We tried Glossier’s first ever retinol – here’s how it went

We tried Glossier’s first ever retinol – here’s how it went
From formula to application, we put Glossier’s universal pro-retinol skincare to the test – does the age-defying product deliver results? Here’s our review

Take cult-favourite 美しさ brand Glossier and add a dash of retinol, one of the most powerful and effective skin-rejuvenating ingredients, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a much-anticipated beauty launch.

When we heard Glossier was finally bringing out their first retinol product, after teasing us with it back in April, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it. Launching today (£30,, this is a beauty product that we’ve truly been waiting for, so when the postman delivered it to us ahead of its release, we got very excited to put it to the test.

Since launching back in 2014, when Emily Weiss first unveiled Glossier off the back of her successful “Into the Gloss” blog, the beauty brand has gone on to disrupt the スキンケア and make-up industry with its minimalist approach – believing in enhancing natural beauty and not covering it up.

With pretty pink packaging, mid-range purse-friendly prices and a small but well thought out offering of products, Glossier isn’t just another hyped up beauty brand. It consistently delivers stand-out products that perform, and make it into our IndyBest round-ups – including the best マスカラ, concealers そして cream blush ほんの数例を挙げると.

With its “skin first, make-up second” mantra, it was only a matter of time before the brand introduced a retinol product into their line-up, as no other skincare ingredient is as effective at reversing signs of skin ageing and has the science to back it up.


The gold standard skin active helps to renew and turnover skin cells to improve skin quality and texture, as well as boost collagen production. It’s skin-transforming with the ability to soften fine lines and wrinkles, fade pigmentation, and improve the appearance of pores and blemishes


We put the nightly renewing complex to the test for ten days, using it in our evening skincare routine on freshly cleansed skin. Starting every other night to see how well our skin tolerated it at first, before advancing to every night after a week, as our tester’s skin is used to the skin active. These are our thoughts…

Glossier universal pro-retinol

今買う £30,

The formula

Trying to get your head around retinoids can be complicated and confusing. Something which isn’t helped by brands often using the term retinol when what they actually mean is retinoid.

“Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives and they come in three primary forms: レチノール, retinal and retinoic acid,” says dermatologist, Dr Camille Howard. Retinoids can therefore take many different forms, not just retinol, and each vary in strength and also irritation, so just because a percentage is higher on the bottle or jar, doesn’t always mean it’s better.

続きを読む: 8 best retinols for age-defying skin

If we’ve lost you, know that is exactly why Glossier wanted to launch a simpler product that could be used by all skin types, beginners and regular retinoid users alike. Enriched with 0.5 per cent retinyl sunflowerate – a retinol derivative composed of retinol and sunflower seed fatty acids – the brand describes it as a new innovation in the world of retinoids, found to be less irritating than its predecessors.

Other stand-out ingredients include, stevia extract from the stems and leaves of the stevia plant – considered a gentler more natural alternative to retinoids because of its skin-smoothing abilities – and mondo grass root extract as it acts as a humectant, holding onto moisture, keeping skin comfortable and minimising irritation.

The application

Skincare with any type of retinoid should always be used in your evening skincare routine, as the actives can make your complexion more sensitive to the sun. This new formulation is no exception, so we applied in the evenings after skin cleansing and always wore a high SPF the following morning. All you need is a pea-sized amount, which the pump neatly dispenses.

How you use it will depend on your skin type and how used to retinoids your skin is. “Start small and work your way up. Initially every 2 日々, for the first 2 数週間, then up to every night thereafter,” says Dr Ewoma Ukelegne, award-winning medical and cosmetic doctor. “Listen to your skin, it will tell you what you can handle.”

続きを読む: 9 best hyperpigmentation products

Our tester has built up a tolerance to using retinoids, but still started using it every other night to make sure there was no sensitivity or irritation, and with none in sight, went on to use it nightly, after one week.


We have to say, compared to similar retinol products, this has a richer, more indulgent texture that makes it a pleasure to add into our PM routine, rather than a chore. Glossier recommend following up with a nightly moisturiser, but even though our tester’s skin is on the dry side, we didn’t feel like we needed the extra hit of hydration unlike when using other retinol serums.

It’s important to reiterate, we’ve only trailed the product for 10 days and this skin-rejuvenating active needs longer to work its magic. Retinoids don’t transform your skin overnight, they need at least a month if not longer before you start to see results.

続きを読む: 12 best anti-ageing day creams that help reduce wrinkles

そうは言っても, we already started to see results in both the way our skin looked and felt. 驚いたことに, our dull and lacklustre complexion turned luminous within a week of using, and there was a marked improvement to our pore size too.

After an initial few breakouts (nothing we don’t normally find after adding a retinol product into our routine that speeds cell turnover) we were very surprised to find how silky soft the texture of our skin felt – we couldn’t stop touching it. We’d go as far as to say; no other retinol has made our skin feel so smooth, so quickly after introducing it to our complexion.

And while we can’t report any pigmentation fading or softening of lines, we have no doubt it’s going to have glowing results in these areas too with ongoing and continued use if early results are anything to go by.

続きを読む: 9 best bakuchiol skincare products for a natural alternative to retinol

The bugbear of using any retinol skincare will always be its side effects in the form of irritation, dryness, peeling and so on, if not introduced to skin slowly, but we can report we experienced none whatsoever. It’s partly down to having a complexion somewhat used to the active, but also because it’s a gentler formulation with added skin-soothing and hydrating ingredients that keep skin comfortable.

The only negative we can find is if you’re used to using high strength retinoids this will be too gentle for you, and you should stick to your regular skincare for best results.

評決: Glossier universal pro-retinol

Glossier wanted to make a retinol product that’s easier to navigate so just about everyone could use it, and it really has delivered. If you’re new to incorporating retinol into your skincare regime this gentle formula is a great place to start, because it keeps your complexion comfortable and well-nourished too, unlike other irritating formulations.

If you start using it slowly you can’t go wrong, letting your skin guide you on when you can work up to using it more regularly. しかしながら, those well-versed in high strength retinoid formulations may find the skin-rejuvenating too mild and want to stick with their regular product.


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For more skincare reviews, check out our edit of the best retinols for age-defying skin

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