Retinol or Hyaluronic Acid First: A Complete Guide

We know all of our skintellectuals know the basics of Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid, but figuring out how to work these new ingredients into your regimen— not to mention figuring out how well those ingredients work together — can be challenging.

Let’s talk about Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol, two common anti-aging ingredients that can help combat common signs of aging when used just right. We’ll explain their benefits, and help you figure out which one should go first in your ultimate skincare lineup.

All About Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is a molecule that occurs naturally within your skin and your body’s connective tissue. Hyaluronic Acid is especially known in dermatology for giving the skin crucial structure and support. It also plays a vital role in keeping your skin plump and hydrated

Like ceramides and collagen — two other components that help keep your skin firm and youthful-looking — your body produces and stores less Hyaluronic Acid as you age. This reduction in Hyaluronic Acid can make your skin vulnerable to visible signs of aging, like sagging or fine lines and wrinkles.

Adding HA to your skincare routine is one way to help make up for the HA you naturally lose as you age, especially because it can be used with other acid ingredients like salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid, aka BHA) to reveal supple, fresh-looking skin. 

This renewing effect is partly because Hyaluronic Acid is what’s known as a humectant. Humectants are molecules that attract and bind water to themselves. HA, for instance, can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water. This enables it to deliver next-level moisture to your skin as a topical ingredient.

HA also helps prevent transepidermal water loss. This means your skin stays hydrated longer so that your face won’t feel parched again only hours after application.

Generally, Hyaluronic Acid doesn’t have any side effects. Too high of a solution of Hyaluronic Acid can potentially carry unwanted impurities deeper into your skin due to its low molecular weight, but if your skin is healthy overall and you’re using a safe concentration of HA, that low molecular weight can actually work really well for delivering hydration to your skin.

Your body also isn’t likely to have an allergic reaction to HA, since it naturally produces it. This makes HA ideal for all skin types, but especially if you’re struggling with dryness or have sensitive skin.

Hyaluronic Acid in Action

One targeted Hylauronic Acid formula in the TB lineup is our Resurrection Radiance Eye Cream

Unlike most typical eye creams that use silicones and waxes to fake the effect of smoother, brighter eyes, our Resurrection Radiance Eye Cream uses the Resurrection Plant and Hyaluronic Acid to achieve clinically-proven results:

  • 100% of women tested showed a significant improvement in the hydration around the eye area after 24 hours post application*
  • 100% of women tested showed a significant improvement in fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area after 6 weeks of use*
  • 112% increase in hydration around the eye area after 6 weeks of continued use*
  • 94% of women tested showed a significant reduction in puffiness around the eye area after 6 weeks of use*
  • 30% reduction in puffiness around the eye area after 6 weeks of continued use*

*Based on an independent scientific clinical blind study on 31 people over 6 weeks.

Our Resurrection Radiance Eye Cream is also infused with a unique Tree Bark Extract that directly addresses the underlying cause of dark circles. It also features antioxidant-rich Turmeric, Coffee, and Licorice Extracts to depuff and brighten the appearance of the eye region. It’s an easy way to work HA into one of the facial regions that needs its benefits the most!

All About Retinol

Retinol is one of the most used anti-aging ingredients on the market. Retinol, Retin-A, Retinoids, Tretinoin, and other similarly-structured ingredients in many anti-aging skincare products are all vitamin A derivatives. Some Retinol product formulations are even too strong to purchase over the counter, in which case they’re prescribed by a doctor or board-certified dermatologist.

Retinol is primarily used to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, its exfoliating properties mean that it’s also effective for brightening skin and improving the appearance of breakouts, dark spots, and other issues with your skin tone and skin texture.

Additionally, Retinol molecules can penetrate the outer layer of your skin and help to neutralize free radicals. Using the right Retinol serum can help counter the visual effects of decreased cell turnover that comes with age, and it may even help to balance oily skin.

While Retinol seems to offer support for a wide range of skin concers, it doesn’t come without its negatives, and those negatives are fairly intense in the form of sensitizing side effects. 

