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The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

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The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane by The Ordinary


A high performance anti-aging serum, The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane, targets multiple skin concerns such as pigmentation, wrinkles, and uneven texture. Dermatologists agree that retinoic acid is the most potent form of retinoid available to achieve a younger looking appearance. This face serum features a water-free formula that is less irritating than traditional retinoids, yet with superior benefits. Over time, you will achieve younger, healthier looking skin.


Key benefits:


  • Brightens and lightens pigmentation spots
  • Diminishes the appearance of lines and wrinkles
  • Offers lightweight hydration that never feels heavy 
  • Refines skin texture and tone
  • Non-irritating formula helps skin look brighter and with a natural glow


Key ingredients:


  • Retinoic acid features true next generation technology to help skin cells make new collagen, lightens pigmentation and fades age spots, stimulates circulation, and reduces lines and wrinkles. This form of retinoid is not only more effective than traditional retinol, it is also less irritating.
  • Squalane offers potent anti-ageing benefits and offers anti-inflammatory benefits, making it an ideal ingredient to help care for conditions such as acne and eczema.
  • Tomato fruit extract helps balance sebum production, eases redness and itching, and helps regulate skin pH.
  • Abundant in antioxidants, jojoba seed oil helps soften fine lines, minimises oil production, and often skin softening benefits.


How to use The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane:


  • After cleansing and toning, apply a few drops to the skin before you apply your face moisturizer.
  • Retinoids make your skin more photosensitive, so be sure to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen daily.


What is this product formulated WITHOUT?


The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane is free of nuts, silicone, alcohol, and parabens. It is also vegan, cruelty free, and gluten free.


Who should use this product?

Anyone who is not pregnant or breastfeeding can safely use this product.


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Reviews (62)
Review and earn
Love it!!! Favourite product - 17-01-2019 by

I started with the 2% but wish I'd just gone straight to this one. It's a great retnoid and I'll definitely be repurchasing! My skins texture is improving, pigmentation, blackheads and wrinkles! I pretty much don't use as many other ordinary products as what I use to because this hits all my problem areas in 1 product! Try it!

Great to ease into retinoids - 17-01-2019 by

I have dry sensitive skin so I didn’t want to jump into Retinols straight away. Instead I went for this option which is supposed to be less irritating. Given that it’s also in Squalane I thought it would be great for my skin. Fast forward 6 weeks and it’s been a bumpy road. I love it, but my skin is still adjusting to it. I still get dry patches after using it, luckily I counter this with TO’s lactic acid. If I could go back though I probably should have started with the 2% and worked my way up.

Give it time - 19-12-2018 by

I started using this after finishing my bottle of The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2%. This product is very different and stronger - so expect an adjustment period for your skin. I had a really intense breakout as my skin adjusted but now I can see the results of having a stronger retinol. Skin is clearer, brighter and more supple.

Good for the price - 19-12-2018 by

I prefer the 2% emulsion I think after using this one in Squalene. This one would be better suited to dry skin and mine is more normal. I will keep using it as happy with the results and the price is great.

Great! - 15-12-2018 by

I love The Ordinary products - this is no exception! I love the brightening effect this product has on my skin. I would say that the Ordinary Retinoid emulsion is my preference - but both are good for my combination skin.

Great! - 10-12-2018 by

I use this at night on my dry and pigmented skin and it certainly helps.. I wake up with fresh, plump and clearer skin

Great - 29-11-2018 by

Great product. Is easy to use. Great price. My skin looks better. I would recommend.

No adverse reactions, price point is exceptional, replaced a more expensive product - 27-11-2018 by

I am 50-ish, and worried about pigmentation. My skin has gotten a bit drier over the years as well. I tried the 2% with no adverse effects, but I am also wanting more of a visible effect. But regardless of whether or not I will have a visible effect, I found I can use this at night- replacing a more expensive face oil, that is hard to source in AU. Personally I didn't find the project too oily or oilier than any other product I have tried and there is no visible evidence on my pillow case so I believe my skin is taking in the product. I wish there was a long time user review...I do feel better mentally-and at this price that is a definite win.

great product - 22-11-2018 by

really easy to apply on the skin and simple to incorporate into skincare routine. I've been using for a year now and my face looks fresher.

