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The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane 30ml

4.3 of 92 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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Questions & Answers

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The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

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The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane Reviews

4.3 of 92 reviews

87% recommend this product

  1. 45

  2. 33

  3. 9

  4. 2

  5. 1

Most Helpful Positive

A good starting retinol


I’ve now been using this for a few weeks, and while it’s hard to tell whether I’ve had any benefits so far my skin is not at all irritated (except just slightly after the few couple of uses, but has now completely resolved), nor have I experienced any major breakouts. Looking forward to continuing its use and potentially increasing to the 1% at some point.

Most Helpful Criticism

Not so sure


After a brief period of irritation, it really helped with fine lines around my eyes. Unfortunately caused bad breakouts on the rest of my face, so now I only use it around my eyes and nowhere else. Bit of a shame because I started using it specifically because I wanted something to help fade lines starting to appear on my forehead.
  1. A good starting retinol


    I’ve now been using this for a few weeks, and while it’s hard to tell whether I’ve had any benefits so far my skin is not at all irritated (except just slightly after the few couple of uses, but has now completely resolved), nor have I experienced any major breakouts. Looking forward to continuing its use and potentially increasing to the 1% at some point.
  2. Not so sure


    After a brief period of irritation, it really helped with fine lines around my eyes. Unfortunately caused bad breakouts on the rest of my face, so now I only use it around my eyes and nowhere else. Bit of a shame because I started using it specifically because I wanted something to help fade lines starting to appear on my forehead.
  3. Good introduction to Retinol


    I'm 45 with oily skin, and haven't used a Retinol before. Read lots of reviews and decided to try this one. Absolutely no dryness or sensitivity, no stinging, no redness, zero negative effects at all. Skin feels great and is improving each day. Will try the higher strength next but am happy with this and will use the whole bottle. Also, a little goes a long way so that may take some time!
  4. Doesn't feel drying at all


    Not sure about long term benefits yet but it feels nice to apply
  5. Next level of retinol


    I just finished the 0.2% so this was a good next step up. Still no signs of irritation or dryness
  6. Greasy but effective


    This retinol is fairly gentle and has mild benefits. I’ve noticed a mild improvement in my skin since starting to use this a couple of months ago (eg a little more evenness in skin). However, I really struggle with the squalane, even with my dry skin. The formula sits on the surface of my skin and doesn’t sink in. I often wonder if it’s rubbed off on my pillow the morning after using this.
  7. Kind of works but prepare for oiliness


    This retinol is mildly effective and has yielded some but not all the expected benefits. After a couple of months of using this, my skin has evened out a little but it remains blotchy and saggy. I wouldn’t mind the this (especially at this price point) if it weren’t for the greasiness and oiliness of the squalane. The formula sits on the surface of my skin and won’t sink in. When I wake up the nex...
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  8. Gentle Retinol


    This is such a great retinol as its gentle yet effective. The UV protective packaging is a nice touch as well
  9. Not sure of benefits - yet!


    Much runnier than usual Ordinary products, making it harder to control when applying - also I have not achieved any sort of abrasiveness using it, compared to my friends, I will try the 1% in future. Would be good for sensitive skin though.
  10. non irritating


    did not cause any irritation on my sensitive skin, sometimes my cheeks felt flushed. after using it for about a month, i noticed a slight improvement in skin texture and will probably increase to 1%.
  11. Amazing intro to retinol


    I started using this retinol as an intro for my skin. I started using it every few days and I've found it has done wonders for my skin. It has helped with the texture of my skin and I'm getting far fewer breakouts. The price is incredible and the hype is all true.
  12. Hydrating


    Very hydrating and soothing as part of a night time routine
  13. lovely for dry skin


    I have dry skin and in winter this is a great retinoid formula for me - the formula isn't too heavy and hasn't broken me out so far. On the nights that i used this, I go through my normal skin care routine and replace my usual face oil with it.
  14. love this low-key retinol


    I love this product, as it doesn't require me to slather my face with anything major in the evening. I just put a few drops on my face before bed along with the Rose Hip Oil. I felt a very slight tingle the first few times I used it, but nothing after that. No redness or irritation. My skins looks and feels fantastic in the morning and I like the idea of doing something proactive about skin aging.
  15. Great addition to regime


    I have had no trouble with this product, I do not have sensitive skin and so would go a higher % next time. I use in the pm before my heavier creams.
  16. Great starter


    It's a great product if you have never used retinol before and wish to start on something less irritating. The squalane makes it very spreadable, and it leaves a nice glossy texture on the skin without feeling slimy or too oily.
    The packaging is simple, like other Ordinary products.
    For the price that it is, it is worth buying and trying out for yourself if you're a beginner in your ...
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  17. Solid Retinol Starter


    A great starting point for adding Retinol into your routine (can start on 0.2% also). Read and research this product so you dont over do it. Looking forward to finishing this bottle and moving to 1%.
  18. Great product, work your way up to it!


