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This article contains affiliate links* and PR samplesº Curious about retinol, but scared to try it out due to all the horror stories you’ve heard about its effects on the skin barrier? Well, I might just have the perfect beginner’s retinoid product for you: the HSGN Retinally Liposomal Retinal Cream with 0.05% liposomal retinal is gentle, yet surprisingly effective!
My Journey with Retinoids so far
I’m a big fan of retinal, a vitamin A derivative that is gentler than tretinoin, and yet still more effective than retinol. The Geek & Gorgeous A-Game10* retinal serum has been a favourite of mine for many months now, and I’ve definitely seen results from using it, mainly in an improvement of my overall skin texture and firmness. I’m still a little bit scared of pure tretinoin and the negative side effects it can have. Retinal has proven to be so gentle for my skin, with zero dryness or flaking, just some occasional redness issues when I’ve overindulged in using my actives.
Thus, I was intrigued to see a Korean retinal serum being added to the excellent lineup of curated K-brands at the Bemused Korea* shop. At 44, I usually prefer higher dosage retinoids, but I still love the idea of a low percentage, encapsulated version to get used to this often quite intense active ingredient.
When the lovely people at Bemused Korea offered to send over the HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream* to test out, I happily said yes. So, for the past 2 months, I switched over from my beloved A-Game10 to this lower percentage, peptide-containing retinal cream. I wanted to make sure that I give it some time before I report back to you, even though I wanted to talk about this pretty much since the first time I used it! So, here is my full review of the HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream!
HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream – So, what the Heck Is Retinal?
Alright then, let’s talk retinoids, shall we? I’ve always avoided discussing retinol on my blog or most of my videos and podcast episodes, simply because I’m so nervous to get this wrong. I’m no scientist, just an enthusiastic skincare nerd that yes, has a PhD, but it’s in English Lit, not chemistry! My parents are both scientists, but I can’t claim to have gotten the science genes from them (the exasperation that my Botany dad felt when he tried to teach me about photosynthesis and I completely blacked out halfway through will forever haunt both of us, eek!). But hey, I’ll do my best, ok?
So, retinal, also known as retinaldehyd, is a form of vitamin A, just like retinol. However, here is the crucial part: whereas retinol needs two conversion steps to turn into the active form of vitamin A, retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin or retin-A), retinaldehyde only needs one! So, retinol first turns into retinal and only then does it turn into retinoic acid, meaning that retinAl is one conversion step closer to the active form of vitamin A we all want to work its magic on our skin. The less conversion steps, the more potent of a retinoid we’re dealing with here, basically. The interesting thing is: despite being more potent and more effective than retinol, retinal is also less irritating!
As for what retinoids can do for our skin: they are one of few skincare ingredients that have strong scientific evidence behind them when it comes to their anti aging superpowers. They help speed up cell turnover, thus renewing skin faster, boost collagen and thus firm and plump up skin, and they can also help with hyperpigmentation, acne scarring and excess sebum. Retinal apparently also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be one of the reasons people see less skin irritation and purging when using retinal products vs. retinol or retin-A.
The HSGN Retinally Liposomal Retinal Cream contains 0.05% encapsulated retinal, which is a low-ish, but still effective dosage. For comparison: the Geek & Gorgeous A-Game5 serum also has 0.05% retinal and is seen as a beginner product, while A-Game10 uses 0.1% and is suggested for more advanced retinoid users. Now, I couldn’t find a source for this, but from my memory I seem to recall that encapsulated retinoids always have a somewhat lower percentage than their non-encapsulated versions, so the overall dosage may be a tad weaker than 0.05%.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream:
“Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propanediol, 1,2-hexandiol, Niacinamide, Dicaprylyl Ether, Betaine, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Hydrogenated Poly(C6-14 Olefin), Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Panthenol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Alpha-bisabolol, Ceramide Np, Squalane, Allantoin, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Eclipta Prostrata Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Stearyl Alcohol, Pentaerythrityl Distearate, Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Glyceryl Stearate Se, Cholesterol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Beta-glucan, Retinal (500ppm), Xanthan Gum, Adenosine, Fructooligosaccharides, Disodium Edta, Butylene Glycol, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Ascorbic Acid Polypeptide, Sucrose Distearate, Dipropylene Glycol, Tripeptide-1, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Copper Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Hexapeptide-9, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Potassium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Phytosteryl/behenyl/octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Hydroxyacetophenone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol.”
As you can tell, this is a pretty long and intense list of ingredients for such a small tube (it only holds 20ml)! The main ingredients besides the retinaldehyde are a number of peptides, amazing for any anti aging routine thanks to their collagen boosting, firming and skin repairing properties. They are often seen as an alternative to retinoids, but for me, they’ve worked best in synergy with my retinal and not as a competition. I really love the effect peptides have on my skin, I find them to be very effective in improving my issues with skin sagging at 44 years old!
