Let’s Talk About Retinol! | OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin Review

Retinol has been around for ages. For me, it’s been a very mysterious substance. I feel like every time I go get a beauty service, I see signs everywhere warning me to let my esthetician know if I have used any retinols. I have always wondered why exactly that even matters. Well, Retinol, in short, is a form of Vitamin A, and is used mostly for anti-aging purposes. In case you missed it, I was using Oz Naturals Vitamin C serum and I liked it a lot. So when the brand sent over* their 2.5% Retinol Serum, I was delighted to give it a go. 

OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin

Naturally, my first question was what is astaxanthin??

Answer: Chemically, astaxanthin is a red carotenoid synthesized by plants and algae, and found in sea creatures such as salmon, shrimp, and lobster when they eat it (it’s what gives them that reddish color). If you eat seafood, or the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis (likely gross), that’s how you’d get it.

Mmkay… why do I need that?

Answer: Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant us humans can’t produce ourselves. It also has uv-light and anti-inflammatory properties, and a wide range of other uses in human health conditions. 

So after reading about how amazing astaxanthin is to ingest, I wondered if applied topically, would it be as effective. I could only find articles (like this one) that stated astaxanthin applied topically to the skin (in a cream of sorts) in concert with it being taken orally does actually facilitate UV protection and anti-aging. 

Great! So let me go and get some astaxanthin vitamins now lol. But seriously tho…

OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin

More about astaxanthin…

Astaxanthin and Cancer Chemoprevention

Astaxanthin, Cell Membrane Nutrient with Diverse Clinical Benefits and Anti-Aging Potential

Algal Astaxanthin – A potent molecule for good health

Effective Inhibition of Skin Cancer, Tyrosinase and Antioxidative Properties by Astaxanthin and Astaxanthin Esters from Green Alga Haematococcus pluvialis

Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix-metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts

Protective effects of topical application of a poorly soluble antioxidant astaxanthin liposomal formulation on ultraviolet-induced skin damage (abstract)

OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin

OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin

Ok, so what about the other ingredients? Although there are a few ingredients on the bottle, that’s not all of them; the box lists the full list of ingredients. Retinol is third and we already know that’s at 2.5%. The astaxanthin, Haematococcus pluvialis, is right after.

The bottle lists what I’m guessing are the active or star ingredients, minus all the fillers. Most of us know hyaluronic acid (moisturizes and hydrates), there’s Witch Hazel (antioxidant, anti-irritant), Vitamin E (photoprotection, wound healing), Rose Hips (antioxidant), Green Tea Leaf Extract (skin conditioning, photoprotection, ant-inflammatory, antioxidant), and Chamomile (antibacterial, anti-acne). 

Ok, so what about Retinol? Why are people crazy about retinol?

Retinol is also an antioxidant, and as I mentioned before, Vitamin A. Paula’s Choice says “it can literally connect to almost any skin cell and tell it to behave like a healthy, younger skin cell.”


Retinol is also good for clearing up severe acne and other skin disorders such as psoriasis. 

What the brand claims the serum does:

Our 2.5% Retinol Combined With Our Synergistic Blend Of Active Ingredients, Softens, Heals And Moisturizes The Skin, and Has a molecular structure small enough to penetrate the lower layers of the skin, where it actives production of collagen and elastin. Contains Vitamin E + Astaxanthin, two potent antioxidants, essential for maintaining the health and youth of your skin. Diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and tones and regenerates your skin for a healthier, younger, more radiant look. www.oznaturals.com

OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin
OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin

The retinol serum comes in a little glass bottle (1 fl. oz) with a pump, which I like. I use three pumps of this twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. I use it right after cleansing and toning. I like to wait a few minutes to let it sink into my skin, mainly so that I can gauge the effect it is having on my skin. I noticed in the directions, it said to use sunscreen to prevent hyperpigmentation. This is my number one issue with my skin, so when I saw that I made certain to make sure I don’t forget to use sunscreen. 

OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin
OZ Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin

After I use this serum, my skin feels so tight and so smooth! It literally feels like a smooth surface. As far as wrinkles, my problem area is my crows feet and around my eyes; those become apparent when I smile really big. I’ve also noticed fine lines forming around my smile line, which doesn’t bother me as much. My skin is evening out nicely with this and the combination of what I use in my skin care regimen. 

I’ve been using this serum for a month now and I am quite satisfied with it. I think I need to give it more time to see any improvement in those creeper lines I mentioned. Because of the nature of the ingredients, a lot of what the brand claims will naturally take more time. Regeneration of the skin, evening out the tone of the skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I’m willing to put in the time; my skin has plenty of it!

I generally am not comfortable leaving the house without makeup (although sometimes I do), but I can honestly say, between the time I have been using the Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum and now the 2.5% Retinol Serum, I am more happy with my skin than I was three months ago. The following photos will show what my face looks like presently, without foundation. By the next time I show you all my face without foundation, I hope to be rid of the hyperpigmentation you will see in the photos.

You can find the Oz Naturals 2.5% Retinol Serum with Astaxanthin at www.oznaturals.com or on Amazon.


*Oz Naturals provided the product for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.




  1. Anonymous
    November 9, 2015 / 2:05 pm

    I have a love-hate relationship with retinol. After a while – months, usually – all of a sudden my skin decided it can't handle it anymore and dries up like a raisin πŸ™

    • Bella Noir Beauty
      November 9, 2015 / 5:15 pm

      Oh no! How did you figure out it was the retinol? My skin is sooo oily, I wouldn't mind a little dry spell!

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