The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane Review

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The Ordinary Retinol is everyone’s trusted and recommended and because Retinol is something I didn’t want to experiment and play with, I wanted to go with The Ordinary only. Before this, I only had Nykaa SKINRx Retinol with me which I received as a PR. That one is super mild but showed great results. I wanted to experience TheOrdinary Retinol which I heard so much about.

For years I have been reading about Retinol and what it does and what precautions you need to take once you incorporate retinol into your routine which is why I had my doubts and I didn’t want to rush with having retinol in my skincare routine.

I have been using The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane for some time now and I am all set to share my thoughts with you all. So if you have been looking for The Ordinary Retinol Review from a beginner’s point of view, you are on the right page

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane Review 1

Price: Rs.700/- for 30ml

Available at Nykaa

Product Description

Highly-Stable, Water-Free Solution of 0.5% Direct Retinol.

This water-free solution contains 0.5% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearance of fine lines, photodamage, and of general skin aging. 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.

Concern: Anti-ageing and Wrinkles


  • Retinol can cause significant irritation, redness, and peeling, especially around the eyes and mouth, in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance.
  • 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.
  • Patch testing prior to use is advised.
  • Keep out of reach of children.
  • Refrigerate after opening.


  • 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.
  • When pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended to avoid any skincare products containing retinoids such as formulations with Granactive Retinoid or Retinol.


Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Bht.

How to Use

  • Apply a small amount to the face in the PM as part of your skincare regimen, after water-based serums but before heavier treatments.
  • Do not use it with other retinoid treatments.
  • Avoid unprotected solar exposure.

Patch test: Patch tests are an easy way to help predict if you may experience a negative initial reaction to a new product. It is recommended to perform a patch test before incorporating any new product into your regimen. The brand has outlined a general method for conducting your own patch test below based on the type of product.

  • Apply a small amount of the product onto a clean area of skin on the upper forearm.
  • Keep the area dry.
  • If the product has a specified duration of use, rinse off after this time has elapsed. Otherwise, rinse off after 24 hours.
  • If any redness, burning, itching, blistering, or irritation is observed at any time throughout the test, do not use the product.

Review – The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

My Skin Type: Combination to Oily in Summer, Dry in Winter, Sensitive, and Acne-Prone Skin

Packaging: It comes in a default TheOrdinary Packaging with a dropper cap and a glass bottle. Safe to store, use, and carry.

Fragrance: It kind of smells like olives if I am not wrong. It isn’t the most charming one but isn’t bothering me at all.

My Experience

I knew Retinol isn’t an easy one and comes with its own rules and precautions, to begin with. If you are someone who recently turned 27, it is time to add retinol to your skincare routine.

I started using The Ordinary Retinol in my nighttime routine as instructed on the bottle by using a few drops on my palm and gently pressing it all over my face right after cleansing.

I notice the texture felt like a facial oil and was easy to massage as well. It went on my face just like a facial oil, smooth and soft. I even thought I might not need my moisturizer with it as my face legit felt hydrated and soft as it would look after a facial oil.

Also, Read: 5 Reasons You Should Incorporate Face Oil into Your Routine

I spent enough time massaging it into my face and allowed it to completely settle in before I begin with my moisturizer. I didn’t use any of my other serums with the retinol. Initially, I started using retinol every two days and had planned to increase the frequency once my skin will adapt to it.

I was aware of the initial side effects such as excessive dryness and redness so I kind of braced myself for it. At the same time, I expected Retinol to show the results after months of usage but surprisingly, within the first week, I started noticing changes.

After a few usages only, I woke up one morning and my skin looked like it got some overnight treatment. I couldn’t pinpoint what exactly is different but my skin was definitely feeling it.

Within a month of continuously using Retinol thrice a week, I can say I am in love with this. It cleared all the tiny marks, cleared little dots around my cheeks and forehead, and pores look smaller resulting in a smooth texture, and it definitely did something around the eyes which I am not sure what.

I could see the skin around my eyes and cheeks plumping and becoming clearer day by day. It worked on those tiny marks which I don’t think I noticed until I saw my skin looking clear and smooth. It even worked on fine lines which I wasn’t even aware of.

It just made my skin look and feel so better that only after the results I noticed what my skin has been holding. It even reduced the occurrence of tiny oil heads and clogged pores.

This was the first time I am glad I went with The Ordinary Retinol. My skin is so happy and I can definitely say having retinol in my skincare routine going to be so fruitful in the long run.

That being said, I couldn’t ignore the obvious side effects in the initial stage. Soon, the corner around my lips became so dry as a rock and my eyelid started developing dryness and dry patches. Pretty soon, my eyelids and lip corners were shedding skin like a snake.

I didn’t face any redness or breakouts but the dryness was real. I switched to Kiehl’s Moisturizer followed by a decent application of Vaseline and Boroline multiple times a day on the eyelid and lips.

Let me warn you that this will not be an easy phase. My dryness was accompanied by dust allergy and it was so bad that every time I applied my moisturizer onto that area, it used to sting so bad that a wave of irritation went through my body.

Another incident was that I used Retinol and The Ordinary hair serum on the same day and my rashes got worse. I don’t know if they both reacted or what happened but my rashes turned into this painful and itchy skin followed by peeling of the skin and an intense burning sensation around the eyes.

Honestly, it still hasn’t fully recovered yet. It sort of opened the gate to my allergies and I have been constantly getting allergy flare-ups. My skin got so dry that I had to switch to Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream.

I think if you are someone with extreme skin sensitivity or if your skin is easily triggered then I wouldn’t recommend this because even if the product does work for you, you are definitely going to experience the obvious Retinol side effects which can further go worse depending on the skin and triggers.

Other than that, everything with The Ordinary Retinol was great. If you are about to use Retinol for the first time, start by using it twice a week only and brace yourself for all the possible initial side effects including dryness, redness, or acne. But, I can confirm, this will all be worth it and will heal depending on the sensitivity of your skin.

If you do not want to start with The Ordinary Retinol, my only recommendation would be Nykaa SkinRx Retinol. It is easy on the skin and is mild. You won’t notice any results initially but after 40-50 days, you going to see a lot of difference. I personally loved it.

Summing Up

This was my first time trying The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane. The consistency feels like a facial oil and is easy to massage onto the skin. With regular usage, it cleared up tiny marks, pores, and fine lines resulting in noticeable clear and smooth skin. My skin visibly looked better, clear, and improved. Expected Initial Side effects of the Retinol were there though, including excessive dryness around the lips and eyes.


  • Feels like a Facial Oil
  • Easy to apply and massage
  • Resulted in Improved Skin Health
  • Worked on the tiny marks and fine lines
  • Reduces the occurrence of clogged pores


  • Initial Excessive Dryness was there
  • This resulted in dry eyelids and lip corners initially
  • Experienced rashes and peeling of the skin.

This was it for today. I hope you have found my experience with The Ordinary Retinol helpful.

Have a Good Day!

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