best skincare products with granactive retinoid

What are the best skincare products with Granactive Retinoid? In the past couple of years, this new form of retinoid (Vitamin A) got under the spotlight for its anti-aging superpowers. Fans say it gives you the same benefits as retinol without the side effects.

Me? I wouldn’t go that far. So far, all the studies that prove its wrinkle-fighting abilities come from the manufacturer. Call me sceptical, but I need more proof than that. Having said that, I wouldn’t dismiss Granactive Retinoid like that. If you’re new to retinoids or have skin so sensitive it can’t tolerate retinol, Granactive Retinoid can be a good alternative.

If you’re a bit further ahead on your retinoid journey and can easily tolerate retinol, why not go for products that have both forms of vitamin A? I do it all the time. Here are the best skincare products with Granactive Retinoid to get you started:

Granactive Retinoid Benefits

FYI, you won’t find Granactive Retinoid on the ingredient list. It’s the nickname for hydroxypinacolone retinoate. Because, who the heck can remember that?! Yet, that’s what you need to look for when you look at ingredient lists….

Hydroxypinacolone retinoate is an ester of retinoic acid (tretinoin). It belongs to the retinoids family and it’s said (by the manufacturer) to be as effective as retinol at treating wrinkles and acne – but without the irritating, flaking, and drying side effects.

According to a study sponsored by Estee Lauder and done in-vitro (not real human skin), “HPR had greater levels of gene transcription than retinol and RP (Retinyl Palmitate) at the same concentrations … however, HPR did not achieve gene transcription levels of ATRA (tretinoin).” It’s encouraging, but I’m waiting for more independent studies before making the switch from retinol. However, an independent 2017 study shows that it’s good at treating acne.

I only recommend granactive retinoids to sensitive skin. If you can’t tolerate any other form, you know those forms with A LOT of studies showing their effectiveness, than granactive retinoid is a good choice for you. Everyone else, opt for a product with granactive retinoid + another form of retinoid. This way, you’re guaranteed results (as long as you use it consistently and as indicated on the instructions).


What can products with Granactive Retinoid do?

Granactive Retinoid has been proven to treat acne. There’s some evidence it can prevent and fight wrinkles too.

What can’t products with Granactive Retinoid do?

There’s not enough proof yet that Granactive Retinoid can reduce deep wrinkles and boost collagen.

Who should use products with Granactive Retinoid?

Sensitive skin who can’t tolerate more powerful forms of Vitamin A, like retinol, retinaldehyde (retinol), Differin, and prescription retinoids like Tretinoin.

Who should not use it?

If your skin tolerates retinol, retinaldehyde or prescription retinoids, opt for one of them. They’re more powerful and effective.

How often should you use products with Granactive Retinoid?d

Like all forms of retinoids, I recommend you start with two nights a week and build up frequency to every other night.

What should you NOT use Granactive Retinoid with?

Although it’s very gentle, it’s still a retinoid, so I don’t recommend you use it on nights you exfoliate.

Is Granactive Retinoid As Effective As Retinol?

The manufacturer will tell you that Granactive Retinoid gets rid of wrinkles and dark spots better than retinol – and without the irritation. Problem is, I couldn’t find any independent studies confirming this. Granactive Retinoid is still a retinoid, so it does work to an extent. But until I have proof it works as well as retinol, I’ll stick to the latter.

What Are The Best Products With Granactive Retinoid?

Mad Hippie Vitamin Super A Serum ($32.99)

Can’t decide which form of Retinoids to use? Mad Hippie Vitamin Super A Serum has pretty much all of them. Ok, not all of them, but enough of them. In addition to Granactive Retinoid, this serum also has good old retinol, the new derivative Retinyl Linoleate, and natural alternative bakuchiol (it’s said to do the same job without side effects). With all these forms of Vitamin A in a highly hydrating base, expect to see your wrinkles all plumped up, a smoother skin texture, and a brighter complexion – yes, it helps to fade away dark spots too.

