my retinol skincare routine

My Retinol Skincare Routine Featuring Naturium Retinol Complex Serum 2.5%

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.

Naturium Retinol Complex Serum 2.5%

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.

Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm

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!

Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm

Krave Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser 

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.

Krave Matcha Hemp Hydrating Cleanser

Naturium Hyaluronic Acid Essence 2% 

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.

Naturium Hyaluronic Acid Essence 2%

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Ultra-Soothing Balm

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.

Bioderma Atoderm Intensive Ultra-Soothing Balm

*Good Molecules Yerba Mate Wake Up Eye Gel 

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.

*Good Molecules Yerba Mate Wake Up Eye Gel

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 🙂

Love always,

Isa ❤


  1. Joy

    Wonderful post!! I really want to try the brand Naturium, their products seem amazing. I am considering incorporating retinol into my routine but I am kind of scared my skin is going to have a reaction. My skin can be sensitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isabella Bonifasi

      Thanks! Naturium is an amazing brand with affordable prices so I definitely recommend their products!

      As for retinol, you should look for products with a super low retinol percentage, retinol alternatives, or maybe even retinol oils for your sensitive skin. I also recommend using your retinol on top of your moisturizer to minimize irritation! And remember to always patch test before applying it to your entire face and slowly incorporate it into your routine.

      Liked by 1 person

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