Deciem The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

Filtered by skin tone : Fair
Deciem The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%


21 reviews

85% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$$


Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinol, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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on 10/22/2017 9:10:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Other, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I love the way my skin feels the morning after I apply it. I get absolutely no irritation, even under the eyes, unless I use it every day.

I am not seeing a DRAMATIC difference in my skin, but it might be because I already use a lot of actives. Maybe I should get the 5% strength.
I doubt any of them will actually improve my acne scarring (mild ice pick), but it does help with healing fresh pimples.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

on 10/10/2017 4:14:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Very Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I really wanted to like this, I admire The Ordinary brand and their efforts to simplify skincare choices at a great price point. BUT, this has done nothing for my skin except dry it out, even with moisturiser and oil on top, and using only every other night - I always had flaky skin around my nose which would only come off with manual exfoliation. I used to use Paula's Choice 1% retinol, with minimal irritation so I don't think it was a acclimation issue. The lines on my face have gotten worse (granted, this has been a very stressful year for me), so after persevering through a bottle and a half of this, I'm switching to a more emollient retinol product.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Other

Eyes: Green

This is one of the more powerful OTC retinols available. It doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, although I have used retinols for a while now. My 65y old mother is obsessed with this, I have to bring her shipments back to the US whenever I see her.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Black, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Black

This is a great retinol product especially for the price! Would definitely buy again :)
My skin type: sensitive, dehydrated & extremely prone to acne and clogged pores

- didn't break me out (didn't even experience purging which is normal for retinol products)
- great texture similar to that of a thin moisturizer/ emulsion
- did not make my skin drier or cause any flakiness/ dry patches, which I used to get from prescription retinol
- good stable packaging

- effects aren't as fast/ extreme as prescription retinol

on 8/23/2017 12:43:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I've been using this for about a month now, I started off with every other night use and now I apply it every night as I haven't found it harsh on my skin like I though I would, it's really affordable and for the first time in forever I'm not paranoid going out of the house without putting on foundation, its given my skin a nice glow and faded away red acne patches I had around my chin :) definitely going to give some of the other ordinary products a try

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

on 8/13/2017 2:39:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

Retinol isn't an exfoliant per se, but its ability to turn over skin cells could be said to have an exfoliating-like effect.

And while it may give you peeling and flaking skin, its’ actions are different than a topical AHA or BHA chemical exfoliant.

AHA’s and BHA’s work by “un-glueing” the bonds that keep dead skin cells attached to the surface of the uppermost layer of our skin.

Vitamin A (retinols/retinoids) function very differently.
They get to work at a much deeper level to increase cell turnover, and push up new skin cells to the surface at a faster rate. What's happening biologically is “retinol binds to DNA, and immediately begins directing the skin's proteins and enzymes to do certain things - the first of which is to cast off the piled-up dead cells from your skin's surface. Normalizing that top layer causes some water loss initially, which can make skin seem drier and more irritable," and flake as old cells are cast off and new cells are pushed up.

It's the difference between applying a weed killer to your lawn which makes it initially look better when the weeds are gone, to applying a fertiliser which makes it look better because there's lots of new growth underneath.

A weed killer and a fertiliser are two different things.
As with this.
It's a different mechanism of action.

44 of 51 people found this helpful.

on 7/31/2017 10:54:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

I'm a bit up in the air with how I feel about this product. I'm still in the "testing" phase, but I didn't see results like most people did. I have clear skin from use of topical BP and have sensitive skin with melasma.

I used this for a little more than a week - and I don't know how others are seeing immediate, next day results - but my skin didn't look any different. It FELT smoother, but I'm aiming for fading of fine lines, wrinkles, and melasma. I didn't see any of this better after a week, but I'm not surprised. I believe it takes much longer (like 4 weeks) to see serious results with retinoids. Just keep that in mind when trying this product out.

I did, however, start to see little whiteheads appear on my left side of nose area. I didn't break out/purge anywhere else - but at this point, I was using this stuff every other night and noticed my skin was starting to get a bit greasier than normal. I'm guessing - for me - it was overuse of this product -- AKA: too much exfoliation. I stopped using it - but plan to try going back to using this once, maybe 2 times a week AT THE MOST.

Because this product is a chemical exfoliant, I'm a bit shocked that most websites recommend using it nightly if your skin can tolerate it. I've seen the same recommendations for AHA, too. I didn't think ANYONE should be exfoliating their skin every single night. It seems a bit harsh, and a bit overkill. If your skin is like mine, the excessive exfoliation started to cause more oil production and I was getting more greasy. This happens when you overexfoliate (high turnover of cells). I use my moisturizer twice a day - so it's not for a lack of moisturizer. I wouldn't do a skin scrub on my face every single night, why in the world would I use a chemical one? Even the most basic facial scrubs (like my elf one that I love) will tell you to not exfoliate every night.