Good overall product - 22-11-2018 by

I am 35 with oily skin and occasional breakouts. This product in conjunction with the salicylic acid leaves my skin clear and refined. I used the 2% initially and now alternate it and the 5%. I use it 3 times a week.

Effective but oily - 19-11-2018 by

I was using 2% retinol for a long time and my skin stopped responding to it, so I switched to the 5%. Unusually, this one is clear with a yellowish tint, while the 2% is opaque. This product leaves an oily residue on the skin that doesn't absorb so it's best used at night. It also smells strongly like sunscreen, for some reason, which is kind of off-putting! Despite this it's a good, non-irritating retinol formula, which is impressive considering the 5% concentration and the price.

Great step up from 2% - 19-11-2018 by

I finally finished using the original TO 2% which my skin had adapted to and found switching to this really made an impact without irritating my skin. I really love the squalane combo, it feels soothing but has potent effects.

No Change to Skin - 13-11-2018 by

I have friends who rave about how amazing this product is but for my oily skin I didn't notice any change and wont be re-purchasing. I have generally been pretty unhappy with all The Ordinary products I have used and wont be purchasing any of them again. Shame as the prices are really good and they list some really good ingredients. But for whatever reason they just aren't working on my skin.

Very good price - 12-11-2018 by

I am happy with this purchase. I know the importance of retinol for ageing and I feel it does wonders for my skin. It did dry me out at first however backing up with hylauronic acid and a good moisturiser the next day foxes that.

Miracle product - 12-11-2018 by

Amazing for anti aging and blemishes. Skin is so much smoother and clearer!

Good for the price - 05-11-2018 by

This was a great retinol for the price. It didn't make my skin peel like others have. I got consistent results with regular use :)

Great product - 26-10-2018 by

I tried this as an upgrade from the Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2%, and can say that I definitely think it's worth every penny. My skin became used to the weaker concentration, and with this stronger one, I saw my melasmas and hyperpigmentation lighten up further. It feels a bit different though, slightly oilier perhaps, than the 2%, but it's a welcome extra dose of hydration for my combo skin.

Good Product - 25-10-2018 by

After using the milder retinoid version for about a year, I upgraded to this. For me, the consistency of the 2% emulsion is way better than this bit maybe this would give me some results which the milder one failed to. I haven't seen any massive difference in 2 weeks use but I'll keep using it and see how I go.

Incredibly good, insanely cheap - 18-10-2018 by

I love this upgrade from the previous 2% solution - my skin is looking smoother and clearer as a result. And while squalane took a little bit of time to get used to, I really love it now - it adds moisture to my dry-ish skin and means I use less moisturiser afterwards.
I was on The Ordinary bandwagon from day 1 and got my products as part of the initial release. As each one of my previous expensive, high-end products finished, I replaced it with its equivalent from The Ordinary. In general, I was blown away not only by how good The Ordinary products were, but also by how poor, in comparison, my old high-end products were shown to be.
This was well demonstrated when I shifted to the original 2% retinoid. I didn't expect to get the same result as from my old high-end lactic acid product - I thought surely, the high-end one would be more potent or that the other ingredients (e.g. all the expensive botanicals, etc.) would have some additional benefit. But I was wrong. The Ordinary product performed so much better - I even went through that 'retinol rough skin' period again and, after that, my skin got smoother, less congested and brighter using The Ordinary.
I really think most people can benefit from some vit A product in their regimen, and The Ordinary Retinoid 5% is a genuinely good product to add in if it's suitable for your skin (and you've worked up to it, of course). I can tell you, for me, it out-performed a product that costs $130 for 30ml! It's a good 'un.

Improvement in complexion and overall skin texture - 17-10-2018 by

I have acne prone skin with active hormonal acne. This product has improved my overall complexion and has helped heal older acne on my face. It is quite oily when first applied but does absorb into skin in time. I have had no irritation with the retinoid and am quite happy with the product.

