I’ve Finally Found The Perfect Retinoid Serum (And It’s Dirty Cheap, Too!)

by Gio
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion review

I love the beauty industry. I really do. I mean, I wouldn’t be a beauty blogger if I didn’t.

But… there really isn’t much integrity here.

It’s not just how we’re made to feel worthless for not looking like the photoshopped version of Faith Hill  (because even Faith Hill doesn’t look like Faith Hill in real life). Or that models wear so-obviously-fake-you-can-spot-them-a-mile-off lashes on mascara ads.

It’s also the way every extract and technology is made out to be innovative or groundbreaking even when it’s old news. Or the price hikes that make you think that serum or eye cream must work better than everything else you’ve tried before even though you know deep down it won’t.

The beauty world is dangerous for the naive. And incredibly frustrating for everyone. Why can’t we just have good products that really do what they say on the tin without the outrageous price tags and even more outrageous marketing?

That’s exactly what Brandon Truaxe, founder of Deciem, thought. His latest venture is The Ordinary, a skincare brand that “brings to market effective, more familiar technologies at honourable prices.” And there’s nothing ordinary about that (although, there should be, right?).

My first (of many) forays into the brand is the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (previously called Advanced Retinoid 2%), a serum made with the next generations of retinoids. And it’s only £8.00.

What’s In The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion?


Granactive Retinoid (a.k.a. Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate) is the retinoid that gives the serum its name. From the name, you’ll think it contains 2%, right?

Wrong. Let’s look at the fine print. The serum contains “a 2% concentration of Granactive Retinoid which is a complex of solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR).” Complex is the key word here.

According to the manufacturer, Granactive Retinoid is a solution of 90% Dimethyl Isosorbide and 10% Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate. That mean there’s around 0.2% Granactive Retinoid here. A far cry from the promised 2%…

But does it work, at least? Rumour has it, Granactive Retinoid is more effective than retinol at fighting wrinkles and acne. It simply isn’t true.

There’s NO proof (yet) that Granactive Retinoid is more effective than retinol. Heck, there isn’t even much proof that it can fight wrinkles!

That’s because this retinoid is so new, there isn’t much research on it, yet. The only things we know for sure are:

Future research may show that Granactive Retinoid is a valid alternative for fighting wrinkles as well. Until then, I recommend it only to women with sensitive, acne-prone skin that can’t tolerate retinol.

Related: Which Form Of Retinoids Is Right For You?

Need help creating an anti-aging routine that really works? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Cheatsheet” (it includes product recommendations, too!).


Granactive Retinoid isn’t more powerful than retinol. It’s a good thing The Ordinary added that one here, too. Unfortunately, they don’t mention the concentration this time. But retinol works even in tiny doses, so we’re good here.

Here’s what retinol does:

  1. It has antioxidant properties that destroy the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles and dark spots.
  2. It accelerates cellular turnover (i.e. the skin’s natural exfoliating process), reducing the appearance of dark spots, wrinkles, and acne.
  3. It boosts the production of collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm.

Warning: retinol can be irritating for first time users. Go slow and use it only a couple of nights a week to start with.

Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol: What It Is, What It Does, And How To Use It


Bisabolol is that thing that gives chamomile it’s incredible soothing properties.

Here’s the deal: like all plants, chamomile is made up of hundreds of different compounds. Some of these are good for you (hello, bisabolol!). Others not so much… If you’re allergic to plants in the daisy family, chamomile can give you a bad rash.

Extracting Bisabolol from chamomile solves the problems. Now everyone can use it without side effects.

Studies show Bisabolol reduces inflammation and helps wounds heal faster.

P.S. The serum also contains another skin-soother: Tasmania pepperberry.

Related: The Complete Guide To Chamomile In Skincare: Should You Use It?


Let’s start with the basics. Glycerin is in pretty much ALL skincare products for a reason.

It’s a wonderful humectant: that’s a fancy way of saying it draws moisture from the air and locks it into your skin. Once there, this extra moisture softens, plumps, and brightens your skin.

