First use of the Kiehl’s Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle Reducing Night Serum

This Kiehl’s Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle Reducing Night Serum was sent to me by BzzAgent for the purpose of review. However as always, my opinions are my own.

The older I get, the more I enjoy retinols. Some work well, others not so well. I think it depends more on the concentration than anything else to be honest. The ones that work the best seem to have the highest concentration. However with a higher concentration comes the increased possibility of sun sensitivity. This is one of the reasons Bakuchiol has become increasingly popular. It tends to have similar results as retinol but has less sun sensitivity. For me, even though I tend to switch to bakuchiol based products in the summer time, I tend to find they don’t have as dramatic an effect on my skin.

bottom cap off

I think a lot of which you like and which you use is going to depend on your sensitivity levels, how much time you spend in the sun and what concentration level of serum you choose.

Now I only use retinols at night (regardless of the time of year – and yes I know the sun is just as strong in the winter, but I spend less time outside in the winter so it’s effects are lessened by duration not intensity). I had a few friends who tried retinol based products when they first started gaining popularity and ended up with some sun issues because on some of them night time use was not stressed. I think all of them mention it somewhere now, but personally I love that this serum from Keihl’s is labeled a Night Serum. There is no fuzziness about the term.

post mix

I know it is now widely known that retinol can cause sun sensitivity, but I know a few people who just want to minimize their routine and just use one serum. They also want to reduce wrinkles. I know, it is a long winded way of saying I am glad it is clearly labeled night serum.

This is a first use post of a skincare product so clearly there aren’t going to be any over night changes. There are a few before pictures in this post. I generally find if I put them in a post at the beginning, there is less chance of me losing them later on when the trial ends and then guessing about it’s visible effectiveness. So the pics are all before. What I found the most interesting part is that the retinol with this product comes separately. It is in a little pod and you have to mix it together.

Normally this is where I would include a blurb from the product page, but I couldn’t find it. I found several of Keihl’s other serums, but not this exact one. The reason given in the directions is that keeping the retinol separate and then mixing it in later keeps it fresher. As skincare can loose efficacy, even if it is just sitting on a shelf, I like the thought of keeping the active ingredients sealed away from each other until it is time to use them so that it has maximum potency.

before left

I have no idea if it works or not, but I did feel like a mad scientist as I sat down to mix things. It proved clean and simple actually. The main tube was turned upside down and the bottom part of the bottle unscrewed. The retinol pod was screwed into place and the I pressed down on the bottom to release the retinol into the serum. I took the now empty pod out, replaced the bottom, shook really well and everything was good to go. The serum was white, the retinol a yellowish, the resulting serum is a pale yellow.

before right

The dispenser has a pointed end that allows a small drop to come out and to get it out you press the bottom of the tube. I like this because it means if I accidentally knock it over in the sink without the lid on it isn’t going to run out because the button wasn’t pushed. And yes I accidentally knock things over all of the time. I have a small powder room with a skincare shelf which I use for skincare. It is small and I am sometimes clumsy.

before front

There is no real scent to the Kiehl’s Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle Reducing Night Serum. It is quite liquidly and absorbs well into the skin. A pea sized amount is all I needed for both face and neck and while this is a first use, I started my first us on Thursday night and it is now Monday morning. Thus far I have not noticed any increased sun sensitivity. As you might have guessed from my opener, that was one of my biggest concerns with retinol as I am spending a lot of time in the sun these days. Thus far it hasn’t been an issue. The serum absorbs well, has no scent and isn’t causing me damage with the sun. Which means so far so good. Now all we need to do is see if the wrinkles reduce. If hey do that then I will be a happy camper. And so now, the Kiehl’s Retinol Fast Release Wrinkle Reducing Night Serum.

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First Impressions: Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum

I have tried several Sunday Riley products in the past couple of years.  I know there are some people who adore everything the brand puts out and others who despise every product.  It just seems to be one of those brands that everyone either loves or hates.  To be honest, I am sort of in the middle.  Most of the products I’ve tried from the brand generally work well for me. None of them have ever caused me problems and a few I like enough to reorder.

One product I had not tried from Sunday Riley was the A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum.  I’d seen it around and I think it was an option in a subscription box a while ago, but I didn’t get it.  I can’t remember if it was because I didn’t choose it or because I just didn’t get it. Either way I had not tried it. 

In fact, I have not done much with retinols in general. 

It is one of those categories I have been meaning to investigate, but haven’t quite gotten around to working with.  So when I received this small sample in the November Birchbox, I thought it was a good place to start.  As the sample is small I knew I wouldn’t see any major results, but I figured I could at least try it and see how my skin reacted so that I could decide about retinol use moving forward. Since there aren’t a lot of visible results, I decided to basically record my first impressions of the serum as I figure out if i would want to try out a full sized version for a full thirty + days trial.

