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Ingredient Deep Dive: All Things Retinol

Aug 18, 2023

Let's talk about what's INSIDE our 0.2% Retinol Night Serum that has People Magazine calling it the "Best Firming Retinol."


Retinol can be super intimidating to beginners and self-described skintellectuals alike! 

Retinol itself is a potent ingredient but can also be quite irritating, especially for those with sensitive skin. This is because the conversion of retinol to retinoic acid (the version that our skin uses that creates the skin-smoothing, line-erasing results we love) can be slow, and that process often leads to potential irritation without optimal results.

We use retinyl linoleate, which is a retinol derivative. Retinol derivatives, unlike retinol/retinoic acid, have been modifie  to be more stable and less irritating while still offering similar benefits. 


In contrast to pure retinol, once retinyl linoleate is applied onto skin, it breaks down into retinol and linoleic acid. This gradual release of the active minimizes irritation (redness, flaking, etc). Also known as Vitamin F, linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid that supports the skin barrier, and can counterbalance the otherwise "harsher" effects of retinol as a result by adding additional nourishment.

Additionally, retinol is a tricky ingredient to formulate with, just like traditional forms of Vitamin C. Retinol derivatives are more stable, which actually improves the efficacy and stability of the formula (which is amplified by our use of biodegradable capsules to protect it further!)

We designed our retinol with melanin in mind, since the breakouts and purges associated with retinol use can often lead to scarring, which leads to hyperpigmentation, i.e. causing more harm than good. We also conducted clinical trials with folks that represent the FULL range to make sure our formula would be safe AND effective in delivering results. As beauty veterans, we know for a fact that clinicals historically haven't been inclusive. 

Combined with nourishing algae oil, our award-winning formula helps boost retinol’s best benefits with super skin-smoothing heritage botanicals to gently renew, resurface, and retexturize.



Our Retinol Serum upgrades the renewal your skin goes through nightly so you achieve a post-facial glow in the morning without irritation. It is also way more suitable for individuals with sensitive skin or those new to retinoids. We specifically chose retinyl linoleate because it is less likely to cause redness, peeling, or excessive dryness compared to pure retinol. 

Other benefits include:

  • Enhances skin’s natural cellular turnover, which slows with time
  • Repairs and renews damage done for brighter, bouncier, smoother skin
  • Prevents damage from external skin stressors and the facts of life (you know, aging)
  • Nourishes and moisturizes while it works for results without retinol’s usual purge 

Formulated at a gentle 0.2% to boost benefits while nourishing skin, you can incorporate it into a skincycling routine, or as part of your nightly routine.

The results: a retinol for us all, formulated with melanated skin, sensitive skin, your beautiful skin in mind.