Deciem The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

Filtered by eye Color : Hazel
Deciem The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%


12 reviews

75% 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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Age: 25-29

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I wrote a review before but had to rewrite it as the effects of this product changed for the better. This review will be useful to those acne-prone who don't want to have all the retinoid uglies at once, and need to minimize the effects of this product, which is well-tolerated by a majority of people but will cause problems if you tend to break out a lot, or are sensitive to retinoids because you never used any before.

The first time I started using it, I applied it every other night, which is too much if you have never used retinol or retinoids before. Within days, my skin had become a very sensitive mess, and my face was covered with small, painful pimples. I wasn't too pleased and I knew I had to stick to it for several weeks, but I didn't have the time or courage to go through this. I went back to my AHAs and serums with a sigh of relief and stored this in a bag with a bunch of stuff I don't want to use/ consider to give away.

A few months later, I was PMSing and starting to get really tired of my hormonal acne, which was still bad (I don't use any specific long-term treatment). It comes and goes and makes life difficult, especially because I teach to students who are slightly younger than me and still have better skin than I do. Also, the anti-aging benefits sound very appealing. Although I don't need them right now, I'm sure I'll appreciate being preventive when I'm in my 30s. So I decided to re-introduce this product this very progressively in my nighttime routine. This is my retinoid timeline:

Week 1: 1 time /week
Weeks 2-3-4: 2 times/week
Weeks 5-6: 3 times/ week
Week 7 and after: Every other night.

3/4 drops will suffice first; you can add more after the 5th week. (I now use as much as I do a regular serum.)

At the beginning, my skin was sensitive and felt irritated. I got a few pimples, but nothing too crazy or noticeable: I just used a full coverage foundation, or heavy-duty concealer.

It felt extremely dry soon after: thirsty like never before. For reference, I'm usually super duper oily. I made sure not to use a very rich cream (they're usually too occlusive and therefore pore-clogging), but instead I started layering a hydrating serum and a face oil/ a nice moisturizer which I know doesn't clog my pores, like MV Oxygen Moisturizer. I did a lot of moisturizing masks, made sure to drink a lot, used mists and sprays, and stopped using oil-free foundations in favor of richer complexion products that were usually too dewy, like Cle Cosmetics CCC cream, or Zelens Youth Glow. Always use SPF- either replace the moisturizer/ oil with a good SPF Cream, apply some on top of it, or make sure your complexion product has SPF in it.

After a full month, I started appreciating the effects of this product. I now use it every other night. I wake up to a smooth, clearer, brighter complexion. I'm still a bit dry but not flakey, and never irritated. Also, I had to stop using AHAs so much, I now do around once a week on nights where I don't use the Advanced Retinoid 2%. I make sure to moisturize well on other nights, taking time to re-build my skin's barrier.

All in all, I think this is worth it. I have some discoloration that I hope will fade completely. I'll probably start using the Vit C cream from the same brand in the morning for added brightening benefits, and I'll try a more potent retinol product such as Shani Darden's when I'm finished with this.

17 of 17 people found this helpful.

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.

7 of 8 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

I have normal/dry skin and I am 30. My skin had no major issues except it looks unhealthy, dull and uneven due to pimple marks, freckles etc. This is my first retinoid product.

I bought this together with Alpha-H Liquid gold since everybody is raving about the LG. My skin improved drastically in a few weeks with daily LG and twice a week of this product. No sensitivity, no peeling. I just looked glowing and healthy. I assumed this was due to LG because it had so many good reviews and cost three times as much as The Ordinary. It should work, right? Also, I was expecting some kind of horrible peel with my very first retinoid and it just never happened. After 3-4 weeks makeup wasn't settling on my face though, mostly whatever I put on my face just looked flakey and like above my skin, not on my skin. So I bought a daily scrub and that fixed it completely. But it has never peeled as it was described to me so I assumed the retinoid must be useless, and I should get one of the better ones.

Then I went on a month-long summer trip and left the retinoid behind because I heard sunlight and retinoids don't mix. I kept using the LG daily.

My oh my, my face looked awful when I got back. It just looked sick. So I started using it again, two weeks in and wow I'm getting so many compliments on my glowing skin.

As some other reviewers said, the texture feels like it's difficult to absorb but just put it on your face 15 minutes before you go to bed and you'll be fine. This stuff is the bomb!

10 of 13 people found this helpful.

on 8/27/2017 6:42:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Background: 35, normal to dry-ish skin, occasional breakouts.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about this. I tried it for texture issues after using their moisturiser, and for fine lines around my eyes. For the price and percentage of retinoid, I didn't think it would make much of a difference. I was amazed how wrong I was. My skin loved it. After applying it the first night, I woke up to significant improvement in the texture of my skin. It felt and looked smoother. The colour was more even. It felt more hydrated. People commented on how well I looked. The more I used it, the smoother and more even my skin became. It also seemed to tighten my skin (being 35, the elasticity of my skin isn't the same). It won't get rid of significant wrinkles, but it has definitely improved the fine lines around my eyes.

