You might be hearing about retinol a lot lately—the multi-tasking skincare ingredient can help even the skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, help smooth rough skin texture, etc.—I wouldn’t be surprised if it could also do my taxes. But you might have also heard that retinol can be ROUGH on the skin causing redness, irritation, and peeling. You can get smoother skin without the harsh irritation and you don’t even have to spend a lot to get it.
Great skin actually starts before bedtime, so I’m going to be sharing my current nighttime skincare routine plus my thoughts on the Olay Retinol24 lineup. Thanks to Olay for partnering with me on this post!
I’ve mentioned this a lot, but it’s worth repeating, your nighttime skincare routine is VERY important because our skin goes through a self-repairing process as we sleep. During this process the skin looks for nutrients on the skin’s surface to aid with renewal, so you want to give it really good skincare treats—not left over contour and liquid lipstick…lol. This is also the best time to apply retinol products as they can make the skin a bit more sensitive to the sun. I’ll share my nighttime skincare routine in a few, but first let’s talk Olay Retinol24.
Retinol aka Vitamin A can be used to improve rough texture, reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and can help even the skin tone. Sounds great, right? You can find retinol in a number of beauty products both over the counter and ones you can have prescribed by a dermatologist. Typically the ones prescribed by your dermatologist have a higher percentage of retinol than the ones you get over the counter.
I used a retinol cream prescribed by a dermatologist back when I was in college to treat some really bad acne and the resulting dark spots. It got rid of everything, but maaaaaaan was it a struggle getting there…lol. As can happen with some prescription retinol products, sometimes the skin looks and feels worse before it starts to get better. For me it was dry, flaky, peeling skin but I was in my early 20s then and was willing to go through that drama to get to the results. At my current big age, I am not so willing to go through all of that…lol. I’d rather have a slow and steady journey than to look like Leather Face before I can get to look like Gabrielle Union. I even tried again recently with some prescription retinol for some texture and enlarged pores I have on my cheeks and wound up irritating my skin to the point where it got red and flaky :/
(Side note: the idea behind using retinol for enlarged pores is not that you can change your pore size, but that as we get older the skin can tend to sag and make the pores look even larger. Using retinol in that case helps to boost collagen production which then helps the skin look more taut which helps the pores appear less apparent, but their size hasn’t changed)
And this is where Olay Retinol24 comes in. More than ten years in the making, the Olay team perfected this line so that you can get the skin-smoothing benefits of retinol without all that irritation. They also found a way to stabilize the retinol so it doesn’t break down every time you open a jar of the Olay Retinol24 products. How they do it, I don’t know and if they told me, I’d imagine they would have to keep me locked up in some lab somewhere. I’d love some retinol secrets, but I have things to do. I don’t have time to be locked up in a lab…lol.
If you haven’t used retinol before, it’s recommended to use just ONE of the products in the Olay Retinol24 lineup (you don’t need to use all three to see results). You can use them with products already in your routine, but be careful to not mix too many active ingredients to avoid irritation, and go easy with exfoliation while using a retinol product. My go-to for the last few months has been the Olay Retinol24 Night Serum.
I’ve been using this since around the end of August (I got a sneak trial before I went on The Rachael Ray Show) and I appreciate how my skin looks smoother and brighter after using it. Sure, I have decent skin, but I put work into my routine so I can keep it. I also loved that I didn’t have any irritation from using it. While this line is more “slow and steady” than prescription retinol, some can notice a difference in skin smoothness in a matter of 24 hours. After 28 days of consistent use, you’ll see even better results. Smoother skin also means your makeup will look better, too. There are all sorts of wins around this Olay Retinol24 situation.
Find out even more about the Olay Retinol24 lineup including where to buy here
(Note: everyone’s skin is different, so like you would with any other skincare product, if you have particularly sensitive skin, please do a patch test first)
Now let’s get into my nighttime skincare routine…
My Nighttime Skincare Routine
My nighttime skincare routine can change depending on the season and what my current skincare concerns are, but the basics of the routine pretty much are the same.
If you don’t properly cleanse your skin, your skincare products can’t work as intended, and then you wind up basically putting your money in the trash.
If I’m wearing makeup, I’ll remove it with a cleansing oil. My longtime fave is the boscia MakeUP BreakUP Cleansing Oil. You put this on with dry hands and massage it into the skin. Your makeup, including liquid lipsticks and waterproof eye makeup, literally melts off. Rinse and get read for the next step.
Next I cleanse with a gel-based cleanser. The cleanser I use tends to rotate depending on my routine, but lately I’ve been using the Perricone Nutritive Cleanser (and very recently I’ve been using the Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser as I’ve had some breakouts pop up).
I gently pat my skin dry and to make sure I’ve gotten rid of all traces of makeup, oil, dirt, or even hair product from around my hairline, I’ll saturate a Shiseido Cotton Pad with Olay Luminous Micellar Water. I find this step especially beneficial when I have my natural hair heat styled straight and don’t want to be splashing a bunch of water near my edges.
This is the part of my skincare routine that will fluctuate the most depending on what I’ve been using in my routine. Lately I’ve been using the Olay Retinol24 Night Serum. I’ve also popped on some Kiehl’s Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque as spot treatment for the breakouts on my chin area.
I had been using Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream in the fragrance free formula for over a year as my night cream. Now that it’s a bit cooler out, I sometimes also use it during the day with the Olay Sun Facial Sunscreen SPF 35 Shine Control.
I also use eye cream, and lately it’s been the Olay Eyes Brightening Eye Cream. Here’s the thing with eye creams that I always say: you may not see some big, dramatic difference using them (for those type of results, you want to see a dermatologist) but your under eye area needs the moisture. It’s basically a “stay ready, so you don’t have to GET ready” type of situation.
My lips also get some TLC during the night as well. I like to slather on the ULTA Beauty Juice Infused Lip Oil to help keep my lips soft and pampered. I also use this during the day and before I apply my makeup to condition my lips before lip color.
I know we’re talking nighttime, but I’d be playing myself (and y’all) if I didn’t mention this: another super important thing to note when using retinol, YOU MUST WEAR SUNSCREEN DURING THE DAY. No exceptions. You should be wearing sunscreen during the day anyway, but retinol can make the skin more sensitive to the sun so you want to be especially diligent. You can hit my non-ashy sunscreen archives to find ones that blend in nicely with dark skin and don’t feel heavy (Olay Sun and Olay Whips with SPF 25 are good ones).