Available at: Ulta

Active ingredients: Granactive Retinoid, retinol, Retinyl Linoleate, bakuchiol, and hyaluronic acid.

Benefits: Fights wrinkles and reduces dark spots.

Cons: If your skin is sensitive, it may not be able to tolerate so many forms of Vitamin A.

Skin type: Dry skin.

Fragrance-free: Yes, but it contains a citrusy essential oil that may irritate sensitive skin.

Related: Are They Dupes? Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum VS The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% In Squalane

Struggling to put together a skincare routine that minimises wrinkles, prevents premature aging, and gives your complexion a youthful glow? Download your FREE “Best Anti-Aging Skincare Routine” to get started (it features product recommendations + right application order):

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% In Squalane ($16.70)

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% In Squalane keeps it simple. It only has 7 ingredients, including granactive retinoid and Squalane. That’s good because every ingredient you add to a skincare product has the potential to cause another flareup in sensitive skin. Granactive retinoid keeps wrinkles at bay while Squalane provides a moisturising base that keeps skin soft and smooth. If retinoid serums – or anything else for that matter – makes your skin throw a tantrum, give this one a go. Seriously, if you can’t tolerate this, retinoids are NOT for you.

Available at: Beauty Bay, Boots, Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic, Sephora, SpaceNK, The Ordinary, and Ulta

Active ingredients: Granactive Retinoid and squalane.

Benefits: Fights wrinkles and hydrates skin.

Cons: If you have acne, there’s a small chance it may aggravate it.

Skin type: All skin types.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% In Squalane Full Review

the ordinary granactive retinoid 5% in squalane 02%

Byoma Sensitive Retinol Oil ($18.99)

Enriched with Squalane and natural oils, this lightweight oil strengthens your skin’s protective barrier and makes even the driest of skin softer and smoother. Granactive Retinoid helps improve skin’s tone and texture gently. There’s no other form of retinoids here, making this a soothing serum for sensitive skin that can’t tolerate stronger forms like retinol. Plus, it’s alcohol and fragrance-free too. It’s a simple formula but gets the job done.

Available at: Boots, Byoma, and Ulta

Active ingredients: Granactive Retinoid, squalane, and natural oils.

Benefits: Fights wrinkles and moisturises skin.

Cons: Can aggravate acne.

Skin type: Sensitive skin.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Cocokind Beginner Retinol Gel ($26.99)

I’m not sure I’d call this a beginner serum. It’s true it has a low concentration of retinol (0.05%, to be exact), but it’s also enriched with Granactive Retinoid and 0.025% Retinal. Add them all together and you have a powerful concoction that can prevent and reduce wrinkles, brighten the complexion, and tackle acne. To counteract the potential irritation and redness, Cocokind added soothing Centella asiatica. Still, the formula may be too powerful for a first-time user, especially if your skin is sensitive. But hey, you can always build your way up to this.

Available at: Cocokind, iHerb and Ulta

Active ingredients: Granactive Retinoid, retinol, retinal, and Centella asiatica.

Benefits: Fights wrinkles.

Cons: Can be irritating for first time users.

Skin type: All skin types bar sensitive.

Fragrance-free: Yes.

Related: 7 Natural Ingredients That Can Irritate Skin

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum ($92.00)

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum is the most expensive option in this list – and my fave. Why? It has pretty much everything your skin needs. Granactive Retinoid and retinol boost collagen, fight wrinkles, and brighten the complexion. Hyaluronic acid infuses extra moisture into your skin while ceramides seals it in to counteract the drying effects of retinol. Plus, it has its fair share of antioxidants to keep premature wrinkles at bay. It makes skin softer and brighter and, in the long run, reduces the look of wrinkles too. The only thing I could do without is the strong floral scent, but if your wallet can take the hit, go for it.

Available at: Look Fantastic, Murad, Sephora, SpaceNK and Ulta

The Verdict

There you have it, the best products with granactive retinoid. If your skin can tolerate more powerful form of retinoids, like good old retinol, go for that. But if it’s sensitive and it needs something gentler that still delivers results, now you know where to turn to!