What is retinol?
You’ve probably seen it on tv, heard about from your friends or read an ad somewhere in a magazine. But what is retinol and why should it be a staple in your skincare tool box? In the most basic explanation, retinol is a type of vitamin A that is known to reverse the signs of aging. The magic is in its small molecular structure. This allows it to penetrate deep beneath the surface of the skin to speed up cellular renewal to improve tone and texture of the skin, for a more even- toned look. But that’s not all! Retinol can reach the middle layer of skin where it helps to neutralize free radicals boosting the production of elastin and collagen, creating a “plumping“ effect to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores. Through cellular turnover, it restores the organization of the cells so that they are less likely to fall into the pores and block them- resulting in fewer clogged pores and small breakouts.
When should you start using a retinol?
While there are no true guidelines to start using retinol, in my opinion the earlier the better. We start to lose collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid and all that other fun stuff that keeps our skin young and glowing around 25 years old so to help prevent premature aging its best to start in your early 20’s. This does not mean that you absolutely need to use it. Retinol is not for everyone, some skin types simply cant handle it or some are not ready to commit to a complex skin regimen. For those who are motivated, start low and slow and make sure to find an experienced professional to help guide you into using this powerful ingredient.
Not just any retinol: Blue moon mask
Not all retinols are created equal. While this holy grail product is effective, it can do more harm than good if used improperly or the formulation you are using is too strong for your skin type. Thats why we LOVE Herbal Skin Solutions Blue moon retinol mask. Wisely named as a mask to remind you to rinse off in the morning, this potent yet gentle retinol goes to work while you sleep!
Used as an age-management and preventative/corrective cream, the Blue Moon Retinol Overnight Sleeping Mask is silky and buttery to the touch and contains a potent blend of botanicals, including the star ingredient Blue Tansy Oil, which increases cellular turnover and aids in minimizing the appearance of enlarged pores as well as brightening any uneven pigment.
Known as Moroccan Chamomile, the rarity and exclusivity of Blue Tansy Oil due to it’s seasonal crop in Northern Morocco makes this ingredient even more special alongside it’s unique benefits and qualities including the blue undertones created by the formation of Chamazulene, which naturally occurs when the plant’s material is exposed to heat from steam during the distillation process.
The resulting Chamazulene from this process is the active magic that enriches Blue Tansy Oil with soothing, anti-inflammatory properties that calm the skin almost instantly.
Retinol is the other powerhouse ingredient you’ll find in the Blue Moon Overnight Sleeping Mask and pairs beautifully with the Blue Tansy Oil, which immediately counteracts the retinol’s irritating nature and allows its best qualities to shine forth for promoting collagen production and youthful cellular turnover
Aligning with its name, the Blue Moon Overnight Sleeping Mask works best when applied at sun down and at the end of your P.M. skin routine (cleansing, toning ritual, corrective Vitamin C + EGF serum cocktail, et al). Yes, the closer to dusk, the better!
Finally, those who enjoy this formulation will notice a distinctive scent of sweet sage with a light herbaceous aroma that washes one’s being with a sense of peace through connectedness with the Earth’s ingredients.
Tips & tricks on using retinol
If you've reached this point bravo! Now that you understand the function of retinol here are a few tips on how to use it properly. Keep in mind these are not hard facts & rules but rather guidelines to help you ease into retinol usage and avoid some of the side effects. For best results, always consult with your trusted skin expert (hopefully that's me) on the proper use for your unique skin.
Balance is key when starting off on retinol. Start off with a pea-sized amount, using it two times per week, slowly increasing the usage to give the skin a chance to acclimate.
Using the Vitamin C Enhancement serum in the day time will counteract those free radicals nicely and prevent further darkening of the skin. Think Vitamin C to prevent and Retinol to prevent.
This formula is actually more like a moisturizer for night time use and you’ll find how nicely it absorbs into the skin. You will not need to apply a moisturizer on top of this retinol unless your skin is very dry or your skin is sensitive. The following regime is an example of a cautious first start to retinoids:
PM: Cleanse, toner, moisturizer, blue moon mask, neroli oil (optional)
After a few weeks of your your skin acclimating to the retinol:
AM: cleanse, tone, hyaluronic acid/ Vitamin C serum, moisturizer, SPF
MID: REAPPLY SPF at least once during the day
PM: cleanse, tone, hyaluronic acid, Blue moon mask
Days you want to take a break from the retinol you would replace with a Vitamin C serum, Hyaluronic acid, or some kind of hydrating serum to help boost moisture in the skin. Vitamin C and retinol do not play nice when they are layered with each other at the same time so it is best to use them separately (one in the day and the other at night).
* any additional serums for the face can be used after toning but before blue moon mask.
Actives like AHA & BHA’s should be used with caution while using retinol so it is best to consult your professional to determine how to best incorporate these so that they do not cause over sensitivity to the skin.
Eventually you may get to an advanced state of using retinol where you won’t need the additional moisturizer at night and you can use a tiny bit around the eye area for prevention of wrinkles! On exfoliation days you may want to skin retinol and opt for something more hydrating like a basic Hyaluronic acid serum or our favorite- the Neroli Nirvana oil. Eventually the skin may build up the tolerance to handle the exfoliation and retinol but as always listen to your skin first.
Sometimes I’ll come across new customers who rant and rave about their doctor prescribed retinol or the percentage they “think” they have in that $150 bottle of Vit A.
Remember, formulation matters and that saying “ too much of a good thing is bad” can be applied to this. Stronger doesn’t always mean better, most times it means that the skin may have a greater risk of irritation & sensitivity. Eww ain’t nobody got time for red flaky skin!
Consistency, just the right amount of efficacy, plus gentle at the same time, makes the Blue Moon sleeping mask an easy choice for your retinol needs!
In hotter months or when you know you’ll be outdoors we usually recommend people be very cautious about using retinol. Again this is not a definite rule but if you do choose to do so you want to make sure you are always covered with a high SPF, REAPPLY during the day (at least once), limit your exposure to direct sunlight and wear additional protective gear.
As always we want to reapply SPF daily but more so with using an active like this.
In conclusion, remember- low and slow, only at night, and reapply SPF frequently.
Have you personally benefited from retinol or the Blue Moon Sleeping Mask? I would love to hear your experience in the comments below!