Affordable retinol skincare | Superdrug Optimum Retinol range review

affordable retinol from Superdrug

I first heard about Superdrug’s range of affordable retinol skincare via The Guardian’s list of Best Facial Skincare Products Under £20. I’d been on the lookout for a retinol eye cream at a non-wallet-frightening price, but let me tell you, this is not an easy beast to track down.

The Guardian’s list put me on to Superdrug Optimum Retinol Eye Cream which rolls up at a very pleasing £12.99. In fact it’s currently reduced to under £7 so run, don’t walk, if like me you are in the market for such a thing.

I hadn’t heard too much about Superdrug’s retinol range at that point, though I do trust their own brand skincare very much. Everything I’ve tried from it has been excellent. It always seems to aim higher with its ingredients than you might expect from an affordable high street range.

Superdrug sent me some of the products to try, so over the last month I’ve been using the eye cream, day cream and collagen serum.

affordable reinol range from Superdrug - collagen serum & day cream

The eyes have it

First up, that retinol eye cream. Except it turns out that it’s more of a gel than a cream. It’s a dream to use, with absolutely no irritation (for me, YMMV). Sinks into the skin around the eye beautifully and thoroughly.

There’s a little silicone in there, in the form of dimethicone, so it has that familiar smoothness that slips over the skin and diminishes the appearance of wrinkles. No greasiness and doesn’t interfere with any make up you put on afterwards. Lovely stuff, well worth checking out.

Superdrug Optimum Retinol eye cream

Day cream dreams…

I found it a little more challenging to get to grips with the Optimum Retinol Day Cream (75ml, RRP £12.99, currently reduced to £6.98). It’s a very rich, seriously moisturising cream. I started off using a whole pump of it, but that led to clogged pores. Reducing the dosage to half a pump improved matters and means that the 75ml tube is probably going to last into next year. But it’s airtight, so no worries about the product going off.

To be honest, I was surprised to see a retinol day cream in the range because most people tend to use it at night. Retinol increases skin turnover, enhances collagen production and diminishes fine lines. However, you do need to follow up with an SPF because that renewed skin can be vulnerable to sun damage. Hence the night use – saves on SPF and protects the skin.

Retinol day cream by Superdrug Optimum Retinol

So what I’d say about the Retinol Day Cream is this: Use sparingly. If you’ve got very dry skin and you’re happy to use in conjunction with SPF, you’ll like this. Otherwise, ignore what it says on the packaging and use it mainly as a night cream.

There’s a serum too

The third product I tried from the Superdrug Optimum range is the Collagen Serum (30ml, RRP £13.99, currently reduced to £6.98). This is just a lovely moisturising serum to firm and plump the skin. Collagen-based skincare won’t do anything for your collagen (for that you need a microcurrent device and/or collagen-boosting foods such as berries, greens and garlic).

Right at the top of the ingredients list of this product is Niacinamide, which is excellent for skin brightening. It also contains plant collagen, squalene and a mix of peptides. It’s moisturising enough by itself that you may find you don’t need any extra creams on top. Like the eye cream this way out-performs its price point.

Product details

All products exclusive to Superdrug and available both online and in store. You can see the whole Optimum Retinol Range here. It’s currently on a Better than Half Price offer, so the day cream is reduced from £12.99 to £6.98; the eye cream is reduced from £12.99 to £6.46 and the collagen serum is reduced from £13.99 to £6.98. Bargain!

All are suitable for vegans and cruelty free.

*PR samples.

Have you tried any of this range? Or is there another affordable retinol you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment and let me know