I love it - 11-10-2018 by

I bought it as upgrade from TO Granactive Retinoid 2% emulsion. I've been using it for a month now. So far, no irritation. I can see the improvement on my skin. My pores are more refined and the skin looks healthier. I like the texture better that Retinoid 2% emulsion. The only reason why I giving it 4 stars because it's quite oily and it takes a while to absorb into the skin.

Very good - 10-10-2018 by

Very pleased with it. Gentle with my sensitive skin and I can feel my face very smooth. It Is or feel oily but after 2 minutes it desapears and my face glow in a wonderful sense. This product is a winner and I will buy it again.

Fantastic - 10-10-2018 by

Easily the best retinoid product I’ve used so far. I’m yet to experience any peeling, if any. Super lightweight formula means you don’t even feel it on your skin. Very impressed. Cannot wait to start seeing results. Another winner from The Ordinary

Good one - 02-10-2018 by

I bought this for my mother and unfortunately it was a little too harsh for her skin. I made a mistake of buying a 5% for my mother instead of buying a lower % as my mother is completely new to retinoids. The irritation was gone after a week though. It is a good product but I will probably buy her the 2% emulsion next time.

Repairs skin like no other - 28-09-2018 by

One of the best retinol I’ve ever used. I love how nourishing it is and it has lightened many of the hyper pigmentation left from blemishes. Non-irritating, doesn’t sting eyes in the morning (an issue I have with many other facial oils) and being suspended in one of my favourite oils squalane means it doesn’t clog pores whilst healing, repairing and moisturising skin. I use this every night on top of a hyaluronic acid lotion (no moisturiser needed) and I wake up with a beautiful glow everyday. Will forever repurchase.

Works but beware of peeling - 25-09-2018 by

This is amazing for reducing fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and the occasional breakouts. Be ware though that you will peel and will need to physically exfoliate otherwise you will look older and not younger.

Works - 18-09-2018 by

I was using the 2% not im using this one and not skin reactions. I have sensitive combination skin and my tzone is oily and blackheads. I use in my night routine, of cleanse, tone, retinoid, AHA and moisturiser. Retinoid helps stop pores filling up my pores, reducing blackheads as will as uneven skintone. Mornings I use glycolic cleanser, Salyic Acid, AHA, Buffet, and moistureiser/eye cream. Most products I use are from The Ordinary and have the results of a more expensive skincare range.

mmmm - 17-09-2018 by

silky smooth, completely non-irritating to my sensitive skin. use at night, I had been using with 23% Vitamin C, and this should be fine for most - but my eczema flared up after about a week, so I now rotate my PM treatments to avoid overload.

Good Product for the Price - 13-09-2018 by

Good product for the price, but if you want fast and dramatic results prescription retinol might be a better option.

Loving This - 11-09-2018 by

Have been using this for over 12 months now and I do feel my skin looks better. Just a warning though I got to close to my eye and it stung so be careful.

Not sure... - 04-09-2018 by

I am a big fan of the ordinary- but this is the first of their retinol products i’ve tried and i’m not sure about it... firstly I find the smell really off putting, it reminds me of fish oil. Also it’s much oilier than I had expected, and while it spreads well it doesn’t fully absorb into my skin. On the plus side it isn’t irritating, but i’m not seeing the wonder results of other people yet. I’ll persist until I finish the bottle, but at the moment I wouldn’t re purchase.

AMAZING RESULTS !! - 29-08-2018 by

I bought this for the skin on my face and it has worked beautifully , it is absorbed well and makes skin so soft. When you wake up the next day its like new skin! I had such a great result with smooth clear looking radiant skin I decided to try it on my hands. I had some age spots appearing and dry scaly winter hands. It is working beautifully on them too , my fave product ! no irratation at all.

pretty good - 22-08-2018 by

helps even skin tone and reduce scarring. not a huge difference but its noticeable.

Every second night - 21-08-2018 by

I use this product every second night and love it. Initially I started with the Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2% before upgrading to this one as I wanted a higher percentage. I have dry skin so love that the 5% is in a squalane formula and I don't find it greasy at all. It's rich and hydrating and over time it has made a huge difference to my skin in terms of it's texture and helping with fine lines.