That’s the base you want to build the rest of your skincare routine on.

Related:The Complete Guide To Glycerin In Skincare


Lightweight and milky white texture that absorbs instantly on the skin.


It’s fragrance-free. But the ingredient themselves don’t smell too nice…

How To Use It

In the evening, after cleansing. I recommend you start using it a couple of nights a week and increase frequency to every other night.


Performance & Personal Opinion

First things first: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion doesn’t have a pleasant scent. But it’s so faint, I can easily put up with it. Actually, I’d easily put up with it even if it stank really badly because this stuff does some amazing things to my skin.

To be honest, I am a bit hesitant to try any retinoids at this time of the year. Now the temperatures are dropping fast, my skin tends to get drier and retinoids can dry it out even more. That’s what happened last winter.

This time, there way absolutely no dryness or irritation. I can use this serum every other day and get smoother and glowing skin without the side effects. It’s so gentle, I suspect I could use it daily.

If you’ve never tried retinoids before, I still recommend you use it only once or twice a week to get started, just in case. But this is something that even mature and sensitive skin can safely use without fear.

Ok, maybe if your skin is super super super sensitive, there may still be a tiny chance it’ll bother your skin, but it’s definitely the gentlest retinoid serum I’ve ever tried.

Yet, it works as well as all the other harsher retinoid serums. My skin now looks plumper. Its texture is smoother and more even-toned. It has a subtle glow to it. These are the immediate effects.

After a few weeks (that’s how long it takes retinoids to work their magic on wrinkles), the serum also starts to target the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and dark spots, and make them smaller.

Basically, it does everything a good retinoid serum should do. Minus the irritation. And the high price tag.

Who Is This For?

  • Acnes-prone skin
  • Retinol newbies
  • Sensitive skin

Who Is This NOT For?

  • If you’re using 1% retinol or prescription retinoids, this is a step back.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women


An UV-coated bottle with a dropper applicator. It’s practical and protects retinol from going bad too soon.

Does The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion Live Up To Its Claims?

This product uses next-generation retinoid active technologies which have been shown to achieve better reduction in signs of aging than retinol without irritation. They’ve been shown to be gentler than retinol, NOT to give you better results.
A creamy hydrating emulsion.True.
a) A 2% concentration of Granactive Retinoid which is a complex of solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR). HPR is a highly-advanced form of retinoid which is, in fact, a non-prescription ester of all-trans direct retinoic acid that offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of aging than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid.There’s NO proof it works better than all forms of non-prescription retinoids.

Price & Availability

$9.80/£8.00 at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, and Feel Unique

Do You Need It?

If you’re looking for a starter retinoid serum for your sensitive, acne-prone skin, this is a great option to consider.

Dupes & Alternatives


Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, 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, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Behentrimonium Chloride, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.



Mrs.skincare November 29, 2016 - 3:53 pm

Hi Gio! I am trying The ordinary too! I have the vitamin C suspension and the niacinamide serum, I am thinking about the retinoid one but I still want to do some research about the vitamin A form (and I am in my first winter of retinol, so I prefer smaller %).

I love the brand´s philosophy, overpriced products are not worth for me.

Gio December 3, 2016 - 3:41 pm

Mrs Skincare, I think it’s wise to start with a smaller % of retinol, but this one is so gentle, I don’t think you’ll have to wait long before giving it a go, 🙂

Me too. I get it why some products are pricier, but some companies just stick a high price tag on them just because they can. 🙁

Nazia November 30, 2016 - 10:47 am

Hi Gio……thanks for the ebook….you are the best……your post are soooo good…..i am blessed that i found the blog??……the best part, u don’t recommend a bunch of expensive product?
….u push me up to start a skincare routine?…..i am a 25yrs old Asian girl, combination skin , …….i have to do many field projects……my skin become unevenly tan mainly the forehead and chin area,age spots here and there,some wrinkles….day after day my skin become a disaster…. i strat using sunscreen with spf 60 daily…..and want to use retinol,glycolic acid and vitamin c serum ……plzz give me some suggestions…… Paula choice 1% retinol treatment, Paula choice daily 5% AHA and Timeless vitamin c serum……will they be good for me?? ….love you ❤️❤️

▶ Show quoted text

Gio December 3, 2016 - 3:48 pm

Nazia, aww thank you so much for your kind words. So glad you like my blog and find it useful.

