Shani Darden Retinol Reform Review



What is Shani Darden Retinol Reform?

Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden has her own line of skincare products that includes a cleanser, toning essence, moisturizer, and several serums, one of the most popular being Shani Darden Retinol Reform. This night serum is claimed to provide multiple anti-aging benefits without the dryness and irritation often experienced with other retinol products. It is said to work by boosting collagen production and improving cell turnover to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven tone, dullness, blemishes, and acne scars. Lastly, this serum is said to help brighten and smooth skin, so you get both immediate benefits and long-term results. 

What are the key ingredients in Shani Darden Retinol Reform?

You can probably guess that retinol is the key ingredient in Shani Darden Retinol Reform. But what exactly does retinol do for your skin? Read on to learn about the benefits of retinol, as well as the other key ingredients you’ll find in Shani Darden Retinol Reform. 

Retinol is another name for vitamin A, which is found in certain foods and can also be synthetically made as a dietary supplement or for use in topical formulations such as facial creams and serums. When applied to the skin, retinol is clinically proven to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores. Retinol provides all of these benefits by first being converted to retinoic acid (its active form) after being absorbed into the skin. Then, retinoic acid interacts with the retinoic acid (RAR) and retinoid X receptors (RXR) located in the nucleus of the cell. These nuclear receptors increase the production of procollagen and function to block the release of inflammatory mediators. Finally, retinol functions as an antioxidant and helps the skin combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin

With all of the anti-aging benefits provided by retinol, you may be asking: what’s not to love about this skin care ingredient? Unfortunately, retinol products are notorious for causing skin dryness and irritation. These side effects are largely due to how retinol works: increase in cellular turnover reveals a fresh, smooth layer of new skin, but this can also cause dryness and irritation because of transepidermal water loss. Fortunately, Shani Darden took this into consideration, which is why Retinol Reform contains a stable, quick penetrating, slow release form of retinol that minimizes irritation.

Another key ingredient in Shani Darden Retinol Reform is lactic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). AHAs exfoliate the skin by targeting corneocytes (dead skin cells that make up the stratum corneum) in a process called corneocyte desquamation. By enhancing their breakdown and increasing the separation of skin cells, the rate of cell turnover is increased, leading to smoother, more radiant skin. Compared to other AHAs, lactic acid is pretty gentle due to its large molecular size. Additionally, lactic acid is known to boost the skin’s hydration, thereby helping the skin to look and feel healthy, smooth, and supple. 

Shani Darden Retinol Reform also includes Lactobacillus ferment, a type of probiotic that helps to balance the skin’s microbiome. The microbiome is a population of many types of bacteria (over 10,000 different species) that are both good and bad. When there’s more bad bacteria than good, skin conditions like acne, sensitive skin, and bumpy, uneven skin texture can develop. Thus, keeping the microbiome balanced is critical in maintaining healthy skin. 

The final key ingredient in Shani Darden Retinol Reform is Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract. Apple fruit extract contains several types of flavonoids (i.e., catechins, flavanols, and quercetin). Flavonoids possess antioxidant activity, which helps to protect the skin from free radical damage caused by things like UV exposure, pollution, and other environmental factors. Apple fruit extract also contains pectin, a type of fiber. A study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that apple pectin can promote epidermal growth and improve the skin barrier function. 

The rest of the Shani Darden Retinol Reform formula contains emollients like carnauba wax and phospholipids, as well as several more antioxidants like green tea leaf extract, vitamin E, and aloe vera leaf juice. Fortunately, Shani Darden Retinol Reform is formulated without harmful ingredients like fragrance, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. 

How to use Shani Darden Retinol Reform

Shani Darden Retinol Reform should be used in the evening after your cleanser and toner. Apply the serum to dry skin and follow with a moisturizer. The brand recommends to only use Retinol Reform 1 to 2 times a week initially. Then, add a day each week, building up to using as often as your skin can tolerate. Do not use Shani Darden Retinol Reform if you are pregnant or nursing. 

Where is Shani Darden Retinol Reform sold?

Shani Darden Retinol Reform is sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party online retailers like Sephora and Amazon. 

What is the Shani Darden Skincare return policy?

The Shani Darden Skincare return policy states, “If you’re not 100% satisfied with your order, please email us at [email protected] with your order number and reason for return within 30 days of your delivery date so we can review and authorize your return.”

Is Shani Darden cruelty free?

Shani Darden Skincare is cruelty free and the brand supports alternative, cruelty-free methods of safety testing



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Aqua (Water


Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is an emollient, dispersing agent, and thickener that is used in a variety of cosmetics, facial moisturizers, body moisturizers, sunscreen products, and perfume....


Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract

Pyrus malus is the name given to apple-derived ingredients used in skin care products. However, Pyrus malus is a genus and species name for apple that is not in current...

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is an organic compound that is produced both naturally and synthetically. It is found primarily in sour milk products (i.e. yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese). With a hydroxyl group

Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer

Hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer is comprised of sodium hydroxyethyl acrylate and acryloyldimethyl taurate monomers. In cosmetics and personal care products, it functions as a gelling agent that thickens, emulsifies,

Lactobacillus Ferment



Retinol is another name for vitamin A, which is naturally found in certain foods. Retinol can also be synthetically produced as a dietary supplement and as an ingredient in skin

Copernicia Cerifera Cera (Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax

Cire De Carnauba)

Glucosamine Hcl

Glucosamine hydrochloride (HCl) is a form of glucosamine, an amino sugar that occurs naturally in the fluid around the joints and plays a vital role in building cartilage. In the

Plankton Extract

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract

Camellia sinensis is a species of evergreen shrub or small tree whose leaves and leaf buds are used to produce tea. Green tea extract comes from the steaming and drying...

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice

Tocopheryl Acetate

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Hydrogenated Lecithin

Linoleic Acid

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterols


Phospholipids are a class of lipids that consist of two hydrophobic fatty acid "tails" and a hydrophilic "head" consisting of a phosphate group, which are joined together by a glycerol


Sodium Cocoamphoacetate

Polysorbate 60

Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract

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Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract

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Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract


Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba

(Guar) Gum


Maltodextrin is a plant-based sugar that is used in cosmetics and personal care products as a moisturizer, absorbent, binding agent, emulsion stabilizer, and film-forming agent....

Xanthan Gum


Hydrolyzed Algin




Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate


BHT stands for butylated hydroxytoluene, an organic compound that is used in cosmetics and personal care products for its antioxidant properties....


Sodium Hydroxide

Sodium hydroxide is a highly alkaline ingredient that is used in small amounts in cosmetics and personal care products to establish and hold the pH of a product....


Phenoxyethanol is glycol ether used as a preservative in cosmetic products and medicines. This is a kind of ether alcohol with aromatic properties that can enhance a skin product’s scent....

Caprylyl Glycol

Caprylyl glycol is a skin conditioning agent that adds moisturization and wetting properties to many cosmetics and personal care products, as well as functions as a preservative booster....


Hexylene Glycol

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