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The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane

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The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane by The Ordinary


The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane is a water-free solution that contains 0.2% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines, photo damage and general skin ageing.

While Retinol has been studied extensively, it is irritating to the skin and newer technologies exist that mimic the visible effects of Retinol without causing skin irritation. For this reason, we generally recommend using Granactive Retinoid 2% or Granactive Retinoid 5% instead of this formula.

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

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) 


Caution: Retinol can cause significant irritation, redness and peeling, especially around the eyes and mouth, in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance. If you have not used high-strength retinol formulas in the past, we strongly recommend that you start your retinol regimen with our Retinol 0.2% in Squalane and adjust to higher strengths of Retinol 0.5% in Squalane and Retinol 1% in Squalane as your skin builds tolerance. You will achieve the same end results without the unpleasant redness and peeling along the way. 

Note: Water can affect the stability of retinol. Additionally, plant oils in retinol formulations can trigger lipid peroxidation and can impair retinol integrity. This formula does not contain water, silicones, plant oils or alcohol. 

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 (15)
Review and earn
Amazing for clearing redness and uneven skin tone - 24-12-2018 by

The ordinary's retinol is actually pretty good, it helped to even out my skin tone (in conjunction with the company's other products) in only a few weeks. It's not too strong either which is good for my sensitive skin.

Great result - 14-12-2018 by

Just entered my 30s and added this to my night time regime. My skin has been glowing with only little to no redness (does not feel irritated at all). My fine lines and dynamic lines are definitely still there but skin texture is much better and thus making the fine lines less visible (can still see up close in the mirror). Only draw back is that it’s a very thin oil which makes it harder to apply (the Retinoid emissions are thicker milky solution and easier to apply - but a smidge more expensive).

Retinol for beginners - 07-12-2018 by

This is my first use of retinol, I noticed my skin is stronger and my acne cleared up after a couple weeks. I have combination skin (normal/oily) I would highly recommended it and am planning to buy the slightly stronger bottle soon.

Good results so far - 19-11-2018 by

I have oily/acne-prone skin and this works very well for me. I definitely notice clearer skin and it seems to reduce any pimples I have overnight. Even though I have oily skin, it doesn't leave my face too greasy.

I'm excited to try the 0.5% bottle next.

Ordinary - 12-11-2018 by

This product was neither useless or useful. I personally didn't really see any results but this may of being because I was using so many other products at the same time and was not patient enough. I feel like product would be good for someone who is just starting to use Retinol and are getting their skin used to it. I was not disappointed though as it is very well priced.

A bit drying but I’m in for the long term results - 29-10-2018 by

I’ve previously used The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid but have swapped to this as I want a more direct form or retinol. Even though this is the 0.2% I find it makes my forehead quite dry the morning after I have used it. I’m going to persist and see what the longer term results are like. I know that retinol takes persistent use to see results so I will be patient!

Good first step reintol - 22-10-2018 by

I found this product to be a good first step when applying retinol to my skin care regime. My only negative would be that it does leave you skin a bit oily

a little goes a long way - 20-09-2018 by

I am turning 30 in a few months and purchased this to start combating fine lines and uneven skin tone. I noticed a difference in skin clarity within a week. Only a very small amount required, I was initially using far too much which left my face super greasy. I use this at night after lactic acid. You may find, which I did, that your skin breaks out when you first start using it, apparently retinol has a purging effect on the skin.

Great for beginners - 31-08-2018 by

I hadn't used retinol before this product so this was a great introduction to it. My skin reacted well and after months of use I've definitely noticed a difference in my skin and will now move up to the next level. Plus it's so affordable!

I love the Ordinary! - 13-08-2018 by

I have so many products of the Ordinary and decided to give this one a shot due to the reviews. It hasn't irritated my skin and I am sure I will see results in the coming weeks.

Great for starter - 07-08-2018 by

I started using retinols with this product - so good for beginners as it didn't irritate my skin or anything. I used this 3 times a week and slowly worked up to using it nightly until the bottle was finished. My skin is so nice and plump the morning after use. Have now moved on to the 0.5% in squalane.

Great Starter - 24-07-2018 by

I've never used Retinol before, so thought it was wise to start with the 0.2%. I've been using it about 3 nights a week for a total of 4 weeks now. I must say it's much gentler than I expected - no tingling sensation whatsoever which I was expecting after reading up on Retinol. This product doesn't sink into the skin as quickly as I was expecting and so I try to give it some time before sleeping on my pillow, but in the morning my skin seems softer. From what I understand of retinol it will take a while to see the benefits, but I also plan to move on to the stronger one earlier than expected since this is a lovely, gentle retinol for beginners.

Great starting point - 28-05-2018 by

It's a good idea to start with this and then continue up to 1% retinol in squalene. I was doing some research and the granactive is significantly less useful and costs effectively double, so this is a better value proposition, especially at the higher end.

Good Starting Point - 16-05-2018 by

I love this retinol, it is a great starting point for someone looking into vitamin A. It is a nice milky texture and did not cause me any irritation. I saw results in my file lines fading after a few months of use and will continue to use this

Great retinol for beginners - 08-05-2018 by

I purchased this retinol after seeing an article from Adore Beauty on my Facebook feed. I started with this strength as I'm a beginner with retinol. I really like it so far, haven't noticed a difference in regards to fine lines but I haven't used it long enough for a result. I use it after serums and before moisturiser at night.

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