7 Best Korean Retinol Serum For Beginners

You don’t have to wait until you get your first wrinkle to start using Retinol! If you’re in your mid-twenties, introducing Retinol to your weekly routine is undoubtedly a good idea. If you’re not sure which kind to get, there’s no need to look any further.

To help you get the true benefits of Retinol for your skin, we’re bringing you the Best of Korean Retinol. We all adore Korean products since they are among the most efficacious ones in the market on top of their beautiful packaging. Koreans are skilled in minimizing the adverse effects of actives while extracting the maximum benefits.

Editor’s Pick

1. Innisfree Retinol Cica Recovery Moisture Serum

Best For Oily Skin. Non, sticky serum that’s potent yet soothing with the benefits of Retinol and Cica.

2. The Cosrx 0.5 Retinol Oil

Best For Dry Skin with its moisturizing oil formula. Softens and improves skin’s appearance.

3. Beauty Of Joseon Revive Eye Serum

Best For Sensitive Skin. Excellent for crows’s feet. Can be used all over the face.

What exactly is Retinol?

Simply put, Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative. Including Retinol in your skincare routine can boost collagen by increasing cellular turnover. More collagen equals younger-looking skin, fewer fine wrinkles, and fewer signs of aging. It also completely unclogs your pores, removing acne from the root.


Honestly, if you’re on an anti-aging regimen, Retinol is the one thing you need. It truly helps fix almost everything, from acne to fine lines to brightness. However, it is not for everyone, therefore you should always patch test before using Retinol.

Retinol should not be confused with Retinoid, another vitamin A derivative. Both of them help clear out skin, but Retinol is available to virtually everyone, Retinoids are prescribed since they include a larger amount of concentrated components.

What are the Benefits of Retinol?

  • Fades away signs of aging
  • Gives you clear-looking skin
  • Removes blackheads
  • Evens out skin texture
  • Reduces acne
  • Makes skin more elastic
  • Fades away dark spots
  • Reducing the appearance of stretch marks

Best Korean Retinol Serums

Here’s the list of the best Korean retinol to up your anti-aging regime.

1. Innisfree Retinol Cica Moisture Recovery Serum

Innisfree Retinol Cica Serum

If you want to tighten and tone your skin, Innisfree’s retinol serum is an excellent choice. It is smooth and has a really light texture that makes it a breeze to work with. It’s also incredibly calming, so you’ll scarcely feel any irritation with this. It contains Jeju Cica LiposomlogyTM, which contains Ceramides, Cica, and Hyaluronic acid to cushion the effects of Retinol on the skin.

Why do we love this?

  • Non-sticky serum
  • Calming ingredients
  • Skin firming

Price*: $37 for 30ml. BUY NOW.

*Price at the time of publishing

2. COSRX The Retinol 0.5 Oil

Cosrx The Retinol 0.5

The COSRX Retinol Oil contains Retinol as well as Squalane, making it an exceptionally moisturizing oil. It will help deal with the signs of aging as well as your acne. Regular application will improve your skin’s texture, decrease breakouts, and improve your complexion.

Why do we love this?

  • Vitamin E gives extra nourishment
  • Softens skin
  • Excellent for slightly dry skin.

Price*: $14 for 20ml. BUY NOW.

*Price at the time of publishing

3. Beauty of Joseon Revive Eye Serum: Ginseng+Retinal

Beauty of Joseon Revive Eye Serum: Ginseng+Retinal

Often, the eyes are the first to betray. Your eyes are where you’ll first notice fine lines and wrinkles, so using a high-quality eye cream is essential to maintaining that youthful, wrinkle-free look and overall appearance. You shouldn’t pass up this moisturizing, firming, and hydrating cream. It’s even good for skin that is sensitive or really dry. It has a 10% ginseng content plus 2% vitamin A, Retinal, Glycerine, Niacinamide, and cholesterol mixture that effectively repairs any damage under the eyes and increases moisture levels.


Why do we love this?

  • No nasties
  • Truly vegan
  • Excellent for crow’s feet
  • Exceptionally hydrating for the under eyes

Price*: $18.44 for 1 fl oz. BUY NOW.

*Price at the time of publishing

4. Iope Retinol Super Bounce Serum

For a very long time, Iope has been Korea’s favorite Retinol. The product is formulated with a unique blend of 4 types of Retinol – Granactive Retinoid, Encapsulated Retinol, Pure Retinol, and Bioselectinoid. The gentle, soothing, and comforting formula visibly improves the appearance of sagging skin and gives bouncy and plump skin.

Why do we love this?

  • Increases the skin’s suppleness
  • Superb packaging
  • Quick results

Price*: $50 for 1 fl oz. BUY NOW.

