ROADTEST: 3 women try esmi’s new high-potency 100% Encapsulated Retinol.

Thanks to our brand partner, ESMI

Retinol is often referred to as the gold standard in skincare. Honestly, a stellar ingredient if you’re looking to resurface and refresh your skin.       

It's gained a reputation as being a tad difficult to introduce to your skincare routine though, with dryness, irritation and flaking generally accepted as a rite of passage before you get to the benefits.

Enter esmi Skin Mineral’s Encapsulated Retinol Serums: the new gentle, skin-loving retinol to suit all skin types.

So how is encapsulated retinol actually different from regular retinol?

Encapsulated retinol gives you the same amazing benefits as regular retinol, but is delivered in a more effective way. Retinol works at a cellular level, increasing skin cell turnover, and boosting collagen and elastin production. 

By enclosing it in tiny capsules, it allows the retinol to penetrate deeper, targeting the skin cells where it can be of most benefit. It’s this deeper activation that minimises the dryness and irritation that first-time retinol users often experience. 

It also makes the active ingredient more stable, meaning it’s more effective because it doesn’t get exposed to the air and UV that can break it down.  

Short-term, you might see reduced skin texture and roughness, maybe even a reduction of active or pending breakouts. Long-term, there’s plenty of evidence from studies to show retinol’s impact on reducing signs of ageing whilst giving you fresher, plumper looking skin. 

The good stuff doesn’t stop there, as esmi have also loaded their new serums with gorgeous antioxidants like carrot seed oil, tomato extract and sunflower oil. These all work together, promising to seriously deliver on revitalising your skin, whilst *actually* helping to strengthen the skin barrier and prevent against environmental damage.

So, how did we go using it in real life?


Skin type: Dry skin type with sensitivities tending toward eczema and new to retinol.

I won't lie: retinol is brand new to me, so I was a little apprehensive. As much as I really want the benefits from using retinol, my sensitive skin has always discouraged me from taking the leap and I’m often hesitant to introduce new actives to my skincare routine.

But turns out I had literally no reason to worry!

From the outset, the serum was so easy to apply and I had no signs of irritation. I was most keen to see how retinol could help revitalise my skin, giving it a boost and working away at some stubborn texture across my chin and forehead. After about two weeks of trialling, I noticed my skin was visibly firmer and had more of a natural glow to it. 

I also had some pimples pop up after using my Encapsulated Retinol Serum, which felt like gunk had been drawn out from my skin. A little purging is quite common with the introduction of retinol and is just the cell turnover helping to decongest the skin – the pimples didn’t bother me too much as they cleared away very quickly, leaving my skin feeling fresh.


Skin before trialling (left), and skin after 4 weeks of consistent use (right). Image: Supplied.

esmi sent me a routine to use along with my Encapsulated Retinol 0.25% Level 1 to make sure I was supporting and protecting my sensitive skin. Here's exactly how I used them:

AM Routine:

  1. Cleanse with the Probiotic Skin Mylck Cleanser

  2. Shake well, then apply a few drops of Hydrating & Nourishing Acai Duo

  3. SPF with the Skin Shield Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 

(Retinol makes your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so be extra vigilant with your daily SPF!)

PM Routine (every second or third night):

  1. Double cleanse with the Probiotic Skin Mylck Cleanser

  2. Apply a pearl size amount of Encapsulated Retinol

  3. Apply 2-3 drops of Hydrating & Nourishing Acai Duo

  4. No additional moisturiser is needed! Hydrating & Nourishing Acai Duo is your new 'moisturiser'.

The amount of retinol I'm using! Image: Supplied.


After using these products for the past four weeks, I will definitely be continuing to incorporate them into my ongoing routine - I've found such clear results from esmi's Encapsulated Retinol. It is so easy to use and non-irritating; the perfect beginner retinol for someone with dry, sensitive skin like me.


Skin type: Oily/combination skin type and new to retinol.

I’d consider my skincare routine pretty uncomplicated. As someone with combination to oily skin, I use a few products morning and night that keep my skin balanced and fix the occasional pimple(s). But recently, I’ve been looking for products that work a little bit harder!

See, I’m in my 20s and I’ve started noticing some uneven skin tone and texture across my nose and cheek area for the first time. It’s nothing too bad but I’d love it gone (or at least lessened, you know?). 

