arrow-left icon arrow-right icon behance icon cart icon chevron-left icon chevron-right icon comment icon cross-circle icon cross icon expand-less-solid icon expand-less icon expand-more-solid icon expand-more icon facebook icon flickr icon google-plus icon googleplus icon instagram icon kickstarter icon link icon mail icon menu icon minus icon myspace icon payment-amazon_payments icon payment-american_express icon ApplePay payment-cirrus icon payment-diners_club icon payment-discover icon payment-google icon payment-interac icon payment-jcb icon payment-maestro icon payment-master icon payment-paypal icon payment-shopifypay payment-stripe icon payment-visa icon pinterest-circle icon pinterest icon play-circle-fill icon play-circle-outline icon plus-circle icon plus icon rss icon search icon tumblr icon twitter icon vimeo icon vine icon youtube icon tiktok icon

Enzyme-Active Retinol Serum
+ Limited FREE Gift

Rated 4.9 out of 5
Based on 205 reviews

30 ml / 1 fl oz | 60 day treatment

"Simply the most advanced and effective non-prescription retinol serum on the market."

-Dr. M. Itkonen, USC Cosm. Dermatology.


Wrinkles & fine lines, hyperpigmentation, unevenness, blemish control, general age defense


Visibly smoother, more even and youthful-looking skin.


0.1% retinal, the enzyme-calibrated form of retinol

(Estimated 20x more effective than regular retinol) 

LIMITED October Promotion –– Choose a free gift:

Total Value: $142 or $136

Protocol Lab Price: $88 ($1.47 per day)

free gift promotion is not eligible for additional discounts, including #NEWCLIENT code.

92% see improvements to their skin's smoothness and/or evenness within 14 days.

the science:

There are A LOT of ingredients that can technically be called "retinol" in skincare products (retinyl palmitate, hydroxypinacolone retinoate, retinaldehyde, retinol retinoate,...and on and on). 

However, only one form has been clinically measured to reduce wrinkle depth within weeks...and without drying or irritation. This form, which we call Enzyme-Active Retinol (more commonly known as "retinal" with an "a"), is the form that is naturally created by your skin when you apply regular retinol (Vitamin A) to it. By applying this super-bioavailable form directly, you save your skin the irritation of converting it and instead get just pure, renewing power.

why is no one else doing this?

This form of retinol is extremely fragile and needs to be made and bottled in a 100% oxygen and UV-free environment. Protocol's lab team uses patented containment technology that was designed for the nuclear and aerospace industry to ensure each serum is made without exposure to a single oxygen molecule or ray of light.

The secret that brings it all together though, is what we call our Little Orange Ingredient Fortress:

Our clinical-grade, totally airless and UV-proof bottle that's built like the space shuttle to protect our advanced and fragile ingredients. The quality of product it delivers will be apparent from the first pump.

visible improvements guaranteed in 60 days.

Clients typically notice improvements to complexion tone and evenness almost immediately. Fine lines such as crow's feet are often visibly reduced or completely reversed within weeks of use, while deeper wrinkles such as those on the forehead may require ongoing treatment. We recommend using the 60-day regimen continuously, but using 2-3 times per year will also maintain baseline results. 

As with all topical products, we recommend all women who are pregnant or nursing speak with their physician before purchasing.

Clients are encouraged to document their skin's progress using the Setlist App.

average rating 4.9 out of 5
Based on 205 reviews
  • 5 Stars
    183 Reviews
  • 4 Stars
    18 Reviews
  • 3 Stars
    1 Review
  • 2 Stars
    3 Reviews
  • 1 Star
    0 Reviews
97% of reviewers would recommend this product to a friend
Customer photos and videos
205 Reviews
Reviewed by Erika
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted


