'I swapped to encapsulated retinol for the first time. Here's how it's going.'

Elizabeth Arden
Thanks to our brand partner, Elizabeth Arden

One of the most common questions I’m asked about skincare ingredients (if not the number one question) is how to use vitamin A. Where to incorporate it into a routine, how to avoid irritation or the dreaded retinol purge, and if the results are worth it. 

I totally get it. Retinol (and its group of variants) is one of the most studied skincare ingredients in the world, so we know it works. BUT, it so often comes with side effects that make using it tricky, daunting or like you need a science degree.

I’ve road-tested countless vitamin A products over my decades as a beauty expert, some with pleasant outcomes, but plenty with less-than-ideal experiences. Breakouts, redness, irritation and flaking can often occur, which feels counterintuitive when the aim is better skin.

I was intrigued to trial Elizabeth Arden’s new Retinol + HPR Ceramide Capsules Rapid Skin-Renewing Serum. Firstly, because of the delivery system of a single dose capsule, which is pretty unique. Secondly, because of the claim that the formula is gentle enough for day and nighttime usage and first-time retinol users.

Thirdly, and most importantly, because of the purported results. In clinical tests, it was found that in one week, wrinkles and pores are visibly reduced, skin feels firmer, tone and texture improves, and that skin appears more youthful and radiant after the same seven-day period.

Looking at those claims, then at the ingredients, it seems the formula can achieve visible changes in such a short period of time thanks to the ‘recipe’ in each capsule.


Image: Supplied.

The serum inside each capsule is formulated with pure retinol, as well as HPR (short for hydroxpinacolone retinoate) which is a next generation retinoid, making it 10 times more potent than pure retinol alone, but gentler on the skin. It doesn't irritate the skin because of the formulation of HPR, as well as the addition of moisturising and barrier-strengthening ceramides, skin firming peptides and soothing botanicals. 


Elizabeth Arden has tested this formula for use in the morning, not just the evening. If you do use it during the day, make sure you’re always finishing with SPF as the last step of your skincare routine. I started trailing it before bed, because that’s the slot in my skincare routine where my vitamin A step is.

My first thought was that I really enjoyed the innovative capsule packaging. Vitamin A and retinol products are notorious for breaking down and becoming unstable due to exposure to air and light. The capsule keeps each measured dose sealed to protect the key ingredients and keep them powerful and fresh. And as each capsule is one perfect dose, it makes them great for travel and ensures you don't use too much. And of course, the capsules are biodegradable. To open the capsule you twist the little ‘tail’ and then squeeze out the contents, or of course you could use nail scissors.  

The texture of the serum itself is really unique. It’s thicker than most serum consistencies — almost like a balm — which I thought was clever because I don't like it when a serum is so watery it feels like it's slipping through my fingers before I’ve had a chance to apply it to my face. Once massaged on, it leaves the skin with a really beautiful velvet-like texture, so it would layer well in the mornings with the rest of your skincare, sunscreen and makeup — it isn't too oily or greasy for us combo girls.


Image: Supplied.

As I was trailing the capsules at night, I waited a few minutes for the serum to absorb and then applied a nourishing night cream. The next morning I was stoked to feel how soft my skin was — to touch it felt really smooth and plump.

I started with using it every second night, just to be on the safe side, even though I have a decent amount of experience with retinol products. Once I felt confident my skin was happy with the formula, I stepped it up to nightly use. The great news is that after two weeks, I’ve had no irritation at all. My skin has definitely improved in texture — it’s smoother to touch and as a result, my makeup looks more seamless. I have a fair few sun spots and hyperpigmentation marks from incidental sun exposure (despite being very diligent with my sunscreen), and I feel they have started to fade visually, too.


I've had a few overnight stays and work trips lately, so when packing my bag (which is usually only a 7kg carry-on for flights) I’ve been taking a few capsules with me in a small container, rather than the whole bottle. I love how easy they are to travel with. It’s a bonus that due to the sealed capsules, they can't spill, because I've had my fair share of leaking or exposing ski care products in my case over the years. 

For more advanced retinol users, the Retinol + HPR Ceramide Capsules Rapid Skin Renewing Serum can be paired with the rest of the range, which includes the Elizabeth Arden's Retinol + HPR Ceramide Rapid Skin-Renewing Water Cream, and the Retinol Ceramide Line Erasing Eye Cream.

Visit Elizabeth Arden at your nearest department store counter for your free sample of their Retinol + HPR Ceramide Capsules Rapid Skin Renewing Serum, or shop it online.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Elizabeth Arden
Elizabeth Arden has a strong legacy of creating extraordinary, bestselling skin care that have stood the test of time, and clinical research. Elizabeth Arden is known for its scientific and technological innovations in skin care. The first to suspend ingredients (thus, preserving their potency) in Ceramide Capsules, the first to create a clinical skin care brand (our antioxidant Prevage line), and the first to formulate probiotic skin care with our Superstart products. Elizabeth Arden reflects and maintains their trusted expertise with their latest release of Retinol + HPR Ceramide Capsules Rapid Skin Renewing Serum.