The Best Retinol Skincare Products I’ve Tried

I have a confession: I’ve actively avoided using Retinol products. That was, until I had a discussion with one of my favourite beauty girls about how essential it is for anti-aging…
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Kate Somerville Retinol Products Best I've Tried | StolenInspiration.com NZ Fashion Blog

I have a confession: I’ve actively avoided using Retinol products. While my best friend that’s extremely invested in her 20-thousand step skincare routine swears by it. My mum with skin years younger than her swears by it. I sat here confused as a somewhat beauty blogger who denied the hype, and to be honest, was scared of how potent it can be (queue the horror stories of chemical burns on the face). After speaking to my fave beauty PR guru Jess recently about ALL the benefits, I knew I’d run out of reasons to not try it.

At 26, ageing is suddenly a real ass concern of mine. Like time snuck up and slapped me with a “you are old enough to have wrinkles now!” bumper sticker when I made it over the mid-twenties hump. I’ve always been an advocate for wearing sunscreen daily on my face, but that’s about as passionate as I got when it came to skincare. I guess you could say the amount of research that accompanies trying all of the alphabets (AHA, BHA’s, etc.) was enough for me to sideline it for another day – when I had more time and less wine. Concentration is key after all: in acids and learning terminology.

Shop My Favourite Retinol Products:

Kate Somerville Retinol Products Best I've Tried | StolenInspiration.com NZ Fashion Blog

A little while back I was kindly given the new range of Kate Somerville Retinol products available at Mecca here in New Zealand. So my journey to adult-worthy skincare started with the best. I first heard about this line after I saw my longtime favourite blogger Sonya Esman vlogged about going to her Melrose clinic for a facial – of which, she left radiant. I figured, if it’s good enough for a random person on the internet with millions of followers, it’s good enough for me.

When I finally looked into it I found that Kate Somerville has a pretty interesting background. If you’ve haven’t heard, it’s a skincare line created by *ahem* Kate Somerville. She is a trained esthetician who had the idea to work side by side with doctors to complement their treatments after finishing her studies. Years later, she opened her Hollywood based clinic which was a huge hit, boasting clients such as Jessica Alba, Olivia Wilde and Kate Hudson. From there naturally, she launched her skincare range which is now stocked worldwide (so you have no excuse not to try).

So To Start – What Is Retinol? 

The Vitamin-A derivative is exfoliating, aiding in the production of collagen and fighting free radicals. AKA fights acne, brightens your skin tone and reverses the signs of ageing. It’s the only proven anti-aging ingredient on the market. A complete overhaul for your skin. Ultimately, a great step to add to your routine if you’re planning on ageing (like it’s a choice!?). 

It can take your skin two to four weeks to adjust to Retinol so it’s better to ease in. Hence the horror of chemical burns I mentioned before. Check your products before diving in; it’s recommended to use these products twice a week, or every other night to start. There is a heap of different types of Retinol products, most you can pick up in-store but you can also get a prescription, so it’s best to do your research first. Also, ALWAYS use sunscreen during the day with them.

The Kate Somerville Retinol Experience

Kate Somerville Retinol Products Best I've Tried | StolenInspiration.com NZ Fashion Blog

Kate Somerville Retinol Products Best I've Tried | StolenInspiration.com NZ Fashion Blog

I was kindly given the Kate Somerville Retinol Vita C Power Serum, +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturiser and the Kx Active Concentrates Bio-Mimicking Peptides Serum to play with. Hovering around the $150 price point these products are no joke. I can tell you right now they’re worth every cent. Packed with powerful ingredient combinations in light-proof packaging (this is important for keeping their integrity.) It proves you get what you pay for – banging skin.

I started by using the Kate Somerville Retinol Vita C Power Serum at night when I remembered, before moisturiser. This product is made up of a cocktail of anti-aging, rejuvenating and moisturising ingredients. All to ensure you wake up with super fresh skin. That and a lot of Vitamin C, which even this rookie knows heals your skin. I kid you not – after my first two times of using them I was getting compliments at work. That glow helped mildly by the bucket load of a sunscreen I added for safety. Retinol makes you sun-sensitive, you’ve been warned. It was this moment when I simultaneously fell in love with retinol and became worried. I should have hopped on this bandwagon A LONG time ago. 

After this enlightening experience, I was ALL about Retinol, which is when I introduced Kate Somerville Kx Active Concentrates Bio-Mimicking Peptides Serum into my facial diet. Apparently, it’s great to cocktail both this serum with the Vita C Power Serum if you have oily skin. Which, I usually do at nighttime and it feels pretty good to me. I don’t think you need to be boujee and get both serums if you’re on a budget. They both feel like they’re as effective as each other. The only difference being they recommend you only use Vita C Power Serum at night time. I’m guessing for skin sensitivity and stronger concentrations.

Kate Somerville Retinol Products Best I've Tried | StolenInspiration.com NZ Fashion Blog

My Favourite Kate Somerville Retinol Product

I saved the best for last: Kate Somerville +Retinol Vitamin C Moisturiser. It’s one of the most well known of her products and a client favourite, and a beauty award winner. Containing a blend of Retinol and 100% Vitamin C, wrapped in volcanic soil from Jeju Island in South Korea (which I visited here, remember?) so that you don’t have to store it in the fridge. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid for moisture and Wild Gooseberry Extract to protect and calm skin. I apply this at night and my skin looks so plump and healthy first thing in the morning. That “I woke up like this shine, and it’s not sweat” look, you know? That, my friends, is all I ever need from my skincare.

So there you have it, my experience using Retinol. I’m still getting used to working them in and out of my routine, along with my other regulars. Wow  though do the results really speak for themselves. The glow, guys, that damn glow. If you’re having trouble with dull and congested skin, trying Retinol would be my first port of call. I know some might recommend cutting back on the nightly wines, but I say just invest more into your skincare. It’s a win-win situation over here.

Catch up on more of my beauty posts here.

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