I cant even express to you how much I’ve battled with hormonal cystic acne, dark hyperpigmentation, dry, and oily skin. I’ve spent thousands on peels, creams, serums, pills, and countless sad evenings researching ingredients and how they can alter your skin and gut microbiome. Through the years I’ve had to learn the hard way how paramount clean and well preserved ingredients are. After 13 years of an arduous journey- I’ve landed, with confidence, on Protocol. As we all know, Vitamin C is a cute but unstable monster, retinol is an irritating acid at certain percentages, HA is tricky without the right moisture/reactive combination but Protocol has mastered all of it with scientific sophistication. Aside from its CLEAN (non carcinogenic, paraben free, hormone-disrupter free) ingredients, the packages are ingenious (check out their page on the way no light or air penetrate the serums). Also, their customer care is the sweetest, most understanding, and most responsive I’ve dealt with.

Listen, I don’t usually freak like this over a brand but I’m telling you it will change your life and simplify your complicated skin routine. I look younger, I look fresher, I look brighter, and I feel like I can just take a breath and trust this brand. You owe it to yourself to try this. My skin made me sad for so long and with this I’m getting my confidence back every day.



Was this helpful?
Reviewed by Kate
I recommend this product
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

I can't believe it

This is unbelievable. I'm 32. I've been using retinol products and "Retin-'A'" 0.05 for about 6 years. I microneedle and get red light therapy. This is the best retinol I have ever used. I've seen more results from one week of use than I have from months of "Retin-'A'". I can also use it every night without drying which is insane. I'll report back in 6 months but this is not a drill. It is. The best.

Was this helpful?
Reviewed by Kirby O.
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

Fan for life.

I've had issues with my skin for the past two or so years, I think because of damage done to my skin barrier from using Biologique Recherche p50, and then other chemical exfoliants. My skin was very, very angry with me, and I responded with panic and more products. Wrong. I finally gave my skin some space to breath (thank you stay-at-home orders), and didn't put anything besides sunscreen on for two weeks - highly recommend. The first products I used again were Protocol and Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream (so good for sensitive skin), and my skin has never looked better. Like ever.

I have never seen these types of results, yet alone this quickly (about three months with Retinol/Vit C/Moisturizer). I use the Retinol every second or third night so I don't have bitchy skin deja-vu. The cleanser is magic, truly. So worth it. I just started using it, and every other night works best so far. I think I started out putting too much of the moisturizer on (I feel like this might have been part of my problem all along), but now that I take more time to apply instead of just slapping it on I am much happier with how my skin really absorbs the product. I use it during the daytime, and Cicalfate at night. My skin is completely different now - blemish free, less redness, super plump and strong, and I worry far less about it (the best part).

Protocol's customer service is also fantastic in general, they get that it's 2020 and they're a skincare brand. Thank you!!

Was this helpful?
Reviewed by Sarah G.
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
35 - 44
Skin Type
Skin Concerns
  • Acne
  • Age Defense
  • Dark Spots
  • Dullness
  • Pores
My Results
  • Glowing Skin
  • Smoother Skin
  • Firm & Lifted Skin
  • Skin Radiance
  • Softer Skin
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

Amazing Results!

My 43 year old stressed acneic aging skin has never looked better! The protocol line of products has brought new life to my problem skin. I feel such a sense of rejuvenation since using this line! My skin is softer, more supple, and brighter. I also see fewer fine lines and acne scars!

Was this helpful?
Reviewed by Megan H., from United States
Verified Buyer
I recommend this product
Rated 5 out of 5
Review posted

I'm obsessed!

Best retinol I have ever used! I have used almost all the retinol products through Sephora (I am Rouge status at Sephora because I spend way too much money there) and was not satisfied with many of the high priced brands. This retinol actually made my skin do the "retinol purging" where it got worse to shed all the impurities and now I have clear and soft skin. This made me know this stuff actually works. I am still on the fence about the cleanser and moisturizer- I know they both work well, but so do some of my other favorite brands. I will absolutely buy both serums again individually.

Was this helpful?