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The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

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The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane by The Ordinary


The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane is a water-free solution that contains 1% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines, of photo damage and of 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.


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.

This product contains retinol or Vitamin A. Please consult the manufacturer's recommendations for use.

We suggest this product be used within 12 months after opening.


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 (37)
Review and earn
Skin changer - 17-01-2019 by

I absolutely love this product. Goes on beautifully before bed and you wake up with fresh looking skin. Be careful not to overuse it though as your skin can feel tender and flake a little. After using retinol for a few weeks I can already see a difference in the texture and overall tone of my skin.

too oily and gave me pimples - 11-01-2019 by

I wanted to love this product, but when i put it on i felt like i was drowning in oil, the next morning i would have a very angry face with a lot of new pimples and my skin was peeling. i left it a month before trying it again but it did the same thing. I gave away my bottle.

Love! - 01-01-2019 by

I wasnt sure which The Ordinary Retinoid would be good for my skin (due to the varying percentages) so i bought all of them as a trial/comparison. I can say my aging combination skin responded better to the higher percentages, however this is a great retinol product - it produces great results and hasnt given me any breakouts. My skin is smoother and brighter than before. A great price point.

Good - 19-12-2018 by

I have combination skin. This dry my skin a lot. I'm almost finished with one bottle but haven’t seen any difference on my skin aside from getting more dry skin when using it. Will continue using the bottle, but maybe not purchasing it again.

This is real active skincare - 19-12-2018 by

This is another non negotiable item in my skincare regime. I have been using this since it came out. I was acclimatised to the original silicone based 1% so I had no irritation from this but this is REAL skincare. This WILL irritate you if you have never used retinol - and will cause dryness and peeling over the acclimatising period. Persevere and use it once a week then twice a week, then every other night as your skin gets used to it or use the 0.2 and 0.5% first. The results are better than anything for less acne, smoother skin/less texture, and more even skin tone. A great product to add in your early 30's. I use this every night without fail.

Strong- pace yourself - 10-12-2018 by

This is a pretty strong solution and makes my skin super flakey and dry each time I use it. Pace yourself and start with a weaker solution. I will try using it next time with a gentler serum underneath to see if this helps as well.

Great Priced Aging Combat - 10-12-2018 by

This product was recommended by a friend who is a beauty junkie and obsessed with ageing.
I have not been disappointed. This improves the skin and has done what it promises to do. I have found other expensive products do not provide the results I have seen from this product which is not expensive at all.

Great price - 30-11-2018 by

I'm in my fifties and have combination skin. I'm concerned about wrinkles and pigmentation. I bought this because it was over $120 cheaper that the brand I was going to buy. I use it every night after my hyaluronic acid and have never had any irritation or reaction. I haven't noticed any major difference to my skin but it has only been 2 and a half weeks so may need more time to see results. I'll keep using it though as I know retinol is proven to benefit ageing skin. I'm going to get The Ordinary buffet and a vitamin C serum soon to add to my regime as I just love this brand and the amazing value for money that it is.

Takes some time to adjust to - 26-11-2018 by

I have previously used The Ordinary retinol and decided to step up the strength. After a few nights my skin was red and a little tender. That has now settled down as my skin is adjusting to the new strength. I am looking forward to seeing my skin after a few weeks of using this. So far I am liking what I see and see my skin improving and looking more plump and clearer. My foundation is looking better on my skin when I apply it.

Great- for the price - 20-11-2018 by

For the price this is a GREAT product. I have only been using for a few weeks now (after increasing my retinol does from another retinol product) but can definitely see an improved appearance of my skins texture.

If you’re new to retinol products this may be too intense. Use sparingly as a little goes a long way, and I find using every second or third night is better for my skin. If too much product is used or too often, it can result in flaking but at the end of the day that is this product doing its job – read the explanation of “The Ordinary” products and their differences, which can be find on the site, this one is a higher dose and stated it may result in flaking/higher irritation, so you know what you’re getting into!

