Review of Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol | Well+Good

My skin-care routine is straightforward: I cleanse with a soft, moisturising cleanser, use the Eadem dark spot serum, an antioxidant serum, a decent moisturiser, and SPF, and that’s it. Even after using retinol sparingly to build up my skin’s tolerance, it always ended with my skin being incredibly sensitive and peeling (FWIW: most skin-care experts warn that these things can happen and advocate pushing through to experience the advantages). I’ve never been a fan of retinol because of my past experiences, but that was until I tried the Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol ($35).

101 Retinol

If you’re anything like me, you probably don’t know much about retinol other than the fact that it’s a mainstay in most skin and beauty enthusiasts’ regimens. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that works as a multitasker in skin care. It works by speeding up your skin’s cell turnover—think of it as a personal assistant who helps you remove dead skin cells faster than if you left them to their own devices.

It’s also used to help increase your skin’s collagen synthesis, which keeps your skin tight and plump as you get older. Retinol can also be used to treat acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven tone and texture, among other skin issues.

The Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol has a lot of things that I enjoy about it.

To be honest, I had no idea what retinol was good for and started into my testing period with no idea what it may do (probably not the smartest approach but here we are). The aspect of this retinol that appealed to me the most was that it seemed like I was using a wonderful moisturiser, which I enjoyed. More importantly, I haven’t had any peeling, dryness, or irritation despite taking it two to three times a week for a little over two weeks.

I’m no retinol expert, and I haven’t tried many, but I’d like to believe it’s because of this formulation, which contains retinyl sunflowerate, “an innovative hybrid of pure retinol and sunflower seed fatty acids” that is supposed to provide all of the retinol’s benefits without the negative side effects. (In most formulae, retinyl palmitate, which is the same technology that uses palm oil, is used.) It’s a gentler form of vitamin A than other retinoids.) It also contains a humectant, mondo grass root extract, to keep your skin moisturised.

After using the Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol, my skin improved dramatically.

As a beauty editor, I’m picky about the items I review, and even pickier about the ones I write about. That being said, if I’ve published a review for a product, it’s because I sincerely believe in it.

My main skin worry right now is four dark spots on my left cheek that emerged after a hormonal breakout (gotta love post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) and won’t go away.

I swear the spots started to lighten after a few days of application, which made me want to perform a cartwheel to rejoice. Aside from my dark spots lightening, my skin’s texture is even and baby smooth, and I haven’t had any new acne visitors on my face in a long time, which is also a win in my eyes.

My short-term objective is to have these dark spots go within the next few weeks, and my long-term goal is to have my skin look as wonderful as my six-year-old nieces’. Overall, I would recommend this retinoid to a beginner. With that stated, I’m happy to report that it’s earned a spot on my top shelf.

For more on retinol and how to use it, check out the video below: 

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