Kourtney Kardashian-Barker has always been one of our go-to references for all things health and wellness. From her Instagram stories to her blog posts on her site Poosh, Kourtney never fails to give us all her latest and greatest advice on everything from gift ideas to sexual wellness and skin care advice. Now, in a recent Poosh post, Kardashian-Barker’s facialist, Sharlena Hassani, revealed all her secrets for harnessing the power of retinol on her celeb clients and beyond.
When it comes to trying retinol for the first time, Hassani recognizes that the powerful ingredient can be intimidating for first-timers, and rightfully so. To demystify the lure surrounding retinol, Hassani compares introducing the ingredient to your routine to something like lifting weights. “Anyone can lift weights, and anyone can use retinol,” she begins, “With weightlifting, you have to start with the right weight for your body type, strength level, and workout history. If you’re a beginner, you’re not going to start out lifting at the same level as people who have been training for years.” The same goes for retinol, she explains, “Just like weightlifting, you have to start with the right product for your skin, going low and slow to eventually increase your tolerance as well as the percentage of the product and frequency in which you use it.”
Hassani went on to share a personal anecdote about her first retinol experience in her 20s, explaining that she tried upwards of 20 retinol products and they all made her skin “peel sheets for days” after, making her believe she was the singular exception to retinol use. However, Hassani assures that that is not the case, and that what is really important is making sure you’re starting with a low-strength, gentle product to introduce your skin to retinol—she recommends Glo Skin Beauty’s Beta-Clarity BHA Drops ($54). “This was the very first retinol product I was able to incorporate where when I woke up the day after and the days following usage, I had zero sensitivity and my skin looked and felt incredible.”
Rest assured for anyone trying to incorporate the ingredient into their routine with little luck, Hassani reaffirms that it’s truly a matter of trial and error, and building tolerance. “If you use a retinol that is too strong, you can deal with lots of peeling and redness and irritation, and be turned off to using retinol,” she explains. “So it’s always best to start with a low percentage and sandwich it with a good moisturizer—one layer under and one layer above the retinol the first month of using.” Additionally, Hassani says “the shedding and sensitivity typically take a day or two to kick in, so I always recommend starting retinol with at least 3-5 days between the first and second application the first time to see how the skin reacts.”