Some skincare ingredients have become household names, but one that’s constantly part of the conversation is none other than retinol. Anyone interested in skincare would know that this ingredient is the gold standard when it comes to solving a multitude of skin issues.
If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, however, you may find yourself steering clear of retinol because of the possible itching, irritation, and flaking that comes with it.
To quell your worries, Korean beauty brand innisfree has created the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule, a one-stop solution that addresses the different stages of managing troubled skin – from soothing and reducing blemishes to lightening post-acne scars.
In order to find out just how effective the ampoule is, Daily Vanity asked our editorial director, Kristen, and seven readers to try the product for two weeks and give us their honest opinions about it. Spoiler alert: the average verdict for the ampoule was a 4.6-star rating out of 5!
Before we dive into the reviews, let’s learn a little more about the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule.
About innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule
Mild and gentle, the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule lets you experience retinol in a completely different way, so you won’t have to worry about any skin irritation as you get a step closer to achieving the clear and smooth complexion of your dreams.
While plenty of retinol products on the market are oil-based, innisfree’s new formula is watery and non-sticky. This way, it sinks into your skin fast to deliver a shot of hydration. The non-comedogenic ampoule won’t clog pores too, thanks to its lightweight texture.
Developed with the support of innisfree’s Green Innovation Lab, the ampoule has been tested and proven to relieve mask-induced temporary redness by 86%, reduce dead skin cells by 79%, and repair a damaged skin barrier by 102% – and that’s after a single use! Now that’s seriously impressive.
Want to know how it does it? Well, it contains the soothing Jeju Cica Liposomlogy™ complex – an innovative combination of green tea ceramide, centella asiatica, and Jeju green soybean hyaluronic acid. The blend is extra gentle on your skin and doesn’t cause the usual dryness and flaking associated with retinol use.
Here’s how the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule works to target troubled skin at different stages:
- Early signs of breakouts (dead skin cells and clogged pores): The ampoule gently sloughs off dead skin cells and removes excess sebum for a more radiant, refreshed complexion.
- Active acne breakouts: The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the ampoule remove acne bacteria and soothe swollen, red, and inflamed skin. It gently exfoliates and controls sebum production too.
- Post-acne scarring: It further strengthens your skin’s elasticity as it reduces pore size and hyperpigmentation from acne.
It’s suitable for all skin types and can be used both day and night. If you’re using it during the day, be sure to follow up with a sunscreen that offers SPF 30 or higher.
Keeping in line with the introduction of Green Innovation Lab, which increases the recyclability and reduces the carbon footprint of innisfree’s products, the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule uses a metal-free pump that doesn’t require a lid.
The ampoule is also housed in a container made of 60% recycled glass, with 100% recycled paper packaging that is non-adhesive and FSC-certified.
Editor’s review of innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule
Apart from getting the occasional breakout, I have noticed an increase in pore size and duller skin as of late. This is largely due to mask-wearing and a lack of sleep as I’m taking care of my baby at night. My skin also tends to be oilier, especially a few days before my period arrives.
These skin woes can make the finish of my makeup look less impeccable and my makeup doesn’t seem to stay on as well. To make matters worse, the occasional breakout also leaves scars that can last for weeks – clearly overstaying their welcome.
The innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule landed on my desk at the perfect time, and I was excited to see if it would be able to soothe my skin and reduce the stubborn scars.
Upon first application, I noticed that the ampoule has a pleasant texture that absorbs quickly into my skin, and it doesn’t have a significant scent. It has a mattifying effect, which is great on days when my skin is oilier. It helps my pores look a little more refined, and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth.
As a retinol-infused formula, the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule doesn’t feel irritating on my skin at all. In fact, it feels soothing and calming even when I apply it over blemishes.
After using the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule for about three weeks, my skin looks and feels smoother, my pores look more refined, and my T-zone feels less oily than before. The redness around my nose also appears less obvious as you can see in my before-and-after images above!
innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule retails for S$51 (30ml) on the official innisfree e-store and all innisfree Singapore stores.
innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule review: 7 readers give their honest opinions
innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule
All of our reviewers agreed that the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule has a lightweight, gel-like texture that absorbs easily without leaving a sticky finish on the skin. After just one application, some of them saw an instant reduction in redness, smaller-looking pores, as well as more radiant skin.
The ampoule has no distinctive scent and its comfortable texture left our readers’ skin moisturised without feeling greasy. Some readers noticed that their skin looked and felt smoother after just days of use, and that their skin felt less oily, thanks to the product’s sebum-controlling properties.
Six out of seven reviewers said their skin looked less red and that their active acne had reduced in size after only one week of use. They also noticed clearer, more radiant skin that appeared healthier.
Those with sensitive skin said they did not experience any irritation from the ampoule and recommended it to those who feared the side effects of retinol products as this one had none.
Skin type: Combination-oily, sensitive, acne-prone
Skin concerns: Uneven skin tone, blackheads/whiteheads, blemishes/acne
Very lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin, the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule left my skin feeling moisturised after the first use. My skin looked a bit brighter as well. It doesn’t feel sticky or greasy, and it seemed to reduce redness right away too, which is why I wanted to continue using the product.
