We put Murad’s new Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum to the test and gave our dark circles the night off

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Retinol (or vitamin A) has earned its place as the derms’ favourite ingredient for slowing down the signs of ageing, making skin look smoother, healthier and more vibrant. It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, that increases cell turnover and encourages cells to behave like their younger selves. In a study highlighted in the BBC documentary  The Truth About Looking Good , volunteers applied 0.1% retinol over four weeks and showed an improvement in fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. (Read our expert guide to retinol here )

Retinol eye serums are relatively new to the market – and to me. But with fine lines (and a few deep ones) and dark circles aplenty, I was keen to see what Murad  Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum, £65  could do. In a study carried out by the brand, participants saw more revitalized, youthful looking eyes in just one week.  Would it do the same for me?

What is it?

This serum for eyes is designed to treat fine lines and wrinkles, firm skin and reduce dark circles for an overall vibrant morning face. Its uniqueness is Dr Murad breakthrough Retinol Tri-Active Technology. If it were a fancy restaurant dish, it would translate as ‘three ways with retinol’. The trio comprises a fast-acting retinoid (a retinol derivative which is gentler than retinol) a time-released retinol (to deliver the powerful ingredient in a sustained way) and a retinol booster, which is said to act like a magnet to make the skin more receptive to the benefits of retinol.

Who is it for?

It’s aimed at all ages - in your 20s to defend against the future signs of ageing through to your 40s when wrinkles and uneven skin tone start to become more noticeable, and then on into your 50s and 60s, when we have more advanced signs of ageing to contend with such as collagen loss as our oestrogen levels drop.

Murad tell me that “Tri-Active Technology does not rely on one single concentration of retinol, but is a proprietary blend of three advanced retinol technologies designed to maximise results with minimised side effects. The different releases of retinol make it more tolerable for the skin”.

What does it do?

It combines the line-softening and skin-brightening effects of retinol with additional powerful firming actives. A marine kelp complex brightens dark circle, while extract of swertia flower (a medicinal flower from the Himalayas) increases the skin’s resilience and elasticity.

I’ve always obeyed instructions not to use retinol products with anything else in case the ingredients are incompatible and render the retinol inactive. As a retinol product is on the investment side of your beauty budget, you don’t want to waste a drop! The result has been that I have missed out on all the richness of my usual night creams and wake up with my naturally dry face parched - and after a couple of nights, I stop using it. What I liked about this product is that it’s formulated with compatible ingredients to minimize the drying effects of retinol.

What’s it like?

It has a sheer cream texture and smells a little of actives. The pump dispenser means you can dose accurately; one pump is enough for both eyes. It feels pleasingly light and absorbs quickly. In the morning the skin around my eyes wasn’t as dry as if I had used no eye cream at all, although I did need a good moisturising eye cream during the day. I also made sure I wore SPF as retinol makes the skin more sensitive to UV damage.

I wasn’t expecting to see results quickly as cell turnover takes time, but after three days, my dark circles were noticeably lighter – I looked like I’d had an extra two hours sleep. I have had no irritation whatsoever.

I’ve been using it for a week and have added to my regime the partner product  Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream £65  and in the daytime the  Retinol Renewal Face Serum £70  (with an SPF on top of course) which contain the same Retinol Tri-Active Technology. The Face Serum, by the way, is the number one retinol product in the US. I look forward to seeing results on my fine lines too.

The verdict

As a retinol cream that’s gentle enough to use every day, it’s a real keeper; the formula doesn't irritate which means I certainly won't be falling off the retinol wagon in the way that I have before with more potent, drying products.

Vitamin A virgins will find this an ideal starting point, too - the Retinol Tri-Active Technology is all about tolerability, making it accessible for retinol newbies and sensitive skins, yet still powerful enough to make a visible difference to ageing skin. Youthful looking eyes in just one week? Affirmative.

Written in conjunction with Murad. All views our own.

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