My very first retinoid product was the Medik8 r-Retinoate Day & Night Serum (review here). I was inexperienced with retinoids and afraid of the potential side effects of retinol. What drew me to spend the extra on retinyl retinoate was that it is supposed to be 8 times more effective than retinol but with barely any of the issues. Although I didn’t see it have any good effects on my acne as I wanted, it certainly was a good choice to serve as my very first retinoid. As it was gentle yet effective when it came to the look and feel of my skin.
Shortly after the launch of the r-Retinoate face serum, Medik8 came out with the complimentary day and night eye serum. I haven’t been widely interested in eye products until I turned thirty. Naturally, I’m now experiencing fine lines that seem to deepen with every passing birthday. And so, spending a little extra in hopes of softening and slowing down the aging around my eye area seems completely reasonable.
Medik8 r-Retinoate Day & Night Eye Serum
The r-Retinoate eye serum was the main selling point of the 2021 advent calendar from SpaceNK and I was so excited to try it! Prior, I had seen other Swedish influencers (a bit older than me) touting their love for it. It’s the most expensive eye product I’ve used and my expectations were high!
Similar to the Verso Super Eye Serum (review here), this is not an eye cream that will hydrate well on its own. While the r-Retinoate eye serum does include some multi-weight hyaluronic acid in its formula, based on the reviews, it’s best to layer it under a hydrating face or eye cream. As it has caused dryness and creepiness for some.
What’s it supposed to do
The key benefits of Medik8 r-Retinoate day and night eye serum are, firstly, that you can use it day and night. The photostable retinoid doesn’t decrease its efficacy when exposed to sunlight. It also doesn’t make the skin more sensitive to UV rays. By using it both day and night you get accelerated results, visibly softening fine lines and wrinkles.
The eye serum also includes eye-brightening hesperidin and caffeine. Hesperidin is a brightening agent that helps suppress melanin in the skin. While caffeine works to reduce puffiness whilst firming and lifting the eye area.
According to Medik8’s website, results should be one where the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes are dramatically faded. As well as, visibly smoother skin and brighter eyes.
It’s taken me over a year to write a review. Firstly, although only 15ml, this lasts you a long long time as the tiniest bit is needed! Secondly, retinoids need time to see results. I wanted to give it as much of an honest and fair review as I could. I was also not seeing any results in the first few months, so I kept pushing it back. A £99 eye serum can not not be effective, right?
It took a while before I cracked this open as I was experiencing some skin irritation around my eye area at the time. Once it healed I slowly introduced this into my routine. I’ve been using this eye serum for over a year. Sometimes day and night, but more consistently every night underneath a cream.
My skin seemed to tolerate it off the bat. I have not experienced any irritation or puffiness that retinoid eye products can sometimes cause. But I have seen a few reviewers on Medik8’s website complaining they had a bad reaction to it. Despite that, I still think it’s generally a safer retinoid eye product for sensitive skin to try.
As mentioned earlier, the amount of use you’ll get out of 15ml is surprising! It will last you around a year or more depending on if you use it day and night or just nightly. This definitely makes the price tag less intimidating, knowing it’s more of a yearly cost than every two-three months or so. If it works for you, then it can be highly worth it.
When writing reviews I always look at other reviewers to get more of an objective view. Maybe it suits another skin type? Maybe I or they used it wrong? Maybe I’m too young or too old?
On Medik8’s website, you’ll rarely see a bad review. The ones that have been approved are mostly about getting a bad reaction from using the serum. However, at SpaceNK it’s a different story. Where I and many other’s received this in an advent calendar, almost a whooping 1/4th gave it three stars or less! Most of them expressing the same experience I’ve had: not noticing any significant improvement in the condition of the skin around our eyes.
In Medik8’s own words, we should’ve expected fine lines and wrinkles to have “dramatically faded”. But after a year of use, I neither see an impressive reduction in current fine lines nor has it suppressed new ones from forming. As with the r-Retinoate face serum, you could feel and see a difference in your skin within a week’s use!
When it comes to brightening the eye area, I see a few reviewers satisfied with the results. I on the other hand.. Not so much. In their defense, I have naturally dark circles around my eyes from thin skin; I’ve always “looked tired” since a little kid. Fillers might be my only solution. But I was watching to see if any old sunspots would budge. Neither did this happen.
Like, honestly, another eye serum that’s a fifth of the price has given me more gratification.
As for now, expensive eye serums with some sort of retinoid have done nothing but disappoint me. Have I tried them all? No. But I’m yet to find one that truly impresses me. In many ways, I feel like the Medik8 r-Retinoate eye serum was very similar to the Verso Eye Serum. So if you’re interested in retinyl retinoate and want to save a few bucks, perhaps go try Verso first. (However, caution! Verso’s eye serum seems more prone to causing an allergic reaction than the one from Medik8!)
Either way, the eye serum didn’t live up to the results of the face serum from the same range.
I find the r-Retinoate eye serum to be perhaps best suited and used by those with sensitive or younger skin as I didn’t find it to pack much punch. But, I do recognize that even then, with some people, there’s a risk of developing puffy eyes and dry irritated skin. As with everything, it’s testing things out at your own risk and knowing your skin.
Still, if you have sensitive skin and can’t tolerate other retinol eye products well, then I’d say it might be worth investing. I’d also perhaps recommend it to anyone who hasn’t yet developed deep fine lines and wrinkles but want to be proactive. But if you fall in the category, where you want a preventative product but also one that softens and reduces the appearance of fine lines, I’d say look elsewhere.
I want to apologize for not bashing the product more. Clearly, I saw no dramatic difference and I’m highly disappointed. For the price, I mean, this should give my eye area an instant facial every time I use it. I honestly want to say don’t bother spending money on this one. But I also can’t ignore the 75% of reviewers that seem to be satisfied with the product and seeing results. So I don’t know, maybe I should’ve used a larger amount?
Sidenote – Food for Thought
While writing this review, I came to wonder, why isn’t retinyl retinoate used more by other brands? I mean, during these couple of years, other retinoids like Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR) and Retinal, which were developed and came out at around the same time, are being more popularized and used in both low and high-end products. While we barely hear any talks about r-retinoate.
Yes, it could be because it’s costly to make or patent. But it’s been six years (or more) and, still, not many brands are using it. Retinyl Retinoate is sort of left in the dark. Even Medik8 is focusing more on developing new products with Retinal and just expanded their Crystal Retinal range to include eye products that seem promising! They probably saw retinal being much more effective, and why they supplemented r-Retinoate with retinal to develop their “intense”-version. And so, I’m wondering if it’s because it’s not as effective as it is marketed. I’m just left confused about why there are only two brands pushing this ingredient while others are quickly adopting the other two retinoids that only need one conversion.
This brings the question, should we even bother with retinyl retinoate?