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The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Authentic
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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.

All of our products are filled/measured by weight/volume so the product is correctly filled to 30 ml. The packaging does not accurately reflect the size of the fill. However, this is intentional as some air must be allowed at the top for the product to actually close.

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Reviews (44)
Review and earn
Amazing! - 16-11-2018 by

My skin looks glows, product didn't irritate my sensitive skin, great over moisturiser in winter months.

Night treatment - 12-11-2018 by

Amazing to use before bed if you want to wake up with clear smooth skin. Fights wrinkles effectively.

This is amazing! - 06-11-2018 by

My skin has not looked this good in forever, I’ve been using this every night for the past few months. I loved it so much I recommend it to everyone and even brought my mum a bottle.

Great product for a great price - 22-10-2018 by

I’ve used other retinol products with a much heftier price tag so wanted to give this one a go for its affordability and reputation and so far I’ve been very happy. I started out using it slowly, once a week, then twice now the recommended 3 times a week and haven’t had any reactions. My skin overall looks clearer and I think it’s having an effect. Will definitely continue using!

Amazing products but need to be cautious when introducing it to the skin - 19-10-2018 by

This product has amazing effects. After I use it for two times, it causes a really good purging with blackheads coming out of the pores every time I wash my face. It feels so good with them leaving my pores. However, be aware that your skin will look very rough and horrible during the purging. It looks worse before it gets better. Make sure you will not be around some mean friends after using this or they will have a good laugh at you...
ALERT!!!. Be very slow when introducing this product to your skin. I am a first time retinol/retinoid user. I put too much on the first time and it caused red, inflamed patches after 2 days! Remember to dilute it, patch test and wait for AT LEAST 3 DAYS before using it at full strength and all over the face. You will regret if you do not go slow.

Repeat purchase - awesome stuff! - 18-10-2018 by

This is a brilliant product for all-round improvement to the appearance of my (40 year old) skin. I'm on my 2nd bottle. Lasts ages, even with nightly use, and I have never experienced any irritation. I have also tried The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid Emulsion, and find this much more effective. Highly recommended.

Great! - 11-10-2018 by

I bought this about 10 months ago and have been using it on and off (not a fault of the product, just me getting lax with skincare for a few months) and my skin doesn't have an issue with it at all! I really enjoy how soft it makes my skin feel especially because of the squalane. I'm not sure how well the retinol is doing however. My skin is usually quite dry so the minimising of my smile lines might be due to the moisture rather than the retinol, but it doesn't irritate me and does a decent job! And for the price you can't go too wrong.

Good - 10-10-2018 by

I've used it a few times every night and have already noticed a difference in the really fine lines under my eyes. I have very oily skin and thought I'd be able to omit moisturizer from my nightly regimen (since there is oil in the product). However, I noticed tiny dry patches appearing when I put my foundation on. This is nothing bad against the product, but I'm going to use a moisturizer again at night and would recommend that for everyone regardless of their skin type.

good product :) - 02-10-2018 by

I recently just got introduced to the maze of chemical skincare and a friend of mine told me to have a try on The Ordinary Retinoid/Retinol products. I have normal/dry skin and had no irritation/reactions from using it on my face and neck area. However, it made my neck all red and sensitive. I had to strain myself from scratching all over the neck area. Luckily, it only lasted for 2-3 days. Now I use it every night. I did notice there is some difference after a few weeks. But I will switch to other The Ordinary retinol/retinoid products to see which one works better for me.

Nice evening product - 24-09-2018 by

I purchased this as part of a new regime from the Ordinary. I have used it for about ten weeks. My skin is somewhat oily but this hasn’t broken me out at all and feels nice and smooth. I have used it for a bit of light evening Gua Sha and it works pretty well for that - it stays slippery for a few minutes. I can’t say for sure that I’ve seen any dramatic improvements through using this hence the moderate score.

