The Ordinary retinal review. Everything you need to know about The Ordinary Retinal 0.2% Emulsion. A new launch for 2024.

Everything You Need to Know About The Ordinary’s New Retinal Emulsion

In Anti-Ageing & Protective Skincare, The Ordinary Reviews by Cheryl Woodman MChem

This is a full, scientific The Ordinary retinal review, diving deep into The Ordinary’s new Retinal 0.2% Emulsion (wahoo). You’re about to discover;

👉️ Is The Ordinary’s new Retinal emulsion an anti-ageing hero you should be using?

👉️ The magic number of times a week The Ordinary retinal should be used to unlock its full clear skin potential (hint: you can easily overuse this dreamy yellow potion)

👉️ The amazing way The Ordinary’s new elegant retinal formula helps reduce retinoid irritation and redness – now this is what we’re talking about!

👉️ The overlooked secret weapon ingredient that’s also fighting away blackheads plus clogged pores (prepare to have your mind blown)

👉️ Plus so much more…

The Ordinary’s new retinal 0.2% emulsion is a brand-new, game-changing retinoid that completely dodges the retinol ban bullet.

Psst, if you missed my update last week here’s a speedy summary: The EU is banning retinol products with concentrations over 0.3% for face care. Meaning soon The Ordinary’s 0.5% retinol in squalane and 1% retinol in squalane plus likely their Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (with an undisclosed amount of retinol) will vanish and be buried in The Ordinary fond farewell archives.

It’s enough to throw your whole skincare routine into a frenzy 😅

But hold on to your serums, because The Ordinary Retinal 0.2% Emulsion is here and let me tell you, it’s SPECTACULAR! ✨

(But also, keep in mind it’s not for everyone, we’ll get to that later)

The Ordinary retinal review. Everything you need to know about The Ordinary Retinal 0.2% Emulsion. A new launch for 2024.

The Ordinary Retinal Launch 2024

Retinal is my absolute holy grail retinol alternative because;

  • It’s gentler than retinol
  • Is proven to be less irritating
  • And acts faster than retinol for younger, clearer skin (yes, really)

You also need less for the same anti-ageing or anti-acne results. Pretty awesome.

Retinoids are a family of ingredients known for their anti-ageing and anti-acne marvels.

The family includes actives like: retinol, retinal also known as retinaldehyde, Granactive retinoid also known as hydroxypinacolone retinoate, retinyl palmitate, retinyl retinoate and retinyl propionate.

But not all retinoids are created equal for example retinyl palmitate is like a baby retinoid versus retinol which is like a Dumbledore retinoid.

For each retinoid to get you amazing anti-ageing, clear skin results it must bond with retinoic acid receptors inside your skin.

Which means converting to retinoic acid first.

Here’s how this happens for retinyl palmitate, the baby retinoid;

Retinyl palmitate CONVERTS to Retinol which CONVERTS to Retinal which CONVERTS to Retinoic acid (ref).

That’s 3 conversion steps. A lengthy journey with big potency lost along the way.

Now check out that conversion pathway again – look at what happens to retinal – just one conversion to reach bio-active retinoic acid. Now that’s what we’re talking about.

Retinoic acid proves to be approximately 20 times more powerful than retinol.Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2019 Aug; 36(4): 392–397

Which likely means retinol conversion in your skin is just 5%.

Making retinal a superwoman in our skincare world.

A superwoman who can;

  1. Thicken your skin to prevent fine lines and wrinkles (skin thins with age and with estrogen loss)
  2. Smooth away fine lines and wrinkles
  3. Increase your skin’s plumping collagen production
  4. Brighten and even your skin tone
  5. Fade away pigmentation and sun spots
  6. And so much more

Last week Cheryl asked me: I’d really like to know about whether this should be used with anything else (or shouldn’t!), or is it just like retinol but milder? Specifically, I was thinking in conjunction with bakuchiol and peptides… Can you use both? all three of them? Should you?

My quick answer: retinal works like retinol but it’s more potent. Bakuchiol works to activate the same anti-ageing, anti-acne gene profiles in your skin as retinal – so you don’t need both. Retinal’s great paired with peptides which are ultra gentle to your skin.

The Ordinary Retinal Review

So should you use The Ordinary’s new Retinal 0.2% emulsion?

First important point: you need just a pinch of retinal for impressive anti-ageing results.

0.01% to 0.2% is the effective concentration range in skincare.

The Ordinary’s new Retinal’s at the top end – 0.2% making this a potent beauty (and for some skin types a potent beast).

While on The Ordinary’s website, they recommend: ‘The serum-textured formula is suitable for all skin types, and is recommended for experienced users of retinoids.

The Ordinary retinal review: I disagree (strongly, sorry team Ordinary): The Ordinary Retinal 0.2% Emulsion isn’t appropriate for sensitive skin types. Retinal’s a great retinoid to try out if you have a sensitive skin type, however, I never recommend a sensitive skin type try out a 0.2% formula. It would be like a coffee virgin indulging in a triple espresso.

Last week my client Katherine asked me: You mentioned that I shouldn’t use retinol right now because of irritation – I’m wondering if you feel the same with this new formula?

My quick answer: absolutely, if like my client Katherine you’re experiencing signs of a poorly skin barrier like redness, sensitivity, dryness, or flaking skin – then The Ordinary retinal is not for you – and that’s a-ok, there are other amazing actives you can enjoy instead.

Psst, for a full library of the best retinoids to try out for any skin type plus alternatives, join me inside my online anti-ageing video course, AgeLock.