Sorry to hear about your skincare woes. Using a sunscreen every day is a good start and the Paula choice daily 5% AHA and Timeless vitamin c serum are excellent products, too. I’m sure they’ll work well for you.

But Paula choice 1% retinol treatment may be too harsh for a beginner. It’s much better to start with a lower dose. You can check out my recommendations for newbies here http://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/strength-retinol-need/.

in any case, don’t use these 3 products together straight away. They are all very powerful and your skin needs time to get used to them. Start with glycolic three times a week, then introduce vitamin C and finally retinol. With retinol, again, start by using it only a couple of times a week at first. You can also use these ingredients on alternate days, like glycolic on one night and retinol the next night. Start small and build frequency up gradually or you risk irritating your skin. Hope this helps.

Sarah December 14, 2016 - 3:38 pm

This was definitely the product from the Ordinary that sounded most interesting to me, but to be honest I’m not really sure how to feel about it anymore because I’ve read some reviews that talked about how the contained retinoids might not be all that great. They said that there’s not a lot of research for hydropinacolone retinoate and that the research that exists mostly points to it having a good effect against acne, but that there’s no proof that it’s good for wrinkles etc. as well. They also said that the regular Retinol that is contained is a lot weaker due to being encapsuled. Now I’m not sure what to think anymore.

Gio December 14, 2016 - 9:07 pm

Sarah, yes, I pointed out those concerns in the post as well. I’m not too concerned about retinol being encapsulated. That usually means that retinol is delivered into your skin over a period of a few hours rather than all at once so it provides the same benefits without irritation.

As for hydropinacolate retinoate, yes the research has proven that it can fight only acne, not wrinkles. But this is a new ingredient, so studies about it are obviously scant. I’m sure that as time goes on we’ll know a lot more about it too. Personally, I tend to believe that it does something for wrinkles because all forms of retinoids do, although some better than others. But you can always stick to a classic form or retinol if you prefer something more heavy-duty.

Luca January 16, 2017 - 11:41 pm

Ciao! (ti scrivo in italiano questa volta perché ho scoperto solo ora che sei italiana!)
Ho scoperto il tuo blog un po’ di tempo fa ed è davvero utile! Se ti ricordi qualche mese fa ti avevo chiesto una cosa riguardante uno shampoo. Oggi volevo farti invece una domanda riguardante la mia pelle. Ho 21 anni e ho una pelle mista (normale ai lati del viso e piuttosto grassa / problematica al centro e sulle guance) con tendenza acneica. Le uniche cose che uso per curarla (dopo una ricerca durata anni di prodotti che non irritassero o seccassero troppo la mia pelle) sono un detergente delicato della Cetaphil, un prodotto a scelta tra acqua termale di Avène e tonico all’aloe vera senza alcool della Thayers (diciamo che dipende da come mi gira) e una crema bio della Yves Rocher all’aloe. Da poco uso anche un contorno occhi della marca bio Avril, anche se non penso di averne ancora davvero bisogno dato che non ho ancora nessuna ruga. Questi prodotti, insieme all’eliminazione dalla mia dieta di latticini e cibo spazzatura, mi hanno aiutato molto, e ora i brufoli compaiono molto più raramente di prima (al mese me ne verranno più o meno 4 o 5). Sono anche molto più piccoli e ci mettono meno tempo a riassorbirsi. Nonostante ciò ho ancora delle macchie lasciate dai vecchi brufoli e i miei pori sono ancora abbastanza dilatati. Stavo pensando di provare un prodotto della marca The Ordinary perché mi sembra molto seria e ad un prezzo molto abbordabile, ma non so che prodotto scegliere tra “Advanced Retinoid 2%”, “Sospensione di vitamina C 23% + Sfere di acido ialuronico 2% ” e “Alfa arbutina 2% + HA”. Il primo sembra adatto alle macchie e ai brufoli, ma forse è più incentrato sull’effetto anti-age di cui ancora non sento molto il bisogno. Il secondo dovrebbe illuminare la pelle e di conseguenza (credo) ridurre le macchie, ma la descrizione su Asos non è molto chiara a riguardo. Il terzo invece sembra incentrato solo ed esclusivamente sulle macchie, quindi teoricamente dovrebbe svolgere meglio questo compito (credo) ma non ha nessun effetto sui brufoli a quanto pare. Secondo te quale dovrei prendere? Per caso conosci qualche prodotto (per pelli sensibili) che possa risolvere anche il problema dei pori dilatati? Grazie in anticipo e scusami tanto per il messaggio lunghissimo, 😀