*Price at the time of publishing

5. Some By Mi Retinol Intense Reactivating Serum

Some By Mi’s retinol serum is ideal for beginners or those whose skin cannot tolerate high concentrations of retinol. It contains 0.1% Retinol as well as Bakuchiol, which helps stimulate collagen and elastin in the skin. It also contains nourishing substances such as Panthenol, Beta-Glucan, Ceramides, and Trucica, which aid in skin repair and improve skin barrier function.

Why do we love this?

  • Improves skin regeneration
  • Skin appears rejuvenated.
  • Excellent for beginners

Price*: $19.90 for 1 fl oz. BUY NOW.


*Price at the time of publishing

6. Cos De Baha Retinol 2.5% Solution Facial Serum

This is a potent formulation designed for Retinol enthusiasts. Its highly stable Retinol formulation will definitely increase skin elasticity while also calming any skin inflammation. it contains Niacinamide, which boosts the effects of Retinol and makes the skin glow. It’s the perfect pick for achieving glass skin.

Why do we love this?

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Barrier repairing
  • Makes skin appear glossy

Price*: $9.99 for 1 fl oz. BUY NOW.

*Price at the time of publishing

7. Mizon 0.1%  Retinol Youth Serum

It feels truly delightful to use the Mizon serum. It doesn’t feel nasty after absorption and absorbs quite immediately. This product is ideal for those with oily skin and for those with sensitive skin because of its soothing nature. For added brightness and advantages, it contains peptides and Bakuchiol.  It’s great for your early twenties and if you’re simply looking to tone and even out your skin.

Why do we love this?

  • Has antioxidant benefits
  • Won’t cause purging for most people
  • Evens out skin

Price*: $42 for 0.99 oz. BUY NOW.

*Price at the time of publishing

These are some of the Best Korean Retinols available in the market. Let us tell you the Do’s and Don’ts of Retinol.

How do you incorporate Retinol into your skincare routine?

Begin with the lowest amount of retinol, about 0.25 %, and then go to 1%. It isn’t a good idea to begin with a higher concentration without first getting your skin used to it. 0.4% Retinol has been shown to provide remarkable anti-aging effects, says a 2017 research.

Before including any retinol, make sure to PATCH TEST the product. Continue using it only if there is no discomfort or redness during the first few days.

Then you could begin by incorporating Retinol into your night-time routine. Begin gradually, once or twice a week at first. You may then increase the frequency as your skin gets acquainted with the product.

First, thoroughly cleanse your skin. Pat it dry, then wait for the skin to entirely dry. Then apply just the tiniest bit of Retinol and gently spread it across your face. Then seal it with a rich moisturizer.

There’s also a second approach that is common among rookies. Begin with cleansing then apply a layer of moisturiser. After that, apply retinol and later moisturize again. (Make sure to use a non-comedogenic Moisturizer.)

And always make sure to use at least SPF 30 the next morning or you’ll be undoing all the Retinol benefits.

Even though Retinol is quite effective, it takes time to notice the results. This varies from person to person and might range from 2 to 6 months. Retinol has been shown to have a significant reduction of wrinkles in about 12 weeks of application, confirms a 2015 study.

And, as they say, it gets worse before it gets better—this is especially true for Retinol. Your skin will purge initially, but don’t be alarmed, this is normal. Don’t stop using Retinol, and in a few months, you’ll have your best skin- the brightest and the clearest. ( But do stop if you experience unusual redness or flaking. )


  • Only use One Retinol product at a time.
  • On Retinol days, stick with a minimalist skincare regime.
  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen every morning when using retinol, or you’ll get a horrible sunburn.
  • Avoid Retinol if pregnant or lactating.
  • Check for allergies
  • If you have skin sensitivities, seek a Retinol alternative.
  • Check with your dermatologist if your skin gets irritated.

Side Effects

Retinol is a rather strong ingredient compared to other actives like Glycolic acid. So it’s more likely for your skin to react to it.

Skin can become dry and inflamed. You might experience itchiness or burning. Even redness and peeling can occur. If you go out in the sun without sunscreen, you may end up with a sunburn while also badly damaging the skin barrier.

Let us know if you have any questions about retinol or anti-aging in the comments below.

Article References

Rong Kong PhD, Yilei Cui PhD, Gary J. Fisher PhD, Xiaojuan Wang BS, Yinbei Chen MS, Louise M. Schneider BS, Gopa Majmudar PhD. A comparative study of the effects of retinol and retinoic acid on histological, molecular, and clinical properties of human skin. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12193

Shao Y, He T, Fisher GJ, Voorhees JJ, Quan T. Molecular basis of retinol anti-ageing properties in naturally aged human skin in vivo. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2017 Feb;39(1):56-65. doi: 10.1111/ics.12348. Epub 2016 Jul 4. PMID: 27261203; PMCID: PMC5136519.