Irritating - 12-11-2018 by

Go for the granactive retinoid instead of this one as it irritates.

it really is good - 05-11-2018 by

Im very happy with this makes my skin feel hydrated and gives a nice glow.My skin can be sensitive but it doesnt irritate it.will buy again

Quality at a great price point - 05-11-2018 by

Goes on smoothly and absorbs into my skin beautifully. I apply on alternate evenings and this helps with acne scarring and my face feels lovely and hydrated in the morning. I wash it off in the morning and apply sunscreen after using this. The squalane makes it spread smoothly on the skin, a little goes a long way.

Must have - 30-10-2018 by

I began using this product in early Sep, and my skin was sensitive and peeling for a month. I stopped for 2 weeks and have started again every other night. No sensitivity as my skin has built up the tolerance. It only requires half a tube for my entire face and neck. Just be aware if there is too much it will leave a greasy feeling. I haven't seen any result yet but anti-ageing is long term battle. This product is a must in my skincare regimen.

Love this! - 23-10-2018 by

I really love this product, it was my first 'The Ordinary' purchase, and I've never looked back! I think its a good product to avoid those first signs of aging. Will definitely repurchase :)

Very good. - 11-10-2018 by

Love this product with retinol in it. It is not expensive and will last for quite a while. My skin looks clearer and younger after using it only a short while. Will continue to enjoy it and the good benefits it has on my skin.

Love it - 10-10-2018 by

I am Asian but i have a pretty fair skin so it is very noticeable whenever I sunburnt/redness/acne. My skin got worse after I gave birth, I have redness all over the cheek, my pores look huge. I decided to try this bottle after reading an article about how retinol is the key ingredient in skincare routine. My face did got irritated at first but after about 3 days, my skin got used to it. I do feel it is smoother and plumper in the morning.

Great - 10-10-2018 by

I absolutely love this product. This was my first purchase of anything by "The Ordinary" and I am so glad that I did because I am hooked. Although this product does take a few weeks to take effect, it WORKS! My forehead wrinkles and lines between my eyes are not nearly as noticeable anymore. I will be buying again-the price of this is a steal!

Love, love, love this one! - 02-10-2018 by

I bought this bottle after going through a few of reviews on the internet and decided to give it a try. I have fair skin so it is very noticeable whenever I have redness/acne/pigmentation. After a few weeks of using this product, my skin does get better. I'll keep using this one for a long long time.

Love love love - 25-09-2018 by

Absolutely love this product..have been buying very high end retinol for years and this product packs the same amount of punch! Also love that they use shark friendly squalane rather than squalene, skin feels soft and hydrated, less acne scarring , just love it.

evens skin tone - 24-09-2018 by

have really noticed an evening of my skin using this

Vitamin A power - 17-09-2018 by

Take it from a senior beauty therapist, ALL The Ordinary products are of GREAT value and true cosmeceuticals. This product is one of the best anti aging vitamins at its highest strength (before dr’s prescription) to use on ones skin. It encourages skin cell turnover for healthier stronger youthful skin, if your skin is too sensitive to use on a nightly basis, use every other night

Can't beat the price nor quality - 29-08-2018 by

First heard about this brand from beauty blogger Nadine Baggott. So so good. Price is doable, product high quality and size of product means this will last you a good while. I will be moving to 2% next and continue to explore this lovely brand.

Cleared up dry flakey skin - 22-08-2018 by

I have dry and flakey skin, so was recommended this product by a friend. I use it every night and have noticed that it has improved my skin condition! I had previously been exfoliating using harsh skin scrubs, however i have had much better results with the use of retinol.

Amazing, but still not strong enough - 14-08-2018 by

I bought this serum after purchasing the 0.5% version with no results. Although I can definitely feel the difference, it seems I keep underestimating my skin's tolerance to retinol because I'm not seeing a wow-worthy change. My number one tip with introducing retinol into your nightly skincare routine is to get to know your skin beforehand! You could find that, like me, you've been underestimating its sensitivity and you could very well start on the 2%!

New user! - 13-08-2018 by

I started using this after trying another retinol last year, I like it and have noticed some changes to my face however can't comment as a long term user- however so far so good!

