avoid retinol products packaged in jars

I don’t get it.

Would you buy a delicate designer dress that’s “dry clean” only and throw it in the washing machine?

Of course not. You know that’s like throwing $1000 down the toilet. *shudders*

Yet that’s exactly what you’re doing when you’re buying a retinol cream packaged in a jar. Here’s why:

What Is Retinol?

NOTE: This post is all about retinol, but everything I say in this paragraph (and the next one, for that matter) is true for all form of Vitamin A (retinoids). Retinol happens to be the most used so it gets the spotlight.

A form of Vitamin A, retinol is an antiaging superstar. It fights wrinkles in three different ways:

  • It speeds up cellular turnover (skin’s natural exfoliating process) to reveal smoother and brighter skin.
  • It destroys free radicals before they can give you wrinkles.
  • It boosts collagen production, keeping your skin firmer for longer.

There’s more. Retinol also busts acne and fades dark spots.

If you’re over 25, you definitely need to include this in your skincare routine.

Related: 3 Reasons Why You Should Use Retinoids


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


Why You Should Never Put Retinol In A Jar

Retinol is a superstar. Ans superstars are divas.

Retinol is very unstable. Every time it’s exposed to light and air, it oxidises a little. That means it loses a bit of its effectiveness until it stops working completely.

The more often you force it to come in contact with its enemies (i.e., every time you open that jar), the sooner retinol becomes useless.

Usually, it takes about a month for retinol to go bad in a jar – when you constantly leave the cap open. In real use, it’ll take longer that.

But if you take too long to finish the jar, at some point, your anti-aging potion may turn into a basic moisturiser. Hydrating, sure, but nothing more.

Sure, you could make the most of it by using retinol every morning and night, but that’s not a good idea (especially if you’re a retinol newbie). Retinol is also irritating. That’s why derms recommend you start with a small concentration once or twice a week and slowly build up dose and frequency (I’ve outlined exactly how to do that in this post).

While we’re on the subject, this doesn’t apply to jars only. Any type of packaging that exposes retinol to light and air is a no-go. That includes see-through bottles, too.

FYI, see-through bottles are even worse. At least with jars, it’s the top layer exposed to the sun that gets damaged. In a see-through bottle left around in your bathroom (and constantly exposed to sunlight), the whole formula gets spoiled.

Fun fact: when researchers first started playing around with retinol, they thought it was useless. That’s because they were using retinol that had been exposed to too much light for their experiments. No wonder it wasn’t working!

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

What’s The Best Type Of Packaging For Retinol?

You should totally keep using your retinol.  But from now on, get your fix only from products that take good care of retinol and protect it from harm.

In other words, opt for products that come in opaque tubes and bottles with a pump dispenser. It’s also a good idea to store them in a dark place.

This way, your retinol will keep working until you reach the end of the bottle. No more throwing your money away!

If you don’t know where to start, check out this post with my fave retinol picks. They’re all packaged the right way.

The Bottom Line

Retinol is an anti-aging diva that doesn’t like to be exposed to sunlight. If you’re buying a serum or moisturiser with retinol, make sure it comes in an air-tight, opaque tube or bottle that keeps it from spoiling too soon.