The Ordinary Retinoids And Retinols

The Ordinary Retinoids
*Essie Button is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

They’re known as the game changer in beauty. High risk, high reward if you will. They do wonders for transforming the skin, accelerating cell turnover, stimulating collagen production. Not to mention unparalleled at tackling fine lines and wrinkles. But they can be very irritating, even making your skin worse before getting better. We’re talking about retinol.

The Ordinary Retinoids

The Ordinary has an offering of 6 different retinoid and retinol serums. Retinoid refers to any product with the Vitamin A derivative, in The Ordinary’s case they refer to the granactive retinoid serums. The retinols refer to the pure retinol serums.

Retinoids have a great reputation for being the best anti-aging ingredient on the market. But, they are also notorious for being harsh – causing purging and even peeling during the first few weeks of starting use. It doesn’t always have to be this way! The Ordinary’s lineup of 6 different retinoids provides an option and strength for all skin types.

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

How To Use: Use this in the PM before oils and creams. The retinoid emulsion formula offers moderate intensity with no irritation and is great for beginners. This product uses new technologies to deliver a potent retinol without irritation. The Ordinary’s retinoids all have an oil based formula, this has a cream, emulsion formula.

Highlights

  • Great beginner retinoid with little to no irritation. Combines 2 forms of retinoid actives.
  • Low irritation retinoid to address signs of aging and texture irregularities.
  • This is a creamy emulsion that offers hydration with a non-greasy finish. This is the only emulsion retinol product offered by The Ordinary.

Use With: Peptides, More Molecules, Antioxidants, Oils and Hydrators, and Vitamin C derivatives.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Retinoids, Direct Acids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), or “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%.

Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

This special form of vitamin A has been proven to minimize fine lines, improve pigment problems, revitalize your skin, and make its overall appearance fresher and more youthful.

Check Current Price
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

How To Use: Use this in the PM after water based serums, before oils and creams. This serum contains granactive retinoid to offer the anti-aging results without irritation. Placing it in squalane gives it hydrating properties while helping to soothe irritation. This product is moderate strength, no irritation. Perfect for beginners and those with dry and sensitive skin.

Highlights

  • Granactive retinoids target anti-aging without irritation. What a dream! Some reviews report of light peeling and irritation when introducing this product into their routine. It’s important to start off very slow with retinol. Once a week and bump it up from there after seeing how your skin reacts to it.
  • A squalane base goes a step further to help hydrate the skin and prevent irritation. It’s good for dry skin but, oily skin may prefer the emulsion.
  • Great starter retinoid. Super affordable and high quality.

Use With: Peptides, More Molecules, Antioxidants, Oils and Hydrators and Vitamin C derivatives.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Retinoids, Direct Acids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), or “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%.

Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

This serum offers better results against multiple signs of aging than retinol without any of the irritation and drawbacks common with retinol.

Check Current Price
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

How To Use: Use this in the PM after water based serums, before creams and oils. This is the serum you want to start using after you’ve had some experience with retinol. It offers the best of both worlds; high strength retinoid with little to no irritation. The granactive retinoid fights signs of aging without causing irritation.

Highlights

  • A bit stronger formulation than the first to retinoids. This one offers 5% concentration, a high strength formulation with little to no irritation. That’s an impressive feat!
  • The squalane base makes it more hydrating. Retinoids are thought to dry out your skin, this one shouldn’t.
  • Great retinoid to use if you have prior experience with retinol. But, don’t start off with this one.

Use With: Peptides, More Molecules, Antioxidants, Oils and Hydrators and Vitamin C derivatives.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Retinoids, Direct Acids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), or “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%.

The Ordinary Retinols

The Ordinary’s retinols are their strongest retinoid serums. They contain pure retinol and are more likely to cause irritation. Even at 0.2% which seems like a very low concentration, they can still cause irritation. They are not for new retinoid users. And, you should not start off with daily use.

Like the granactive retinoid serums, they also have a squalane base.

Here’s The Ordinary’s explanation on the granactive retinoid vs retinol.

