a dupe for indeed labs retinol reface

Is The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion a dupe for Indeed Labs Retinol Reface?

The older version of Indeed Labs Retinol Reface used the same two forms of Vitamin A as The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion: Retinol and Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (Granactive Retinoid).

The newer version has done away with Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate and replaced it with Bakuchiol, a Vitamin A-like alternative. Are they still dupes?

What Do The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion And Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Have In Common?


Let’s face it: when you think of vitamin A, you think of retinol. It’s the OTC gold standard for antiaging. And for a good reason. Or three:

  • Antioxidant: It destroys free radicals before they can give you wrinkles and dark spots
  • Collagen booster: It makes skin produce more collagen, so it stays firmer and younger for longer
  • Cellular turnover: It speeds up the skin’s natural exfoliating process, fading away fine lines and discolourations

The catch? Retinol is irritating. It can cause stinging, peeling and flaking. That’s why I always tell you to start with the smallest concentration you can find and slowly work your way up.

There’s another way: microencapsulation. In plain English, pure retinol is put into small capsules that release it into the skin over a period of several hours instead than hitting you all at once.

Your skin still get its retinol fix. You don’t get the irritation. Win win.

FYI, both The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion and Indeed Labs Retinol Reface use microencapsulation. Yes!

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol

Want more affordable dupes for expensive skincare products? Download your FREE “Skincare Dupes” cheatsheet and start saving money (without compromising on results) today:

What Else Is In The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion And Indeed Labs Retinol Reface?


In case you’re wondering where the Granactive Retinoid in name of The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion comes from, that’s how the brand calls Hyxdroxypinacolone Retinoate.

It’s a new form of vitamin A developed to get all the benefits of retinol without any of the side effects.

Brands want you think they work the same way. And that may very well be true. But because Granactive Retinoid is so new, we don’t have any independent studies confirming their claims.

What about Bakuchiol, the active in Indeed Labs Retinol Reface? It comes from the leaves and seeds of babchi (Psoralea corylifolia) plant, native to India.

A 2018 study published in the British Journal Of Dermatology shows that Bakuchiol has some powerful anti-aging properties.

Researchers asked 44 people to apply either a 0.5% Bakuchiol cream twice a day or a 5% retinol cream once a day on their faces for 12 weeks. They then used a mix of computer analysis and dermatologist’s grading to measure the results.

Both Bakuchiol and retinol reduced wrinkle surface area and hyperpigmentation. Impressive, isn’t it?

Until you realise retinol does all this when used ONCE a day, while Bakuchiol requires TWO applications a day. Not quite the powerful natural alternative it’s made out to be, is it?

Still, if there are no side effects, a double application is worth it, right?

People who used retinol DID experience more peeling and stinging. But Bakuchiol wasn’t entirely without side effects. It caused more redness than retinol.

Neither of these alternatives is as effective as retinol. Good things both brands included that, too.

Related: Which Form Of Vitamin A Is Right For You?


Indeed Labs Retinol Reface has a heavier silicone base. I personally love it. It makes the cream go on so smoothly and your skin feels as soft as a baby’s afterwards. But if you don’t dig silicones, it’s not for you.

Related: Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Full Review


The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulusion focuses more on reducing inflammation. It has bisabobol (the stuff that makes chamomile so soothing) and Tasmania pepper to calm down irritations and neutralise any potential side effects.

What’s The Texture Like?

Indeed Lab Retinol Reface has a siliconey and lightweight texture.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion has a lightweight and milky white texture that absorbs instantly on the skin.

What’s The Packaging Like?

Indeed Lab Retinol Reface comes in a white tube with a red cap and a pump applicator.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion comes in a dark bottle with a dropper applicator.


How To Use Them

Every other night, after cleansing.

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

It depends on your needs. Go with The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion if:

  • You have sensitive skin
  • You’re still building tolerance to retinol
  • You hate the feel of heavy silicone creams

Opt for Indeed Labs Retinol Reface if:

  • You’re a retinol pro ready to go to the next level
  • Want to try Bakuchiol

Related: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion Full Review

Indeed retinol reface

Price & Availability

Indeed Labs Retinol Reface: £19.99 at Asos and Boots

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion: £8.00 at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique

Is The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion A Dupe For Indeed Labs Retinol Reface?

I wouldn’t say The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion is an exact dupe for Indeed Labs Retinol Reface. But it’s a gentler version that will give you the same results without any peeling or irritation.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion Ingredients:

Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinol, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Xanthan gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Isoceteth-20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

Indeed Labs Retinol Reface Ingredients:

Water, Dimethicone, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Propanediol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetyle Alcohol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, PEG-100 Stearate, Bakuchiol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Glucoside, 4-T-Butylcyclohexanol, 1-2 Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Glycine Soya (Soybean) Oil, Polysorbate 80, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sorbitan Oleate, Retinol, Carbomer, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Acacia Senegal Gum Extract, Tocopherol, Propylene Glycol Alginate