The dropper bottle means it's easy to apply but sometimes the dropper can become clogged. I just wash it out in hot water, let it dry, and it's as good as new.

Only negative is that I suspect it is breaking me out around my chin line, but salicylic acid clears them up overnight so I'm not too bothered. They're more like blind pimples but aren't painful and are easily concealed when doing my makeup.

Definitely recommend trying it.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

on 8/27/2017 7:37:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I give this product two lippies because it's a great concept and the price is right. However, I had hoped that since this was advertised as a next-gen Retinoid, it would provide a superior performance to the other retinol type products I've used in the past. All the cult products (e.g., Neutrogena Healthy Skin) have been disastrous for my skin -- I have never had acne, but retinol seems to be the one ingredient that can form (nearly immediately!) HUGE, super painful, deep cysts that wreck my skin for literally months even after I discontinue use. This was (so sadly!) no different. If you are like me and were hoping for something different, unfortunately this probably won't work for you. Such a bummer!

6 of 10 people found this helpful.

on 7/26/2017 1:24:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Red, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Hazel

Sad face from the Ordinary 2% Retinoid. It has caused a bit of havoc on my face (havoc for me as I don't have skin issues) Had hoped to use this for fine lines. Surprised as it sounded like this would be a super star based on all the other reviews. Three Big raised pimples appeared after using it. I have never had any skin issues with pimples or acne. One or two pimples around that time of month. So was shocked at what happened. The pimples are large and deep. Oddly they do not hurt. I stopped using it to see if the Retinoid was the culprit. I had used a strong AHA/BHA Mask prior to staring the Retinoid so was not sure what caused the breakout. I took an antibiotic for a few days along with a steroid and my face cleared. I used it again ONE time and wham a giant pimple appeared! It is trying to heal right now. Very upsetting. Could my skin be purging? I plan to get in to see a Dermatologist. Hope others have better results with the product. Again, sad face as I did like it a first.

9 of 13 people found this helpful.

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.

77 of 82 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I am just now starting this line and I am very impressed. I like Paula's Choice products, but they can run pricey, even with the 20% off sales. The reviews on her site are not favorable, but she has a lot to lose.

I personally love the idea of customizing my own skin care line. I don't mind mixing several serums together to make a cocktail that works for me. I purchased 6 items and the net cost of all six were still LESS than some of my most expensive serums.

The company has a great philosophy and great products that WORK and do not kill your wallet.

This retinol is great. My skin did not react adversely and looks great. Retinol is an important part of any skincare regimen. I have read some reviews that the 1% is somehow more potent (which I don't understand), so next time I will try it instead since I've been a retinol user for years. I do not use prescription Retin-A as I do not like the red faced peely look that accompany its use. This does not cause any irritation on my skin. Highly recommend.

16 of 17 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I'm working my way through all The Ordinary products but this was the first one I tried, so the one I've been using the longest. I haven't used many other retinol products in the past but the one I have been using the past year is tested on animals and my new year's resolution was to purge my life of anything that isn't cruelty free. I was very excited to discover The Ordinary because they state very clearly that they are a cruelty free brand. I switched to this retinol about 6 weeks ago and haven't seen any drastic results, I only use it on my forehead area because I have incredibly purge prone skin and learnt my lesson with retinols but my forehead is also the only area of my face that is showing signs of ageing. I experienced a tiny purge, a couple of small pimples after a few weeks but overall my skin has reacted very well to this. It's extremely gentle, I use a small amount every night and have experienced no dryness or peeling, the texture is milky and a little greasy once on but as my forehead is quite dry I actually like this. Nothing drastic has happened to the lines or pores on my forehead but it's certainly maintaining the results from my pervious retinol, I'm going to keep going with it because it's such a gentle product and so cheap but I will probably add their 1% and compare at some point.

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Warm

Hair: Brown, Curly, Coarse

Eyes: Hazel

EPIC!!!! This is the perfect retinoid product for my skin! It doesn't irritate one bit or overly dry me out. This along with the Buffet is my HG night treatment. This is a watery, yellowish serum that absorbs immediately into the skin for me. I use about 4 drops for the face and 2 drops for the neck after my Buffet application and wake up to super smooth, clear, renewed skin! It has also lessened my fine lines on my forehead and smile lines greatly. You cannot beat the price either! I find this product along with the Buffet and this company groundbreaking and game changing. Fabulous! xoxoxox

11 of 11 people found this helpful.

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