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The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

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The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane by The Ordinary


The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane is a water-free solution that contains a 2% concentration of an advanced retinoid active complex called Granactive Retinoid that has been shown to offer better results against multiple signs of ageing than retinol without any of the irritation and drawbacks common with retinol.


Granactive Retinoid, an active technology from Grant Industries, is a solubilized system of Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, a highly-advanced form of retinoid which is, in fact, a non-prescription ester of all-trans direct retinoic acid that offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of ageing than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid. 


To learn more about how to navigate this brand, click here to read our skincare guide on The Ordinary.

The Ordinary’s portfolio of retinoids includes the following formulations:

Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane (Moderate Strength, No Irritation)
Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane (High Strength, No to Low Irritation)
Retinol 0.2% in Squalane (Low Strength, Moderate Irritation) 
Retinol 0.5% in Squalane (Moderate Strength, High Irritation) 
Retinol 1% in Squalane (High Strength, Very High Irritation) 

This product uses next-generation retinoid active technologies which have been shown to achieve better reduction in signs of ageing than retinol without irritation. 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. If you have interest in a retinol product, please refer to our Retinol portfolio above which products contain pure retinol and cost less since many retinol technologies cost less than their next-generation counterparts like Granactive Retinoid. 


This product is: Water free, alcohol free. silicone free, vegan and cruelty free. 

Caution: Retinoids can make the skin more sensitive to UV radiation. Sun protection is particularly important when using retinoids. This product must not be used in conjunction with other retinoids including retinol or retinoic acid. This product is not a treatment for acne. Acne-prone skin may experience a temporary increase in acne during the first few weeks of using any form of retinoid including those used in this formulation.

Note: When pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended to avoid any skincare products containing retinoids such as formulations with Granactive Retinoid or Retinol.


Squalane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bisabolol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil.


A note from The Ordinary: Our formulations are updated from time to time as part of our commitment to innovation. As such, the ingredient list shown here may vary from the box of the product depending on time and region of purchase.


Apply a small amount to face in the PM as part of your skincare regimen, after water serums but before heavier treatments. Do not use with other retinoid treatments. Avoid unprotected solar exposure. Store in a cool, dry place.

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Reviews (11)
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It works - 18-05-2018 by

I used the retinoid emulsion before this and got ok results, but like I this more! I use it at night as it's oily but don't mind that, I wouldn't use it for day wear because of the oil.


I am 16 but due to previous acne medications my skin has some premature aging (fine lines) I also have acne scarring and discolouration around my eye area. I purchased this product hoping it would hydrate my skin, get rid of some fine lines, get rid of texture and possibly even some scarring.

Lemme just tell you.. IT LASTS AGES! Dont be fooled by the small bottle, you only use it once a day and i only use small amounts, i've been using it for months and months. I only really started seeing results halfway through the bottle.. But it had beautiful results. I definitely think i need a stronger % though :-)

This.w.o.r.k.s! - 16-04-2018 by

I am a previously disappointed buyer of the ordinary products. But my desperation to find retinol based products for my ageing skin with a reasonable price, I yet chose the ordinary again.

Note: I am 41 and suffer from perioral dermatitis (ahhhhh!).

I didn't expect much. BUT! BUT! BUT! It WORKS!
I noticed the next morning which I thought hmmm I must be imagining.
Then, 2nd and 3rd day, I couldn't deny the improvements I was seeing.
My skin text has improved and tiny little skin bumps have disappeared. Yay!

Granactive Retinoid 2% is the only new product I have introduced to my nightly skin regime so it can't be anything else.

I am soooooooo glad that I've decided to give the ordinary one more go.

Different to what I thought - 12-04-2018 by

I was excited to start using a retinoid from The Ordinary as I had heard about the benefits of this product. What surprised me was the consistency - it has an oily feel to it. Once it has been applied to my face it is quickly absorbed. I apply this at night and the next morning my skin feels great. I am hoping this has long term benefits with fine lines and pigmentation.