Retinol can cause dry skin, flaking, and redness, as well as causing photosensitivity (i.e. increased sensitivity to the sun and its UV rays). Many beauty companies that sell Retinol products claim that you can potentially reduce these effects by building up your Retinol usage gradually, moisturizing extensively, and sticking to a weaker solution.

However, the negative effects of Retinol may not go away entirely, especially if your skin is sensitive; not to mention, Retinol’s damage to your skin barrier and skin microbiome are lasting. 

So, all in all, it sounds like Retinol is worth avoiding, but don’t give up on it just yet.

Everything we’ve discussed above is in regards to Synthetic Retinol, which is what a stark majority of beauty and skincare companies include in their formula. 

Thankfully, Synthetic Retinol isn’t the only Retinol on the block anymore. 

Phyto-Retinol in Action

If you’re looking for all the benefits of Synthetic Retinol without the sensitizing effects, Phyto-Retinol is your new best friend. 

Phyto-Retinol refers to our plant-derived, microbiome-friendly, never-sensitizing, smart-way-to-retinol Vitamin A Booster.

Synthetic Retinol used in a majority of anti-aging treatments, and is known to disrupt your microbiome and lead to redness, irritation, and peeling, weakening your skin barrier over time and leading to perpetually to blotchy, unhealthy skin. 

Our microbiome-minded Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster, on the other hand, harnesses the innate intelligence of your skin to deliver powerful anti-aging benefits without any of the sensitizing side effects.

This booster comes in vegan capsules that are perfectly dosed to deliver Provitamin A Carotenoids to your skin. These Carotenoids transform into their own potent Retinoic Acid, which is one of the most biocompatible forms of Retinol your skin can use.

With our Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster, your skin is nourished with exactly what it needs to fight visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, dark spots, and uneven skin tone to help you get your most youthful-looking glow yet.

Your skin will thank you for making the switch. While Synthetic Retinol turns your skincare regimen into a puzzle of trying to trial-and-error what you can and can’t use to avoid sensitivity, our Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster plays well with others — you can use it day and night, right alongside other powerful botanicals like Vitamin C, Lactic Acid, and Azelaic Acid.

The takeaway? It’s Retinol done right. 

What Comes First, and How To Use Both in Your Skincare Routine

If you’re looking to take advantage of the benefits of Phyto-Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid together, figuring out how to implement both products in your skincare routine may seem daunting. 

Luckily, it’s pretty easy — especially with our biocompatible Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster.

With Synthetic Retinol, you would need to apply your Retinol product first, and then add your Hyaluronic Acid serum or other HA product second.

You would have to give your Synthetic Retinol about 30 minutes to absorb into your skin before you move on to your next step to try and improve your skin’s tolerance for Synthetic Retinol. Some companies state it will also give the Synthetic Retinol a chance to soak in before the hydration step in your routine.

With our Phyto-Retinol, it’s a lot easier — our Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster goes on after your serums and before your moisturizers. You don’t need to worry about building up your skin’s tolerance to Phyto-Retinol, since it doesn’t have any sensitizing side effects, and there’s no wild wait period either. Those nourishing Provitamin A Carotenoids should absorb right into your skin with a light massaging motion. 

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s walk through an example of skincare routine that takes full advantage of Hyaluronic Acid and Phyto-Retinol together.

Step 1: Cleanser

Our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm is the perfect way to kick off an anti-aging skincare routine. It effectively removes every last trace of even the toughest makeup, sunscreen, dirt, and other impurities without leaving your skin feeling tight and parched.

Rather than being formulated with harsh surfactants and other synthetic fillers like artificial fragrance and lab-made silicones, our Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm uses natural ingredients like makeup-melting Yucca Extract and super soothing Turmeric and Ginger Root Oil

Beyond that, Mango and Avocado Butters help to lock in moisture, while Oat and Argan oils deliver crucial nutrients and hydration, so you’re left with clean, pillow-soft skin.

