Retinol has been a very discussed ingredient for a few years now and everyone seems to love it. As an almost 22-year-old, I don’t think I need the anti-aging properties that retinol provides. But I still wanted to try it out and see what all the hype was about.
Last year I was blessed with the worst skin I’ve ever had (ahem maskne) and I tried out a bunch of things that didn’t do a whole lot for my skin. And then I tried retinol and my skin changed completely. It was love at first application.
Retinol has helped me control my breakouts and smooth my textured skin. Surprisingly it has also regulated my combo skin a little bit. I might not need the anti-aging benefits yet but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the other benefits of retinol in the meantime.
Today I wanted to share and break down my current skincare routine for the nights I use retinol. Because it is a potent ingredient, I like to switch my products up to work well with it. I mostly stick to soothing and simple products to let the retinol do its thing.
My Retinol Of Choice
My favorite retinol ––and really, the only one I’ve tried–– is the Naturium Retinol Complex Serum 2.5%. This has soothing ingredients formulated into it so I get the benefits of the retinol without the extreme irritation and dryness that you’d usually associate with it. It’s very effective and the morning after I use it, my skin feels like a baby’s butt.
The only thing I don’t love about it is the smell. It smells a little like puke but funky smells are pretty common with retinol. Even though I hold my breath every time I apply it, I’m willing to put up with it cause I love it.
My favorite thing about this is the price point. Naturium is known for their high-quality products at affordable prices and I don’t think it gets better than that.
I use my retinol twice a week at night, and I’ve found that works best for my skin. My skin could probably handle up to three days but I don’t feel like I need it. When my skin is feeling strong and not reactive, I like to apply it before my moisturizer. But if my skin’s a bit irritated or sensitive I apply it after my moisturizer to minimize irritation.
Now let me take you through the rest of my routine.
I always start my nights with a double cleanse. I’m currently using the Farmacy cleansing balm which is one of my favorites because it effectively removes makeup and sunscreen without irritating my eyes. A little bit of product goes a long way and it rinses off without leaving any oily residue. It’s honestly amazing!
Following up my first cleanse is the Krave Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser. This is one of the best, barrier-friendly cleansers for all skin types. It’s filled with soothing, calming ingredients and it’s such a joy to apply. When I use this, it leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped of moisture. I love using this as my second cleanse on retinol nights because it doesn’t have any actives in the formula that could clash with the retinol.
Another excellent Naturium product! I use this essence every night regardless of if I’m wearing retinol because it’s my favorite. This is such a hydrating and nourishing product but it’s fast-absorbing and lightweight on my combo skin. On retinol nights, I use this as extra prep for my skin to allow the retinol and other ingredients to penetrate deeper into the skin. Plus, an extra layer of hydration is never a bad idea. Especially when you use harsher ingredients on your skin.
As someone with oilier skin, I can be a bit apprehensive about balms. But this one by Bioderma is amazing! I use it as my moisturizer after applying my retinol to calm my skin down. Despite being moisturizing, this is a very soothing balm so it’s perfect for rashes and sensitive skin. I use it mostly to prevent any sensitivity from arising and it hasn’t failed me yet. It has really helped me protect my moisture barrier while enjoying the benefits of retinol.
If you follow any of my social media channels, you know I’ve been loving this eye gel for a few months now. I know not everyone is a fan of eye cream but my eyes definitely need one. I use this eye gel every night ––and sometimes days–– and it has slowly become my favorite. It’s a gel formula so it’s lightweight under the eyes (buh-bye milia) but it adds a ton of hydration. It’s perfect for my combo skin and the caffeine in it has brightened up my dark circles a bit after continuous use.
And that’s about it for my current retinol skincare routine. As I previously mentioned, I like to keep it simple and use soothing ingredients to make sure my skin is ready for the potency of retinol. And, this goes without saying, but I’m always extremely diligent with my sunscreen the next day to avoid any chemical burns.
What’s your favorite retinol/retinol alternative product you’ve ever tried? Give me some inspiration on what I should try next!
Thank you so much for reading! I hope this was helpful 🙂