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Updated on June 13, 2024

Overview

What they are

These products are both vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe serums. They have a total of 4 ingredients in common

Cool Features

They both contain retinoid

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

What's Inside

They both contain fragrances

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

FaceTheory Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum S1
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients
ph level
5.5

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum S1
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polyglyceryl-4 Oleate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Retinyl Palmitate Skin Conditioning
1-3 / 1-3 Retinoid IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
RetinoidRetinoid Icon 7 Benefits 3 Concerns

Retinyl palmitate is a form of retinoid. Retinoids are the superstar class of anti-aging ingredients that include tretinoin and retinol.

1-3 Com. / 1-3 Irr.
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate Antioxidant
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 6 Benefits

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a form of Vitamin C. It is the salt of ascorbic acid.

Polyglyceryl-6 Stearate Emollient
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polyglyceryl-6 Stearate isn't fungal acne safe.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Tocopherol Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 4 Benefits May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

0-3 Com. / 0-3 Irr.
Sodium Anisate Antimicrobial

Sodium Anisate comes from fennel. It is used as a preservative and to add flavoring.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Levulinate Skin Conditioning

Sodium levulinate is the a sodium salt of Levulinic Acid. If dissolved in an aqueous solution, the two ingredients become identical.

Glyceryl Caprylate Emollient, Emulsifying

Glyceryl Caprylate comes from glycerin and caprylic acid, a fatty acid from coconut.

Anethum Graveolens Herb Extract Perfuming
Fragrance Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon

Anethum Graveolens Herb Extract is a fragrance.

Unknown Full details ->
Glycyrrhiza Glabra Stem Extract Skin Conditioning

Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Stem Extract is the extract of the stems of Glycyrrhiza glabra, Fabaceae.

Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose Emulsion Stabilising

We don't have a description for Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose.

Unknown Full details ->
Lactic Acid Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 6 Benefits 3 Concerns

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Polyglyceryl-6 Behenate Emulsion Stabilising
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polyglyceryl-6 Behenate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Ferulic Acid Antimicrobial, Antioxidant
Antioxidant IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon Helps with Anti-AgingHelps with Anti-Aging Icon

Ferulic Acid is a plant based antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. Ferulic Acid can help reduce the formation of fine lines and hyperpigmentation.

Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Salicylic Acid Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon PreservativePreservative Icon 5 Benefits 4 Concerns

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Sodium Hyaluronate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
2 Benefits

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice comes from leaves of the aloe plant. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is best known for helping to soothe sunburns. It is also anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, antiseptic, and can help heal wounds.

Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
Potassium Sorbate Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.

Disliked Full details ->
Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Masking, Skin Conditioning

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is an emollient, solvent, and texture enhancer. It is considered a skin-softener by helping the skin prevent moisture loss.

Ethyl Linoleate Emollient, Perfuming
Fragrance IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Ethyl Linoleate is a fragrance and isn't fungal acne safe.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Dimethyl Isosorbide Solvent

Dimethyl Isosorbide is a solvent and helps deliver actives into your skin. It is created from sorbitol.

Cetearyl Isononanoate Emollient, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Cetearyl Isononanoate.

Unknown Full details ->
Bisabolol Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Bisabolol is pimarily used to add fragrance to a product. However, it is also famous for helping soothe skin.

Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate Skin Conditioning
Retinoid IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
RetinoidRetinoid Icon 7 Benefits 2 Concerns

This ingredient is a retinoid. It usually goes by a more common name: "Granactive".

Retinol Skin Conditioning
Retinoid IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
RetinoidRetinoid Icon 8 Benefits 3 Concerns

Retinol is a gold-standard ingredient for anti-aging. It is a form of Vitamin A and belongs to the class of retinoids that also includes tretinoin.

Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract is an antioxidant.

Inulin Lauryl Carbamate Emulsion Stabilising

We don't have a description for Inulin Lauryl Carbamate.

Unknown Full details ->
Glyceryl Stearate Emollient, Emulsifying
1 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glyceryl Stearate is a mix of glycerin and stearic acid.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Ceteareth-12 Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Ceteareth-12.

Disliked Full details ->
Ceteareth-20 Cleansing, Emulsifying
2 / 3 May worsen Oily Skin Icon
May worsen Oily SkinMay worsen Oily Skin Icon

Ceteareth-20 is an emulsifier and cleansing agent. It is derived from cetearyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol.

2 Com. / 3 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Cetearyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
2 / 1 Fatty Alcohol IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Fatty AlcoholFatty Alcohol Icon 3 Concerns

Cetearyl alcohol is a mixture of two fatty alcohols: cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. It is mainly used as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help prevent the separation of oils and products. Due to its composition, it can also be used to thicken a product or help create foam.

2 Com. / 1 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Carrageenan
May worsen Oily Skin Icon
May worsen Oily SkinMay worsen Oily Skin Icon

Carrageenan comes from red seaweed or algae. It is made up of polysaccharides and a highly flexible compound. Red algae cell walls are rich in carrageenan.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Acacia Senegal Gum Masking

We don't have a description for Acacia Senegal Gum.

Disliked Full details ->
Cetyl Palmitate Emollient, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Cetyl Palmitate is a wax-like substance.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Sucrose Laurate Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Sucrose Laurate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Isoceteth-20 Emulsifying
May cause irritation Icon
May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Isoceteth-20 comes from Isocetyl Alcohol. It is an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. It does this by preventing certain ingredients from separating.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract Antimicrobial, Masking, Skin Conditioning

Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract comes from rosemary. Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean.

Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone Skin Conditioning

Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone is a synthetically created molecule made to mimic ginger extract.

Behentrimonium Chloride Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

This ingredient is a preservative and often used for it's anti-static properties. You'll most likely see this ingredient in hair conditioners.

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

Disodium EDTA

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

Disliked Full details ->
Dehydroacetic Acid Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Dehydroacetic Acid is fungicide and bactericide. It is used as a preservative in cosmetics. Preservatives help elongate the shelf life of a product.

Benzoic Acid Masking, Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Benzoic Acid is used to preserve and adjust the pH of products.

Disliked Full details ->
Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Chlorphenesin Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

Disliked Full details ->

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Solvent
Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Disliked

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.

Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.

Learn more about Xanthan Gum

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these two products.

Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum S1
12
2
4
5
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
11
4
15
3
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

13 Routines
0% use in am
100% use in pm
77% use every day
480 Routines
5% use in am
95% use in pm
71% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

FaceTheory Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum S1 23 ingredients

Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum S1 hasn't been rated yet.
Rate it now

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion 33 ingredients

3.5 /5
from 2 ratings
Absorbs Well (1) Great Value (1) Hydrating (1) Light (1) No Scent (1) Works Well (1)
AshN.'s avatar

AshN.

4 months ago Β· Dry Skin
Review

(Used from 2019-2022) This was my very first introduction to using retinoids in my evening routine. With this product I felt that my skin texture...

(Used from 2019-2022) This was my very first introduction to using retinoids in my evening routine. With this product I felt that my skin texture and complexion was smoother and brighter. Very gentle formulation, so I felt no irritation at any point. As with most of The Ordinary's products, they make for a great budget buy. Only moved on from this product because I felt that my face was getting too used to it, and I stopped noticing large changes in improvement. Definitely would recommend for beginners looking to add a gentle retinoid to their routine.