Great product - 01-08-2018 by

Have been using this product in combination with a derma roller. I have dry and sensitive skin and have had minimal reaction (any sensitivity I’m getting is likely from the combination). Very happy with how my skin is looking and very soft and fresh. Will definitely continue using this product.

Another winner - 30-07-2018 by

I'm a fan of the ordinary and this is another one I'll be adding regularly to my regime. It goes on nicely, and I feel like my skin is absorbing it well. Lovely product

Great for fine lines - 27-07-2018 by

I've been using it for a couple of months now and love it. After washing my face, I let it sit on my skin for a few minutes and apply moisturiser as my skin is very dry. It has definitely helped with my fine lines around my mouth and forehead. Love it!

Great product - 25-07-2018 by

I love that the vitamin A is mixed with an oil so it doesn't dry out your skin too much as I already have dry skin. I use it every second night and my skin is glowing!

I love this brand - 23-07-2018 by

I'm 26 so no major difference in skin, but I do love this brand

Oily but delivers results - 18-07-2018 by

Perhaps squalane is oil? Personally no idea what that is, but I was quite surprised that this retinoid was in a clear oil type substance. It made sleeping with it on a bit uncomfortable as the oil densest seem to absorb in. That being said certainly helps with the appearance of lines and marks on the skin. If you can handle the oily texture its a great product.

AMAZING! - 12-07-2018 by

This stuff is amazing, my skin has never felt better. Smooth smooth texture, lovely colour and really hydrated - what more could you want!?! A couple of drops goes a long way, I use at night time and wake up with radiant smooth skin. Make up applies incredible!

Great for acne scars - 04-07-2018 by

This product is great, it has definitely helped reduce some of my acne scars and texture, just be careful with this product not to wear it during the day as it makes skin temporarily sensitive to UV. When I put it on at night i tend to wake up with smooth and bright skin.

Nice but not a game changer - 27-06-2018 by

I haven't noticed any results from this product but have only been using it 2-3 times per week as I don't love the texture. Its nice to find a Retinoid that doesn't cause peeling and irritation and if retinoids work for you, you'll probably love this product as a substitute for other, more expensive brands.

Liquid Gold! - 27-06-2018 by

I will be talking about this product for the rest of my life. It is absolutely brilliant! I am in my mid 20s and have started to use this product to slow down the signs of aging. I was also interested to see how this product would affect my acne. My acne comes in the form of dry patches on my cheeks. In only a week my fine line wrinkles under my eyes and across my forehead have almost vanished. I am absolutely flawed! I've also noticed my dry acne has almost cleared up after 5 years of flinging all sorts of hydrating products at it. 100/10. The Ordinary, you are a god sent! The only downside is the product doesn't soak in, but sits on the skin and so I use it before bed.

a real power house - 27-06-2018 by

this stuff is amazing. I have dry sensitive skin, but this product never irritated my skin. I use it nightly, and I have noticed a huge difference. definitely worth a try.

Noticed a difference within 1 use - 26-06-2018 by

So so good for my skin. Moved from Sydney to Canberra and the cold and lack of moisture in the air was not agreeing with my skin

very gentle and fast results

would wait around 10 minutes before applying further products though

Amazing product - 25-06-2018 by

Being one of the only products with supporting its claims, vitamin A can be difficult to find in a product at a concentration high enough to be effective and a price low enough, this is the best for both of these categories without being prescription. It has made a noticeable difference to skin texture and line reduction, is very affordable, easy to use, no side effects and I recommend it to everyone that asks.

This is AMAZING! - 25-06-2018 by

Immediate improvement on my skin - fine lines seem less noticeable and my face appears plump and hydrated. I went straight to the 5% after not having used a retinoid prior and had absolutely no irritation. Will definitely repurchase.

Love it - 25-06-2018 by

I do love this product. Easy to apply and it does brighten the skin. I usually allow it a few minutes to absorb and it's wonderful.

Amazing. - 18-06-2018 by

Love how my skin looks and feels using this product. I've always had very red, acne prone skin. Both issues reduced in the first month of using this. The texture of my skin is also a lot smoother. Will definitely be repurchasing.

