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The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane 30ml

4.4 of 63 reviews


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4 instalments of $2.46

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The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane is a water-free solution that contains 0.5% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines, of photo damage and of general skin ageing. 

  • Cruelty Free
  • Vegan

What customers say

GREAT - 87% recommend

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Skin Concern:

  • First signs of ageing
  • Wrinkles and loss of firmness

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The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

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Customer Reviews

Review & Earn

4.4 of 63 reviews

87% recommend this product

  1. 31

  2. 27

  3. 4

  4. 1

  5. 0

Most Helpful Positive

working my way up...


I have been working my way up through the Ordinary's retinol products starting with the granactive retinoid. I did a couple bottles of the 0.2% in squalane and now I am alternating this and the 0.2 on different nights or mixing a couple drops of each. I have not had any trouble with irritation but I have worked my way up slowly over more than a year and I am very diligent about facial sunscreen. I am really happy with the results from the retinol although it does take time. Don't expect instant results! At this price point you can afford to make it a long term part of your regime. It took a bit of practice to get the amount right - I don't want to skimp because i want results and at this price, I can afford it, but I also don't want to be leaving oil on my pillow at night. For me about 6 drops is ideal for my face. If I'm mixing several Ordinary products (or the 0.5 and the 0.2 as mentioned above) I always unscrew all caps and line up on the sink so I can mix them quickly in my hands before application. The oil is quite runny! Try to give yourself at least 30 min before bed to let it settle in a bit.

Most Helpful Criticism

Works but doesn’t smell the greatest


As my title says, “it works but the smell is gross”. You can’t smell it when you apply it but overnight I can smell it randomly through the night and it’s an issue for me. I also have oily skin so I’m thinking this type of retinol mix isn’t the greatest for me but it definitely helps with fast acting skin renewal especially if I want to get rid of a pimple quick.
  1. working my way up...


    verified purchaser
    I have been working my way up through the Ordinary's retinol products starting with the granactive retinoid. I did a couple bottles of the 0.2% in squalane and now I am alternating this and the 0.2 on different nights or mixing a couple drops of each. I have not had any trouble with irritation but I have worked my way up slowly over more than a year and I am very diligent about facial sunscreen. I...
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  2. Second bottle


    I think I need to go up in strength, not as effective.
    Great product though, makes my skin look clear and bright!
  3. Love retinol


    verified purchaser
    Used this as the next step up and love this serum
  4. Good for dry skin


    Normally retinols can dry me out, but this one doesnt. No signs of irritation :)
  5. Doesn’t soak in


    I’ve heard right and all is great for your skin, but I found soil never soaks into my skin personally. It kind of just sit on my face remaining or we leave for hours and hours after I put it on.
  6. good product


    good retinol ... works nicely I didnt notice any irritation ,,leaves skin feeling lovely next day...bit oily but not really a problem since only use it at night
  7. Love it


    verified purchaser
    Tolerates well unlike some other retinol products that have irritated my skin in the past. I use it 3-4 times a week. I think addition of squalane makes it easy for skin to tolerate retinol. Happy that i can finally use retinol!
  8. Great for the price point


    Having used more cream based retinols in the past, then taking a break, I thought this would be a good gateway product to get my skin used to them again (and it was super cheap!). It's incredibly oily and I can't get it to absorb at all, so if I put on too close to bed time I think most of it ends up on my pillow, and, if I put it on early I spend the whole night with a super oily face, which does...
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  9. Great product


    Great product, very nourishing and non-irritating. It works well for my combination skin
  10. Great product


    Great product, I have a sensitive skin and this product didnt irritate my skin at all, will use again.
  11. Great


    This works really well for my sensitive and dehydrated skin and it has helped with pigmentation
  12. Works but doesn’t smell the greatest


    As my title says, “it works but the smell is gross”. You can’t smell it when you apply it but overnight I can smell it randomly through the night and it’s an issue for me. I also have oily skin so I’m thinking this type of retinol mix isn’t the greatest for me but it definitely helps with fast acting skin renewal especially if I want to get rid of a pimple quick.
  13. Not Sure


    I think this product is a little too for my skin type (oily skin type) , it makes me break out if I use it at night. Maybe I'm not tolerant of retinol.
  14. Cautious


    Good product but be very cautious what you use this with. Goes on nice, leaves a bit of a shine afterwards.
  15. Great results


    This is working well for me.
    Suits my aging dehydrated skin
    Plus oily combo problem
    This works both ways, my skins more plumped and hydrated
    Also my pores are more refine and less clogged
    I haven’t had any irritation
  16. not too shabby!

