Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer Night
1 fl. oz. for $20.99
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:12.03.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Despite claims of fast efficacy on wrinkles, this moisturizer with retinol isn't all that impressive. It has a nice, silky texture and leaves normal to dry skin feeling smooth, but the amount of state-of-the-art ingredients (including retinol) is nothing to write home about.

Given the priority retinol gets in this product's name and in ads, it's surprising that the formula contains more preservatives and fragrance than this superstar anti-aging ingredient. The same is true for the hyaluronic acid (listed as sodium hyaluronate) and as for the "glucose complex" we're not sure what Neutrogena means by this because none of the ingredients match this description.

The ads for this product state that 100% of women had noticeable results in "just one week" but the company doesn't state what those results were. For all we know, 100% of women that tested this product may have reported their skin looked and felt smoother. That's something any moisturizer can do, whether it contains retinol or not. As it turns out, the claim sounds impressive but is most likely no big deal.

Please see our list of Best Retinol Products for truly superior options.


Featuring its unique combination of Retinol SA, Glucose Complex, and Hyaluronic Acid, Rapid Wrinkle Repair Night Moisturizer moisturizes and renews the look of skin throughout the day, and helps to smooth wrinkles fast and diminish the look of age spots. Skin is left feeling smooth and looking younger.


Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Dimethicone, Glycerin, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Trisiloxane, Ceteareth-20, Isohexadecane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Polyethylene, Fragrance, Polyacrylamide, Chlorphenesin, PTFE, Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, BHT, Retinol, Polysorbate 20, Laureth-7, Ascorbic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide

Brand Overview

Neutrogena At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; several recommended cleansers; retinol options, in stable packaging; vast selection of sunscreens, most of which offer excellent UVA protection; several fragrance-free options; many of the Healthy Skin products are state-of-the-art; the foundations with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection; some praiseworthy makeup items.

Weaknesses: An overabundance of overlapping anti-aging products that is perennially confusing for consumers; irritating bar soaps; lackluster to downright bad toners; a handful of bland moisturizers and eye creams; some sunscreens too much alcohol or problematic preservatives; most of the Deep Clean products are terrible; mostly disappointing concealers; the lip balms with sunscreen provide inadequate UVA protection.

Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.

Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.

Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).

A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.

It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.

What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.

For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.

Neutrogena Makeup

Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (We are not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.

There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.

The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
Sort by:
Expensive Moisturizer

Not good.

Reviewed by
It works for me.

I know this got a bum rap from the paula team, but this product made a difference for me. I had never used a product with retinol before so maybe the reason is that I had nothing better to compare it to, but this product made a noticeable difference for my 40+ year old skin with pretty prominent wrinkles due to sun abuse. I noticed a slight difference after about 5 days, but day 14ish is without a doubt showing a difference.

Reviewed by
Julie C.
Is there a new formulation?

I just picked this up and was wondering if there is a new formulation? It says it has Accelerated Retinol SA in it and the ingredient list is different than the one I see on this website. I wonder if this is improved and as good if not better than the Original Anti-Wrinkle cream in the metal tube? It feels really light and a very light fragrance that is hard to detect. So very pleasant. Thank you.

Reviewed by
Kiki R.
Breaking out.....

I bought this few days ago and when I started using it I broke out with big pimple on my forehead. I do have acne problem and my skin type is oily/ combo acne prone little bit on the sensitive side.

Reviewed by
Fragrance Overbearing

I bought this product yesterday and tried it last night. The fragrance is overwhelming. Why would they add a strong fragrance to a skincare product? I'm returning it to the store today.

Reviewed by
Look elsewhere if sensitive

This Neutrogena product has a very heavy floral fragrance that stings my eyes. It didn't seem to improve my skin at all. For those with sensitive skin, beware!

Reviewed by
Cristiana H.
Paula's wrong on this line of products -- they're GREAT!

I'm wondering if Paula actually tested this product before shrugging it off. I've been using it for a month now and it's absolutely FANTASTIC. After only five days, my crows feet and lines on my forehead had dramatically improved, and my dark spots had noticeably faded. After a couple of weeks, my crows feet were no longer noticeable unless I was both grinning and standing in a bright light, and the dark spots were gone altogether. I swear I look 5-10 years younger, and everyone is complimenting me on my skin. (And heh -- a guy 10 years younger than me asked sweaty, makeup-less me out in the gym the other day!) I'm 47 and have very good skin for my age (have worn sunscreen every day since I was in my early 20s), but in the last couple of years, I started noticing a few lines and dark spots. They weren't awful, but since my skin had always been so great, the new problems bummed me out. I'd been a faithful Olay Regenerist user for the last few years before trying this, and I think that is quite a good product (better than the fancy department store products I've tried, actually). BUT IMO the Neutrogena Rapid Repair line is a freaking miracle. Paula, I suggest you have some people actually TRY the product before you say it's average.

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response
Thank you for your comments. We’re glad you’ve had success with this product and appreciate this opportunity to explain how we review products. The Paula’s Choice Research Team bases our reviews on scientific evidence regarding ingredients used in the products we evaluate, compared to the claims the company makes about those ingredients. It is possible a product may work better or worse on a particular person; however, we arrive at our reviews based on what research have shown can be achieved. For more information on our review process, please visit the How We Do Reviewssection of Beautypedia.
—The Paula's Choice Research Team
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