Worth It: BL+ Retinol Cream

It's like sending an assertive email to your epidermis.

BL+ retinol cream 0.3%
(Image credit: Blue Lagoon Iceland)

Welcome back to Worth It, our weekly seal of approval on noteworthy launches and bespoke collaborations in the worlds of beauty and fashion. If it's featured here, consider these investments worthwhile.

The Promise

If you’ve ever ventured to Reykjavik, Iceland, you’ve probably heard of the Blue Lagoon. Even if you haven't, if you’re into harnessing nature's power, then you likely know that the Blue Lagoon is one of the largest geothermal spas. And if you follow National Geographic’s guide to the wonders of the world, then you probably know that the Blue Lagoon (which only began to take shape in 1976!) was listed as one of them in 2012. 

What’s lesser known is Blue Lagoon's geothermal skincare line, which addresses a wide range of skin concerns (like psoriasis and rosacea) while focusing on protecting the skin barrier. Its BL+ collection is anchored by BL+ complex, a proprietary ingredient that deeply targets signs of skin aging. It ultimately stimulates collagen synthesis by boosting COL1A1 and COL1A2 (collagen genes) to restore collagen fibers in the dermis.

The latest offering is BL+ Retinol Cream 0.3 percent, a retinol that’s combined with Blue Lagoon’s on-site bioactive water to accelerate cellular turnover and minimize the appearance of wrinkles, pores, and blemishes. I'm not a chemist or a biologist, but the science behind BL+ Retinol Cream sounded intriguing and I was primed to put it to the test. 

Why I'm Obsessed

Retinol is everywhere. But to be honest, I'm skeptical about using it. Perhaps it's because I had a horrible experience (I’m talking super dry, flaky skin that lasted for months), or maybe it’s because I don’t always subscribe to buzzy ingredients in the industry. Whatever the reason, I’ve shied away from it—until BL+ Retinol Cream landed on my desk. I was up for the challenge.

Wanting to keep irritation and redness to a minimum, I gradually increased the frequency of BL+ Retinol Cream. I started using it two times a week and increased usage to five times over the course of seven weeks. But after just one month my skin felt smoother, redness was minimized, and my pores appeared smaller. Seriously.  

I also love that the texture is slightly thicker than most serums—a major benefit during the winter season when I can’t get enough of thicker lotions and serums. Surprisingly, it took on a more watery consistency as it melted into the palms of my hands. It was a pleasant sensorial experience.

Blue Lagoon

Standing in front of the geothermal silica precipitation tanks.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Deena)

Texture aside, the biggest draw for me is the company’s efforts to eliminate its carbon footprint. BL+ Retinol Cream contains microalgae that's cultivated on-site at the Blue Lagoon R&D Center. I saw it in action firsthand and I was amazed. In short, silica is collected in silica precipitation tanks (essentially by cooling hot geothermal seawater) and then letting it evaporate. The resulting liquid is used for microalgae cultivation that is later added to its skincare line.

The bottle is also durable (note: I’ve dropped it three times and it never shattered) and reusable. It's also fragrance-free, so I never worry about it clashing with my go-to fragrance

Overall, this retinol cream gets my stamp of approval. And, yes, if you want smoother skin and diminished fine lines, then you probably guessed: BL+ Retinol Cream is worth it. 

Deena Campbell
Beauty Director

Deena Campbell is the Beauty Director of Marie Claire where she oversees all beauty and health content on all platforms. Deena is a leader who is passionate about driving conversations on beauty topics, and is particularly dedicated to ensuring BIPOC feel seen and that their stories are told. Deena joined Marie Claire after a decade-long career as an editor in print and digital media. Before joining the brand, she managed editorial content for L’Oréal owned Makeup.com and Skincare.com where she led and developed a team of beauty editors and edited their contributions. She also crafted and successfully executed comprehensive brand strategies that resulted in brand growth and differentiation, a skill she currently brings to Marie Claire.

In 2015, she launched Essence.com’s hair channel where she received Time Inc.'s Henry R. Luce Award, shortly before joining Allure.com’s staff as Senior Beauty Editor. Along with her editorial positions, she also consulted on content and marketing strategies for beauty companies including DevaCurl and Dove, and has appeared at various speaking events and live television segments. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Byrdie, SELF, Refinery29, Teen Vogue, and a host of others. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Pittsburgh and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children. You can find her on Instagram at @deenacampbell.