I Tried the New Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol, and Now I’m Officially a Retinol Convert

Photo: Glossier | Graphic: W+G Creative
My skin-care routine is simple: I use a gentle, hydrating cleanser, the Eadem dark spot serum, an antioxidant serum, a good moisturizer, SPF, and call it a day. I've dabbled in the retinol arena a few times, but it always ended with my skin being extremely sensitive and peeling (FWIW: most skin-care experts warn these things can happen and advise pushing through to see the benefits), even after using them scarcely to build up my skin's tolerance. Because of my past experiences, it's safe to say I've never been a fan of retinol, that is until I tried the Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol ($35).

Retinol 101

If you're like me, you probably don't know too much about retinol except that it seems to be a staple in most skin and beauty aficionado's routines. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that is ultimately a skin-care multitasker. It works by increasing the cell turnover of your skin—think of it as an assistant that helps remove your dead skin cells faster than if you let them do their thing on their own.

It's also used to help stimulate the collagen production of your skin, which will keep your skin firm and plump as you age. You can also use retinol to treat a variety of skin concerns such as acne, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and uneven tone and texture.

What I like about the Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol

To be completely honest, I didn't know the benefits of retinol and went into my testing phase unaware of what all it can do (probably not the smartest approach but here we are). The thing that stuck out to me the most about this retinol, is that it felt like I was applying a nice moisturizer which I liked. More importantly, after using it two to three times a week for a little over two weeks, I haven't experienced any peeling, dryness, or irritation.

I'm no retinol expert, and I most definitely haven't experimented with many, but I'd like to think this is due to this formulation consisting of retinyl sunflowerate, "an innovative hybrid of pure retinol and sunflower seed fatty acids" that is supposed to give you all the aforementioned benefits of retinol without the negative side effects. (Retinyl palmitate, which is the same technology using palm oil, is typically used in formulas. It's a vitamin A ester that's more gentle than other retinoids.) It's also formulated with mondo grass root extract, a humectant, that keeps your skin hydrated.

How my skin improved after using the Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol

As a beauty editor, I'm very particular about the products I review and even more so about the ones I end up writing about. With that being said, if I've written a review about a product, I truly love it.

My biggest skin concern at the moment is the four dark spots on my left cheek that appeared after a hormonal breakout (gotta love post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) that don't seem to want to go away.

After a few days of use, I swear the spots started to get lighter, which made me want to celebrate by doing a cartwheel. In addition to my dark spots getting lighter, the texture of my skin looks even and baby soft, and I haven't had any new acne visitors on my face in quite some time which is also a win in my books.

My short-term goal is that these dark spots go away in the next few weeks, and in the long-term, my goal is that this retinol keeps my skin looking as good as my six-year-old nieces. Overall, I'd definitely recommend this retinol for a newbie. And with that being said, I'm glad to announce that it's definitely earned a spot on my top shelf.

For more on retinol and how to use it, check out the video below: 

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