    bianca c

    really non irritating, absorbs quick and i feel like it has actually made my skin a bit more even and lines less noticeable. definitely helps with texture and clarity, a great way to start on retinols i think.
  17. Cheap


    Selling point is that it's cheap for a retinol. Does not irritate my skin, and I trust there are anti ageing benefits to using it. Feels nice enough to apply, distributes easily and sinks in okay. Will finish the bottle, but nothing for me to love here. Will try something else next time.
  18. Incredible


    Notable effect to my skin within just two weeks. Doesn't dry skin but has significantly reduced break outs. Thank you!
  19. Good serum


    This is a nice serum, feels good on the skin. I feel like it helps with acne and overall complexion. I do think it's stronger than the Granactive Retinoid and find that sometimes I need a day or 2 break from it, but so far no major issues and will keep using.
  20. Unsure


    I think this product is a little too oily and heavy for my skin type (oily to normal) - I'm pretty sure it makes me break out if I use it too often. I'm not a huge fan of the residue it leaves behind. It sits on the skin and doesn't absorb.
    However I've found it's pretty good at minimising redness, so I'm trying it out just on my cheeks every few nights. Haven't had any issues with irritatio...
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  21. Noticed a difference


    I have nearly finished my first bottle. I need to mix this with a moisturiser as my sensitive skin is still getting used to it and it can get dry after applying retinol. I have noticed my skin appears smoother and clear. Will continue to use to hopefully see an improvement on my wrinkles.
  22. Love this


    I'm on to about my 4th bottle of this. Its amazing, my prescription retinol was making my skin really dry so I swapped to this. Its amazing, my skin feels so soft, smooth and still hydrated in the morning after using this. I use it 2 - 3 times a week and definately notice a difference after prolonged use! I have recommended to so many family and friends!

    And you cant beat the price!!!...
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  23. Unsure..


    This retinol didn't do wonders for me, maybe It's not strong enough percentage for me- but It just had a bit of a 'MEH' effect. Maybe good for sensitive skin types to get used to retinol but no real results for me.
  24. Fantastic value!


    This is great value for moneyI As I have sensitive skin, I gently eased it into my skincare routine one night a week, then two nights the second week, and then three after that. I didn't have much redness or peeling, apart from a little around my eyebrows in the third week. After that, my skin seemed to adjust. I never feel the need to use this with a moisturiser over this retinol and wake up with...
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  25. Undecided.....


    I bought this based on all the good reviews however I am finding that it isn't absorbing as much as I'd like and it leaves an oily residue. I can't use this in place of my normal moisturiser either so as an adjunct product, it's good enough, and it represents great value for the price but just not what I was expecting. I'm in my 40's and wanting something really nourishing.
  26. Firm skin


    I have been using this product for a few months (using 0.2% prior) . Both caused no irritation ,although I do not have sensitive skin . My skin looks a lot firmer ! I will continue to use this!!!
  27. Great result


    My skin was a bit red after applying, but not irritation. I use twice a week, can see my skin more smooth after using at night.
  28. Great starter for retinol virgins!


    My skin isn’t super sensitive, but this has been a fabulous retinol to start with! I’ve been using it for almost 4 months now and am starting to see big changes in my skin. Will upgrade to 1% soon!
  29. Older guy finds benefit


    I've always wanted to look after my reasonably fair skin, especially facial. Consider it as part of grooming. I'm now retired and live half my time abroad.

    Looked around and it seemed that in terms of scientific data, retinol was probably the most cost effective way of slowing down the effects of ageing on the face. After a few months, felt comfortable the product was having a benefi...
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  30. Easy intro to retinol!


    This has been a gentle introduction into using retinol products. Lovely texture, easy to mix with PM moisturiser, soaks into skin! After a few weeks of use, even my partner noticed a crease between my eyebrows had disappeared! Keen to continue to retinol journey.
  31. Great formula, comfortable to wear


    I started with this product recently to begin my retinol journey and I’ve definitely found it wonderful to wear. I began by diluting it for the first few days but found the undiluted product far nicer on my skin. Haven’t experienced a shred of irritation, and I’m looking forward to continuing on with this product.
  32. Quick results


    I’ve been using this product every night as part of my skincare routine, the first few days I did notice some mild flaking but that has subsided, I’ve also made more of an effort to use less and apply HA, rosehip oil and a good quality moisturiser afterwards which have helped mitigate the initial irritation. My skin is looking clear, and evenly toned. I do plan to try for a baby in about a year an...
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  33. Gave me baby skin


