Empty Bottle Review: Environ Concentrated Retinol Serum 1

Whew… this summer left me faster than that high school soccer player who dumped me freshman year after I wouldn’t go to second base. It felt like we barely sat still this summer and today was the first morning where I walked to work and it really felt like fall was just around the corner. So, with the start of a new school year, I’m back with another review, this time for the Concentrated Retinol Serum 1 from Environ’s Focus Care Youth+ line.

It should come as no surprise I discovered this product through Rescue Spa, but since then Environ has become one of my favorite brands.

Retinol is everywhere these days and for good reason: she delivers. Like a mean girl with a sensitive side she can be tough, but deep down she’s there for you. I last used retinol back in 2014 but moved away from it after I felt like it wasn’t helping me anymore. But now that I’m post-30, I’m back on the sauce and happier than ever.

Retinol is your skin’s best friend after you turn 30. She fights those first wrinkles we’re trying to ignore and those fucking zits we’re still getting. Before you hit 30, I wouldn’t go the retinol route unless your dermatologist recommends it. I’ve seen much better results in this decade of my skincare life than I did the last and retinol can be harsh.

However, Environ’s Concentrated Retinol Serum 1 is a great entry into the world of retinol and all its pore-shrinking, wrinkle-reducing, dark spot-crushing, acne-fighting benefits. As the first serum of three in this series, which they call their STEP-UP SYSTEMâ„¢, it has the lowest amount of retinol, which is a form of vitamin A. It has wonderful texture, not watery but not a rich cream, and it absorbs really well. I didn’t experience any redness, dryness or peeling when I used it, even after moving from using it three times a week to nightly application.

The best part is this serum layers very well vitamin C. Vitamin A and vitamin C are soulmates for your face to help you achieve a brighter, more even complexion. They actually make each other work better. Like Chandler and Monica (sorry, Friends is my background noise). The key is to give the retinol 20 minutes to absorb before you add the vitamin C. If you’re short on time, they won’t not work, but you really get the benefits when your skin has time to suck up one serum before you add the other. I liked to add a moisturizer on top and then I was ready for bed.

Using this combo helped me wake up fresh faced and combat any painful hormonal zits. I’ve been on the anti-aging route for a while and was pleased to find a product that delivered results without any sting or discomfort. Just remember these two things:

  1. Skip the harsh toners/chemical exfoliants/physical exfoliants before applying retinol.
  2. Wear some goddamn sunscreen the next day.

Environ recommends using 2-3 bottles of each level before moving on to the next one. While I decided to try another brand of retinol for something stronger, I would certainly go back to this one.

If you’re ready to take it up a notch, I highly recommend jumping on the retinol bandwagon. Come on, everyone’s doing it.


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