Retinol is one ingredient that aestheticians and skincare bloggers swear by alike, but many of us are afraid of incorporating it in our skincare routine because we have heard that it can lead to skin irritation. Since I too was a little skeptical about how this ingredient would work for my skin, I went ahead with purchasing the The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalene, because this brand is one I can blindly trust with their formulations. Read on to find out how I have incorporated this product in my skincare routine and how it has been faring for me.
1. Why I decided to include Retinol in my skincare routine and how did I pick the right concentration and product for my skin?
Retinol is essentially an anti-aging ingredient that hastens the process of skin regeneration, which naturally slows down after we hit our mid-twenties. It therefore helps in reduces fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots and restores the youthful appearance of the skin. Since I am already 28, and had started noticing very fine lines near my eyes and on my forehead, I decided it was time to incorporate Retinol in my skincare regimen before things got out of hand. The Ordinary provides 0.2%, 0.5% and 1% Retinol in Squalene and they also have a range of Granactive Retinoids (2% in Squalene/Emulsion and 5% in Squalene) which they recommend for sensitive skin as they cause zero to mild irritation on the skin whereas their Retinol formulation can cause more irritation. Since my skin is already used to other active ingredients, and is not extremely sensitive anymore, I decided to go for the 0.2% Retinol in Squalene because it was slightly more affordable than the Granactive Retinoid. If you too are new to the ingredient that start with the lowest concentration of Retinol (could be 0.1 – 0.2% depending on the brand) and as your skin gets used to the product, you can move to higher concentrations when your skin becomes more mature.
2. What is the right way to use The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalene?
Be it this particular product, or any other Retinol product, it is recommended to use Retinol only in the PM routine because it is a highly-reactive molecule that breaks down under sunlight. Retinol is also unstable in water, hence The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalene is a water-free formula, and feels like a light oil on the skin. You need to apply a few drops of this product on your cleansed and completely dried face, wait for about 10 minutes for the product to sink in and then go ahead with heavier creams. If you wish to apply any water based serums on your face then first apply those, wait for a few minutes before they sink in and leave your skin dry and then go ahead with applying this product as mentioned above. If you are using Retinol for the first time, start with using the product once a week, then after 2-3 weeks increase the frequency of use to twice a week, and then after 2-3 weeks you can start using this product on alternate days. This is a very potent product and you should definitely not use it every day. I personally recommend using it 2 times a week if you are still in your mid to late twenties. Always remember to apply a sunscreen during the day if you have used this product in your PM routine. Also, please note that the use of Retinol is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
3. Does it cause breakouts? Is it suitable for sensitive skin?
Retinol can cause irritation on your skin until your skin gets used to the ingredient. This irritation may be in the form of redness, itchiness, or peeling and varies from person to person. It can also cause an increase in acne during the first few weeks of usage. After this purge period, your skin will get used to the product and you will no longer experience any irritation. Personally, I was fortunate to not experience any irritation or breakouts with this product. In order to minimize the risk of irritation or breakouts, start with the lowest concentration and go for The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid if you have super sensitive skin.
4. How quickly will the results be visible on the skin?
Just like any other skincare ingredient, you will have to use this product regularly for around 2 months to see visible results. I have been using this product for around 1.5 months now, and on the days when I don’t use this product I use the Suganda Anti-Oxidant Face Serum. After a month of use of this duo, my skin was visibly smoother and glowy and the fine lines have definitely softened a bit.
5. Do I need to layer it with other products?
I will personally not recommend layering active ingredients without consulting with a skincare expert or the brand first. You can however layer this product with a heavier moisturiser after 10 minutes of application if you have dry skin. Since it is an oil-based formula, I personally do not feel the need for an additional moisturiser on top of it, and I do not layer anything with this product.
6. Where to buy The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalene?
I bought mine from Cult Beauty , I had a free shipping coupon and luckily didn’t have to pay customs on the shipment. You can also buy it directly from the brand’s website, but the shipping charges are quite hefty. The other option if you do not want to gamble with customs is to buy it from an Insta seller. The price of the product in itself is around INR 450 (which is super affordable), but with shipping or from an Insta Seller, it may cost you around INR 1000, which is still quite affordable considering that one bottle will last you for up to a year.
I hope this review/my experience with The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalene was useful for you. I will keep updating this blog post as and when I see more results with this product. Do let me know in the comments below if you have any further questions regarding the product!