The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

Add to routine

Welcome to our explanation of everything that you need to know about The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion. Let’s get started!

Type of product Serum
Used in
259 Routines
Brand country
Canadian Canada
Dupe finder

Description

  • vegan and cruelty-free serum that contains retinoid.
  • it doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates.
  • it does contain fragrances.
  • it is likely to be good for fighting acne, anti aging, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture.
  • it is reef safe.
  • it is not fungal acne (malassezia) safe.

Directions

Apply a small amount to face in the PM as part of your skincare regimen, after water-based serums but before heavier treatments. Do not use with other retinoid treatments. Avoid unprotected solar exposure. If irritation occurs, cease use and...


Show all directions

consult a physician. Use only as directed on unbroken skin. Patch testing prior to use is advised.

Product Info

Click on the items below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Community Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the 33 ingredients in this product ✨

18% are loved or liked
9% have mixed ratings
27% are disliked or very disliked
45% have no rating yet

Ingredient Details

Here's a breakdown of the benefits, notable ingredients, and drawbacks that we found with The Ordinary's Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion.

Benefits (9)

Good For Oily Skin Icon
Good For Oily Skin
Helps Reduce Irritation Icon
Helps Reduce Irritation
Good For Skin Texture Icon
Good For Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores Icon
Reduces Large Pores
Good For Anti-Aging Icon
Good For Anti-Aging
Good For Dark Spots Icon
Good For Dark Spots
Good For Scar Healing Icon
Good For Scar Healing
Helps Fight Acne Icon
Helps Fight Acne
Helps Brighten Skin Icon
Helps Brighten Skin

Notable Ingredients (1)

Retinoid Icon
Retinoid

Concerns (4)

May Worsen Dry Skin Icon
May Worsen Dry Skin
May Cause Acne Icon
May Cause Acne
May Cause Irritation Icon
May Cause Irritation
May Worsen Eczema Icon
May Worsen Eczema

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion Ingredients Explained

This product contains 33 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it

1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Also known as: Eau, Aqua, Purified Water, Aqua / Water, Distilled Water, Deionized Water, and Spring Water
Community rating: Loved

Water is the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. It often makes up the largest portion of a product, and is thus typically found at (or near) the top of an ingredients list.

In most cases, the purpose of water within an ingredient list is to act as a solvent - this means it's there to help dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

Water also happens to be necessary for all life on Earth. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
2
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Also known as: Vegetable Glycerin, Glycerine, and Glycerol
Community rating: Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin and helps moisturize and protect your skin. A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

Glycerin is a humectant, helping the skin retain moisture by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin. Having moisturized skin helps improve the skin barrier. Your skin barrier protects against skin 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, animal sources include tallow. It is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

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

Learn more about Glycerin
3
Masking, Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
Community rating: 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
4
Emollient, Perfuming

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

Learn more about Ethyl Linoleate
5
Also known as: Propandiol, Trimethylene Glycol, 1,3-Dihydroxypropane, 2-Deoxyglycerol, Methylpropanediol, and Propane-1,3-Diol
Community rating: 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

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

As a solvent, dimethyl isosorbide helps dissolve other ingredients. This helps ensure even distribution of an ingredient. It may also be used to decrease the thickness of a product.

Studies show dimethyl isosorbide is able to penetrate skin to deliver other ingredients into the skin, making them more effective.

Learn more about Dimethyl Isosorbide
7
Emollient, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Cetearyl Isononanoate.

8
Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Also known as: Alpha-Bisabolo
Community rating: Loved

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

Bisabolol comes from German chamomile essential oil. Synthetic Bisabolol has been shown to be less effective.

Bisabolol helps soothe skin. It does this by blocking the inflammatory signals, helping to reduce your body's reaction to irritation.

Bisabolol also interferes with the process of hyperpigmentation. This can help with reducing dark spots and uneven tone.

Bisabolol is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. By fighting these free-radicals, Bisabolol may slow down signs of aging.

Studies have shown Bisabolol to have antimicrobial properties and may be a fungicide. These properties help preserve a product's shelf life.

Bisabolol also helps the absorption of other ingredients.

Learn more about Bisabolol
9
Community rating: Liked

Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate is a form of retinoid. It can be good for be good for oily skin. It can help to improve skin texture, reduce large pores, reduce the effects of aging, reduce the visibility of dark spots, heal scars, and fight acne. It can be bad for dry skin and cause irritation.

Learn more about Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate
10
Skin Conditioning
Also known as: Vitamin A
Community rating: Liked

Retinol, AKA Vitamin A. Unlike AHA's, retinol does not remove the top layer of old and dead skin cells. Instead, it travels directly to the middle layer and gets to work. It neutralizes free radicals, boosting elastin and collagen production. This in turn makes retinol effective in removing fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores.

Retinol is sensitive to breakdown when exposed to sun and air. It will also make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it is recommended to wear SPF after applying retinol.

It is not recommended to use any retinols while pregnant. Retinol may cause irritation in some people.

Read about Tretinoin

Learn more about Retinol
11
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning

Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract is an antioxidant.

Learn more about Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract
12
Emulsion Stabilising

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

13
Emollient, Emulsifying
Community rating: Disliked

Glyceryl Stearate is a mix of glycerin and stearic acid.

Glyceryl Stearate is used to stabilize the mixing of water and oil ingredients. By preventing these ingredients from separating, it can help elongate shelf life. It can also help thicken the product's texture.

As an emollient, it helps soften skin and supports barrier-replenishing ingredients.

