5 Ways to Make Retinol Work For You

woman applying retinol
Less is more when applying Retin A – only a pea size is needed!

I’ve been using retinol and Retin A on and off for years.  I would start to use it, then experience extreme dryness and flaking and quit using it.  Then I’d continue to read about how retinol is such a key ingredient for anti-aging (heck I’ve even written about it myself here), and I’d try again…. you get the point.  I’ve finally figured out how to use this ingredient consistently with little to no side effects and I want to share with you how I did it.

#1 – Start SLOW

Just like with dieting, sometimes we are so psyched to try something that we dive straight in – BAD IDEA.  You are almost certain to set yourself up for failure.  With incorporating any new routine into our lives, we need to make gradual changes or it will seem so overwhelming that one day we’ll say “Screw it,” and give up.   I don’t know about you, but in the anti-aging game I REFUSE to give up!  Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You are looking to incorporate a skin care treatment for the long haul, so you need to ease in.

If you’ve never used retinol before, I’d recommend buying an over-the-counter product to start with, as they are not as strong as a prescription.  In addition, do not start out by using it every day!  Start with a couple of days a week (not consecutive) to see how your skin is handling it, and then slowly work up from there.  I personally like some retinol products that are in a facial oil form as it helps to maintain the skin’s moisture and keep flaking at bay.  Sunday Riley’s Luna oil is one I’ve really enjoyed using.  Also, Colleen Rothschild just came out with a new Retinol Supreme Night Oil  (the site is also having a sale so it’s currently 25% off with code FAM25)! On a budget?  Head to the drugstore and try the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle repair with Retinol.

Tretinoin cream is another name for Retin-A. It comes in varying strengths.

If you get a trentinoin prescription from your doctor, I’d start out with .025% strength first before building up to the higher strengths.  You don’t need the highest strength to see the best results.  Be gentle with your skin!

 

#2 – Apply correctly

A pea size amount is all that is needed to spread evenly over your face.  Yes, a pea!  Again, remember- marathon, not sprint.  More is definitely NOT better.  Also, make sure your skin is BONE dry before applying.  The product is not as effective on damp skin.  So, after you wash your face, go do something else for about 20-30 minutes before you apply this.  The drier your skin is, the less chance of irritation.  I wish I had known this years ago but trust me, this makes a huge difference!

#3 – Continue to Moisturize

I don’t know why when I started using retinol years ago, I didn’t think to add a moisturizer on top.  Hello, your skin can get dry and flake off as a side effect of the product!  I think that I was afraid to add anything that could compromise the efficacy of the product.  But I’m here to tell you that you CAN and SHOULD add a moisturizer to your face after applying retinol.  However, I would wait another 20 -30 minutes prior to doing that so the product has time to settle into the skin.  You’re probably thinking this is sounding WAY too complicated and that you just want to slap on all your products one after the other and go to bed.  Trust me, I get that, I do.  I’ve found a way to incorporate this into my evening routine to make it work.  For instance, I’ll wash my face after cleaning up after dinner.  Then I go and help my son with his nighttime routine.  After I tuck him in, I spread the trentinoin on.  Then I go watch a little TV and head back to the bathroom to add the moisturizer.  Done!  Trust me, the extra effort that this takes has more than made up for it for me personally with no side effects.  Once you’ve established a routine that works into your schedule and have been doing it for awhile, then you will enjoy the results on your skin!

#4 – Be EXTRA anal about sunscreen

If you are not good about putting sunscreen on your face every day, rain or shine, winter or summer, then I would NOT begin any retinol routine until you get good about it.  This stuff is no joke; remember, it is stimulating your skin cells to turn over rapidly to smooth your skin texture and reduce lines and wrinkles.  In that process, your skin is not only prone to the side effects we’ve talked about, but it is more sensitive to the sun.  If you use this and are exposed to the sun without protection, not only are you undoing any benefit the retinol will provide, but you are setting yourself up to have a bad skin reaction.  Please, please proceed with caution!

#5 – Be careful about other exfoliators you are using

Take a look at all the products you are currently using before starting your retinol.  If you have cleansers or toners with glycolic acid, I would stop using them in the evening before applying your retinol.  You want to use very gentle products with the retinol to avoid irritation.  You can continue to use exfoliating treatments, but avoid using them on the same day that you plan to use your retinol.

Hopefully you picked up a tip or two or five, that you didn’t know before.  Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient, but that shouldn’t discourage us from using it.  With the right care, you CAN make this work for you and enjoy the results!  Good luck!  If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

 

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.

Product Review – Shiseido Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Mask

Shiseido Pure Retinol Express smoothing eye maskOk, this is the real deal!  I purchased the Shiseido Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Pads at Sephora just because I am constantly looking for eye products where I will see visible results.  In my anti-aging journey, I am still trying to find products that will address the fine lines, wrinkles and crepey skin under my eyes with results I can notice.  And was I beyond impressed with this eye mask!

If you’ve read my other articles on anti-aging, you know that retinol (vitamin A)is a key ingredient to incorporate into any skincare regimen.  I was curious to see this in an eye mask, as sometimes retinol can be harsh on the skin, especially the delicate under eye area.  This product promises to instantly reduce the appearance of visible fine lines and wrinkles with its special proprietary “Benefiance WrinkleResist24” ingredient.  It comes with individually wrapped eye sheets saturated with the product.  You lay them carefully under each eye and let sit for 15 minutes, then gently remove.  You can then pat in any excess product into the under eye area.  I really like how firm and smooth my under eye looks right after this treatment and that the product does not cause any irritation whatsoever.  You could also use this for laugh lines and place the pads around the mouth, but I haven’t used it I that way.

