Finally, a Retinol Serum That Doesn't Irritate My Sensitive Skin

Ole Henriksen Double Rewind Pro Grade Retinol Serum
POPSUGAR Photography | Alida Araica
POPSUGAR Photography | Alida Araica
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I love testing out new skin-care products, but finding ones that work for my sensitive skin can be difficult. If my skin doesn't like an ingredient or formulation, I can see it instantly in my face — cue the redness, stinging, and occasional itchiness. So, you probably won't be too shocked when I say that I've been hesitant to incorporate any retinoids in my routine. It's in part because of the ingredient's reputation for causing skin irritation and dryness but also because of a previous experience with a product that came highly recommended as a starter retinol. Unfortunately, said product took my skin from tingling to red as a tomato in minutes and was decidedly not the retinol for me.

Despite my hesitations, I was determined to find a formula that works for even the most temperamental skin. That's where the Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum ($72) comes in. The brand describes the serum as an effective retinol that's "balanced with soothing ingredients so you can skip the side effects." So, when I was given the chance to try it for myself, I knew I had to put it to the test. Keep reading for my honest review of Ole Henriksen's Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum ahead.

About Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum

  • The Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum simultaneously resurfaces and nourishes the skin to improve fine lines and wrinkles, brighten tone, and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
  • It's formulated with two retinoids (pure encapsulated vitamin A and provitamin A) and skin-soothing ingredients like aloe vera, Scandinavian rowanberry extract, and birch sap.
  • The serum was created for new and experienced retinol users alike and is suitable for all skin types.
  • It's vegan, cruelty-free, and has a light, barely-there lemony scent.

What I Like About Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum

When I used the serum for the first time on dry, cleansed skin, I immediately noticed how gentle the formula was. I didn't experience any irritation upon the initial application, and when there was no stinging, burning, or redness minutes later, I knew I had finally found a retinol serum that my skin could tolerate. Unlike others that can leave skin feeling tight and dry, my skin actually felt hydrated and supple when using Ole Henriksen's serum.

In my first week of using this product, I was actually able to apply it three times without it sensitizing my skin. I was going to use it twice a week as recommended, but I wanted to see if I could push for one more night of use; surprisingly, my skin remained calm with the exception of some pinkness on my cheeks that ultimately subsided. With that little experiment, I was sure that I could get to a place where I could use the serum on my sensitive skin every other night without any issues.

Overall, I really liked how easy it was to incorporate the Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum in my routine as a retinol novice. I plan to continue using it to get the benefits of the potent ingredient without sacrificing my skin's comfort. After a little over a week of use, I was impressed to see that my skin was already brighter and more even in tone; as gentle as the formulation is, it's still effective.

My Skin After Using It the First Time and Third Time in the Same Week
POPSUGAR Photography | Alida Araica

How to Use Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum

The brand recommends using the serum at night on cleansed, dry skin. Use one to two pumps of the serum on your face and neck, and follow with your favorite moisturizer after. For new retinol users, it's recommended to only use the serum a few times a week until your skin can tolerate it every other day. An important note: it's important to wear SPF after using retinol as it makes your skin more sensitive to the sun.

What to Consider Before Trying Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum

While this serum did play nicely with my sensitive skin, I would still recommend patch testing before using it on your neck and face — just in case your skin happens to be more sensitive than mine. The Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum could be a great fit for both new and experienced retinol users.

Is Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum Worth the Splurge?

At $72, this product falls somewhere in the midrange in terms of price point. It's not the most expensive option on the market but is definitely a splurge compared to drugstore options. However, I found it to be worth the money because my typically reactive skin did not show any signs of irritation after using the product.

Where Is Ole Henriksen Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum Available?

The Double Rewind 0.3% Pro-Grade Retinol Serum is available to shop at Sephora and We're also giving PS readers early access to the brand's Friends and Family Sale at — use code POPSUGAR at checkout for 30 percent off your purchase before the sale is open to the public on March 22.



Alida Araica is a newsletter manager at POPSUGAR, where she oversees and executes editorial and client email strategy and production. Occasionally, she lends her expertise to writing product reviews. Alida has over five years of marketing experience in digital media.