I saw a decrease in the size of my active acne after three to four days. My skin didn’t feel irritated throughout the trial, and the ampoule managed to leave my skin with fewer blemishes. My skin feels smoother and my pores appear smaller too.
Overall, it was a good experience for my first retinol product. I didn’t experience any purging, and I like how lightweight and easy it was to incorporate into my skincare routine.
Skin type: Combination-oily, sensitive, acne-prone
Skin concerns: Textured skin, blackheads/whiteheads, blemishes/acne
The innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule has a gel-like texture that feels lightweight and non-sticky, which was nice. It didn’t have a scent, which was good for my sensitive skin. Though I didn’t see an immediate result, it definitely suited my skin as there wasn’t any reaction.
After five days, the size of my active acne decreased, and after a week, my skin was less red and my pores appeared smaller. Overall, my skin feels firmer and less easily irritated.
It is easy to incorporate this ampoule into any skincare routine. Plus, it’s suitable for people with sensitive skin. I recommended this to those who have yet to try retinol because they’re afraid of its harsh effects!
Skin type: Combination-oily, sensitive
Skin concerns: Textured skin, visible/enlarged pores, blackheads/whiteheads
The innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule feels watery, lightweight, and non-sticky on my skin. There is no fragrance at all and the ampoule didn’t sting my skin on application. It made my skin feel moisturised, yet it has a non-greasy finish. I wanted to continue using the product after I used it for the first time.
After a week, my large pores looked smaller, and when the trial period ended, my skin looked clearer with fewer blemishes. Now, my skin looks brighter and more radiant than it did before. This product has worked very well for my skin type. It’s fuss-free, affordable, and definitely worth a try.
Skin type: Oily, acne-prone
Skin concerns: Dull skin, uneven skin tone, textured skin, dehydration, visible/enlarged pores, blackheads/whiteheads, blemishes/acne
I have clogged pores and textured, bumpy skin. My skin barrier was also damaged due to the strong active products I was using prior to the trial. They caused breakouts, severe itchiness, and sensitivity around my chin area, further exacerbated when I wear masks.
Lightweight and watery, the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule was very easy to apply and absorbed well into my skin. It doesn’t feel sticky and doesn’t irritate my skin too. My skin texture felt smoother from the first application, and the redness I experienced from mask-wearing had reduced too.
After three days, I saw a reduction in the size of my active blemishes. The appearance of my pores and scars had reduced too. My skin looks clearer, brighter, and more radiant than it did before the trial. It didn’t clog my pores at all.
I’ve had bad experiences with retinol products in the past, resulting in flaky, dry skin. But with innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule, it doesn’t even feel like I’m using retinol as there are no side effects, and yet my skin has cleared up!
It really works wonders in the gentlest way! This ampoule has changed the definition of retinol for me.
Skin type: Oily, combination-dry
Skin concerns: Uneven skin tone, dehydration, damaged skin barrier, pigmentation
I’ve tried a retinol product before and my skin wasn’t really comfortable with it. My complexion became slightly sensitive after using it, even though I applied sunscreen daily. It got worse when I wore a mask, probably because of the friction between the skin and mask.
The innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule has a comfortable gel-like texture – not as messy and not as thick as the retinol product I tried in the past. The ampoule has no scent and absorbs pretty quickly into my skin too!
It feels soothing and comfortable with no stinging sensation, which is a big relief for me. It also doesn’t leave a sticky film or tacky feeling on my skin, which is great. In fact, my skin feels moisturised but not greasy.
In two days, my skin felt smoother and I saw a reduction in redness. After a week, my pores looked smaller and the size of my active blemishes decreased too. My scars and discolouration have lightened after two weeks, and now, my skin looks clearer.
Compared to the product I was using, the Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule feels more comfortable on my skin and less intimidating to use as a whole. It helps reduce temporary redness due to mask-wearing, which is a plus in my book. I really like this retinol product and am glad that I got the chance to try it!
Skin type: Dry
Skin concerns: Dull skin, visible/enlarged pores, blackheads/whiteheads, damaged skin barrier
When I first tried the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule, I noticed that it has no scent. The texture of the ampoule is quite smooth and easy to apply.
A small amount could actually cover my face and neck. It absorbs very quickly too, and didn’t feel sticky on my skin. It provided ample hydration and my complexion looked quite glowy after.
My skin felt smoother after the first use, and I saw less redness after three days. The size of my acne decreased after five days too, and the redness I experienced from mask-wearing reduced significantly. My pores appeared smaller after a week. After the trial, my skin looked clearer and brighter.
Skin type: Oily
Skin concerns: Textured skin, visible/enlarged pores, blackheads/whiteheads, blemishes/acne, damaged skin barrier
I liked how well the innisfree Retinol Cica Repair Ampoule glides on my skin and its lightweight texture does not feel sticky. It is also not heavily scented and does not irritate my skin. After the first use, my skin felt moisturised and I even saw a reduction in redness. My skin felt smoother and more refined too.
After three days, my enlarged pores looked smaller, my skin felt smoother, and my active acne had shrunk in size. I noticed that the temporary redness I experienced from mask-wearing and the appearance of my scars have reduced significantly too.
I can see improvements in my skin after using this product. I have fewer breakouts and less redness on my skin than before. It also absorbs well into my skin and does not feel tacky after application. I will definitely consider using this product again.