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A Super Simple, Easy Retinol Routine


Benefits of Retinol / Vitamin A for Skin

Retinol has become one of the most in-demand ingredients because of its proven ability to achieve a variety of skin-care goals. By stimulating cell turnover, the vitamin A derivative offers consistent, long-term users a host of benefits. Ideal for improving your skin's overall texture, minimising fine lines and wrinkles, evening out skin tone, and helping prevent blemishes. In short, it lives up to the hype.

Taking care of multiple skin concerns in one go, it is considered the gold standard anti-ageing product, yet somehow this coveted ingredient is also one of the most complicated.

Not anymore! Here is your super simple retinol routine to avoid any irritation, but maximise the benefits!

Related post - A retinol guide for beginners


How to follow a Retinol routine for all skin types

Firstly, you need to ensure your skin is ay-ok to start retinol. Read up on how to prep your skin by following the 3 important steps when starting retinol. Once that is sorted, let’s begin your foolproof, easy-as-pie retinol routine:

A Super Simple Retinol Routine (PM)

As we're keeping this routine simple, we've gone back to basics for this routine. But all the while ensuring that your skin is receiving all the hydrating and skin-barrier supporting ingredients it needs to avoid any irritation and stay strong and supple, maximising the benefits that retinol offers.


1. Cleanse

Cleanser is essential to remove SPF and makeup and ensure you’re working with a clean slate. If you wear makeup you might want to double cleanse. Simply use 1-2 pumps of your cleanser, massage the skin for around 60 seconds then rinse with warm water and a cloth.

The best cleanser for a retinol routine

Sensitive Skin Cream CleanserRebalancing Cream Cleanser

A gentle cream cleanser is an excellent choice for a simple retinol routine. Effective enough to remove debris, yet it won't strip the skin of its natural oils. Sensitive skins would benefit from the Sensitive Skin Cleanser for its calming properties, and the Rebalancing Cleanser is great for combination or normal skin.


2. Hydrate! 

A layer of moisture between the retinol and your skin helps buffer the potency, helping your skin barrier stay hydrated and resilient, important for reducing any irritation the retinol might produce. Remember, the skin barrier is your first line of defence against bacteria, external aggressors or basically anything nasty, so you want to make sure you’re keeping it happy!

Related post -  The secret to good skin: your Skin Barrier

The best hydrating serum for a retinol routine

Essentials Hydrating and Healing Serum

Hydrating and Healing Serum is a silky-smooth serum and your holy grail in skin barrier resilience. Specially designed to support the skin barrier by hydrating, soothing, reducing inflammation and supporting the healing process. Apply 1-2 pumps to cleansed skin.


Essentials Nourishing Facial Oil

Prefer an oil? The Re-Activation Nourishing Facial Oil is another Hyaluronic Acid-rich product perfect for dry, irritated skin. It both hydrates and moisturises and contains a unique ‘plumping’ hyaluronic acid for super juicy skin.


3. Treat 

Here is where the magic happens, apply your retinol.

If you are new to retinol, have sensitive skin, or are worried about irritation, only apply retinol once or twice a week to begin with. After 2 weeks you can amp up the frequency to 3 or 4 times. Ultimately you can use retinol nightly. Apply 1-2 pumps across the face, avoiding the eye area. Spread down to the décolletage.

The best retinol products for a simple routine

Essentials Retinol Oil

The Pure Retinol in Luxurious Plant Oils is a great option as the botanical oils ensure skin is deeply nourished, lessening the chance of irritation, redness or peeling. Choose from the least potent edition which is 0.2% and work your way up through 0.5%, 0.75% to the 1%. Or simply start where you feel your skin is ready.

See our full range of retinol & vitamin A products for more options.

4. Hydrate again!

If you’re using retinol, you need to be keeping your skin hydrated and moisturised. Sandwich in your moisture by finishing off with a dedicated skin barrier moisture cream. Failing to do so could result in flaky, sensitive, dry skin and having to stop using retinol while your skin recovers. 

The best hydrating moisturiser cream for a retinol routine

Essentials Deep Hydration Moisture Cream

Deep Hydration Moisture Cream is our favourite skin barrier protection product to use alongside retinol. Formulated with a triple moisturising system specifically to help strengthen and repair the skin moisture barrier to ensure skin is in tip-top shape and can handle what retinol is putting down.

Why is the Deep Hydration Moisture Cream so good for retinol?

A hero ingredient is the anti-inflammatory antioxidant Niacinamide. It’s also loaded with skin lipids such as Ceramides, Essential Fatty Acids and Cholesterol — they mimic the composition of the skin’s barrier to help retain and regulate hydration. Oat Beta Glucan and Allantoin and Silicone help repair and soothe the skin. Then there’s a trio of skin-plumping hydrators: Zinc Hyaluronate, HyaloRepair and Hyaluronic Acid. All loaded into one buttery-smooth, easily absorbed moisture cream.

Related post - How to Fix a Skin Barrier Freakout

A Super Simple Retinol Routine (AM):

Retinol should not be applied during the day, but that is not to say you don’t need to keep your retinol in mind when applying your morning skincare. Hydration is once again key here to avoid irritation, and of course sunscreen.

1. Cleanse

We’re keeping it simple, so use the same cleansing routine as you did in the PM routine.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C and retinol are a great team, both are highly researched, powerful ingredients. Both are known to fight wrinkles, build collagen and fade dark spots and pigmentation. However to avoid potential irritation or reduced efficacy, it is easiest to use them separately. This is easily done as retinol works best at night and Vitamin C is super helpful during the day.

Related post - Why you need this Vitamin C product

The best vitamin C serum for a retinol routine

Essentials Vitamin C Ultra Serum

The Vitamin C Ultra Serum is both full of gentle antioxidants as well as hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, a great choice for ensuring skin stays hydrated and protected from environmental stressors.

3. Hydrate!

As done in the evening routine, apply a layer of your skin barrier’s best friend, the Deep Hydration Moisture Cream.


Do. not. forget. The La Clinica Sunscreen Lotion is SPF50+ and lightweight enough to wear makeup over. At only $20 it is the best value anti ageing product you'll buy and a *must* if you're using retinol.

Shop the Sunscreen Lotion SPF50+

How long does retinol take to work?

Retinol isn’t an overnight success, it can take up to 12 weeks to see improvements. But it is worth being consistent as you’ll soon notice you breakout less, your complexion is more uniform and fine lines are less defined.

Keep reading about retinol:

4 Best Retinol Products for Sensitive Skin

A kit to battle blemishes

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