Having learned that retinol helps with both, I knew it was time to give the much-loved ingredient a go. As someone who hasn’t ever tried it before, this skin-loving retinol seemed like the best way to gradually introduce it to my routine. Let me tell you, I’m loving it.

The texture is really lightweight, so it doesn’t feel heavy (ideal for an oily gal like me) and it absorbs really quickly. There’s been no irritation (I use it every second night as recommended) and my favourite part: it includes jojoba seed oil, my favourite of the oils – because it’s great for balancing the skin! 

Skin before trialling (left), and skin after 4 weeks of consistent use (right). Image: Supplied.


I’ve been using it for four weeks now, and I’ve seen such a noticeable difference in my texture and skin tone (see for yourself in the photos). Redness around my nose has disappeared, that texture has died down and my skin has dramatically cleared up. Safe to say, it's staying in my routine.

Image: Supplied.


Skin type: Combination skin type and frequent user of active skincare. 

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I love actives. Exfoliation and chemical peels are my jam. So when I got my hands on esmi's Encapsulated Retinol, I was excited. After all, it's the gold standard of skincare. The only ingredient that's actually going to shave years off your face.... unless you opt for cosmeceuticals and then that's a whole different ball game.  


As someone who's experienced with retinoids and has been using retinal (the next level down from retinol) for the better part of 2 years, I was keen to test if esmi's 0.25% Level 1 formula would yield the results I was after. But, in the name of beauty I was willing to put my face to the test. 

So I hung up my retinal and began using esmi's 0.25% encaspulated retinol formula. 

Image: Supplied.

A quick background on my skin type – it's able to withstand a lot (go figure, from my love of actives), it's combo (I get oily and dry) and has pigmentation. 

A quick reminder to our fellow Youbies that retinol should only be at night and has to be followed up the next day with SPF (or you might do some damage to your face). 

I started off using a pearl-sized amount after cleansing and instantly a few things stood out. It comes in a glass bottle that feels luxe. I LOVE that it has a dropper, because other retinol products I've tried don't – making it tricky to figure the correct amount to use. 

The texture itself is pearlescent and beautifully thick, and it blended in seamlessly into my skin with no stinging. Following up with moisturiser, I went to bed and repeated every second night. 

Here's some things I noticed:

  • My skin experienced no irritation.
  • My skin felt more hydrated.
  • Overall, my skin became more firm.

Skin before trialling (left), and skin after 4 weeks of consistent use (right). Image: Supplied.

After a couple of weeks of use, I can definitely say I enjoyed using this serum in my routine. It was a nice change to experience no sensitivity after application (which still happens with my retinal product), and I'm very keen to see how it can improve my fine lines and areas of pigmentation with further use. 

Now I've tested this Level 1 gentle encaspulated retinol serum, I'm VERY interested in taking the next step with a higher concentration in the 0.50% Level 2 serum

If you're new to actives and want to start off with something gentle, or ready to level-up your active game, esmi's Encapsulated Retinol should definitely be in your next beauty haul.

Resurface and refresh your skin with esmi's high-potency 100% encapsulated retinol serum collection. Shop them here

Use code MMGIFT and receive a FULL SIZE Uncomplicated Cleanser 100ml free when you spend $75 or more until January 9th, 2022. The perfect gentle, effective cleanser to accompany retinol!

If you have any questions about esmi products or how to incorporate them into your routine, chat to their Skin Service Team online for a FREE, LIVE skin consultation through the esmi website.

Feature Image: Supplied.

At esmi Skin Minerals, we are passionate and motivated about self-care and skincare. We are proud to introduce our best-selling, vegan, cruelty-free and Australian Made makeup and skincare range that leaves a softer imprint on your body and the natural world. All esmi Skin Minerals products are formulated with ingredients carefully chosen for their benefits and purpose with no compromise on quality. We are committed to a healthy skin regimen with a less-is-more approach (no harsh chemicals, parabens, SLSs or fillers!) that still contains high levels of actives, antioxidants and vitamins, for environmentally conscious skincare that delivers results. It is our passion to feed your skin with clean, nourishing formulas and highlight your own natural beauty.