Famed for their safe and effective age-defying retinol products, both RoC and Neutrogena are more than worthy of occupying some shelf space in your bathroom.
Come with us as we compare their best-selling retinol products side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you and your skincare routine. Enjoy!
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RoC vs Neutrogena Retinol
By penetrating deep beneath your epidermis (the outer layer of your skin) and neutralizing free radicals, retinol boosts your skin's production of elastin, collagen, and comedolytic agents. These natural chemicals work simultaneously with retinol's auxiliary exfoliating effect to uncover fresh layers of youthful-looking skin, essentially speeding up the skin's natural regeneration process and consequently thwarting any and every skin issue that springs to mind.
First and foremost, both retinol creams claim to deliver the same dramatic results within a very similar timeframe of around 8 weeks. Furthermore, both brands love to show off their stats regarding their number of clinical trials held (100+ each), number of retinol patents they own (20+ each), and the number of years they've been researching (25+ each). You get the picture, both brands very much know what they're doing when it comes to retinol.
It's worth noting that each brand uses their own exclusive complexes of retinol. The Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair contains Accelerated Retinol SA which is a blend of stabilized Retinol along with a booster ingredient that supports retinol activity: Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract. The RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream contains Pure RoC Retinol; they're not quite clear about what makes it different to other forms of retinol, but what is clear is that it is the most potent retinoid available without a prescription.
RoC's Retinol Night Cream definitely has more of a treatment-like feel to it with it being light, non-greasy, and in a tube. It is also only to be used at night. Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair on the other hand can be used morning and evening instead of your usual moisturizer, and boasts a lovely, rich texture while leaving a silky finish on the skin. What's more is that it also comes in a luxurious glass jar, which might not seem like much of a big deal, but numerous innovations have gone into finding a way to stabilize the retinol in a jar format with more substantive, nourishing ingredients and an elegant emollient texture. Definitely a big plus in our books.
There's no way to empirically determine that one cream would deliver better results than the other for your skin, but there are some inferences we can make from their ingredients lists. Perhaps the most surprising inclusion in RoC's Retinol Night Cream is Glycolic Acid—a notoriously irritating and potent AHA. We think this goes some distance in explaining the disproportionate number of one star reviews complaining about redness and chemical burns. Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair formula is relatively gentle and contains more nourishing ingredients, making it the better choice for those with drier skin types, more mature skin, or drier environments.
Those with skin that can tolerate the added AHA in RoC's Retinol Night Cream may see better short term results, especially for reducing dark spots such as pigmentation, melasma and age spots.
All in all, Neutrogena delivers a more luxurious, gentle experience with their Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream, so we're definitely leaning towards that. The RoC Retinol Night Cream boasts a more potent formula (in theory), but there's nothing more than anecdotal evidence to suggest there's any real difference in results.
Whichever you decide to choose, be sure to introduce retinol slowly into your routine (i.e. every few days at first) to evaluate your skin's response, then gradually increase usage until you find your ideal skincare routine.
Rapid Wrinkle Repair Regenerating Cream by Neutrogena
Our rating: ★★★★★
Visibly reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What makes it special? Clinical trials show that customers can expect to see smoother-looking skin in just one day! The patented accelerated formula of the regenerating face cream combines dermatologist-proven Retinol to reduce fine lines and wrinkles visibly. Neutrogena is one of the largest skincare brands dedicated to researching the benefits of Retinol. It is recommended that you apply this face cream two times a day, once in the morning and once at night, to see a significant improvement within four weeks.
Which skin types? For ageing skin types.
Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream by RoC
Our rating: ★★★★★
A night cream for a smoother, more radiant appearance.
What makes it special? This cream works through the night - when skin is believed to be most receptive - with a powerful retinol and exclusive mineral complex. Wake up to revitalised skin in just 4 weeks, for a smoother, more radiant appearance. "Designed for dramatic results, but gentle enough for daily use."
Which skin types? All skin types.
This article was originally published on May 13th 2022, but it has been reviewed and updated with the latest available information on February 6th 2024 by Sara Mckay, MA.
Calum Torrington is the founder of FemmeNordic. He has worked as a beauty editor since 2020 and employs his analytical background in mathematics to thoroughly scrutinize complex INCI lists. Now, he helps over 1 million people per year to find the best beauty products.