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7 of the best plant-based retinol products of 2022

bottles of serum laid in a line on a green leaf with a pink background
Looking for a gentler, alternative to synthetic retinol products? Here 7 of the best plant-based vegan retinol skincare products and their benefits.

If you’re a skincare buff, you have probably heard of retinol and the amazing things it can do for your complexion. But did you know that you can get retinol alternatives from plant oils that tend to be gentler for your skin?

We’ve made this guide to show you 7 of the best plant-based and vegan retinol products of 2022, as well as a recap of all the benefits of this super skin product.

What is plant-based retinol?

Some of the most popular plant-based retinol oils you’re likely to see on product labels include:

Does retinol come from animals?

No, synthetic retinol extracts used in beauty and other commercial products do not usually come from animals, it comes from vitamin A or plants rich in vitamin A.

However, you can find retinol in eggs and fish liver, beef and chicken but this is very rarely used in beauty products.

Can retinol be vegan?

Yes, even regular synthetic retinol extracts are commonly vegan. Whether a retinol product is vegan or not normally comes down to other factors, e.g., if contains other animal-derived products.

What does vegan retinol do?

Vegan and plant-based retinol can work in a very similar way to synthetic vitamin A-derived retinol, helping to:1

  • Speed up cell turnover
  • Exfoliate older skin cells at an increased rate
  • Support elastin and collagen production
  • Plump and moisturise the skin
  • Smooth the appearance of existing lines and wrinkles
  • Minimise the appearance of new lines and wrinkles
  • Shrink and fade the appearance of dark spots (hyperpigmentation), acne scars, sun spots, and redness over time
  • Prevent pores from clogging

Is vegan retinol effective?


Vegan and plant-based retinol not only offer the same benefits as regular retinol that we mentioned above, but they can also be a lot gentler to the skin.

Some synthetic retinol products can be hard to tolerate and quite harsh on the skin, leaving it irritated, dry, flaky or sensitive. This is why it is always advised that you build up retinol usage in stages.

With plant-based vegan retinol, you don’t have to worry so much about this as they are less likely to cause flare-ups or dryness.​​​​​​​

7 of the best vegan and plant-based retinol products 2022

Here they are! We have scoured our plant-based retinal offering here at Holland & Barrett for the best and most-loved products – so you don’t have to.

  1. Everyday plant-based retinol serum

Oleus Retinol Serum

Key benefits:

  • Tightening lightweight serum that supports collagen production and promotes a youthful complexion
  • Naturally delivers plant-based retinol from sunflower seed oil, carrot seed oil and retinyl palmitate
  • 100% vegan-friendly support for dehydrated and mature skin + it’s super handy for adding to skincare products you already have / other Oleus skincare

What our customers think:

Fe portsmouth – Smooth – 5/5 stars

“Lovely smooth serum.. Really moisturising... Makes my skin look great"

Donna MS – Good value for money – 5/5 stars

“Bought on offer, feels light, a little goes a long way, good value for money.”

  1. Plant-based retinol oil with vitamin C

Evolve Bio Retinol + C Booster

Key benefits:

  • Rosehip oil, vitamins A, C, E and F to help increase collagen production, hydration and skin radiance
  • Rich in extracts including bakuchiol oil (100% natural functional analog of retinol) and sea buckthorn oil which is packed with vitamin C, omega fatty acids and beta carotene
  • V

What our customers think:

Skyepup – Well worth the money – 5/5 stars

“I add a couple of drops to organic rose hip oil. For a night-time moisturiser. This product works well.”

  1. Vegan retinol face mask

Evolve Bio Retinol Gold Mask

Key benefits:

  • Naturally good for you with 100% natural, vegan and 85.1% organic ingredients plus gold sparkles to help you glow!
  • Plant-based retinol-like extract from the Bidens Pilosa plant that helps rejuvenate the skin and promotes cellular renewal, without the irritation some other retinol-based products can cause
  • Rosehip oil and argan oil also feature in this mask, which are rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids to help nourish and moisturise your skin

What our customers think:

Denise – Beauty Gold Mask – 5/5 stars

“The best mask I have ever had! There are so many gold masks on the market, but I am happy I chosen evolve beauty range. The price is reasonable, and I can already see the results on my skin. Would definitely recommend!”

  1. Plant-based retinol oil

Bio Retinoid™ Youth Concentrate Oil

Key benefits:

  • Plant alternative to retinol Bidens Pilosa help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, with less chance of irritation
  • Rosehip oil provides the essential fatty omega acids 3 & 6 to support skin renewal
  • Sea buckthorn oil helps to visibly improve skin firmness and reduce roughness
  1. Retinyl night oil

Disciple Dreamy Skin Retinyl Oil

Key benefits:

  • Regenerate while you sleep with Retinyl – a pure form of vitamin A that supports collagen and elastin production, boosting firmness and reducing the appearance of pigmentation
  • Rosehip seed oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids (an impressive 80%!) to help maintain good skin texture and elasticity
  • Prebiotic burdock root supports good bacteria on the skin’s surface and helps control breakout-causing bacteria and free-radicals

What our customers think:

CleanJunkie – Fave night oil – 5/5 stars

“I’ve been using this oil for over a year and overjoyed that HB now sell it. It’s changed my skin. I used to use a similar oil from a more expensive brand (it’s blue colour) but this half the price and as good. Pores are smaller and skin looks brighter. I think it’s also faded my dark spots!”

6. Plant-based retinol moisturiser

Dr Organic Pro Collagen Plus Bakuchiol Moisturiser

Key benefits:

  • Naturally moisturising pro-collagen complex is rich in hyaluronic acid, biotin, blackberry leaf extract and other skincare favourites
  • Bakuchiol oil (plant-based retinol alternative) supports collagen production, helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and improves skin tone
  • 100% vegan friendly and can be used day and night to help smooth, firm and plump your skin

What our customers think:

Ren123 – Love it! – 5/5 stars

“I've been using it for 3 months now and I absolutely love it. My skin is moisturized, looks firmer, skin tone has improved, and it has a nice, fresh glow. I definitely recommend.”

H J Williams – A new moisturiser – 5/5 stars

“I normally use Dr. Organic Anti Ageing moisturiser with Dragons Blood but thought I’d try this new cream for smoother skin, anti wrinkle and firmer skin with Bakuchiol plant based retinol alternative. I’m really pleased with this moisturiser! I have been using this for over a month now and can say that, so far, I’m extremely pleased with the smell, the consistency and it’s claims about skin firming are definitely true.”

The final say

We hope this guide has helped you discover the many benefits vegan and plant-based retinols can offer, as well as our customer’s favourite retinol products.

Last updated: 11 November 2021

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