Step 2: Serum

Our Chebula Active Serum offers hydrating and anti-aging benefits — all while supporting your skin barrier with antioxidants. 

Crucially, our Chebula Serum is also formulated with Hyaluronic Acid, which helps your skin’s recovery process, and targets dehydrated skin to help improve visible signs of aging. 

While most companies and MUAs advise using Hyaluronic Acid after a Synthetic Retinol product, we’re switching things up a bit — after all, there’s no room for Synthetic Retinol in our routine!

Since we’re using Phyto-Retinol, and because we’ll add more HA in the following steps, having HA in our nightly serum just amps up our skin’s hydration levels in a way that won’t interfere with any of our other products. (We told you it would be easy with the right ingredients!)

Step 3: Nightly Treatment

If you’re looking for a product that will fight signs of aging, even out your complexion, and help you wake up with an ethereal glow, our Renew Repair Nightly Treatment is the choice of your dreams. This thoughtfully crafted anti-aging formula will nourish and hydrate your skin while you sleep.

This one-of-a-kind formula gives you the transformative results you want without any of the toxic preservatives, fillers, and sensitizing ingredients found in many anti-aging products. 

Made with an abundance of natural biocompatible omega fatty acids, ceramides, and peptides to help you fight off signs of aging, this is the product for helping your skin look firm, youthful-looking, and hydrated every morning. It’s a serious “woke up like this” vibe.

Step 4: Phyto-Retinol

We’ve already spent some time singing its praises, and now is the time for our Phyto-Retinol Vitamin A Booster to really shine. 

Our Phyto-Retinol Booster makes mastering your anti-aging skincare routine easy, without any of the challenges that come alongside Synthetic Retinol.

And because Phyto-Retinol doesn’t have the sensitizing properties of Synthetic Retinol, it can be combined with ingredients like Vitamin C, AHAs, and basically anything else. Phyto-Retinol means results without limits, and that’s a solution we can get behind!

All you have to do is break open that beautiful vegan capsule, pour the formula into your palms, and gently massage those nourishing Carotenoids into your face and skin to reap the benefits of Phyto-Retinol. 

Step 5: Moisturizer

Finding a moisturizer that’s formulated with Hyaluronic Acid is the ideal way to use this moisture-locking molecule in your HA+Phyto-Retinol skincare routine. 

Our Renew Chebula Extreme Cream pairs HA with hydrating emollients, extreme antioxidant benefits, and nourishing and occlusive oils to achieve the perfect recipe for skin barrier optimization.

We leave out the questionable pore-clogging waxes of your typical cream moisturizer. You can be sure that this rich, ultra-hydrating moisturizer will leave your skin feeling soft, smooth, dewy, and supple without running the risk of breakouts or congested pores.

As its name suggests, our Renew Chebula Extreme Cream takes advantage of Chebula, a breakthrough cascading antioxidant that targets five major signs of aging. We use it alongside potent plant actives like Acerola Cherry, Calendula Oil, and Wild Pansies Extract to soothe your skin and dramatically improve moisture levels.

All of these antioxidant and anti-aging benefits make Chebula Extreme Cream the perfect partner to Phyto-Retinol in your skincare routine!

In Conclusion

Phyto-Retinol and Hyaluronic Acid are a match made in heaven when it comes to anti-aging benefits and maintaining your skin’s moisture levels. 

If you’re looking for the key to smooth, even, and glowing skin, harnessing the magic of these two ingredients might just be it!

Trying to recover from the effects of Synthetic Retinol? Explore our Skin Barrier Bootcamp here to help restore, repair, support, and protect your skin’s number one defense against premature aging!


Decreased Collagen Production in Chronologically Aged Skin | National Library of Medicine

Hyaluronic Acid: A Key Molecule in Skin Aging | Dermato Endocrinology

Interactions of Hyaluronic Acid With the Skin and Implications for the Dermal Delivery of Biomacromolecules | National Library of Medicine