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I have a problem when it comes to reviewing products like the Geek & Gorgeous A-Game. I have been using Tretinoin for my adult acne for years now, so judging how anything weaker really affects your skin is nearly impossible… if I didn’t have a secret super power! Not a second face on the back of my head, no: A big family with different skin types and skin concerns.
So whenever I want to talk about a retinoid, I hand it over to one of them. And because today I want to talk about both the 0,1% and the 0,05% version, I actually recruited both my sisters as guinea pigs: One with severe hyperpigmentation concerns and one with sensitive skin. (More info: Building a hyperpigmentation skincare routine for my sister)
Here is the review!
The difference between Retinal and Retinol
I have a blogpost dedicated to the different retinoids and how to pick the right one for your skin type and concern, but as there is often some confusion, here is a quick recap: (More info: Comprehensive guide to retinoids)
Retinyl Palmitate, Retinol and Retinaldehyde are precursors of Retinoic Acid, which is the active form in the skin. Each one needs a different number of conversion steps until it reaches the active form, and the more conversion steps there are, the less the effect and the irritation potential will be. Retinol is the most common one, as it has a lower risk for irritation while still delivering results over time. Retinaldehyde, or Retinal, is one step closer to the active form, so stronger, but with more irritation potential. You don’t see many Retinal products on the market, probably due to the fact that it is hard to formulate with in terms of stability, which is why I am excited to see it used in the A-Game formula!
What the Geek and Gorgeous A-Game Serum claims
A silky, light emulsion containing a medium-strength amount of retinal to help against all signs of aging while being gentle on the skin
Facts about the Geek and Gorgeous A-Game Serum
Prize and size
One pump bottle contains 30 ml and retails for 12,50 € on the website here. After an introduction period both my sisters used their serum every other day and still have some left four months later.
Texture and smell
The Geek and Gorgeous A-Game Serum feels more like a lotion than a watery serum, but lightweight. It is yellow in color and has no noticeable scent.
My sisters using the A-Game 10 with 0,1% Retinal reported a little bit of stickiness and a tendency of the product to transfer to her pillow case and even stain it if she was using a white one. That could be solved by doing her routine at least 30 minutes before bedtime so the product could sink in completely and was not reported by the other sister using the 0,05% version, but you might want to keep that in mind if you have expensive bedding or even silk pillow cases like I have. (More info: The benefits of sleeping on silk for skin and hair)
How to use the Geek and Gorgeous A-Game Serum
How you as an individual best use it depends on how sensitive your skin is to retinoids, but what you always should do is use it at night, as all retinoids are sensitive to UV light. (More info: How to introduce Tretinoin with minimal irritation)
Both my sisters use theirs in the evening after cleansing and after using a Niacinamide serum, as Niacinamide and retinoids work great together. (More info: Ingredient Spotlight Niacinamide)
You can follow up with a moisturizer if you feel the need to, but don’t have to – that again depends on your skin type.
It is worth noting that both my sisters reported that one pump is too much for the face, around half a pump dispenses the correct amount.
Ingredients of the Geek and Gorgeous A Game Serum
Hover the mouse over an ingredient for short explanation. Read more on INCIDecoder.
You will obviously find Retinaldehyde in the formula as well as Glycerin as humectant and Panthenol for skin soothing. One thing I want to quickly point out here is the Cyclodextrin. Cyclodextrin is a cyclic oligosaccharide, basically a sugar molecule cycle, that has the ability to encapsulate lipophilic molecules inside. You might remember that I told you that Retinaldehyde is hard to formulate with – well, having it encapsulated is a solution to that problem, as the encapsulation keeps it protected in the formula.
Another brand I know of using Cyclodextrin as a mechanism to stabilize their Retinal is Medik8, and their Crystal Retinal is very popular, but also much more expensive. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming one is a dupe for the other, they have different formulas and even if they hadn’t, you can’t tell a dupe just by the ingredients list, all I am saying is that this technology is established.
How does it compare to…
The Inkey List Retinol
Well, obviously one is a retinol and one is a retinal, which makes them different already, but to be honest I have yet to try another Retinal product that I could compare the Geek & Gorgeous one to, as I said they are not very common. Until now I have recommended the one from The Inkey List as a good starting point, which still is true, but now that I have seen that the 0,05% works well even on more sensitive skins, I think I’d recommend that one instead.
You can read my full review of The Inkey List Retinol Serum here.
Does it live up to its claims?
It is a light lotion that contains Retinal to help against signs of premature aging.
Would I repurchase?
Well, as I said I use Tretinoin, so not for me personally. But both my sisters already asked for a backup.
Whom do I recommend it to?
Due to the fact that there are two strengths available, even beginners and those with more sensitive skin should be able to use it when introducing it slowly. You know I am a huge fan of retinoids and think it is a great way to address most skin concerns, with the obvious exception of actual acne that will most likely benefit more from an actual prescription. For readily available cosmetics though this is a great option.
Shop my favorite retinol products here.
And if you want to get a vote in the next Ask Doctor Anne Topic, Ingredient Spotlight or product I review, don’t forget you can head over to my Patreon account to get more involved!