Skin feels lovely - 17-09-2018 by

Have just started using this, I have normal to dry skin so was worried this would dry out my skin. But I had no reactions to it and my skin felt so soft and dewy the next morning. I haven't been using it long enough to judge the effects on my pores or wrinkles yet so will need to update my review at a later date.

needed something for my first signs of age - 13-09-2018 by

I have been applying this on my fine lines and enlarged pores and have noticed my skin looks better in the morning, my normally HUGE pores dont look so obvious. I plan to go to the next strength up after this bottle because I've had no iriitation or problems with it at all.

Very Happy with the results - 12-09-2018 by

I have been using The Ordinary range of products for approx 5 weeks now and the result I have achieved have been better than I could have ever expected.
I use the Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane in the evening prior to The Victamin C 30% and my skin is smoother and clearer now than 10 years ago.
It was little oily at first so I used a little and only in the evenings but I am now noticing that my skin appears to be absorbing the product better and the oiliness has gone after about 10 minutes. My skin is definitely healthier

Amazing - 10-09-2018 by

The most amazing product I’ve ever used .
Wake up in the morning with the most refreshed smooth skin and seams to be helping with pores

Worth the purchase - 31-08-2018 by

Purchased this product after recommendation from The Ordinary via email. A small amount goes a long way. Used at night so no issue with applying foundation over the top of it. Although appears oily on initial application it is quickly absorbed into the skin. Very happy with purchase.

Amazing - 27-08-2018 by

I purchased this product to help lighten some post acne pigmentation, and its definitely made a difference to my skin. I use it every night and not only does it slowly but surely lighten pigmentation my skin also wakes up looking much more plump and healthy. I'm also convinced its stopped my breakouts! im excited to try the 5% formula

Made my skin shiny - 27-08-2018 by

My skin became very shiny after using this product, so much that my foundation just wouldn't buff into my skin and would just sit on top and wore off really quickly

Definite results but a little sensitivity - 27-08-2018 by

I’m 40 and have oily/acne/sensitive/patchy skin with a few wrinkles in all the usual places. I have used this three times so far and I have to say, it’s the first Ordinary product with which I have noticed immediate results. My skin is definitely plumped, more smooth and the tone much more even. As a result, I probably got a bit carried away and put it on too often (despite instructions otherwise) and did develop a small reaction around my eyes. I should have known better. My own fault but I put this here more to hasten users to please adhere to the product advice :). Looking forward to trying it again....sparingly

I don't notice a difference - 21-08-2018 by

I haven't seen any improvements having used The Ordinary products for around a year, including The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane. I don't think it has a negative affect however.

I'm obsessed! - 20-08-2018 by

I love this product line! I have purchased at least 5 of their products over the last 9 months and really loved every single one. However, if you only grab one, this is the one to try in my opinion. I bought it because Kim Kardashian recommended it (I know, I know... but if its good enough for her, right?) and at this price point, I wanted to compare to my super pricey Luna oil.

I still keep my Luna in rotation, but am obsessed with this product! I am almost out and am considering trying out the 5%, but really loved how well this one did. NO irritation and I noticed a huge huge dramatic decrease in my hormonal acne.

Great value! - 09-08-2018 by

I love the ordinary line because they offer quality products at a low price! This is perfect for sensitive skin as it doesn’t doesn’t cause the same irritation as other retinols do. Great for preventing aging, or for when you’re just starting out with anti aging. If you need something stronger you could go for the 5% but as I’m only using it for preventative measures at the moment I feel like this is perfect for me.

Fantastic and effective product - 07-08-2018 by

Being in my 30s made me realise that I should be actively looking for anti-aging products that won't break the bank and yet provide sustained and long-lasting effects. This is one of those products.

I can really see the difference in my skin's texture and appearance after a few uses. My skin seems to thank me profusely whenever I use this! I would definitely continue using and purchasing TO's retinol for as long as it's available at Adore Beauty.

Meh - 10-07-2018 by

This product is fine - didn't break me out, but didn't do anything particularly amazing, either. I have sensitive, acne-prone, dehydrated skin.

