The Dara Kennedy Sea Retinal: reviews from our team (and testers)

Retinoids take some time to work…because they’re really working! So we thought we’d share what we’ve heard from our community members who have been using secret sample bottles of the Sea Retinal — the sniper-like undoer of damage past — for at least a month or two.

As you might have seen with its sibling, the Sea Serum — the ninja-like multitalented protector — everyone’s experience is a little different. And this, to us, is one of the most exciting things about this unlike-any-other retinal for (almost*) all.

*If you’re really young: enjoy your youth! You can always pick up a bottle when it’s time. Until then, use the Sea Serum to keep your skin hydrated and protected. And if you’re not sure if you need it or not, just email or set up a quick chat with one of our Guides.

Elena, age 54: “The Sea Retinal has been next level. I thought I had a strong skincare regimen and my skin seemed to be in its happy place. When I introduced the Sea Retinal, though, more benefits quickly emerged. My skin is now a little plumper and I notice less fine lines. It's also softer and smoother. And after a few weeks of applying it, I caught my husband looking at my face and he said it looked as soft as a baby's butt! (You know you're on to something when your husband of 25 years notices.) I think the Sea Retinal is even helping me with some hyperpigmentation! I'm really happy with bringing Sea Retinal into my regimen and look forward to seeing the benefits long term.”

Karina, age 33: “I was hesitant using the Sea Retinal at first since I'm not concerned with aging gracefully just yet, I'm in my early thirties, I'm still young! However, Dara insisted I try it out to treat my acne prone skin. I'm so surprised how well the Sea Retinal is treating my skin! My breakouts are few and far between. My hormonal breakouts are less dramatic. I love using it as a spot treatment, making what would be a mountain complete with snow peak into a mere molehill. I've also noticed less congestion in my pores. My nostril area can get quite sensitive, but the Sea Retinal doesn't irritate it. I'm looking forward to seeing what else the Sea Retinal can do for me.”

Natalie, age 44: "As a longtime Ayla employee, I now find myself with probably unfair expectations of the incredible products we sell and probably even more so of the ones that have been made by Dara. In part because I get to see the behind-the-scenes blood, sweat, and tears effort and focus, and in part because each one of them in some way has been truly transformative for me. The Sea Retinal spectacularly delivers. As a tired mother in my mid-40s, I've always had to use 2-3 products to tackle my skin's pressing issues: fine lines, uneven skin tone, and the super fun adult acne. It baffles me to say that this silky yellow cream that leaves you with a tingle to let you know it's there to work hits the mark on all of those. The lines around my eyes have softened, the red, white, and tan parts are all smooth and even, and the bumps are gone. And the best part: my skin is not peeling, bruised, or dry. It feels hydrated. I'm not even sure how this is all possible!"

Nora, age 41: “As an avid lover of makeup, this retinol is the first product where I’ve ever happily forgone wearing makeup because my skin just looks that good. I am glowing! My skin is clear and bright and smooth! It is my desert island product. I pair it with my Sea Serum. Nothing is more clear than how this dynamic duo work together to create the most flawless skin.”

Allison, age 38: “As someone with super sensitive skin, the Sea Serum and Sea Retinal have been a godsend! Somehow together it's like a superpower - they're hydrating and gentle, but still effective at treating redness, calming inflammation, and keeping my skin feeling supple.”

Kristin, age 48: “I LOVE this product. I have tried many, many, many retinol products. Most of them caused redness, the worst caused peeling, and the best I could get was little to no benefit. I had nearly given up hope until I tried the Sea Retinal. I use the Twelve Moisture Serum underneath because my skin tends to be dry. In the morning after using the Sea Retinal, my skin is glowy and my skin tone is even. I have also noticed that my skin is softer and generally less reactive. Amazing!!! I use it every other night and that seems to be best for my highly sensitive skin.”

Jean, age 50: “True to form, Dara’s latest creation is perfection. As someone whose skin is on the drier side, I haven’t found many retinol serums or creams that I love, but this gentle yet magical creation feels rich and moisturizing going on and does not cause redness or irritation. Incredibly, my skin feels more hydrated and it is actually reducing redness and balancing my skin’s tone.
“I often feel that I missed the boat caring for my sun-damaged and neglected skin, so I’m beyond grateful for this combination of natural ingredients and retinol that feels luxurious going on and is visibly working to brighten my skin.”

Quita, age 47: “This is DIVINE. First, the scent, because that’s what I first notice. Fresh and deep! Second, my night routine had been a retinol product, then Sea Serum, and then moisturizer. I don’t need any moisturizer with this new potion! I’m sure I’ll discover more, but thus far? COMPLETE WITCHCRAFT! Aka MAGIC.”

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