    I started using this after I finished my 0.02% retinol, it was tricky at the beginning as I initially used it every day as I had with the 0.02%, which was a mistake as my skin became pretty irritated. So I started using it every other day and then built it up to everyday and then had the best skin I’ve ever had, it was completely clear, had not breakout and all my acne scars faded, and my pores pr...
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  34. Great


    I have just purchased the product recently as I wanted to try a lower % retinol. I was shocked I could see the difference right the morning after the very first application. My skin felt plump and glowing. Really happy I gave it a try!
  35. UGH texture


    In one of the reviews below someone describes this product as "smelt like butter and felt like it too" - and that is 100% the most accurate description!
    I really, really wanted to love this product because of the great price and reviews but I just did not like it.
    The oily texture meant it sat on top of my skin and no matter how hard I tried to make it absorb (by pressing it in etc) ...
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  36. Great


    Retinol products can be so expensive so I love that I have this brand.
  37. Great start out for retinol product


    I definitely wanted to ease into the retinol and build up my tolerance. I had used a few different retinol products before this, and this price just can't be beat. I haven't noticed a ton of peeling and will definitely go up to the 1% for my next bottle, but this has been a great introduction.
  38. Nice feel, some minor skin improvements, but maybe stronger product next time


    My first The Ordinary Product, and I'm fairly happy with it. The squalene base feels nice and moisturising for my dry/sensitive skin. It is an oily base, so probably not for oily skin types. No skin irritation, but take care not to get any in your eyes!
    I do see a slight improvement in my skin texture after my first bottle, but I might try something a little more potent next time as the imp...
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  39. Love It


    Such a great product for those starting out with using retinol. I love this formula and it's made a visible difference in clearing up my skin. So affordable too.
  40. Perfect introduction to retinol


    Having never used retinol on my skin, I was eager to give this a go. I definitely notice a difference in my skin and overall tone. There have been a few dry patches of skin which I have taken to mean this is working and overturning my skin cells even more rapidly. Already wanting to purchase the higher retinol % as my skin feels fully adjusted. Great price, great product
  41. I love the way it makes my skin look and feel


    I have pretty bad rosacea so my skin is pretty sensitive and this doesn't irritate me at all! I use it at night about 3 times a week, the product itself is a bit oily but it doesn't bother me at all. In the morning when I wake up my skin is usually a bit red and dull and I noticed that after using it the night before my skin is a lot brighter, glowy and my redness is not as bad. Gives me a bit of ...
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  42. Great product


    I have only been using this for about a week now but I have noticed a huge change in my hormonal acne. The marks are still there but the acne is not getting as big and sore looking as it usually would. I think with consistent use this product would make a massive difference. I read to not use if you have sensitive skin which I have but I just avoid using it right around my mouth as that’s where I ...
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  43. Good retinol for sensitive skin


    I’m not usually able to use retinol because my skin reacts with significant redness and scaling. But at this price point I decided to give it a go. I’m glad I did, there’s a definite improvement in the tone and appearance of my skin after two weeks use. And no sensitive skin reaction. Plus I’m using it on the backs of my hands with excellent results.
  44. Great beginner's retinol


    Let me start off by saying I don't have sensitive skin. I used this in combination with TO's glycolic acid toner. This is my first retinol, so I began by diluting it in a 1:3 ratio (drops) of this to rosehip oil. The next morning, my skin was so bright and my skin tone looked evened out!
    I'm not consistent with my routine, but I've noticed that my skin always looks brighter the morning after...
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  45. My skin feels so good


    I’ve just switched to this serum from The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2%, and I’m so glad I have. I use 1-2 drops of this every night mixed with The Ordinary’s Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%, and my skin has never felt and looked so good!
    I have combo/oily skin, and my main skin concern is slowing down the signs of ageing.
  46. Non-irritating but still effective Retinoid


    I have sensitive/combination skin and bought this product because I hoped it would help with my acne. I was concerned that it would cause redness or irritation so I thought 0.5% would be a good starting concentration.
    This is a squalane-based solution so it is an oil, not as greasy as some oils but definitely more so than rosehip oil. It has a slight but not unpleasant smell. I apply 2-3 dro...
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  47. Positive Re-Introduction to Retinol


    I had been scared off Retinol from past experiences, but my beauty therapist kept insisting I need Retinol. Rather than buy their in-house expensive brand, I figured I had nothing to lose by trying The Ordinary in a low strength, oil based product. So far, so good. My skin hasn't reacted and it's looking great. I only use twice a week, but will either increase my usage or possibly look at a higher...
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  48. Love Retinol Now!