Gio January 28, 2017 - 11:50 am

Ciao Luca, grazie del messaggio. Sono contenta che trovi il mio blog utile e scusami se ci ho messo un po a risponderti, sono stata molto impegnata con il lavoro di recente. Mmm, si hai ragione, tra questi tre forse sceglierei il primo. L’effetto anti-age del retinolo e’ stato scoperto quando gli scienziati stavano studiando i suoi effetti sull’acne. I participanti allo studio hanno scoperto che, insieme ai brufoli, se ne andavano anche le rughe! Quindi se ti interessa anche l’effetto anti-age, e’ un buon prodotto da provare.

La vitamina C ha un effetto anti macchia ma non ha nessun effetto sui brufoli. Stesso discorso per l’alfa arbutina. Puo’ eliminare le macchie ma non i brufoli.

Vorrei invece properti un altro prodotto, sempre di The Ordinary, che credo faccia piu’ al caso tuo. Si tratta di Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. L’acido azelaico e’ efficace contro i brufoli, le macchie lasciate dall’acne ed ha anche un effetto anti-inflammatorio.

Non ti preoccupare della lunghezza e se hai qualche altra domanda, chiedi pure. 🙂

Luca January 28, 2017 - 6:53 pm

Grazie per aver risposto e figurati! Rispondi sempre quando hai tempo, non c’è fretta 🙂
Comunque penso che prenderò sia Advanced Retinoid 2% che quello che mi hai consigliato tu, ovvero Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. Il primo lo userei abitualmente (dato che è un po’ un tutto in uno) mentre il secondo magari solo quando ne sento il bisogno, tanto costano poco 😀

Gio February 12, 2017 - 9:14 pm

Grazie per la comprensione, Luca. Ottima scelta. Fammi sapere come ti trovi con questi prodotti. 🙂

Gabriel January 26, 2017 - 10:21 pm

I have only used the Neutrogena retinol products from Walmart so far. Will it be too much to go with the Retinoid 2%?
I am a male in my low 40s

Gio February 12, 2017 - 9:26 pm

Gabriel, hi! Normally, I’d say yes but because of the delivery system and the form of vitamin A used, I think you can use it safely. Just introduce it into your skincare routine gradually.

Gabriel February 12, 2017 - 10:23 pm


Gio February 24, 2017 - 8:29 pm

My pleasure!

Extragal February 1, 2017 - 9:51 am

Hello.. I really want to try the brand too. I’m sooo done with those expensive products which don’t do much 🙁 but may I ask you, I live in a tropical country with sun exposure almost everywhere. Is this retinoid still work fine? Because my oily face is really my big problem. Big thanks if you got time answering my concern 🙂

Gio February 12, 2017 - 7:26 pm

Extragal, yes retinol works well for oily skin too. But if you live in a tropical country, use it only at night or it will make your skin more prone to sun damage.

