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Thanks to this retinol serum, my face looks plumper and my pores appear smaller

My skin looks happier and more hydrated.
Katie Jackson
/ Source: TODAY

Thanks to Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair, I learned about retinol at the age of 29. Since then, however, I haven't really leaned more into this popular anti-aging ingredient.

Now that I've hit my 30s, I'm ready to explore this skin care must-have and its powerful effects a little bit more — and what better brand to try than the one that has been testing and perfecting it's retinol formulas for more than 25 years?

RoC is known for its high-quality formulas and award-winning products — and claims to be the first to "discover the method for stabilizing retinol" — so when I saw its line-smoothing retinol serum on Amazon and read it was an Amazon's Choice product, I knew I had to give it a try.

RoC Retinol Correxion Line Smoothing Serum

It's only $19 on Amazon

After I traded my $70 face oil for a $20 moisturizer, I decided to commit to saving money on other skin care products as well. So, I was thrilled to see a 24% markdown from this serum's $25 list price.

Every time I start to think $19 for this serum is a lot — the bottle only holds one fluid ounce of product — I remember what it promises to do: smooth my fine lines, including my prominent crow's-feet. Some people pay thousands to have doctors and lasers do the same thing, so I think I can justify this more affordable price tag.

Katie Jackson putting a drop of RoC Retinol Serum on her hand.
Courtesy Katie Jackson

So far, I've been using it for about three weeks, and I anticipate the bottle lasting me at least another two weeks. I use it twice a day, once in the morning before my moisturizer and once in the evening before bed.

RoC claims that 94 percent of women noticed a visible reduction in fine lines and pore size after just one week. But perhaps the most telling statistic comes from a 2021 clinical study: 100 percent of users reported no irritation.

Retinol without the redness? I didn't know that was possible until trying this serum. The skeptic in me said it sounded too good to be true. However, based on my recent experience — and I have skin so sensitive, I carry prescription-strength hydrocortisone cream in my purse for allergic reactions — I'm now a firm believer.

It's packed with hydrating ingredients

Other than pure retinol, the star ingredients in this lightweight and silky formula have to be the ashwagandha and squalane. According to RoC, they are released onto the skin via an advanced delivery system and work to moisturize the skin and visibly firm your complexion.

These ingredient are also quite gentle, so I like to think that they counteract the intensity of the retinol that typically leads to irritation, redness and dryness.

Katie Jackson rubbing RoC Retinol Serum on her face.
Courtesy Katie Jackson

If anything, my skin looks happier and more hydrated after using this. In fact, I was recently staying at hotel in Cape Town, famous for its wellness spa, and a friend complimented me on my skin. She asked which facial I got. I told her I didn't get one! I had just been using this serum somewhat religiously over the last couple of weeks.

Noticeable results after just two weeks

Are my crow's-feet completely gone? No. But after just two weeks of using this serum, I've watched them become increasingly less noticeable. The lines on my forehead and around my eyes and mouth don't look as deep as they did before. Overall, I think my face looks plumper, and my pores appear smaller.

For $18, this retinol serum gives me a lot of bang for my buck. But more importantly, I love that my skin feels healthy, and the results are in the mirror, not just in my head. I seriously can't afford to live without something this budget-friendly that works this well. What I can live without, however, are my crow's-feet and fine lines.

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