A Game Changer - 13-08-2018 by

Since moving interstate my skin has suffered from blackheads and acne. I have tried various different methods of treatment and no signs of improvement. I heard about Retinol working wonders on acne so I decided to give The Ordinary Retionl 1% in Squalane a try, and for a product that is less than $15 what is there to lose? I jumped right to the 1% solution but a highly recommend against it if you have sensitive skin. It was after about 3 days of use that I started feeling the side effects which included tight skin, dryness, and burning. But I took a 3 day break and the symptoms have subsided. So far after 2 weeks of usage I noticed a huge difference in my skin quality. My breakouts have started to diminish and my skin tone is much more even and brighter. I highly recommend this product to anyone who has skin troubles like I do.

the price *drool - 11-08-2018 by

this product is great for its price tag! great great great , I use this on my body after derma rolling and it leaves it feeling tight and firm! great product

Stepping stone to the 2% stuff ;) - 02-07-2018 by

Definitely need to work up the strong stuff, and the 1% is a step you shouldn't skip. It didn't break me out or irritate, and I l9ve the equal and! Never, ever go in the sun after applying, though, as retinol turns carcinogenic when exposed to UV rays, aka is phototoxic. Used as directed, it's fantastic and is essential to my anti-aging routine.

great product but use it wisely - 25-06-2018 by

I first used this and broke out big time - 6 zits over night. So I mixed it with an existing moisturiser and it was fine, just more dilute. it is working slower this way, but no side efffects and you dont notice the smell as much. it feels a bit oily when applied direct, but it is fine to use if mixed in with a moisturiser.
I also use this on my legs to treat some ingrown hairs! the scars are almost gone and the skin is looking good.
if you have sensitive skin, you can still use this product, but dilute it first!

Great product and price - 25-06-2018 by

I was worried about retinol and how my skin would react but in the end, it worked great - no irritation or redness! My skin looks fresh and bright. Remember to build up tolerance and do not use on compromised skin. When I finish this bottle, I'm definitely buying another.

Incredible Product - 07-06-2018 by

I'm obsessed with this product. I can put it on in the evening if my skin feels dry, dull like it might breakout.. go to sleep and my skin is calm and fresh in the morning.

I was concerned that the Retinol's would be too intense for my sensitive skin, but I have been fine, I've now gone up to the 5%. I only use it a few times a week though.

great product at an amazingly reasonable price - 16-04-2018 by

I have added this product to my evening skin care regime for the past few weeks and definitely feel my skin looks brighter and clearer. I have found it can irritate a little if used every night so tend to use it 2-3 nights on and 1 night off. It is a great product at an amazingly reasonable price compared to other retinol products on the market. It will last me several months I anticipate

great product - 13-03-2018 by

My night skin routine used to include the skininstitut retinol cream. I found this product online and it was more affordable than the skininstitut product so I thought I would give it a try. After a few weeks I found myself reaching to this product more as i realized I preferred the oil consistency to the cream. I found the product was less harsh on the skin and easier to apply.

Have been using on a spotty bottom - 12-12-2017 by

I actually got this product to try on my bottom as I get spots there caused by irritated hair follicles and sitting at a computer too much. I was using the Advanced Retinoid originally which was working very well on my spots (I had tried everything, acids, acne creams, medicated washes etc for years) and since this had been working I decided to try this formula as it is a bit stronger. It's still working quite well, teh greasiness is a little bit of a bother compared to the other serum but not sure if it's causing any issues. The only issue was some skin stinginess on my backside but that will subside. There was no peeling. I have not used this on face yet and am still using the Advanced Retinoid as my face is somewhat sensitive. My butt is super smooth :D

Affordable skincare - 26-07-2017 by

I used this 3 nights in a row.. then the next morning my skin started to peel.. ( yes I did freak out at first but... my skin had been breaking out so much around areas I don't normally before hand, scaring from it and also lots of texture around my cheek and chin area) this is why I bought this product to help my skin!! ) my skin is so plump, healthier looking and have not had any breakouts since before starting this ( this is after 7 days and only had applied it those 3 times) My partner even commented on how good my skin is looking!! If you were going to use this I would recommend maybe starting off with once a week to see how your skin reacts with it.. love how affordable it is too!

This is fantastic - 08-07-2017 by

I bought this as I wanted some retinol - even though the company itself recommends its more sensitive range. I have sensitive skin but wanted original retinol.
I can't actually believe how my skin looks in the morning. Im currently using every second night and really impressed. I love everything about this affordable brand!

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