Confused - 23-03-2018 by

I bought this retinoid thinking it was the same as the last retinoid I’ve been using from The Ordinary line maybe even better but boy was I wrong. This has been breaking me out like crazy ever since using it, which sucks. I don’t like the formula of this one, it’s more like a greasy oil feel. Not for me and my skin type I guess.

WORTH IT!! - 13-03-2018 by

My skin ranges from being severely dry and cracked to having the most oiliest T-Zone... Also filled with pimples, blackheads and all sorts of skin issues. I also suffer from sensitive skin which I know for some people it can be hard to find a product that suits you.

After using this product for a week....Yes that's right for a week!! I instantly noticed change in my skin. The smallest amount goes a longggg way so don't over use it!

It doesn't make my skin more oily as I know some products do, I recommend to use a thin layer (Small drop) every second/ third night depending how severe your case is. I put this on after I've cleansed and toned my face (At night) and go to bed with it on.

You can really tell this product is absorbing into your skin giving you the clearest complexion in the morning. I know some serums for night use leave your skin oily AFFF in the morning.

It has restored the oils in my skin, where it was dry, cracked and itchy!
My acne/ pimple scars and scabs have gone lighter in complexion. I no longer have many red areas on my face where my pimples gather up.

Wrinkles and fine lines have cleared up, pigment in my skin is much better, especially in the nose area where people tend you get redness.

I have tried countless of products and this by far has worked for me the best! The price also talks for itself! I could honestly talk about this product all day, but should let you be the judge of the sensational product. Good luck!

Think It's Meeting the Mark - 06-03-2018 by

I had previously used the Ordinary's retinol in silicone (discontinued) and while I read that this is a much better mixture and I can attest to the fact that there is significantly less irritation to my skin than previous, I also feel as though it working is less obvious than the prior version.

I have a severely oily t-zone, so only the smallest amount of product is required or it just makes me feel excessively oily (even if only applied of an evening)

I use this product in a bid to fight fine lines, wrinkles, and break outs.

I do totally dig the packaging though, love the little glass jar and stopper!

As for whether I recommend this or not - the jury is still out on the final say. But it seems to be at least meeting the requirements so far.

Amazing Product! - 05-02-2018 by

I’ve been looking for an effective but affordable retinoid for the longest time until I tried this product. This product is amazing! It works well and is not too strong for my skin. This is my second bottle and my skin has never looked so good!

Early signs are good! - 23-01-2018 by

I’m a bit late to the Retinol / Retinoid train but in this case, it’s better late than never.

I’m fortunate enough to have normal skin, but as I approach middle-age, I’m noticing fine lines under my eyes and on my neck/chest. I’ve done a heap of research and tried a heap of products, but none have come close to retinol/retinoids. I now have the 2% granactive retinoid and the 0.5% retinol in my arsenal; I use the former on my face and eyes due to its minimal to zero irritation and the latter on my neck and décolletage. My (fairly) extensive research suggests that it’s best to build up the usage to give your skin the best possible chance of responding favourably. I’m following this advice to the letter. For now, I use just one drop of 2% retinoid on my face and under eyes and two drops of 0.5% on my neck and chest. Always after exfoliating, to allow my skin to absorb all the goodness. And always at night because I’m told that both active ingredients can cause heightened sensitivity to sunlight. In both instances, I’ve experienced zero irritation.

The plan is to double my dosage in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to see the results! I’m told that it takes 12+ weeks to see improvement but given The Ordinary’s affordable price point (across their entire line), it’s a financial and time investment I’m more than happy to make. Full marks for their honest approach to marketing their products, too.

Undecided as yet - 23-01-2018 by

I have been using nightly for 2 weeks. You only need a couple of drops as it goes a long way. There is a slight oily feel to it so I wait a while before applying moisturiser over the top. I am yet to see any positive changes in my skin but I am very sensitive and this didn't cause any redness or stinging like some products

Fabulous anti-ageing product - 17-01-2018 by

This simple but marvelous product needs only a few drops rubbed on the skin at night. It helps with cell turnover and lessening wrinkles. Add a hyaluronic moisturiser or night cream over the top. Always use sunscreen during the day as retinoids can increase sun sensitivity.

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