Maria February 20, 2017 - 7:10 pm

Hey gorgeous! Great post, I wonder if you’re using more products by The Ordinary and if you’ve had any blemish problems and if retinoid helped you, I seem to encounter on the web tons of benefits aganinst aging signs but nothing zit related. Thaaanks keep it up 🙂

Gio February 25, 2017 - 8:48 pm

Maria, I’m not using anything for blemishes at the moment because my skin has been quite clear for a while now. Retinoids can help as they have been proven to treat acne. In fact, it’s acne patients trialling retinoids who discovered they reduced wrinkles too! The Ordinary also has another product with azelaic acid that works well against blemishes. Hope this helps.

Jessica Rivet March 13, 2017 - 10:03 pm

Hey there,
I would really like to get the Advanced Retinoid 2%, and I’m wondering if you can tell me if this product will help get rid of blackheads. I have many in my t-zone, as well as the first signs of aging, I have combination skin, but I don’t get many actual break outs, just stubborn blackheads. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks.

Gio March 18, 2017 - 8:02 pm

Jessica, I think you’d be better off with salicylic acid. That one can get inside the pores and unclogging them from within.

Bonnie March 19, 2017 - 12:04 pm

Hi there!

I was just wondering if you found the product okay around your eyes? I’m mostly trying to deal with fine lines around and hydration alone hasn’t really done much so I thought I’d try this product. I’m only a few days in but my eye area looks worse 🙁 I have heard that often your skin looks worse before it gets better with retinal though so just thought I’d see what your thoughts were?



Gio March 20, 2017 - 7:44 pm

Bonnie, yes, it worked fine for me around my eyes but my skin is used to retinol. If this is your first time, or you jumped from a tiny to a higher concentration, it’s normal to experience some flakiness. Sometimes, retinol makes wrinkles look worse at first too. If that’s happening, cut back to once or twice a week and work your way up again gradually.

Yrina March 28, 2017 - 1:37 pm

Hi Gio, I’ve been using the Obagi Tretinoin 0.05% for quite some time now. Do you think this product from The Ordinary would be comparable?

Gio April 8, 2017 - 7:18 pm

Yrina, tretinoim is more powerful so, if it’s working well for you, I’d stick to that.

audrey April 6, 2017 - 7:45 am

Gio, do you think this Advanced Retinoid 2% will be good for someone with rosacea?
Also, how many drops of this you usually use for your whole face, and how many for your neck and back of hands?

Gio April 8, 2017 - 7:20 pm

Audrey, I think this is gentle enough but I have readers who’ve used retinol for the first time report a bit of dryness at first. So, it really depends on your skin. Always do a patch test first.

I use a pea size amount but you can use less if you’re concerned about being too aggressive.

audrey April 10, 2017 - 7:46 am

By pea-size amount do you mean 3-4 drops for the whole face and neck? Because it’s liquify not cream so I’m confused how many drops should a person with rosacea usea 🙂 Thank you so much for helping me out.

Gio April 10, 2017 - 12:17 pm

If it’s your first time, use as little as possible. If it doesn’t bother you, you can also apply more. But if you apply too much, you’ll have to put with the irritation for a few days.:)

audrey April 11, 2017 - 6:45 am

Okay, then. I think I’ll try 3-4 drops first and use it after moisturiser for the first month to introduce my skin to HPR (retinoate) to avoid irritation at all cost, do you think it’s a good idea?
Also I have been trying out The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor HA (NMF HA). Have you tried it before? It really works well, especially for people who lack NMF like me (thanks, atopic dermatitis).

Gio April 21, 2017 - 8:21 pm

Audrey, yes, that’d be the best way to introduce it into your skincare routine.

