Ruminating about Retinol….

A month or so ago (in the days when leaving the house didn’t feel like stepping out into unknown quantity) I was sat having a cup of tea in the lobby of a hotel in Bristol, attempting to bash out a job application that I had been procrastinating over for days. Whilst admiring the view over the suspension bridge my ears pricked up at the conversation behind me between a group of friends who had met for lunch. Lois (I’m a massive ear-wigger of other people’s conversations!) who I estimated was probably in her 80’s, was asking her friends to be her official photographer during their day out in Bristol and jokingly said that all photos needed to be taken at a distance to avoid accentuating her wrinkles.

I couldn’t help a sneaky glance over my shoulder and slightly melted at the three friends who clearly hadn’t seen each other for a while, reminiscing about Lois’s childhood and marriage in Bristol, how her (late) husband had trained to be a pilot here, how Bristol had changed over the years, and their plans for the next few days which involved celebrating Lois’s birthday.

It made me reflect on my own friendships and those I hope will still be in my life in 50 odd years’ time to reminisce about my own time in Bristol and adventures here. That age-old phrase ‘growing old is a privilege not all of us get to experience’ is so so true (now more so than ever). How lucky those 3 friends sounded, having each other in their lives and the next few days for Lois et al sounded fabulous.

‘….growing old is a privilege not all of us get to experience’

It also made me reflect about how I might feel in years ahead about my skin and whether I too would be asking friends to ‘shoot me from afar’ to avoid documenting too closely the inevitable ageing process which will happen over the next few decades. The beauty industry forever pumps out mixed messages about the older women, in one breath asking us to bare all and be loud and proud about unfiltered images, whilst in another reminding us that the ‘ageing’ process is just around the corner, ready to ‘sneak’ up, tap us on the shoulder and catch us unawares.

What I do know is that I am entirely comfortable with taking some precautionary steps with my skin to soften the ageing process and blur the edges of the inevitable life lines that are, and will, continue to appear. (However, please don’t think for a minute that if you are not switching up your skincare in your mid 30’s to ‘anti-ageing’ ranges that you are somehow ‘doing skincare wrong’.)  Equally the rise in conversations around tweakments and injectables means there is now a much more informed platform of information for women to make educated decisions about their skin. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, you do you.

‘…that I am entirely comfortable with taking some precautionary steps with my skin to soften the ageing process and blur the edges of the inevitable life lines…’

If you are still firmly planted on that fence then a midpoint way for you might be Vitamin A, of which Retinols and Retinoids are derivatives of.  One of the most effective anti-ageing ingredients in skincare, Vitamin A is loved for its ability to improve fine lines, skin texture and tone. It does however come with a reputation of peeling, redness and skin irritation which, if used without proper research or knowledge, can be the case.

Over the past year I’ve dabbled in a lot of retinol products but there has been one absolute stand out, rescue from a burning house, formula which, if I could, I’d press into the hands of everyone sat on that retinol fence. And it comes in the form of Murad’s Retinol Youth renewal range. If you have followed me for a while (@abrunetteedit) you’ll know that I included the night cream from this range in my top products of 2019, having gone through 3 pots throughout the year. My heart sank a little when I heard they were reformulating the (couldn’t be bettered in my opinion) range in 2020, however I needn’t have worried as its back, Better than ever, Still delivering amazing results.

‘Vitamin A is loved for its ability to improve fine lines, skin texture and tone….’

 The reason I love this retinol range so much is that they have encapsulated the retinol within a buttery, creamy, hydrating formula (partly due to the inclusion of hyaluronic acid) that buffers any potential irritation or redness, so that you feel you are applying a luxuriously thick night cream (which you are) but are also adding the benefits of retinol to your skin at the same time. I notice an immediate improvement in the plumpness of my skin and wake up to nourished, firmer but brighter skin – something that you don’t often see straight away with a decent strength retinol product.

The new range also includes an eye cream which you are prompted to take around the whole eye area, not just underneath. It makes perfect sense to use an eye product across the whole eye socket but few brands articulate this or specifically state this in application instructions – when it comes to the eye area I want the brand to specify permission to use all over!  Again, from the outset this has not irritated or caused any redness to what is arguably the most sensitive area of your face to apply retinol. The new line up also includes a serum, which you are encouraged to use in conjunction with the night cream to boost performance.

I have used all three products together on multiple nights and not experienced any irritation whatsoever. However, if I had to recommend one product from this range it would always be, without hesitation, the night cream. Smoothed in and layered on generously, I literally can’t get enough of it!

‘Smoothed in and layered on generously, I literally can’t get enough of it!’

If you are looking to dip your toe (face) into the world of retinol then this range is a brilliant starting point, skincare with a wealth of science and stats behind it (just the way I like it!). You can rename or dress up skincare for ageing skin anyway you like, but at the end of day if you choose to invest in your skin for the future then pick products that are going to deliver on results. Otherwise there’s no point hopping down off that fence!


~ Post contains PR samples from Murad Skincare UK. All opinions and thoughts are, as ever, 100% my own and I was under no obligation to write this blog post ~






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