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Cheat Sheet – How to use a retinol/vitamin A product

My most frequently-asked-questions recently have all been about retinol. I’m still planning my retinol cheat sheet but in the meantime, I thought I would answer the most popular question, both on social media and in the comments section on here, so that I only have to so it once.

How do I use retinols?

Brands will all give you instructions on the packaging, and whilst there will always be exceptions, the key things to remember are:

  • Retinols go onto the skin after cleansing and toning
  • You can use other products, but they go on afterwards
  • If you have sensitive skin it is worth applying onto dry skin as it slows the absorption rate and, therefore, reduces the risk of inflammation
  • Don’t apply a lot thinking it will work faster. It won’t. Save your money. And your skin. Apply a small pea-sized amount, or in the case of an oil, a few drops, not an entire pipette.
  • Don’t overdo it. The results can be very alarming – in a good way – almost overnight. Don’t be tempted to think more is more. It isn’t. In the case of retinols, and especially if you have not used them before, less is more. Every 3rd night, moving to every 2nd night. Unless a brand specifically says differently.

I have been using retinols a long time. If I know I’m using a vitamin A product in the evening, I cleanse, acid tone, spritz, then use my retinoid. I usually follow it with a soothing moisturiser. I love them. They are easily the best products for fighting signs of ageing. Everyone should use one. They are worth the faff. Just use them correctly.