    Never tried retinol, as it can be drying and I have VERY dry and sometimes reactive skin. Tried the lower dose in squalane oil first as my skin loves oil, and sure enough it drinks this up like a nighttime treat. I love the texture (is quite oily but like I said, super dry skin here ), I get no dry spots or red marks. Also, I am VERY dark under the eyes and this is the first product I've used that...
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  49. Working well


    Has calmed down my skin a lot I have noticed my skin becoming a lot clearer and my hormonal breakouts are less now. As for removal of fine lines and such I think that will come with months of use. But my skin is already showing signs that it is having a positive effect. Not experiencing any dry skin or irritation with daily use. I have combination skin and even in the less oily areas no flaking or...
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  50. Great intro retinol


    I tried this and the Granactive Retinoid 2% and loved both. Great intro retinol products which didn't irritate my normal/dry skin.
  51. Not sure


    I have only been using this product for a week. I personally don’t like it when l initially put it on my skin. It feels oily and does not seem to absorb into my skin. I let it sit on my skin for 30-60 minutes before l put on my moisturiser. The moisturiser seems to blend in with this product but still not absorbing into my skin. However, my skin is bright and glowing the next morning. I think for ...
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  52. Fantastic


    This is an amazing product! After 1 week of using it my skin looks more bright and glowing and its kept my acne under control really well. I have tried the Ordinary retinoid and this is so much better. I have experienced no irritation at all.
  53. AMAZING!


    This is the best serum I have ever used!!! An incredible potency of retinol, however does NOT leave the skin irritated or dry like other products with retinol. The price just makes it even better. Couldn't recommend this enough.
  54. Like better than the 0.2


    I like this serum more than the 0.2% as it is less oily . I use every second day and no irriatation, would recommend avoiding eye area
  55. Great value and does the job


    My skin type: Oily Combination with clogged pores
    My age: 27

    I bought this to treat my clogged pores. The product does speed up my skin cell turnover and cause purging (which is good). The texture is lightweight but a bit greasy for me. However it does not clog my pores. I did not get irritation or dryness as I moisturize my skin well and incorporate Retinol in my routine slowly
  56. Felt horrible


    I was so excited to try this after all the positive reviews. To me, this product smelt like butter and felt like it too. The following day my skin felt burnt. I tried to use the product twice more but I couldn't stand the smell or the feel. Product just wasn't for me but considering all the other good reviews it may have just not worked on my skin.
  57. Great retinol for beginners!


    I tried out this product because I've seen a lot of beauty bloggers rave about retinol! I decided to try it because I have noticed signs of ageing, especially around my eyes. My skin becomes quite dry especially in winter and so this season, I've gotten a lot more fine wrinkles. I bought this and started using it and like other people, got a mild irritation on my face. The irritation is becoming l...
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  58. Great Product!!


    Definitely recommend this product but only to apply after your skin care regime at night as it is quiet greasy once applied. This product has 100% helped in evening out my skin and helping it stay hydrated. I only use this product every 2/3 nights as it can dry out the skin and result in red dry areas. That's not because it's bad but just because your skin needs to become used to the product. Defo...
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  59. Fantastic


    I'm a Retinol beginner. After using The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% for about 6 weeks (2-3 times per week at night) I decided to move on to the 0.5% because my skin was tolerating it so well. It is fantastic. I experienced no stinging or burning and felt like it was slightly less 'greasy' than the 0.2%. The only reason why I didn't give this 5 stars is because I feel like it still sits on my skin ra...
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  60. Great product if starting to use retinol


    I've been trying out lots of the ordinary products, they are so affordable and great quality! I also like the transparency with the list of ingredients and the fact all their retinol state their concentration.
    I started with this one as an initiation to retinols to build up my resistance and works great! I can feel a difference and will probably upgrade to the next % when the bottle is finis...
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  61. Amazing


    Using this currently on a nightly basis and I am already noticing a difference in my skin. Such a great product if you are starting to use retinol.
  62. Love this!


    I've been using this product daily for a couple of weeks now and I have to say I love it! I've suffered for a long time with cystic acne on my chin and this product has helped to completely clear my skin. The first couple of days your skin does become a little dry but that soon goes away as your skin builds a tolerance to it. My skin hasn't felt this good in years. Will definitely repurchase this ...
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