The left is my under eye before using the product, and the right is after. You can see in the after picture that the texture is smoother and tighter and the discoloration is also improved! All that in 15 minutes – I’m blown away!

The only negative is I have with this product is that these suckers are pricey!  It’s $65 for 12 packettes (I did find them cheaper -$51 for 12 packettes on Amazon here).  I have the 3 packette size, which is $17.50 but that size is currently sold out in Sephora.  I plan to order the larger size now that I’ve seen the results for myself and plan to use them at least once a week in addition to my normal under eye creams that I currently use.  In the meantime, I’ll be on the hunt for a drugstore dupe (if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears)!  I would love to know what anti aging products you are all loving right now!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try it.

Review and Haul of New Target Clothing Lines – A New Day and Who What Wear

Have you been to Target lately?  They’ve recently launched some new clothing lines, and I have to say I am IN LOVE!    One line is called “A New Day” and it has a great blend of casual and office-appropriate attire.  The other is called “Who What Wear” and has similar, although overall I think this line is a little more geared toward office attire.  Both have plus sizes available too so there’s something for any body type.  I went a little crazy but got some awesome deals (like over-the-knee boots for $39.99!?!) and stocked up on great fall pieces.  Let me show you some of the great finds I made because if you are in the market for some new fall clothes, there are some great finds at Target!  And if you have the Target Red Card, you get an ADDITIONAL 5% off all of your purchases!

Target A New Day Poncho and Over the Knee Suede boots

Poncho sweater ($26.99)and Over the Knee Suede boots  ($39.99)

I love this sweater because it will keep you warm during the transitional weather and it looks so put together!  I just threw it over the striped shirt I had on and it instantly jazzes up the outfit (which can be worn with the black mules in warmer weather and the over the knee boots in the cooler weather).  It’s so versatile and the price is great!

I bought a pair of over-the-knee suede boots with a heel last winter and I can tell you I spent a whole lot more money on them.  However, I felt that a flat heel would be more wearable in my day-to-day life, so when I saw these at this fantastic price I had to get them, and I was not disappointed!  I will say that if you have larger calves then these are not for you.  They aren’t adjustable and are fitted around the calf area.  They do offer a wide size but I’m not sure how much extra room they provide.  They tie at the back which I like – I think it adds some interest to the boot. Also, to get the ideal look out of the boot, you need to wear really skinny jeans or leggings as the calf is not roomy to tuck in any excess material.  But, in my opinion, overall a great find.  They also come in a gray and camel color.  I wear a size 7 and they run true to size.

Target Who What Wear blouse and A New Day Mules

Striped Tie Waist Shirt ($27.99)and Mules ($29.99)

This shirt is from Who What Wear, and immediately caught my eye because of the tie waist detail that made it really unique.  It comes in blue and white stripe as well as the gray and white that I purchased.  I love that you could wear this on the weekends or to an office – it is so versatile!  I also threw a sweatshirt over it (see dragonfly sweatshirt below)  to create another look with it.  I have a size S and it runs true to size. The mules are from A New Day and are perfect into the mule trend this season.  They are in a black suede and are perfect for the transitional fall weather.

Target A New Day striped sweatshirt

Striped Sweatshirt ($19.99)

A lot of the pieces I have were ordered online, as my local Target rarely has a lot of clothing items in stock.  However, I stumbled upon this piece during one of my Target runs  – the material is so soft and cozy I just couldn’t resist.  I sized up to a M in this as it was a little shorter than I liked in the small.  I plan to wear it with jeans or leggings.

 

Beaded Dragonfly Sweatshirt ($24.99)

This was another item I happened to find in-store.  This sweatshirt is so warm and cozy but the beaded dragonfly makes it a little more interesting.  You can wear it alone, or layered over a shirt as I did in this picture.  As with the striped sweatshirt, I did size up to a M in this shirt as well.

Target A New Day BlazerBlazer  ($34.99)

I am really impressed with the quality of this blazer for the price.  It is long sleeved (I have it rolled up in the photo) and lined on the inside.  It gives a nice fit and I have it paired with a black cami and jeans.  This can easily be worn with a skirt or dress pants for an office environment as well.  I have it here in a size 6 and it runs true to size.

Target A New Day Ruffled Bomber jacket

Ruffled Bomber Jacket  ($29.99)

I know bomber jackets are very on trend right now, but when I saw this one with the beautiful ruffle detail (I know it’s hard to see in this picture) I fell in love!  Stripes and varsity looking bombers just aren’t my taste but this jacket definitely is!  I have a size S and I’d say it runs pretty true to size.

Tartet A New Day Khaki vest

Military Vest ($29.99)  I really like this piece just to give a little more interest to a basic t-shirt and jeans.  Here I have it with a short sleeve shirt, but as the weather gets cooler I plan to pair it with long sleeve t-shirts or sweaters.  I love the draw strings around the waist that let me control the look it gives (I prefer more fitted).

Target Who What Wear ruffle sleeveless blouse

Ruffle sleeveless blouse ($22.99)

This blouse was another item I actually purchased in store.  I’m seeing so much of these ruffles and I loved this pattern (it goes so well with jeans).  With the weather still being warm I love this as something I can wear now without a jacket, and then throw a layer over it when it gets cooler.  This is a size S and it runs true to size.

I hope you got some ideas for your fall wardrobe.  Have you been shopping at Target lately?  What have you been loving?