Retinol is an all-rounder active that tackles everything from fines lines, blemishes, pigmentation to skin texture. It’s one of those ingredients that are so satisfying to play with because you see almost immediate results when you use them.
If you’re beginning to experience the first signs of ageing or you want to address skin texture issues, it would be worth looking into adding a retinol product to your skincare routine. Today, I wanted to talk about the latest one I’ve tried, Jordan Samuel Skin’s étoile with retinol treatment oil.
Formulating retinol products in an oil base is a great way to mitigate their drying and irritating side effects because it further slows down their absorption into the skin. So I was excited when I saw that Jordan had brought out a retinol oil!
Etoile with retinol sits in a base of soothing plant oils, mainly a blend of sweet almond, argan, marula, cranberry seed and evening primrose oils. It contains 0.2% pure retinol which is a good percentage to begin with (after you’ve tried the milder derivatives such as retinyl palmitate or hydroxypinacolone retinoate).
I have to say, being used to the gentler vitamin A derivatives, I was surprised by how potent this product is. At first, I didn’t know what to make of it. I was using it like my other retinol products, neat on the skin after letting my hydrating toner absorb (so as not to dilute its potency). Doing so, I began experiencing some tightness after application and I noticed a bit of skin peeling around my nose. (Those are the expected – and dreaded – side effects of retinol application. That’s why you need to introduce it slowly into your routine – once or twice a week – before increasing the frequency.)
So my usual retinol approach wasn’t working here. I then decided to experiment with it and when I began applying it after a layer of hydrating serum, everything changed. My skin wasn’t irritated anymore and I was seeing the benefits I’m used to with retinols : refined skin texture, less blemishes, more even skintone and softened fine lines. Brilliant!
Another key thing is to use just a few drops – I use around 4 – and not the full pipette as I was doing! This way you get all the benefits without the irritation.
Now, I know that I’m a bit slow to write full reviews for the blog (you can usually find them sooner on Instagram). However, it’s at times like these when I’m glad that I am because I wouldn’t have been able to write this last paragraph otherwise. Indeed, my bottle of étoile with retinol has sadly gone rancid 6 months after I’ve opened it. The smell is off (which is always a tell-tale sign!) and it’s making me break out.
I know that I followed the usual tips of keeping it in a cool, dark place so it wasn’t exposed to light or hot temperatures. I’ve reached out to Jordan to know whether he had received similar feedbacks about étoile with retinol. He told me that they haven’t had that happen and that they recommend using it within 9 months once opened, only for efficacy purposes. It can be used safely longer but becomes less effective. He also added that they make these products regularly so that we can order the freshest batch. As an aside, I think that it shows how professional (and nice) Jordan is to take the time to answer a customer query. (This is actually one of the great thing about smaller businesses.) So it seems that I just got a dud!
In the end, what I can say is that this is an effective retinol (it has been for the six months I used it). So I’m willing to buy it again but not immediately because I have other products to try in the meantime.
It retails for 43$/1 fl oz/30ml.