When I looked on the Sunday Riley site I was happy to not only see a little bit of product information but to see extra information regarding retinol use.  Normally, I try to keep the blurb I copy from the website short, but for this I did copy down the extra bits this time because they were extra useful.

A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum is an advanced-strength retinoid serum delivers a 6.5%solution of stablilized retinoid blends and botanical, retinol-alternative extracts into the skin.

Apply 1-2 pumps in the evening to clean, dry skin. For targeted instructions, see below:

For new retinoid users: Use two days on, two days off. Work your way up to every other day, then to daily, evening use. Follow with a hydrating oil or moisturizer, like C.E.O. Glow or Juno. Use an AHA serum, like Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment, on alternate nights to sweep away dead skin cells.

For advanced retinoid users: Use daily, in the evenings. Follow with a hydrating oil or moisturizer, like C.E.O. Glow or Juno. Use an AHA serum, like Good Genes Lactic Acid Treatment, in the mornings to sweep away dead skin cells.

For sensitive skin: Apply a few drops of a gentle, hydrating oil, like C.E.O. Glow or Juno to your skin before applying A+ serum.

Ingredients: Water/Eau/Agua, Propanediol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Triheptanoin, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Hexyldecanol, Disiloxane, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Diheptyl Succinate, Propylene Carbonate, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, PPG-24-Glycereth-24, Phenyl Trimethicone, Retinol, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Honey Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Algae Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Extract, Opuntia Ficus-indica Fruit Extract, Bisabolol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Phospholipids, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Lecithin, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, 1,2-Hexanediol, 4-t- Butylcyclohexanol, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Helianthus Annuss (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Sorbitol, Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide, Polysilicone-11, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Phytate, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Polysorbate, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Stearic Acid, Brassica Campestris Sterols, PVP, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Sodium Benzoate, Alcohol, Potassium Phosphate, Decyl Glucoside, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopherol.

Sunday Riley

My Birchbox came in on the afternoon of November 27th so I decided to start that night.  As a new to retinoid user, I went with the new use plan.  I used it the 27th and 28th, skipped November 29th and 30th, used it December 1st and 2nd, skipped the 3rd and 4th, used it the 5th and 6th.  The sample size I had ran out of product on the sixth. 

On the nights I used it I followed the retinol up with the Malin + Goetz recovery oil (It is one of my favorite facial oils at the moment and one I happen to like a lot better than the Sunday Riley CEO Glow. This is actually my second bottle of this oil).  I happened to still have some Good Genes Lactic Acid treatment on hand (which is one of the Sunday Riley Products I will reorder) so I used that on alternate nights as directed.

I really like that the directions are very specific as to what types of products should be used and when.  As I am just learning about applying retinols I found this break down extremely helpful. Retinols are used to work on wrinkles and dark spots followed by oil to hydrate and alternated with AHA to get rid of dead skin cells.  It is well outlined. 

Did it work?

Well, given the amount of product I had to work with and the length of time I used it, expecting major results would be a bit much. I took a picture on the day I started and on the morning after I used the last amount of product. While there is little difference that can be seen, some of the dark sun damaged spots on my forehead have lightened. Thus far i haven’t had an product that I’ve tried that has done much with those spots. I think it may be a job for retinol. I do have high hopes that a longer trial might show some more noticeable results. 

Start of trial on the Left and end of trial on the Right

The product worked well with my skin and it is something that I could definitely see giving a longer trial, especially to see what it does with those dark spots on my forehead.  I think that at some point in the future I will be picking this up to test out further.  It also gave me a bit more confidence in trying out retinoid based products in the future as well.  There is so much talk of sun sensitivity that I was very cautious of the ingredient. while I am by no means laying out in the sun to work on my tan, I walk most days and in the summer i spend a lot of time working in the garden (I’m pretty sure the forehead damage is garden work related). I did use the serum only at night and even though the garden is buried under mulch and waiting for the spring, I was still walking outside most days. I had no extra sun sensitivity. I also use sunscreen. In fact I was extra careful to use sunscreen while I was testing this out.

While I would still be cautious and ease myself in to any retinol product I try, now that I sort of understand the system of layering it with other products and interspacing it with AHAs I am less hesitant to try out this category of products.  It may take me a little while to circle back to this, but given the way my skin felt as I used it, this does rank high on the list of products I want to test for a longer time period.

Using this product also brought home to me the need to use a product for a full month or longer to see results.  While I am going to be working through a few more samples this month and gathering first impressions, in the new year I think I am going to adjust how I review skincare, like serums and moisturizers, focusing more on longer term reviews for those products. There will still be first impressions though as I decide what products I really want to try out for a longer term. As a first impression, the Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum performed well enough to be put on the list of the full sized products to try.


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