Now, there are sources that say not to combine copper peptides with retinol, but I’m not sure this is true for retinal too, or even true at all. Information on the net has been somewhat all over the place, and I couldn’t find a super reputable source for this. This cream does contain copper peptides, so I’m assuming the creators of the formula do not consider mixing it with retinal has any averse effects? I’ve certainly not seen this combination of ingredients harm my skin or diminish the effects of the actives, but as always: use at your own risk.
The HSGN Retinally Liposomal Retinal Cream also contains a mix of hydrating ingredients such as beta glucan, glycerin and different forms of hyaluronic acid, plus brightening niacinamide and soothing panthenol. Ceramides and squalane make this also a very moisturising, richly textured cream product.
HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream – Not just for Retinoid Beginners!
The HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream is a lightly yellow, silky cream that comes in a small tube. The yellow colour comes from the retinal itself, which is naturally that shade. The colour doesn’t show on skin once applied, so you don’t have to worry about staining. Retinoid containing products should be used after applying all of your liquid to serum textures, so after cleansing, toner, serums, and before your final moisturiser. Since retinal, just like retinol, increases sensitivity to sunlight and because sometimes your skin can get a bit sensitive after use, it is advisable to use any retinoid product at nighttime. And don’t forget sunscreen during the day!
The HSGN Retinally Cream applies really smoothly and without feeling too rich or oily in any way. It sinks into skin fast and spreads so well that you don’t need a large amount at all. I’ve been using the cream consistently for the past 2 months or so, and it still looks barely dented.
When I first used this, I wasn’t sure if the 0.05% strength of the HSGN retinal cream would actually be too low for my skin, since I’d already been using a much stronger retinal serum for months now. I usually use the A-Game10 about 3 times a week, but to be fully honest, sometimes forget about using it, so I’m a bit “on and off” with my retinal. Nevertheless, I haven’t felt any intense effects on my skin when using A-Game10 for a long while, so I thought I may potentially not see much of an effect with the weaker HSGN Retinally Cream.
But, um… OK, so – I was wrong about that? This is STRONG, you guys! Surprisingly strong, really, to the point that I had to learn to be very, very precise about only using the tiniest bit of the cream for my face. This is a general advice for all retinoid products, of course – use only a tiny amount, since these products tend to “crawl” over your skin almost invisibly, and if you get too close to your eyes or other sensitive parts of the skin, you may experience discomfort.
Now, the sensation of putting on the HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream was not uncomfortable, I just want to make this clear! This is still a gentle product overall. However, with my first few uses I could feel an instant tingle on the skin, plus my skin felt a bit warm after applying the cream. I hadn’t experienced this for a long time, since my skin is by now quite used to good quality, strong actives. I got a bit worried that I might wake up with dry or irritated skin, but nope, on the contrary!
My skin looked and felt amazing the next day, so juicy and glowy. I did use another moisturiser on top of the HSGN cream, which I would advise you to do as well when you use a retinoid-containing product. Apart from the initial tingling and slight redness after use, I haven’t seen any adverse effects on my skin while using the HSGN Retinally cream.
And this has been so effective in improving my overall skin texture and firmness, it’s really impressive. I wonder if it’s the mix of retinal and peptides that has made such a difference, because I want to almost say this is as good as my A-Game10! My skin looks so smooth lately, and feels really soft. Now, I don’t see any improvement in my wrinkles, but then it does take quite a long time to see an effect here, and maybe it’s also potentially a bit too late for me to hope for less wrinkles at 44? We’ll see what more this cream can do in the next months, but for now, this has been a wonderful, effective and surprisingly potent, yet still gentle addition to my skincare routine.
And guess what: the HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream is also really affordable! Excuse me what? I’m so impressed with this brand, seriously!
So, where can you buy the HSGN Retinally 0.05% Liposomal Retinal Cream?
The HSGN Retinally Liposomal Retinal Cream is available at Bemused Korea,* for the very affordable price point of $22 for the 20ml tube! It’s currently on sale too, so you can get this for only $13.20.
Let me know in the comments: Have you tried any retinoid containing products yet?
Take care guys, and stay safe – don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest K-Beauty and skincare news, and check out my other work, e.g. my article about The All Natural Houttuynia Cordata Serum! And guys – I have a YouTube channel now, I’d love for you to check it out and subscribe!
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°PR Sample, kindly provided by a brand or shop – I am not obligated to write this blog article, was not paid for the article, and my opinions are entirely my own.