The $24 retinol a skin scientist recommends.

As any good beauty girlie knows, serums are the stuff you spend on. While things like cleansers and moisturisers usually fall in the savey basket, serums are way more concentrated, active and effective than any other product in your skincare line-up — which is why they tend to cost more than other products. 

Sitting at the top of the heavy lifters? Retinol. It's one of the most proven ingredients and the gold standard when it comes to addressing skin concerns such as ageing, breakouts and pigmentation. 

Of course, they're not all created equal — so it's one of those products we usually spend more money on. 

So when I discovered skin scientist and beauty wizard Hannah English uses (and recommends) an affordable retinol you can grab at the chemist — I immediately needed to share it with you. 

Watch: Speaking of skincare, here are 7 ways to improve your skin while sleeping! Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

If you don't know who Hannah Enlgish is, she's a beauty writer (she's part of the sprakly You Beauty Collective) and content creator with a background in pharmaceutical research, and she's all about making the science around skincare feel... not scary. 

Like me, Hannah tries and tests A LOT of skincare products — it's part of her job. And with approximately 675 skincare launches a week, it's almost impossible to stick with the same stuff for long. So when Hannah actually finishes a skincare product to the very last drop, you know it's going to be good. 


"I don't really get to stick to products because of my job but I'm about to finish the Bondi Sands one. It's really good. It's like 0.5 per cent, but the percentage is not actually that important with retinols," she shared.

Meaning? Higher percentage doesn't always mean better. (Remember this!).

"Rather, it's more about how it's packaged and formulated," Hannah told me. 

Listen: Want to get your ears around the full episode? Click below.

Now, I've tried Bondi Sands Baby Face Restoring Retinol Serum before, and I can confirm it's a very good product (in fact, the whole entire range is effective and affordable) — especially if you're just starting out on your vitamin A journey, struggle with skin irritation or just don't want to spend a hundred dollars on a serum. (Read: All of us).

As someone with sensitive skin, I love how it contains barrier-supporting ingredients such as squalene — making it gentle (but effective!). Because there's truly nothing worse than trying a new retinol and having to deal with red, irritated and unhappy skin. Sucks.

Here's what it looks like:

Image: Chemist Warehouse/Canva.



The best part? You can grab it in the chemist — it's currently on sale for $23.99.

If you're looking for more options (yes, pls), Hannah said she's also a fan of Neutrogena's retinol range.

"Before Bondi Sands, I was using the Neutrogena one. They have a serum or a cream option — I'm more of a serum person with my retinol, so I was using that. It's called the Pro Plus Retinol," she shared.

Neutrogena were apparently one of the first brands to stabilise retinol, Hannah told me, so you know that stuff is good. And it's an affordable goodie, too. Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Pro+ Power Serum is currently on sale now for $39. We love to see it.

Together with Bondi Sands and Neutrogena, Hannah also rates Olay Regenerist Retinol 24 Night Serum ($30), which she said is nice and gentle on the skin. If you're a sensitive girlie — this might be the one for you!


Image: Chemist Warehouse/Canva.

So, there you have it! 

With so many affordable formulas that work just as good as some of the expensive stuff, it's all the proof that you don't always have to spend big on serums.

Now you have your product sorted, check out Hannah's tips on how to use retinol correctly.

Want to hear more from Hannah? Find her on Instagram or TikTok.


While we have you, have you voted in the 2024 You Beauty Awards yet?! Click the link below to nominate your favourite brands and products. 

What's your go-to retinol? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Instagram/@hannahcollingwoodenglish.

Asoneof our readers we want to hear from you! Complete this survey now to go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher.