It’s on the ‘hot list’ of skincare ingredients, but why should you ensure your regime includes it? And how do you add it to make sure you get the best from it?
If you’re anything like me, you’re aware of retinol/retinoids in skincare as the hot ingredient of recent months/years. Not that it’s new, but that its popularity has soared thanks to its increased availability. Which feeds the cycle and suddenly it’s not just the hot ingredient but the everywhere ingredient. Meaning you can’t escape it – but actually, you don’t want to, and I’m going to explain why, how it’s working for me and how best to use it if you haven’t already.
Firstly, when it comes to ingredients that can be abrasive or ‘harsh’ there’s few brands I would trust to do this. While both “abrasive” and “harsh” sound negative, I actually mean them in the context of skincare that exfoliates/peels or needs to create a reaction in order to deliver results. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: skin tingling, going red or stinging slightly after using a product isn’t a bad thing, or a sign that you’re reacting badly to it – it’s actually a sign of it working. So when you’re looking for products that offer this, you’ll need to be fully confident in the brand you pick. While I’ve played with a few retinol products over the past year, none have stuck and I’ve found myself reaching for them a couple of times at most. So when I decided it was high time to fully trial some properly, I ensured mine came from a brand I could trust: Murad.
The newly repackaged Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Products ticked every box for me when doing my research: high concentration of active ingredients (meaning you can expect good results) as well as pleasing findings from trials and tests (apparently 93% saw a reduction in lines and wrinkles after 4 weeks of using the serum.) Plus as far as skincare brands go, Murad know their stuff so you’re in safe hands.
But what should you use a retinol for?
Well technically speaking, better looking skin! Okay, I know that’s a broad term but really if you’re over the age of 30 then I recommend adding retinol to your regime asap. Retinol is the new anti-ageing skincare ingredient you want on your bedside table and bathroom shelf. It targets the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – hyaluronic acid who? It does this by plumping them at the same time as creating a smoother, more even tone across the whole face. It encourages the turnover of skin cells to regenerate which means that you’ve got that top layer of shiny, clean and new skin on show more often which makes you look naturally more radiant and healthy. Because of the way it encourages an exfoliation-like regeneration it can help people with things like redness, uneven tone, dullness and even things like excess oil. This is all in addition to huge anti-ageing benefits. Sounds pretty good, right?
I started trialling the Murad trio altogether: the serum, the eye cream and the night cream. I thought if I was going to go for it, then why not go all in? And I have to say it’s been interesting with some seriously pleasing results. As someone who has really bad blemishes right now, and has done for about a year, I really struggle to feel good about my skin when it’s the worst it’s been in my life. I have blotches, lots of blemishes and excess oil, and very uneven tone across the whole face. Add in the fact that I’m 32 so the arrival of fine lines has happened (sob) especially around my eyes, and the fact that mother nature decided to have all the lol’s and give me dry patches sometimes now too (which I’ve never had before) and suddenly I have very little skin confidence. I needed the retinol to work for more than my skin, for my confidence levels too.
I’ve now been using the products for about a month, perhaps a little more and I find the Retinol Youth Renewal Night Cream and the Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Cream have slotted into my regime perfectly and given the best fit for me. Besides the blemishes, my skincare target area is under my eyes as I’ve noticed fine lines there more than anywhere else (it’s the first place we show signs of ageing because the skin is thinnest there) so I was keen to see how the Eye Cream worked. I apply this nightly around the eyes, focusing on the bags and hollows and then use the Night Cream across the rest of the face – being very cautious not to allow any crossover. The Night Cream is the perfect last-step in your bedtime regime: it’s not oily or greasy, absorbs fast and doesn’t feel drying at all. When you lay down to sleep the skin feels soft and nourished and the tingling sensation is very minimal. I got used to it after the first week and haven’t really noticed it much at all since then. But if you have particularly sensitive skin then you may experience it slightly more. The Eye Cream is slightly more wet in texture and takes longer to absorb – often still feeling quite wet when I fall asleep. There’s no problems with this, I find it with a lot of eye creams but just something to think about. When you wake up in the morning its fully dry and absorbed though and its worked its magic.
I’d say I didn’t notice a lot until about 2/3 weeks in to my trial. And it wasn’t even a big ‘reveal moment’ just the realisation that for a few days in a row I’d looked in the mirror and had a ‘good skin day’. I noticed first that my under eye bags were less prominent, the area looked a little brighter and my usually dark grey bags were a little lighter. Then I noticed that the breakouts across my cheeks were lessening, and the redness in some of the uneven tone/bumps was less prominent too. My under eye area was brighter and less dull. I don’t have a huge amount of wrinkles to observe a difference with but in general the overall appearance was just…better.
By the 4th/5th week, my skin was clearer – my family even commented on it and said it’s the clearest it’s looked in a while. Which I’ll take as a huge win. Here’s my before and afters to show.
While the transformations you often see online for various things show someone with very bad skin before suddenly smiling with perfectly clear skin after – that’s not reality. Reality after a month is improvement, not transformation. And specialists say you need to allow up to 12 weeks for the full skin transformation to occur when using retinol. What I’ll say is this: if my skin looks this improved after 4 ish weeks then I’m converted already and fully invested in the process and will keep it in my skincare regime long term.
I haven’t switched out much from my existing regime either – in fact the only thing I’ve removed is my trusty daily exfoliator as you won’t need both. And while I love daily exfoliation, this has given better results, so it’s a welcome replacement. I switched out my nightly moisturiser with the Night Cream, and used my original in the mornings instead, and I did the same with my normal eye cream too. So I’ve not wasted anything and added in more rather than replacing anything. And that’s what’s worked best for me.
I’m not forgetting the Retinol Youth Renewal Serum either, but as someone who’s getting used to daily retinol I didn’t want to overdo things and didn’t find myself needing both the serum and night cream. I think you could use either if you’re new to retinols and get very similar results. If you’re further down the line with your retinol skincare then there’s no reason you couldn’t use both together.
So if you’re looking for something to improve your complexion then retinol really is an ingredient you want to invest in. The results have spoken for themselves in my trial and I can honestly say I wish I’d tried it sooner. While a lot of my blemishes are hormonal caused, their appearance has been lessened with the use of the Murad products – which has given me some relief in my skin journey right now!
So if you want to start introducing retinol to your regime as well, then now is as good a time as any and you can save 15% on these products at Look Fantastic using the code LADYWRITES.
**This post contains some gifted items and links may be affiliate but as ever all opinions are entirely my own. Please refer to my Disclaimer page for more details.
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