The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion Review

Previously known as Advanced Retinoid 2%

the ordinary granactive retinoid 2% emulsion review

I was supposed to write a review about a recently launched tinted sunscreen that sold out in 10 minutes, but I decided to The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion review first because I noticed more people are now adding retinol in their skincare routine especially during this self-quarantine. My guess, it’s because retinol makes our skin vulnerable to the sun and we’re all indoors right now.


Don’t get confused with retinol and retinoid, although they are both vitamin A derivatives that ultimately get converted into retinoic acid. And Retinoid acid aka tretinoin is proven to have age-reversing properties.

In an article in Byrdie, Melissa Levin, MD, of Downtown Dermatology in Manhattan mentioned, “Retinols, which are readily available over the counter, contain a lower concentration of the active retinoic acid ingredient. While prescription retinoids have a much higher concentration of the active ingredient, so they are readily available for the skin to use.” In other words, retinol is what you’re used to using in your regular serums and creams, whereas retinoids can only be prescribed by a doctor but The Ordinary made it accessible for us.


The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion was previously named Advanced Retinoid 2% (thus explaining the label in the photos). According to The Ordinary’s website, as of late August 2017, The Ordinary’s portfolio of retinoids has been extended based on valuable consumer feedback and, as part of these introductions, Advanced Retinoid 2% has been renamed to Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion to align with the new naming direction of the extended range. But the formula continues to offer an emulsion of 2% of the same advanced retinoid complex.

The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion made my skin moisturized, smooth, and plump. But it took too long to get rid of my dark spots. At least my skin looks really smooth throughout the process and didn't experience a nasty purging.
Smoothens the skin
If you have previous experience with retinoids, you may find this one takes too long to banish dark spots.


The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion is a gentle but hardworking product that targets all signs of aging and textural irregularities. Utilizing a high concentration of two next-gen retinoids (proven to be more effective than standard retinoids) this lightweight, milky-textured serum works hard to defeat the main signs of skin aging. Lines, wrinkles, loose skin, and pigmentation are all visibly reduced in appearance without the irritation typically associated with retinoid use.


  • Hydroxypinacolone Reinoate – An advanced retinoid which, unlike others, doesn’t need to be converted into the active form of Vitamin A in the skin, making it better at treating dark spots and wrinkles than other retinoids.
  • Pure retinol – Delivered in a protective capsule system to ensure that it is gentle on the skin whilst achieving visible results.
  • Advanced Retinoid 2% – a powerful anti-aging ingredient but it causes enhanced sensitivity to sunlight, so always follow with sun protection.

You can read its full ingredient analysis in Skin Carisma.

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% review


APPLICATION: Apply a few drops to face in the evening as part of your skincare regimen. Do not use with other retinoid treatments. And always use sun protection during the day.

SCENT: It doesn’t really have a distinctive scent as expected from The Ordinary, I haven’t use a product from them yet that has fragrance.

FORMULA & TEXTURE: As expected from an emulsion, it feels like a very thin and light lotion. It only feels tacky at first, but it will be absorbed fast into the skin and no greasy feeling as well.

the ordinary granactive retinoid 2% emulsion review


This is not the first retinoid I used. My previous one was a prescription from a dermatologist which was maintenance after my chemical peel treatment. It was very effective in banishing my dark spots in just 3 days but it made my skin very dry and flaky. On the other hand, The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion wasn’t like that. Just like with my old retinoid, I used The Ordinary 3 times a week only. It made my skin moisturized, smooth, and plump. However, despite having 2% retinoid, it took too long for this one to get rid of my dark spots. I think it took me over 2 months. But at least my skin looks really smooth throughout the process and I didn’t experience any nasty purging. I also can’t tell if it really prevents wrinkles since I don’t have those yet.


SkinStore$10.10Ships worldwide
Cult Beauty£7.75Ships worldwide
Beauty Bay$11Ships worldwide

If you live in the Philippines, you can check this list where you can buy The Ordinary.

What do you think of my The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion review? Have you tried anything from the brand? Share your thoughts below!