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Maybe adding a retinol is one of your 2023 beauty resolutions—but you don't know where to start. Because while the vitamin A derivative can do wonders for stimulating collagen and promoting cell turnover, which can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and acne, it also can result in unwanted peeling, redness, and sensitized skin. While there are a bunch of methods to avoid irritation like skin cycling and retinol sandwiches, there are also products with natural, retinol-like ingredients like Fresh's Black Tea Advanced Age Renewal Cream. The gentle retinol alternative delivers results without needing to proceed with caution.
“This product is our ‘fresh take’ on retinol-like performance and furthers our work and research around ingredient innovation,” Anne-Laure Bulteau, a skin biologist at Fresh, says. “This moisturizer marks an exciting chapter for Fresh, because for the first time ever, we have introduced a naturally-derived ingredient blend with a scientifically-proven retinol.”
The brand’s take on retinol includes its proprietary BT Matrix, a natural retinol-like blend of black tea and rambutan leaf extracts (a lychee-related plant that acts similar to traditional retinol) that work together to support and rebuild the loss of the skin's structure as collagen production decreases. That means you'll get a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, smoothness and firmness, and improved dullness. Unlike typical retinols, the rambutan and black tea are gentle–plus, they are also combined with ceramides, pink procelein lily, and plant-derived squalane, so you get all the benefits of retinol without the irritation that typically occurs.
I added the cream to my routine before the launch and was pleasantly surprised with how radiant it made my skin. While I don’t have intense darks spots, my overall complexion looked brighter and my tone appeared more even. Despite the slew of nourishing ingredients, the Black Tea Advanced Age Renewal Cream boasts a lightweight, bouncy texture that instantaneously melts into skin.
While I usually reach for thicker creams at this point in the winter, I didn’t notice any dryness from using this airy cream. I could easily work this into my humidity-proof summer routine, too. Now, I’m a retinol veteran, so my skin can tolerate strong formulas. However, I still continued with my skin cycling routine of retinol once every four nights, on top of the Black Tea moisturizer and still had zero flaking or dryness.
The fresh Black Tea Advanced Age Renewal Cream is available at fresh.com, sephora.com, and ulta.com for $95.
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