active ingredient in Avène RetrinAL is retinaldehyde, which is as strong of a retinoid as you can get without getting a prescription-strength retinoid like tretinoin. Retinaldehyde is my go-to because it’s a bit stronger than retinol, but all retinoids (retinol, retinaldehyde, and tretinoin) work by increasing skin cell turnover, boosting collagen production, decreasing fine lines, decreasing acne, and minimizing hyperpigmentation.



Products That Pair Well With Avène RetrinAL

Here’s my current morning and nighttime skincare routine. Quick tip: to minimize irritation, make sure to apply your other Avène products in the morning, and reserve RetrinAL for nighttime use.

In the Morning

Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence

This super concentrated serum works to promote the appearance of more youthful-looking skin that feels plumper, smoother, and looks more radiant.


RetrinAL Advanced Correcting Serum

A 3-in-1 daily serum that is clinically shown to visibly minimize the appearance of wrinkles and uneven skin tone while brightening and restoring radiance. It’s lightweight, fast-absorbing, and provides 24-hour hydration without any irritation.



MISSHA Perfect Cover BB Cream (SPF 42)

I’m always looking for a BB Cream with SPF to protect my skin from the sun’s UVA/UVB rays. This BB cream is my favorite! It provides natural and buildable coverage, effectively concealing blemishes, redness, and uneven skin tone while still maintaining a lightweight and non-cakey finish.


In the Evening

Lumene Nordic-C Overnight Bright Sleeping Cream

This night cream is enriched with seed extract and seed oil from antioxidant-rich Arctic cloudberry, vitamin A, vitamin B3, vitamin C vitamin E, pure Arctic spring water, and hyaluronic acid.



Advanced 3-in-1 eye cream minimizes the appearance of under-eye lines, puffiness and dark circles while providing hydration, nourishment and smoothing effect around the delicate eye contour.


I’m in love with Avène RetrinAL 0.1 Intensive Cream. Thankfully, RetrinAL is safe to use long-term to fight skin aging, so I’ll be using it for years to come. Hopefully, when I’m in my golden years, all of these applications will pay off big time! Let me know what you think of Avéne in the comments section, and leave a comment if you have more Qs for me.

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Love, Kim

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