The Ordinary retinal review bottom line: The Ordinary retinal is for experienced retinoid users. If you’ve used a high strength retinol or retinoid before or If you’ve used a 1% retinal product then you can consider The Ordinary’s retinal 2% emulsion as an anti-ageing leg up. Wahoo.

Psst, I show you how to work out when to move up the retinoid ladder inside AgeLock (you don’t want to do it too soon).

I also recommend using The Ordianry’s new retinal only twice a week in the evening (to begin) – even if you’ve used a high-strength retinol before. See this science finding…

Oxidation of retinol to retinaldehyde was consistently 30–60-fold slower than the oxidation of retinaldehyde to RA [retinoic acid].Subcell Biochem. 2016; 81: 127–161

Give your skin time to acclimatise to the fast potency of retinal 🙂

The Ordinary Retinal Review: The Ingredients

I’ve been a huge fan of The Ordinary since their early days as they jumped onto our skincare shelves boasting simple, effective formulas that got the job done. But let’s be honest, sometimes they were a little basic.

Well, those days are over, The Ordinary has levelled up their formulas in the best way possible. They’re still exceptionally effective, but now they’re also incredibly elegant. Think of it as having new emotional depths 😂

I’m sharing The Ordinary’s new retinal ingredients list below and next in this The Ordinary retinal review, I’m revealing the awesome added extras in this formula which can help prevent blackheads, soothe away potential retinoid irritation and even stop skin shininess.

The Ordinary Retinal 0.2% Emulsion Ingredients List

Aqua (Water), Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Propanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyapatite, Retinal, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Ergothioneine, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Bisabolol, Brassica Campestris Sterols, Zingiber Officinale Root Extract, Butylene Glycol, Isohexadecane, Hexyldecanol, Maltodextrin, Caesalpinia Spinosa Gum, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Lactic Acid, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

The amazing extra benefits you’re going to get from these 7 underknown about actives captured inside The Ordinary’s new Retinal 0.2% Emulsion;

🧴 Ingredient #1: Hydroxyapatite

▶️ Skin benefit: selectively absorbs unsaturated fatty acids of your sebum – these oils are responsible for your skin getting shiny and for the development of blackheads. This ingredient can help reduce your blackheads. Wahoo.

🧴 Ingredient #2: Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide.

▶️ Skin benefit: A pseudo ceramide mimicking ceramide-2 in your skin. Ceramides help keep your skin comfortable, healthy, calm and hydrated.  It’s fighting against retinoid irritation – wahoo. This pseudo ceramide can also have an anti-ageing effect, increasing skin elasticity, reducing the number and depth of wrinkles and decreasing the number of visible pores. Pretty neat eh.

🧴 Ingredient #3: 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol

▶️ Skin benefit: can give fast-acting skin relief from burning, stinging and irritation, seriously – manufacturer tests show reducing stinging up to 78% after 3 minutes and burning up to 80% after 3 minutes. Awesome for preventing sensitivity from retinoids.

🧴 Ingredient #4: Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid

▶️ Skin benefit: based on a soothing active from oats (known as avenanthramides) – anti-sensitivity, anti-inflammatory, anti-irritation and can reduce redness in the skin. It’s as if The Ordinary knows 0.2% retinal can be irritating 😉

🧴 Ingredient #5: Ergothioneine

▶️ Skin benefit: a supernatural antioxidant probably included for protecting the awesome retinal but also for brightening your skin plus getting rid of yellow skin and evening your skin tone.

🧴 Ingredient #6: Bisabolol

▶️ Skin benefit: identical to the natural soothing extract from chamomile. You’ve got it – this one’s for helping your skin tolerate and love that 0.2% retinal concentration.

🧴 Ingredient #7: Brassica Campestris Sterols

▶️ Skin benefit: to help accelerate skin barrier repair (retinoids can reduce your skin barrier health)

Wow right, what an awesome list of extra benefits for your skin.

The Ordinary retinal review: The Ordinary’s new retinal launch is not a basic formulation of 0.2% retinal in a cream. This is an elegant formula with soothing, brightening, refining and oil reduction potential.

Buy it now.

Last week Lucy asked me: Should we just use a moisturiser afterwards? Is The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors a good pairing with it?

My quick answer: as The Ordinary’s 0.2% Retinal Emulsion is a cream – heck yes – just moisturiser after will work wonderfully. While The Ordinary’s NMF moisturiser is a great all-rounder, due to the high strength of The Ordinary’s retinal their phytoceramides moisturiser may be even better – helping compensate for potential irritation plus offering bonus skin barrier repair just like our Brassica Sterols active.

You also have the option to pair with anti-ageing actives like peptides or sensitive skin-friendly forms of vitamin C (I talk you through these inside AgeLock.

Enrol now.

The Ordinary Retinal Review Bottom Line

Retinal is a star for anti-ageing and keeping skin clear, even and healthy. I will always choose retinal over retinol which is why I’m incredibly excited by The Ordinary’s new Retinal 0.2% Emulsion.

However, The Retinal 0.2% Emulsion is only a go for experienced retinoid users who have not experienced skin sensitivity.

If you’re new to retinal I strongly recommend trying out an awesome lower-strength retinal (for a while) before you consider testing The Ordinary’s new retinal launch.

Your next step: Find your perfect anti-ageing retinal inside my online anti-ageing video course AgeLock. I can’t wait to see you there enjoying the best skin of your life 🙂

Enrol now.