COSRX Real Fit Retinol Serum Review

April 7, 2021

Hi guys! Today I'll be sharing all about COSRX's Real Fit Retinol Serum.

COSRX has a Real Fit line of serums that includes a Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Retinol variant:

I received a bottle of the retinol variant last year from Glampick, COSRX's official retailer here in Malaysia, and today, I'll be sharing with you guys my honest thoughts on the product.

Formulated with 0.5% stabilized Retinyl palmitate, the COSRX Real Fit Retinol Serum is a retinol serum suited for beginners or for those with sensitive skin. Enriched with Calendula officinalis extract to soothe, calm and reduce stimulation, this serum has an emulsion-type lightweight texture that quickly absorbs into the skin.⠀

It aims to brighten the skin, reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation and to refine the skin's texture, as well as to prevent fine lines and wrinkles from forming. As it has a low percentage of retinol, its been a very popular entry-level retinol product for first-time retinol users, and even COSRX themselves market it as a product for first-time retinol users.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, retinol is often used as a general term for topical products containing a vitamin A derivative, it's technically a type of retinoid, of which there are several variations that work at different levels.

Retinoids work by increasing collagen production, as well as increasing the rate of skin cell turnover. They also help treat acne, blackheads, and clogged pores by reducing the stickiness of the cells that clog pores, as well as speeding up the rate at which the skin turns over and regenerates. Because of this, they are ideal for improving the skin's overall texture, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles, evening out skin tone, and decreasing pore size

- Source: Glamour

Retinoids are very popular because they have long been considered the gold standard for antiaging, increasing the turnover rate of our skin cells and helping to keep younger, plumper cells closer to the surface.

Retinol and retinyl palmitate are two available over-the-counter retinoids, with retinol being stronger and more effective than retinyl palmitate. These are both milder than prescription versions including tretinoin, tazarotene, and adapelene 

Now then, what's the difference between over-the-counter retinoids like retinol and retinyl palmitate compared to prescription versions like tretinoin, tazarotene, and adapelene?

Retinol products on prescription are more powerful and work faster. Retinol in cosmetic products takes longer to work, but does give the same results over time. 

Prescription retinol increases the risk of skin irritation. These irritations can be so persistent for some that they can no longer use the product. Cosmetic products with retinol, on the other hand, have a lower risk of skin irritation.

Although the prescription ones are stronger, this does not mean they are better. It depends on your skin type, and it's also up to you to experiment and see how often you should use retinol for the most effective and attractive results.

Not only does the COSRX Real Fit Retinol Serum contains the weaker retinyl palmitate, but it's also made with a combination of soothing and hydrating ingredients. Because of this, it makes it the perfect product for those who want to start building up their retinol tolerance.

As I mentioned, COSRX's official retailer here in Malaysia is Glampick, and they list this product as RM137.

COSRX is now available in several offline stores like Watsons, but I recommend checking it out online. Currently, it is only retailing for RM109.60 on their Shopee store:

And it is available for even cheaper on their Lazada store at only RM74.90:

The box itself is quite chic and simple, with the ingredients stated clearly in front:

On the back, the text is Korean, but there are English descriptions on the side:

It is recommended to keep and use this product for only 3 months after it's been opened:

The dropper itself actually comes separate from the bottle, and you have to assemble it together:

Here is the full list of ingredients:

The ingredients mostly have an EWG green rating aside from Retinyl Palmitate which can cause some irritation for others. I was happy to see that the first ingredient listed was Calendula Flower Extract. If you're a skincare holic like me, you'll know that this ingredient is known for its soothing and hydrating properties. It also has healing & anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for combating any acne/irritations. It also contains Sunflower Seed Oil which is an emollient that keeps the skin hydrated, protecting the surface of the skin and enhancing the skin barrier.

I've already talked about the benefits of retinol above, and this product contains 0.5%. This serum is paraben-free, sulfate-free, alcohol-free and EU-allergen free.

Aside from the retinyl palmitate, this serum also contains other anti-ageing ingredients like Adenosine, Tocopherol and Tocopherol Acetate (of which the last two also helps with skin elasticity and regeneration).

Those with dry skin will enjoy this because it has powerfully moisturizing ingredients like Panthenol, Butylene Glycol and Glycerin. It also contains Allantoin which helps soothe and protect the skin.

In terms of colour and texture, this serum is creamy white and runner than what I expected it to be. Compared to other retinol serums I tried, it's definitely lighter. It absorbs well into the skin but it does leave a layer of shine.

Although retinol serums tend to make the skin feel dry, this one didn't and it actually felt quite hydrating.

It is recommended to use this product at night and to use it daily to see results.

Cleanser - Toner - Essence - Eye Serum - Serum - Moisturizer

I use my eye serum first because I don't want any of the serum to touch my delicate eye area too much. Do note that first-time users may experience some mild irritation or redness.

It's recommended to use this product with Hyaluronic Acid but to avoid mixing it with AHA/BHA/Vitamin C products.

First up, I was quite hesitant to start using this because I was so dependent on my AHA/BHA/Vitamin C products. I took the plunge and replaced them with my more hydrating hyaluronic acid ones just so I could try this out.

I would say this is really great for beginners who want to start incorporating retinol to their skincare routine. I did not feel any irritations when I started using this, and although I still followed it up with hydrating products, I did notice that it itself was quite hydrating.

After a month of using it, I did notice that my skin felt quite nice and smooth. I did not notice any extreme benefits like firming, but it definitely helped out with skin texture. I found that impressive because I usually rely on my acids/chemical exfoliants to do that for me.

I am now 24 and although I don't have any serious wrinkles and fine lines, I do take anti-ageing seriously. I can't say if it will have any visible effects on already existing lines (as my lines are still quite faint and small), but I personally do feel like my skin feels softer and better after using this serum.

I think I would be open to repurchasing this and to keep using it as long as I see effects, or until I feel the need to move on to something stronger. But so far so good!

And that's it for this post! I hope you guys found it helpful and informative. 

See y'all in my next post!

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