It’s not often I await a launch to hit my desk with as much anticipation as the new Pixi Retinol range. The brand has been a firm favourite of mine over the last decade, and I’ve recommended so many of their skincare products that you could be forgiven for thinking I have shares in the company (alas, I don’t.) Nobody quite adopts and adapts trends and ingredients in the fun, accessible and affordable way Pixi does – so when I found out they were putting their own spin on a Retinol collection I actually got a little excitable tingle in my belly.
WHAT IS RETINOL AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
I’ve been talking about and recommending the skincare ingredient for a few years now, as something that everyone over the age of 30 could really benefit from. It works by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath; rather uniquely, it stimulates cellular turnover from the deeper layers up, not in the uppermost layers where many AHAs help skin shed unhealthy or dead skin cells that have built-up on the surface.
Retinoids can also help boost collagen production (essential for a plump and youthful complexion,) smooth fine lines and reduce signs of pigmentation, which makes it a bit of an anti-ageing and skin brightening wonder ingredient. Retinol also functions as an antioxidant that can interrupt the free-radical damage process that causes wrinkling and other signs of aging – meaning it’s not only great to overcome damage, but to prevent it occurring in the first place.
Unlike a lot of skincare that provides results in as little as 2-6 weeks, you do have to be patient to see the results of Retinol; it often takes up to three months to see the benefits, but once you do this undoubtedly becomes an ingredient that’s hard to part with. I’ve been using it for a good few years and definitely hold it accountable for my complexion still looking fresh, relatively plump and free from deep lines (with a little bit of genetics and daily use of SPF thrown in too.)
THE PIXI RETINOL COLLECTION
This is where it gets a bit exciting… A couple of the pieces have been available since last year, but now it’s expanded to include a cleanser, tonic, lotion, eye cream and overnight oil to deliver Retinol in a multitude of ways. All the products in the range combine four main ingredients to help leave your complexion looking and feeling its best: Retinol renews and smooths, Peptides plump and firm, Ceramides lock in moisture, while Jasmine Flower heals and balances.
Traditionally the ingredient has been used only in nighttime products as it’s ESSENTIAL you use an SPF when applying Retinoids (which make the skin more sensitive to the sun,) but Pixi recommend all of their products being used both day and night. Having searched all over their website and partner websites, as well as on the packaging, I can see no mention of sun protection whatsoever – which, to be honest, is really worrying.
I also have some reservations about the potency of the products because nowhere can you find out the percentage of Retinol being used; this range is far more affordable than the majority of Retinol-based skincare products, but that is likely to be because the quantity is lower and the results more subtle. However, that’s great if you’re new to Retinol and want to ease yourself in (going too hard too quickly can lead to irritation and redness,) or if you’re just after some easy-to-use daily products that you don’t have to have a biology degree to understand.
I’ve only been trying them for a couple of weeks, knowing you need to use Retinol for a good few months before seeing the benefit, but here’s the lowdown on each of them and some of my initial thoughts…
Pixi Retinol Tonic* (£10.00)
This has been available since 2019 and was one of the products I was most excited to get to grips with, as such a big fan of their original Pixi Glow Tonic. Applied with a cotton pad after cleansing, this contains ‘time release Retinol’ to provide a gentler experience and make it suitable for use both morning and evening. Unlike a lot of the other Pixi tonics, this doesn’t have a strong scent and feels not unlike water (without the tightness) when wiped over the skin; I am dubious as to how much benefit this provides as such as small amount remains on the skin, but others I know who’ve been trying it for months swear by it. It’s a refreshing last step in my cleansing routine, and one I’m going to stick with.
Pixi Retinol Jasmine Cleanser* (£18.00)
A non-foaming creamy cleanser that very gently emulsifies (no foam here!) when mixed with water, this provides a really lovely gentle cleansing experience that I wasn’t expecting from a Retinol based product. My skin definitely feels clean, soft and comforted, but it’s one to use as a second cleanse when you’ve already removed all your makeup – especially as you want the active ingredient to be massaged directly onto skin. A good cleanser, but as a wash-off product I’m again dubious as to the quantity of Retinol that’s actually left on the skin to get to work.
Pixi Retinol Eye Cream* (£22.00)
Containing caffeine to de-puff and energise alongside Retinol and Peptides, this is a lightweight cream that leaves the delicate under-eye area feeling cared for. As eye creams go, it’s a decent one – especially if you’re concerned with fine lines and loss of volume around the eye area – but this isn’t a must-have for me.
Pixi Overnight Retinol Oil* (£26.00)
Undoubtedly the hero product in the range, this contains a beautiful combination of Sweet Almond, Jasmine, Jojoba, Sunflower and Cranberry Seed Oils alongside Retinol, Peptides and Ceramides – basically everything you need to rejuvinate, boost, hydrate and soothe skin while you sleep. It’s deliciously lightweight, and like a lot of Pixi oils, non-greasy and fast absorbing; my skin laps it up, I can layer other products over the top and I feel like I’m getting a good hit of goodness as I sleep. There’s no transformative effect the next morning, but my skin does feel smooth and hydrated. It’s definitely the one I’ve enjoyed the most every night, the one I’m going to keep on using and the one I would suggest is a good entry-level Retinol product for everyone.
Pixi Retinol Jasmine Lotion* (£24.00)
A lightweight but creamy moisturiser that’s a great final step, this dries to leave a soft and velvety non-greasy texture. It contains Jasmine, Peanut and Sunflower Oil alongside Blackberry Fruit and Thyme Extract to smooth, brighten and firm the skin in the long-term. I really like it as a daily moisturiser, and it’s a great introduction to Retinol if you’re cautious, but it doesn’t completely rock my world. It’s a good one for layering with other products, but if worn in the daytime you absolutely need an SPF over the top.
WHAT’S WORTH TRYING?
I feel this is a great introductory range if you just want to start dabbling in Retinol or anti-ageing skincare in general, particularly as the products are very gentle and help build up your Retinol-enriched routine with ease. I really like all the products, even if I don’t think all of them are completely essential, so they’re worthy investments if you’re in the market for something new.
My favourite is definitely the Pixi Overnight Retinol Oil, but I also think the Pixi Retinol Tonic and Pixi Retinol Jasmine Lotion are great introductory products that will only offer good things for your skin. However, it’s worth approaching this range with caution and ensuring you don’t overload the skin – as well as ensuring you wear SPF daily without compromise. (Check out some of my fave lightweight SPFs here.)
I’ll keep using these over the coming months, so watch this space to see which ones are still on my dressing table come Autumn..!
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