    I only started getting into The Ordinary products a couple of months ago but they have made a massive difference in my skincare routine. The retinols are amazing but the most important thing you need to do before purchasing is RESEARCH! I now have this one and the Granactive Retinoid 5% in my skincare kit and I use them on different nights depending on what my skin needs, but it’s super important ...
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  19. Not a fan


    I have oily skin and acne, my skin doesn’t like Squalane at all. It makes me breakout. I don’t think this is good for oily skin.
  20. Good Quality


    This was my first retinol product and I am really impressed with how well it has worked with my skin. I’ve not experienced any redness or irritation, and am starting to see some results.
  21. Unsure yet


    Have been using this every few days at night but not completely sure if it’s doing anything. I bought this 0.5 as it was my first retinol product but maybe I should look at stronger ones?
  22. Mixed Emotions


    While I loved the idea of introducing a Retional into my routine, it takes some to implement it as it can be quite harsh on your skin, so using it every second or third night at the start is a must. I did find my skin hated it at the start with break outs and I have found it to be beneficial after a few months of use. The product price was a huge reason I chose the Ordinary but now I feel like I m...
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  23. Great chemical exfoliant


    I had to work up to this one from the .2% but this seems to be the perfect strength for regular use to keep my skin looking fresh and break outs minimal. I think it has also reduced the appearance of fine lines. When they do happen I swear they heal faster too. I do get some irritation in the warmer months around my neck if I sweat a lot. The squalane base helps soothe and retain moisture.
  24. Good Start


    I noticed a difference in my skin when I used this product, and it will continue to be a staple for me. However, I definitely think I could of gone up a level of % as my skin isn't very sensitive.
    I will purchase the 1% next time and work my way up.
    I would recommend this product to anyone, and is a good starting point to incorporate retinol into your skincare routine.
    I started ...
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  25. Slow improvements in skin texture


    I've used this every so often to help reduce my scars which is improving slowly. I've noticed the texture of my skin is also improving with this product. It does irritate my skin a little but is manageable when paired with a moisturiser.
  26. Willing to keep trying


    Been reading a lot about the benefits of retinol and decided to start small with this product. It made me break out like crazy the first night. But the third night it seemed to calm my skin. If you are willing to persevere its a great product.
  27. Great Retinol Starter Product


    I feel like this is a great starting product for beginning ones retinol journey. I began by using a minimal amount and alternating the days I used it. Retinol does dry out the skin and I did try to advance to the 1% formulation too quickly, which caused a rash and dry sunburnt-feeling skin, so I am currently back to this formula. Its scent free, its not an oil overload which I was apprehensive abo...
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  28. 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...
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  29. Second bottle


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


    Used this as the next step up and love this serum
  31. Good for dry skin


    Normally retinols can dry me out, but this one doesnt. No signs of irritation :)
  32. 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.
  33. 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
  34. Love it


    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!
  35. 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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  36. Great product


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


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


    This works really well for my sensitive and dehydrated skin and it has helped with pigmentation
  39. 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.
  40. 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.
  41. Cautious


    Good product but be very cautious what you use this with. Goes on nice, leaves a bit of a shine afterwards.
  42. 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
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. Incredible


    Notable effect to my skin within just two weeks. Doesn't dry skin but has significantly reduced break outs. Thank you!
  46. 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.
  47. 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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  48. 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.
  49. 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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  50. 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.
  51. 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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  52. 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.
  53. 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!!!
  54. 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.
  55. 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!
  56. 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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  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. 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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  60. 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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  61. 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!
  62. 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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  63. Great


    Retinol products can be so expensive so I love that I have this brand.
  64. 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.
  65. 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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  66. 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.
  67. 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
  68. 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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  69. 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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  70. 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.
  71. 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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  72. 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.
  73. 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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  74. 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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  75. 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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  76. 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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  77. 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.
  78. 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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  79. 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.
  80. 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.
  81. 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
  82. 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
  83. 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.
  84. 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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  85. 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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  86. 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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  87. 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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  88. 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.
  89. 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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  90. Review & Earn
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