The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane Review 

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane Review The Ordinary recently overhauled and expanded their retinol and retinoid product offering. They now have 3 Retinols and 3 Retinoids. They are discontinuing the Retinol 1% and they have renamed the Advanced Retinoid 2% to Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. In this post, I will focus on the Granacative Retinoid 5% in Squalane Review.

This is currently their Retinoid product with the highest concentration.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane Review

Product Information

This water-free solution contains a 5% concentration of an advanced retinoid active complex called Granactive Retinoid that has been shown to offer better results against multiple signs of ageing than retinol without any of the irritation and drawbacks common with retinol. Granactive Retinoid, an active technology from Grant Industries, is a solubilized system of Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, a highly-advanced form of retinoid which is, in fact, a non-prescription ester of all-trans direct retinoic acid that offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of ageing than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid. 

I was curious about how the presence of squalane would affect the performance of this Retinoid.

I feel like I cannot really talk about this product without comparing it to the Advanced Retinoid 2% which doesn’t contain Squalane.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane vs Advanced Retinoid 2% / Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

I found the Advanced Retinoid 2% to be a tad drying. Not that it felt drying on application, but I felt like it was dehydrating my skin and causing a slight irritation. I started to layer Rose Hip Seed Oil over it whenever I’d apply it, and my skin settled down.

With the Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane, because it already contains Squalane which is a hydrator, it automatically feels much less drying than the Advanced Retinoid 2%. The Squalane gives it a slightly oily feel which is fine by me, because that’s how I end up anyway, when I layer Rose Hip Seed Oil over the regular retinoid.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane How To Use

To use the Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane, I do the following

1. I cleanse my face,

2. I use hydrating toner (I use the Hylamide Hydra Density Mist)

3. I apply my daily serum (I use The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin because it fights hyperpigmentation and I also find it just hydrating enough for my oily skin)

4. I apply The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

And thats it!

I only use this a couple of times a week. It’s important to note that Retinoids are not supposed to be used with strong acids like Lactic, Salicylic, or Glycolic Acid.

Overall, I prefer the Granactive Retinoid 5%  in Squalane to the Advanced Retinoid 2%, for my skin types and my skin’s needs. I am also very very excited over the fact that this contains Retinoid Acid. Retinoid Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide are two ingredients Deciem recommends for the treatment of persistent acne, and this is the first time they’ve made a product that contains either.

Even though this product has not been marketed as an acne-treatment, I’ve been using it and paying special attention to my acne and I definitely see an improvement.

This has become my go-night Serum because it just leaves my skin looking and feeling amazing the next day. If you’ve been using other retinoids and you feel ready to try something a little stronger I can not recommend this enough! I love it and I see myself repurchasing it.

However, if you are new to retinoids, they can be drying, irritating and actually cause temporary breakouts in acne-prone skin. I wouldn’t recommend starting with this high concentration.

The Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane might be a good place to start if you’re a beginner.

If you liked the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (previously named Advanced Retinoid 2%)and you’re looking to try something a little more intense, the Granactive Retinoid 5% will be perfect for you.


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