Perfect solution for me! - 09-07-2018 by

I have combination dehydrated skin which can be sensitive at times, especially when I exfoliate. This product definitely helps with my fine lines and aging just without the tingling that other retinoids have caused me. Love the product! Recommended.

Reduced pigment - 02-07-2018 by

Hate the squalone as it doesn't help with pimples and can't seem to layer with sucess as it doesn't soak in. However, it significantly reduced my hyperpigmentation from pregnancy (mild pregnancy mask). I'm shocked as I had a 4mm patch under my eye, like a big freckle, and after a few months of twice weekly it is gone!!! I feel paler BUT it might be due to avoiding the sun now and being more SPF aware haha.

great product to start with - 27-06-2018 by

this stuff is great. I had never used retinol when I purchased this, so I opted for the lower percentage. no irritation, and a big difference in the all around appearance of my skin. I now use the higher strength, but this was a good place to start.

Omg in love. - 25-06-2018 by

 I am still to see any changes in my skin but I am very sensitive and this didn't cause any redness or stinging like some products which is great!

On the Fence - 20-06-2018 by

I cannot quite work out if I am in love with this product. I definitely like it as I can see/feel it working when I apply it at night (expect slight irritation/warmness to skin and even stinging) but I don't think it works as well as some of the Vitamin C serums that are available. Although their vitamin C products do not have a retinoid, I feel they do a better job on my dry/sensitive skin in reversing the signs of ageing and giving my skin a radiant glow. However, this is a pleasant, relatively gentle retinoid that will definitely put a pep in your skin's step, you just can't predict how much...

Amazing!!! - 19-06-2018 by

I have only been using this product for about two weeks and can’t believe the transformation in my skin. I have some very stubborn acne scars which have reduced quite considerably and my skin is looking plumper and so smooth. I have tried so many other skincare products and skin treatments, but nothing compares to the results of this product. Highly recommend this to anyone with acne scarring.

Good, small, but noticeable effects - 07-06-2018 by

I got this product because retinoids are supposedly the best thing you can apply to prevent aging. I like the feeling of this going on; it's a lot more elegant than other The Ordinary products I've tried, and the squalane feels nice and moisturising in a very "natural" way. It doesn't sit like a film on my combination-oily skin.

I don't have a lot of factors that this serum is here to solve. I don't have fine lines yet, nor do I have acne nor scarring. So it's a bit harder for me to define what this serum does for me, but I do definitely see results. Since adding this 5-6x a week, I feel like my skin is much more consistently radiant. That consistency is what this retinoid does for me - usually my skin will have great days, but also days where it's dull, dry, or overly oily. But since starting this it's always been quite balanced and rarely ever dull looking.

I'm curious to try the 5% one because I hate to miss out, but to be honest, I think this one is perfectly good for me.

I LOVE THIS PRODUCT - 04-06-2018 by

This product is literally AMAZING - it goes on so well and is so moisturising, and you cant beat the price point! I use this every second night and I can already see my acne scars fading, I am forever going to be a fan of The Ordinary and I need all of their products!

Already recommended to friend! - 31-05-2018 by

To be completely honest, I was hooked in when I found out that Kim Kardashian used the other version of this but it was sold out so I bought this as an alternative. For the fraction of the price of most other serums, I think it's amazing! I've been using it approx 5 nights out of the week and it've definitely noticed that I wake up to glowy skin.It's helped me achieve a smoother and even complexion. I still use a night cream on top to seal in moisture but I only need half the amount as this is hydrating enough.
I have already recommended it to a colleague who also bought it!
I've also just purchased a dermal roller to help this work even harder.

Fixed my keratosis pilaris - 22-05-2018 by

Ive suffered from KP for 13 years. I’ve tried sooooo many different products and methods and nothing ever worked...
I thought I’d give this a try cause I thought $20? If it doesn’t work for that I can incorporate into my face routine

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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