Will see how my skin handles once/twice a week.

on 7/8/2017 4:25:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Deciem/The Ordinary currently offer 2 retinol products (the 1% Retinol Emulsion and this one - the Advanced Retinoid 2%). The 1% is actually the stronger of the two because of the difference in ingredients (retinol vs retinoid).

I found perhaps the best review I've ever read of all The Ordinary’s products on a U.K. website called Victoria Health (

And in their words:
“There is a big difference between a retinoid and retinol, which is why the [2%] product is more gentle than the [1%] retinol despite being double the strength.
Retinoid esters (like those in the 2% product) are structurally larger, so they take longer to be absorbed into the skin, which is what makes the ingredient so non-irritating”.

Most prescription retinols come in roughly these strengths (in order of potency);

0.01%, 0.025%, 0.050% and finally the 0.1% (or 1%).

So The Ordinary’s 1% product is equivalent (in retinol strength) to the strongest of the RetinA’s, therefore if you haven't used retinols before, bear in mind you're jumping in at the very deepest end with that one, and will more than likely be flaky, peeling, red and inflamed for the best part of a week. With retinols you have to work up SLOWLY (some dermatologists advise 3-4 months on each strength).

If you're new to retinols or want something a little less aggressive this 2% is very effective but still gentle and non-irritating.

To the product itself - it's a milky fluid easily added to other products, or used alone. I use it either undiluted as a first layer, or sometimes will add 3-4 drops mixed in with my moisturiser, three or four times a week. Used either way (for me anyway) it's very gentle and I experienced no shedding, flaking or peeling whatsoever.

The Ordinary state that their 2% Advanced Retinoid is superior and less irritating than the 1%, saying:

“The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% contains two actives [and] offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of ageing than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid. Both forms of retinoid used [in the 2%] avoid the irritation associated with retinol use while delivering better visible results”.

I’ve had a very basic Aveeno Positively Radiant moisturiser sitting in the cupboard for a year that I've never liked that much. It was always too thick (though that's probably not a bad thing for winter). In trying to use it up I added some warm water and a good shake to wash down the product from inside the bottle (which vastly improved its consistency). But adding just 3-4 drops of Advanced Retinoid to it prior to each use not only gives it some muscle, but turns it into THE creamiest, most easily absorbed, beautiful and nourishing lotion (that I'm almost tempted to buy another bottle because they mix so perfectly).
This is where The Ordinary products really shine and come into their own. They “power up” other more basic formulations.

So now having used both of The Ordinary’s retinol products, it would appear (from my own experience) that the 2% is less irritating and I had no shedding at all with that product, and it's gentle enough to use every second day.
The 1% caused a full shedding 48 hours later (which is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as I know it's coming. It just takes 3 or 4 more days to resolve itself which can be a bit of a pain). Other than that I like the idea of having a simple product on hand that can initiate a mini at-home peel when I feel my skin is in need of it, so I'll keep and continue to use both.

Retinoids will make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so they should only be used at night (& obviously use SPF during the day). But there's also some evidence that retinoids break down and turn toxic in sunlight (hence the dark bottles) and another reason why their use should be restricted to nighttime only.

64 of 68 people found this helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I stumbled across this product looking for an alternative to a more expensive retinoid product (Sunday Riley Luna). I love everything about this product! My skin has never looked so healthy. This product has improved my texture issues, decreased breakouts, and made my skin look plump and hydrated. I could not ask for anything more. And the price is incredible!

6 of 7 people found this helpful.

on 6/21/2017 9:56:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Grey

I had been wanting to try adding a retinol to my routine to help with smoothing my skin out and making my pores a little smaller. I was a little afraid after hearing that they can make skin very dry and can be irritating. I have slightly sensitive skin and have had problems with stinging and burning in the past and even makeup brushes can cause me irritation. I've also had problems with purging acne from using AHA's and BHA's so I was worried about that too. So I decided to start off slow and try using a this advanced retinoid vs. a full out retinol product. OMG! after one use my skin felt so soft and looked so glowey! I am addicted. I am now using twice a week at night, letting it absorb for a few minutes then slathering on a generous dollop of the NMF+HA moisturizer from the Ordinary to wake up with the softest, glowiest skin I've ever had. My skin feels bouncy and firm too (I didn't even know I was starting to lose firmness yet) And I have not had any problems with purging or stinging.

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

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