Not yet but glad it’s working so well for you. NMF is something so underrated but if you have dry/sensitive skin, it really helps.

audrey April 25, 2017 - 7:59 am

Thank you so much, Gio! I will definitely try putting Advanced Retinoid 2% after i use NMF 🙂

Gio April 29, 2017 - 1:21 pm

My pleasure. Let me know how it goes 🙂

Poppy April 19, 2017 - 6:16 pm

Hello. Thank you so much for this review. I am bookmarking your blog for the future for sure. I have never used retinol cream or anything similar before, but I want to start as I have loads of fine lines around the eyes and I have really think skin around the eyes too. I have always struggled with dark sunken in eyes 🙁
Do you think this product will be okay if I used once or twice a week at first or do I need to find a lower dose of retinol cream first?

Gio April 21, 2017 - 7:55 pm

Poppy, thanks. So glad you’re enjoying it and hope to see you here in the future.

Personally, I’d start with a lower dose. Paula’s Choice has some good serums with retinol (stay away from the booster). They’re a bit more expensive but they’ll prep your skin for this one.

Emma May 1, 2017 - 2:39 pm

Hello Gio,

I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog, it is so thoughtful and informative. Thank you so much for all your effort 🙂

I just bought this product, and wanted to check whether I have been using it in my skincare routine correctly? I have been doing:
1. Cleanse with The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil
2. Acid tone with Pixi Glow Tonic
3. Spritz with La Roche Posay Serozinc
4. The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%
5. Either moisturise with Sukin Calming Night Cream (or apply The Body Shop Drops of Youth then go in with the moisturiser)

Thanks very much,

Gio May 5, 2017 - 7:07 pm

Hello Emma,

yes, that’s a good order.

Glad you’re enjoying my blog and hope to see you here often.

Gio May 5, 2017 - 7:01 pm

Ana, retinoids is the name for all forms of Vitamin A, so retinol is a retinoid. The problem with Vitamin A is that it has been shown to cause birth defects in mice. We don’t have studies on humans, for obvious reasons, so we can’t say for certain that using it on women who are pregnant/breastfeeding can hurt their babies. It is true that the concentrations of Vitamin A in skincare products are very small and unlikely to cause any problems, which is why some experts still recommend them during pregnancy/breastfeeding. Others prefer to err on the safe side and recommend avoiding them until the breastfeeding period is over.

My opinion is that they’re 99% likely to be innocuous, but would you take the chance I’m wrong? Only you can answer that question.

Ana May 6, 2017 - 10:02 am

Thanks, Gio! Will be considering to use it or not.

Gio May 14, 2017 - 4:04 pm

My pleasure, Ana!

Mel July 5, 2017 - 2:05 pm

Hi! I am in my early 20s, but can I start using this product?? Because I do get acne and I want to get rid of my visible acne scars. AND I want to see if it can help with my milia prone skin. I’ve never used retnoid before, but I want to try!


Gio July 7, 2017 - 10:59 am

Mel, yes you can use a retinol serum in your early 20s but I’d start with a much lower dose, like 0.25% or you may seriously irritate your skin.

Also, glycolic acid would be a better choice to get rid of acne scars and milia seeds. I’d start with glycolic acid first and, if that doesn’t work, add the retinol. I would also consult a dermatologist to see if you can have glycolic acid peels done as that would help the scars fade faster.

Rozaliya July 14, 2017 - 7:10 am

Is it ok to use this product during summer? I’ve some sun spots I want to fight and also try this formula.

Gio July 15, 2017 - 9:01 am

Hi Rozaliya, yes it is ok. But use it at night only. Retinol can make skin more susceptible to sun damage, so it’s best to avoid it during the day.

Rozaliya July 15, 2017 - 11:53 am

Thank you very much Gio! Have you tried Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, I’m considering buying this one as well

Gio July 21, 2017 - 12:25 pm

Rozaliya, I haven’t tried it myself because I’m not dealing with hyperpigmentation. But it’s a great option for dry skin.

Ruzanna Haji Buntar July 24, 2017 - 2:11 pm

Hi, do you use it on a clean face first before applying anything else? Do you know if it’ll be ok if I apply face oil (currently using argan oil) after the advanced retinoid?