I am in love - 07-06-2018 by

I love this product so much. Read the other reviews and thought I'd take a chance. Worth it. It feels so good on your skin. 1 week and I started to notice subtle differences on my skin. This is week 3 and again the change has kept going. Consistent. Will re-order as soon as this bottle runs out. Buy buy buy!

Difficult to apply - 05-06-2018 by

This is not the best. The formula is very runny (carried in oil?) and difficult to apply. I notice no difference in strength or performance between this and other retinoids so will not repurchase.

My Sister says this is amazing - 01-06-2018 by

I actually got my review mixed up and put this on the Vitamin C Suspension 30% and what she wanted to say about that is that it has stung quite a bit but she loves it and says her skin is starting to adjust to it.

Her comments on The Retinoide 5% is that she absolutely loves the way this makes her skin feel after applying but is probably a bit to soon to tell if this has made much of a difference to the way her skin looks.

Best product ever!! - 28-05-2018 by

Wow I’ve been using this for 3 months along with The Ordinary hyaluronic 2% acid + B5 for 3 months.
I’m 48 and have never ever used any skin care at all, but after seeing a review on Facebook I decided to give it ago.
I had some deep wrinkles on my forehead as well as a scar which was risen and fine lines around my eyes. Since using this product the scar has Disappeared, wrinkles almost gone, fine lines are also gone and my skin is as soft as a new born baby. I get comments every day about how good my skin looks and even asked if I had Botox injections hahaha
So my daughters have started using The Ordinary products as well and their results are also as good as mine
The price point is amazingly cheap and product lasts for ages.
Seriously 10 Stars for this whole range of The Ordinary!!

Stepping up - 28-05-2018 by

I was using the Granactive Retinoid in 2% but when I finished it, I moved to the 5%. My skin is smooth and soft. I can tell it is making a difference to my fine lines. Though it is oily, it sinks into my skin and then it feels amazing. I haven't had any reaction from stepping up to the 5%.

Good product, a bit heavy - 25-05-2018 by

I have combination skin so I find the squalene a bit heavy - that said, it is only used at night. It seems to be helping to even out my skin tone and normalise my combination skin

Love it - 22-05-2018 by

I do love this product. Easy to apply and it does brighten the skin. I usually allow it a few minutes to absorb.

Great Product - 18-04-2018 by

Its a gentle & effective product that I use alternate nights. It has a bit of oily texture but gets absorbed into the skin very quickly. This is one of the many great products from the ordinary line which I am sure I will repurchase again and again

Break out city :( - 17-04-2018 by

I had gone through my second bottle of Granactive Retinoid 2% emulsion - which has completely transformed my acne prone skin! I wanted to step my Vit A game up and try the Retinoid 5%.... disaster. My skin completely broke out, the base is so oily compared to the 2% which is more water based. The oil sat on my skin and within 2 days I was covered in pimples. I should have just stayed with my 2%

Great Product - 17-04-2018 by

I am 49 and started off with the Granactive 2% Emulsion, loved that so decided to up the retinol. I really like this one also, I find you only need a small amount. The Ordinary products are my favourite skincare products to date. Affordable and they do what they claim. My skin hasn’t looked better, so bright, and my lines are diminishing with use. You won’t regret the purchase.

Good, but prefer the Granactive 2% - 06-03-2018 by

Absolutely LOVE The Ordinary! Initially tried the Granactive 2%, which made an almost immediate difference to my skin. The glow is real. It was so amazing that I thought I would up the % and try the 5%. I didn’t realize that the squalene suspension meant it was an oil based serum, similar to the consistency of rosehip oil I think. When I use the 5% for more than 2 nights in a row, my face and neck break out with pimples. I very rarely get pimples usually, so could definitely attribute it to this product- think the oil/squalene is just too heavy for my skin. If this sounds like you too, u recommend the 2% as it smooths onto skin and absorbs immediately, not oil based. Love it, gonna go back to it :)

Holy grail - 19-02-2018 by

I’m never using anything else now this is amazing . I am 45 have medium to dry skin with some sun spots in summer. I find this to be not irritating at all and give me an lovely glow in the morning. Non drying. Better than the 2%. It’s working on my sunspots now too.

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