Almost everyone who's in their 20s or older love love loves retinoids, but surely we can all admit that trying a new one is kind of scary…right? We’ve heard the horror stories about the dryness, skin irritation and purging that can ensue as you work the beloved anti-aging ingredient into your skin-care routine. And even with its many benefits—boosting collagen, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, fading dark spots and pigmentation, you’d be right to be a little nervy about introducing a new retinol product into your routine, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Thankfully, BeautyBio—the skin-care brand behind high-tech beauty tools, like the oddly satisfying ‘Pore Vacuum’ and scalp micro-needling device, made a retinol product that every skin type can use with confidence. Meet the R45 The Reversal System ($160), the brand’s top-selling (and award-winning!) 3-phase retinol night treatment that gradually increases in strength to improve the look of wrinkles and uneven texture, pores and dark spots in only 45 days—without the irritation. And you only need to use it twice a year, *mic drop*. By that we mean, after you complete the 45-day treatment, you likely won't need to treat your skin for at least six months. If it sounds too good to be true, then keep reading. I put the R45 System to the test for 45 days to find out.
What makes the BeautyBio R45 | The Reversal special
R45’s innovative 3-phase system was born out of BeautyBio founder Jamie O’Bannion’s personal struggles with prescription retinoids. “For someone with sensitive skin who couldn't use prescriptive retinol even at the lowest doses, this was a totally selfish formulation so I could access the incredible benefits of this active ingredient without the negative drying side effects,” O’Bannion tells us. BeautyBio’s patented retinol complex, TriGlo™, is engineered to be most effective in 3 phases, allowing your skin to build a tolerance for the ingredient, thus minimizing the chances of irritation, and making it safe for sensitive skin.
“It allows every person, every skin type to finally unlock the benefits of retinol in the same way a good dermatologist would prescribe it—in a gradually ascending, deep-release formula,” says O’Bannion. Unlike other retinoids that use a single concentration of the ingredient (which can lead to a plateau in benefits, according to O’Bannion), it’s R45’s increasing concentrations that give users next-level results.
Even more comforting, each phase has a dual-chamber delivery system—one delivers the retinol cream, and the other a jelly serum packed with peptides as an added buffer, only with extra benefits. “By pairing it with our peptide blend, these two formulas synergistically get to work, tackling wrinkles, spots, pores, texture, and blemishes for healthy, glowing skin,” explains O’Bannion. In fact, R45 is so effective that BeautyBio claims you only need to use it twice a year. And as someone who relishes in doing the bare minimum when it comes to skin-care, this is music to my ears.
My honest review
For starters, I have oily/combination skin that’s prone to congestion and blemishes. But after a challenging bout of breakouts, the dark spots and pigmentation the acne left behind were my chief concern. For 45 nights, I used one pump of each formula in the R45 component: the yellowy retinol cream and the jelly peptide blend as the final step of my skin-care routine, combining the two formulas in my hands before massaging onto my face (avoiding the eyes, as you should with any retinol face product). Together, the formulas had a smooth and slightly emollient feel, making it easy to spread onto my skin without any of the dry pastiness I’ve experienced with other retinol creams. My skin felt softer and more hydrated immediately after applying too, which was a win!
By the end of phase 1 of The Reversal system (15 days into the challenge at the lowest concentration of retinol), I didn’t notice any huge visible improvements in my skin but I trusted the process—which was easy to do given the fact that I hadn’t experienced a single adverse reaction so far (yay!).
Halfway into phase 2, which is 50 percent more concentrated than phase 1, I began to notice visible improvements. The skin texture on my forehead started to smooth out, and some of my dark spots showed early signs of fading. What’s more, there was still no tingling, dryness, or irritation to speak of, thankfully. Even at the BeautyBio system’s final and strongest phase, my skin was (surprisingly) calm, cool and collected.
By the end of the 45 days, the results totally snuck up on me! Looking at my skin now, the results are impossible to overlook: the scarring on my forehead, cheeks and chin had dramatically improved, and my skin looked brighter and smoother than it had in months. Even my enlarged pores around my T-zone looked less noticeable to me, too. To say I’m thrilled with my results would be a massive understatement. While it hasn't been six months since my last treatment, I will be following up to share whether or not the twice-a-year treatment promise holds true—so stay tuned!
Moral of the story: in the world of retinol, slow and steady wins the race—and Beauty Bio’s R45 retinol treatment is the best (and gentlest) you can get.
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