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The Potions Retinol Serum Versus Trader Joe's Retinol Night Serum

Serum
Serum
Korean Brand South Korea
American Brand United States

Updated on August 15, 2023

Overview

What they are

These products are both cruelty-free and reef safe serums. They have a total of 6 ingredients in common

Cool Features

They both contain hyaluronic acid and retinoid

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for fighting acne, anti aging, 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, fragrances, parabens, silicones or sulfates

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

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients

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
Retinol Serum
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.

Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

1,2-Hexanediol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

1,2-Hexanediol is a multi-tasker ingredient. It acts as a preservative to increase shelf-life and can aid other preservatives in preventing microbe growth. 1,2-Hexanediol also helps the skin retain moisture as a humectant.

Beta-Glucan Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness Icon
Helps reduce Skin RednessHelps reduce Skin Redness Icon

Beta-Glucan is a polysaccharide. It can be derived from the cell walls of seaweed, oats, yeast, and fungi.

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.

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.
Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer

Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer (let's call it AAVC for short) is a synthetically created polymer. It's used as a film-forming agent and used to thicken the consistency of products.

Disliked Full details ->
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.

Hydrogenated Lecithin Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

Hydrogenated Lecithin is created from the hydrogenation of lecithin. Hydrogenation is a chemical reaction between molecule hydrogen and another element.

Retinol Night Serum
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.

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.

Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Succinate
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate/Succinate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Sorbitan Oleate Emulsifying
3 / 0 Bad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
2 Concerns

Sorbitan Oleate is created from compounds in oleic acid and sorbitol. It is used to stabilize a product by preventing ingredients from separating.

3 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Ascorbate Antioxidant
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 4 Benefits

Sodium Ascorbate is a form of Vitamin C. It is derived from the sodium salt of ascorbic acid.

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 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.
Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

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

Very Disliked Full details ->
Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer

Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer (let's call it AAVC for short) is a synthetically created polymer. It's used as a film-forming agent and used to thicken the consistency of products.

Disliked Full details ->
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.

Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

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

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 ->
Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil is an oil and isn't fungal acne safe.

Disliked Full details ->
Phospholipids Skin Conditioning

Phospholipids are naturally found in our skin as they are the main component of cell membranes. Phospholipids have humectant, emollient, antioxidant properties.

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.
Tocopheryl Acetate Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon Helps brighten skinHelps brighten skin Icon

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Ascorbyl Palmitate Antioxidant, Masking
2 / 0 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 IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Vitamin CVitamin C Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 6 Benefits Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Ascorbyl Palmitate is created by combining pure Vitamin C and palmitic acid. It is an antioxidant and helps reduce hyperpigmentation.

2 Com. / 0 Irr.
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.

Sorbic Acid Preservative
Preservative IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon May worsen EczemaMay worsen Eczema Icon

Sorbic Acid is a preservative. It is the most commonly used food preservative in the world.

Very 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. 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
Skin Conditioning
Loved

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.

Why is retinol famous?

It has the most scientific studies backing up its skin benefits out of all the non-prescription ingredients.

Retinol is proven to:

This is why retinol is effective at removing wrinkles, fading dark spots, treating acne, and reducing the appearance of pores.

Studies show retinol is less effective when exposed to UV. Be sure to look for appropriate packaging to keep your retinol potent (similar to Vitamin C).

Using retinol or any retinoids will increase sun-sensitivity in the first few months. Though studies show retinoids increase your skin's natural SPF with continuous use, it is best to always wear sunscreen and sun-protection.

We recommend speaking with a medical professional about using this ingredient during pregnancy.

Retinol may cause irritation in some people, so be sure to patch test. Experts recommend 'ramping up' retinol use: start using this ingredient once a week and work up to using it daily.

Read about Tretinoin

Learn more about Retinol
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Loved

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

Like hyaluronic acid, it is great at holding water and acts as a humectant. This makes it a great skin hydrating ingredient.

Sodium Hyaluronate is naturally occurring in our bodies and is mostly found in eye fluid and joints.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate

Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer (let's call it AAVC for short) is a synthetically created polymer. It's used as a film-forming agent and used to thicken the consistency of products.

AAVC is able to increase the consistency and viscosity of products due to its large molecule size. It also prevents ingredients from separating.

Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

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

Within a product, Caprylic Triglyceride can thicken the product and make spreadability easier by dissolving clumping compounds. An added benefit of Caprylic Triglyceride is its antioxidant properties.

Caprylic Triglyceride is made by combining glycerin with coconut oil, forming a clear liquid. Caprylic Triglyceride has not been found to be toxic for human use in concentrations under 50%.

While there is an assumption Caprylic Triglyceride can clog pores due to it being derived from coconut oil, there is no research supporting this.

Learn more about Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

Ingredient Ratings

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

Retinol Serum
6
3
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
Retinol Night Serum
8
4
7
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

8 Routines
0% use in am
100% use in pm
50% use every day
25 Routines
0% use in am
100% use in pm
44% use every day