“These technologies cannot be compared directly with retinol itself in terms of concentration because they include a different retinoid molecule, in a similar way that Retinol cannot be compared with Retinoic Acid in terms of concentration.”

Retinol 0.2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane

This serum reduces the appearance of fine lines.

Check Current Price
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

How To Use: Use in the PM, after water based serums, before oils and creams. The Ordinary describes this as low strength, moderate irritation. It targets photo damage, fine lines and signs of aging. So, if you’re looking into this serum you may be better off with the 5% granactive retinoid because it’s high strength and low irritation.

Highlights

  • This is a 0.2% pure retinol formulation. This sounds like a low concentration but it’s not. It still has the potential to be irritating so going for the 5% granactive retinoid may be a more effective option.
  • Squalane helps to hydrate and prevent some irritation. May not be a favorite for oily skin. Some users reported that this retinol dried out their skin which is common so don’t skip out on hydrators.
  • This is a very affordable formulation, especially for retinol. But it’s recommended for those familiar with retinol.
  • Does not contain water, silicones, plant oils or alcohol. But, it does have an oil base.

Use With: Peptides, More Molecules, Antioxidants, Oils and Hydrators and Vitamin C derivatives.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Retinoids, Direct Acids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), or “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%.

Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

How To Use: Use this in the PM, after water based serums and before oils or creams. The Ordinary ranks this serum moderate strength, high irritation. Again this targets photo damage, fine lines and signs of aging at a little bit stronger rate then the 0.2% formulation. This serum is for seasoned retinol users.

Highlights

  • Moderate strength, high irritation at a 0.5% formulation. Again, this is for seasoned retinol users. When incorporating this into your routine, start 1x a week and build up as you see how your skin responds to it.
  • Moderate strength, high irritation. You can get good results but this means if you’re not careful, it can irritate and damage your skin.
  • Does not contain water, silicones, plant oils or alcohol. But, it does have an oil base. As of now, all The Ordinary retinols have an oil base.

Use With: Peptides, More Molecules, Antioxidants, Oils and Hydrators and Vitamin C derivatives.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Retinoids, Direct Acids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), or “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%.

Retinol 1% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

This solution reduces the appearance of fine lines, of photo damage and of general skin aging.

Check Current Price
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

How To Use: Use this in the PM, after water-based serums, and before oils and creams. This is The Ordinary’s strongest retinol serum they offer. It’s high strength with very high irritation. 1% sounds small but for retinol, it’s not! If this is the first retinol serum you start off with, expect purging, peeling, and irritation. This serum is reserved for consistent retinol users and even then, it’s likely not a serum you want to use daily.

Highlights

  • This is The Ordinary’s strongest retinol serum they offer. If you’ve used retinol in the past, this can be a really great serum to add into your routine.
  • This serum can cause significant irritation if not used correctly. This is for seasoned retinol users.
  • Very Affordable for a retinol serum this high in concentration. Most luxury formulas are 7x the price and counting.
  • Does not contain water, silicones, plant oils or alcohol. But, it does have an oil base. It would be nice for The Ordinary to release a retinol without an oil base for oily skin types.

Use With: Peptides, More Molecules, Antioxidants, Oils and Hydrators and Vitamin C derivatives.

Don’t Use With: Conflicts with Retinoids, Direct Acids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), or “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to compare the granactive retinoids and retinols because they have different concentrations. The retinols are pure retinol and thus more prone to irritation. Whereas the granactive retinoid have active technologies that allow them to fight signs of aging with less, if any irritation. Going with the granactive retinoid seems like an easy decision!

If you’re well versed in retinoids, then the retinol serums may look more favorable. The most important thing to remember with any retinoid or retinol product is to start gradually. You should never start off using one everyday. Go for weekly use and bump up the amount every 2-3 weeks on the premise that your skin is reacting well to it without irritation.

Another huge must? Retinol-like acids make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Wearing SPF is so important because your skin will be more sensitive as you begin retinol.

Similar Articles

Best Lotion For Crepey Skin On Arms And Legs