Feature – Sunday Riley Luna vs. The Ordinary Retinoid 2%

I’ve recently been OBSESSED with retinol / retinoids. My friend Angela uses retinol on a regular basis and she has the most amazing, poreless skin that’s babysoft and SO GLOWY. Much jelly. Anyways, I purchased the Sunday Riley Squad Goals kit last December, and I’ve been using the Luna Sleeping Night Oil every few nights, and so far I’ve been loving it. What I’m not loving so much is the price… at C$131 for 30mL, it’s pretty splurgy. That’s when I came across The Ordinary Retinoid 2%. It has the same active retinoid ingredient as Luna – Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate – but priced at only C$9.80. Do they have the same effect on me though? Read on…

I used both the Sunday Riley and The Ordinary on separate occasions 2-3 times a week, and for at least a month. P.S. Sorry for the lack of custom photo, by the time I wrote this blog post, I already gave away one of the two bottles (no spoilers here! read on to find out), so there was no point in taking a photo of just the leftover bottle.

Price

Sunday Riley Luna is $131 and The Ordinary Retinoid 2% is $9.80, both for 1 oz / 30 mL of product. Pretty clear who the winner is here…

Winner: The Ordinary Retinoid 2%

Texture & scent

Sunday Riley Luna is a light oil product that takes a few minutes to absorb. It smells SO good, like a powdery light floral and ultra soothing. The Ordinary Retinoid 2% is a milky emulsion (oil suspended in water) that is very lightweight and absorbs pretty much immediately. It smells… kind of weird to describe, but it’s like a milky chemical scent that isn’t terrible but not fantastic.

Winner: Luna for texture and scent, Retinoid 2% for how fast it sinks in.

Hydration

Due to Luna’s oil formula, I find it significantly more moisturizing than Retinoid 2%. My skin does have an affinity for oil products though, so I am slightly biased. Retinoid 2% is milky but it’s not nearly as moisturizing as Luna. Since it is winter though, my skin favours Luna more, but I can see it being a bit too heavy on those hot summer nights. Retinoid 2% is definitely more flexible in that most skin types can use it, and on most evening conditions. You can easily layer it under other hydrating products, or other oils.

Winner: Luna as my personal love in colder winter climate, Retinoid 2% for being more versatile and better for all skin types

Pore-tightening

Yes I know it is impossible to have permanent pore shrinkage unless you go through cosmetic surgery or something. In terms of a product’s ability to temporarily shrink the look of the size of my pores, Luna wins hands down because I have not seen any pore shrinkage from Retinoid 2%. My skin texture is so smooth after a night of Luna that it’s really hard to argue against that.

Winner: Luna

Skin smoothing

Again, Luna wins on this front because I wake up with incredibly smooth and supple skin, even after just one night of using this. Retinoid 2% honestly didn’t do much for my skin in this area.

Winner: Luna

Overall I wasn’t super impressed with The Ordinary Retinoid. I really hoped to see results, any kind of results, but I didn’t see anything. It honestly didn’t do much, if anything, for my skin. I was hoping it’d be mildly hydrating, but it wasn’t even that. Compared to Sunday Riley Luna, where I saw results pretty much overnight. My skin was definitely smoother, more glowy, more hydrated, and just generally looked better when I was using Luna. Honestly, though, Luna is pretty expensive so I doubt I will be repurchasing (unless there’s some kind of promotion). I recently purchased an Eve Lom retinol serum to try as well, so I will be adding that into my skin routine any day now. I ended up passing off my The Ordinary Retinoid to my friend Angela, who I hope has better luck with it.

Have you tried either of these?

Ingredients

Sunday Riley Luna: Persea Gratissima (Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed Avocado) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Organic, Cold Pressed Concord Grape) Seed Oil, Rubus Fruticosus (Cold Pressed Blackberry) Seed Oil, Salvia Hispanica (Cold Pressed Chia) Oil, Dimethyl Isosorbide (and) Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Tanecetum annuum (Blue Tansy) oil, Anthemis nobilis (English Chamomile) oil, Eriocephalus punctulatus (Cape Chamomile) oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Blood Orange) oil, Cananga Odorata Flower (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Vetivera zizanoides (Vetiver) oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (and) Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, CI 61565 (Green 6), CI 60725 (Violet 2).

The Ordinary Retinoid 2%: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinol, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Xanthan Gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Potassium Citrate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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