Gio July 28, 2017 - 4:36 pm

Ruzanna, yes, I cleanse my face and then use the retinoid serum. Yes, you can totally use argan oil (or any other oil) on top.

Trin September 22, 2017 - 10:34 am

Hello! I’m a few months late to the party 🙂 but after reading these comments I wanted to say that I use The Ordindary’s Advanced Retinoid 2% and I love it. I have acne prone skin that is also sensitive and ca be dry, so it’s basically really difficult to deal with. But This product doesn’t irritate my skin and it really helps with my spots and cysts. It can be a bit drying if I use it too often in winter, but nothing a good moisturiser with HA can’t fix! I totally recommend it.

Gio September 23, 2017 - 2:58 pm

Trin, so glad it’s working wonders for you, too. It’s amazing, isn’t it? 🙂

Amanda Wong October 21, 2017 - 9:44 pm

I’m 33 and noticed tiny crows feet start to emerge on my face. I tried this and I started using it every other night. It didn’t make my skin dry and felt nice when I put it on at night. After a week, I started notice my pores looked larger, my crows feet grow in size and I started to get wrinkles in places my skin as perfect before. I looked online and most places said to keep going and it would get better but it didn’t. After 4 months, I stopped. I was worried I had permanently messed up my skin. Now, a month after, my skin isn’t yet back to normal. Do you have any advice?

Gio October 28, 2017 - 1:29 pm

Amanda, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I know you said it didn’t make your skin feel dry but I do think you need to use a more moisturising cream as that can help with the lines. If you don’t want to use vitamin A again, the next best thing is glycolic acid. You can find my fave products with glycolic acid here:http://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/best-exfoliants-glycolic-acid/

For faster results, I’d recommend you have glycolic acid peels every few weeks too. Hope this helps.

Rajesh January 15, 2018 - 6:04 am

Hi I hv just ordered 4 of the ordinary products
Retinol 2%
Please advise how do I incorporate with daily usage
day n night

Gio January 19, 2018 - 1:49 pm

Rajesh, you can use buffet and niacinamide in the morning and retinol 2% and NMF at night. I would use retinol only two or three nights a week.

Rajesh February 3, 2018 - 6:37 am

Hi Gio, thanks so much for ur reply. I love ur blog. It’s so informative. Can I continue to use Caudalie’s vinoperfect brightening essence with the ordinary products. I also bought the glycolic acid 7% toner after reading in ur blog. So pls advise how I incorporate the brightening essence with this products. Once again thanks a lot.??

Gio February 10, 2018 - 4:53 pm

Rajesh, thank you! I’m glad you like my blog.

Mmm, I see that Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Brightening Essence has glycolic acid. It seems to be a lower concentration that in The Ordinary Toner but I wouldn’t use them together. You can try using them on alternate nights and, if that’s too much for your skin, cut back to three/four times a week.

nhanh March 8, 2018 - 5:28 am

Dear Gio, Ysp Treitinoin and this one, which one is more effective? By the way, it is applied after or before Serum Buffet?

Gio March 16, 2018 - 5:51 pm

Nhanh, tretinoin is more effective. Apply it before Buffet.

Elena June 6, 2018 - 3:12 pm

Hi Gio, thanks for the post!! Can I ask if you are still using the 2% retinoid? I’m thinking of advancing to something stronger, like the ordinary 0.5% retinol, but I’m not sure if it is ok to switch from retinoid to retinol (without risking irritation). Basically, my question is: does the use of retinoid builds up resistance to retinol?

Thanks a lot!!

Gio June 8, 2018 - 2:34 pm

Elena, retinol IS a retinoid. Retinoid is the catch all name for all form of Vitamin A, including retinol, retinaldehyde, hydroxypinacolone retinoate, tretinoin…. I know, confusing!!

This emulsion has both retinol and hydroxypinacolone retinoate so it can definitely be used as a stepping stone for retinol 0.5%. But if you still find it too irritating, cut back usage to a couple of times a week.

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