In cosmetics, Glyceryl Stearate is often made from vegetable oils or synthetically produced. The human body also creates Glyceryl Stearate naturally.

Learn more about Glyceryl Stearate
14
Emulsifying

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

15
Cleansing, Emulsifying
Community rating: Very Disliked

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

As an emulsifier, Ceteareth-20 prevents oil and water from separating. It is also a surfactant. Surfactants help gather oil, pollution, and dirt to be washed away.

Learn more about Ceteareth-20
16
Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
Also known as: (C16-C18) Alkyl Alcohol, C1618, C16-18 Alcohols, Cetostearyl Alcohol, and Cetyl/Stearyl Alcohol
Community rating: Very Disliked

Cetearyl alcohol is a mixture of two fatty alcohols: cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. It is mainly used as en emulsifier. Emulsifiers help prevent the separation of oils and products. Cetearyl alcohol can also help thicken a product or help create foam.

Cetearyl alcohol is an emollient. Emollients help soothe and hydrate the skin by trapping moisture.

Studies show Cetearyl alcohol is non-toxic and non-irritating. The FDA allows products labeled "alcohol-free" to have fatty alcohols.

Cetearyl alcohol is usually derived from plant oils such as palm, vegetable, or coconut oils. There is debate on whether this ingredient will cause acne. In general, it is best to speak with a professional about using this ingredient if you have concerns.

Learn more about Cetearyl Alcohol
Also known as: Red Algae

Carrageenan is from red seaweed, or Irish Moss.

Carrageenan helps make the texture of a product more creamy.

Many different types of algae have different benefits.

Learn more about Carrageenan
18
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
Also known as: Xanthomonas Campestris Gum
Community rating: 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

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

20
Emollient, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community rating: Very Disliked

Cetyl Palmitate isn't fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Cetyl Palmitate
21
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

Sucrose Laurate isn't fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Sucrose Laurate
22
Emulsifying
Also known as: Tween 20 and Polyoxyethylene Sorbitan Monolaurate
Community rating: Very Disliked

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

As a surfactant, it helps collect dirt and oils for washing. Emulsifiers prevent oils and water from separating.

Polysorbate 20 also adds scent to a product. Since it is made using sorbitol, it has a sweet scent. Sorbitol can also be found in fruits such as apples and peaches.

The lauric acid used to create Polysorbate 20 is often derived from coconuts.

Polysorbate 20 is not fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Polysorbate 20
23
Emulsifying

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

Learn more about Isoceteth-20
24
Antimicrobial, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Also known as: Rosemary Extract, Roe, and Rosemary Oleoresin
Community rating: Mixed

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

While Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil can be volatile due to its fragrant properties, this component is usually removed in the leaf extract.

Rosemary Leaf Extract can help protect your skin against damage from free-radical molecules. It contains many antioxidants such as rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid. Rosemarinic acid has been found to help soothe skin conditions such as eczema and acne.

Learn more about Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract
25

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

Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to soothe skin.

According to one study, it is an HA booster, antioxidant, and anti-irritant.

In this study, this ingredient was able to stimulate higher hyaluronic acid levels of the dermal and epidermal layers on a skin-like model. Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant, which means it helps attract moisture to your skin. Humectants help keep skin hydrated.

As an antioxidant, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone is able to fight off damage from free-radical molecules.

Learn more about Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone

Behentrimonium Chloride is a preservative.

Learn more about Behentrimonium Chloride

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it helps prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This prevents unwanted reactions in products. Metal ions can come into a product via the water ingredient. They are found in trace amounts and are not known to be harmful.

Learn more about Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate
Also known as: Disodium
Community rating: Disliked

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives. It is a chelating agent, meaning it neutralizes metal ions that may be found in a product.

Disodium EDTA is a salt of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and are found to be safe in cosmetic ingredients.

Learn more about Disodium EDTA
29

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

Dehydroacetic Acid is not soluble in water.

Learn more about Dehydroacetic Acid
30
Masking, Preservative
Community rating: Disliked

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

The antimicrobial property of Benzoic Acid helps elongate a product's shelf life. Its main role is to reduce fungi growth and is not found to be effective at fighting bacteria. Therefore Benzoic Acid is always added along with other preservatives.

In its pure form, Benzoic Acid looks like a white crystalline solid. It has slight solubility in water.

The name of Benzoic Acid comes from gum benzoin, which used to be the sole source of deriving this ingredient. Benzoic Acid is the most simple aromatic carboxylic acid.

Benzoic Acid is naturally occuring in strawberries, mustard, cinnamon, and cloves. It has a slight scent but is not considered to be a fragrance.

Learn more about Benzoic Acid
31
Skin Conditioning
Community rating: Mixed

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

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

Learn more about Ethylhexylglycerin
32
Preservative
Also known as: 2-Phenoxyethanol
Community rating: Disliked

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.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

Learn more about Phenoxyethanol
33
Antimicrobial, Preservative

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.

Chlorphenesin is a biocide. This means it is able to help fight the microorganisms on our skin. It is also able to fight odor-releasing bacteria.

Chlorphenesin is soluble in both water and glycerin.

Studies show Chlorphenesin is easily absorbed by our skin. You should speak with a skincare professional if you have concerns about using Chlorphenesin.

Learn more about Chlorphenesin
Embed Ingredients
Loading routine usage...

Often Compared With

Here are some products that The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion is often compared with.

Want to compare it with a different product? Head on over to our comparisons tool and you can!