Review Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Advanced Concentrate

Clique aqui para português.

Prescription (retinoic acid aka tretinoin) and non-prescription retinoids are still the gold standards for aging-care. Retinoids are one of the most well-studied aging-care ingredients available in the market. “Although retinoids show promise in the treatment of skin aging, irritant reactions such as burning, scaling or dermatitis associated with retinoid therapy limit their acceptance by patients. This problem is more prominent with tretinoin and tazarotene whereas other retinoids mainly represented by retinaldehyde and retinol are considerably less irritating.”

Retinol is milder than tretinoin (retinoic acid) and needs to be present in larger amounts than tretinoin to be effective. Retinol prevents the loss of collagen, inhibiting enzymes that degrade collagen. Treats fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, acne, and skin irregularities as it enhances the skin renewal cycle. It acts as an antioxidant by fighting against free radicals. Retinol penetrates all layers of the skin, including the dermis while tretinoin has been shown to work primarily on the upper layers of the skin.

The product I’m reviewing today contains hyaluronic acid, adenosine, 0.2% of retinol, and 2% of an ingredient patented by L’Orèal called LR2412 (Sodium Tetrahydro Jasmonate).


Our highest concentration of retinol, in a daily wrinkle-filler treatment. Clinically-tested double-action with pure retinol + LR2412 to visibly fill deep wrinkles and plump skin for younger-looking facial expressions. With this retinol anti-wrinkle cream, skin instantly appears smoother and plumped. Wrinkles look visibly reduced. Facial expressions appear more relaxed and skin looks naturally more youthful and resurfaced.

Ingredient list

Aqua/Water, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Ether, Isopropyl Isostearate, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Tetrahydrojasmonate, Glycine Soja Oil / Soybean Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Dipropylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Arachidyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Retinol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide , Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Caprylyl Glycol, Parfum/Fragrance.

Analysis of some ingredients

Glycerin: Also called glycerine or glycerol, glycerin is a skin-replenishing and restoring ingredient. It is a humectant naturally found in the skin;

Dicaprylyl Ether: A plant-derived oil that functions as an emollient, skin conditioner, and also solvent without making the skin greasy;

Isopropyl Isostearate: An emollient, humectant, binder, skin conditioning agent;

Octyldodecanol: A fatty alcohol that functions as an emollient and emulsifier (sometimes also as a solvent);

Sodium Tetrahydro Jasmonate: This compound is called LR2412. It’s a salt of jasmonic acid involved in plant wound repair and tissue regeneration that, according to an in vitro study by L’Orèal, has efficacy in counteracting signs of skin aging by enhancing (in vitro) the deposit of hyaluronic acid in the basal and suprabasal layers of the epidermis, stimulating the hyalurosome and increasing hyaluronic acid receptor expression, increasing epidermis thickness, stimulating collagen IV, laminin-5, and fibrillin (elastic biopolymers) at the dermal-epidermal junction.

A double-blind randomized study comparing the association of Retinol and LR2412 with tretinoin 0.025% in photoaged skin;

In vitro and in vivo studies with tetra-hydro-jasmonic acid (LR2412) reveal its potential to correct signs of skin aging.

These studies were done by L’Orèal, so take it with a grain of salt.

Glycine soja (Soybean) Oil: It’s rich in vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin B, and vitamin K. It’s a great source of linolenic acid. This oil helps the skin against UV rays and it’s also very effective for treating damage done by UV rays and air pollution. It also contains aglycone, an isoflavone that improves the appearance of aging skin;

Cetyl Alcohol: Not a drying alcohol. It softens and conditions the skin and hair. It’s a fatty alcohol produced either from the end products of the petroleum industry or derived from plants. It works as an emollient, thickener, emulsifier and/or carrying agent;

Dipropylene Glycol: Solvent and moisturizing agent;

Behenyl Alcohol: A fatty alcohol that functions as a thickening agent and emulsifier either derived from plant or synthetic;

Stearyl Alcohol: A naturally fatty alcohol derived from stearic acid, coconut oil or vegetable fatty acids. It’s used to soothe and soften the skin and also as an emulsifier;

Arachidyl Alcohol: Wax-like substance that functions as emollient and thickening agent;

Cetearyl Alcohol: Fatty alcohol that is made from a mixture of cetyl and stearyl alcohols. It can be derived naturally from coconut or synthesized. It works as an emollient, texture enhancer, carrying agent…;

Caprylyl Glycol: Works as a humectant and skin conditioning agent. It’s a moisturizer and also an anti-microbial;

Retinol (aka vitamin A): An aging-care gold standard. A precursor for the synthesis of endogenous retinal and retinoic acid. Induces epidermal thickening and enhances the expression of CRABP II and CRBP mRNAs, reduces matrix metalloproteinase (group of enzymes that in concert are responsible for the degradation of most extracellular matrix proteins), collagenase (enzymes that break the peptide bonds in collagen), and gelatinase expression with concomitant increase in fibroblast growth and collagen synthesis. Retinol is around 20 times less potent than tretinoin (prescription grade retinoid) and has to be converted to retinoic acid to demonstrate its action. However, it’s much milder and well-tolerated than tretinoin.

Retinoids in the treatment of skin aging: an overview of clinical efficacy and safety;

The biological activity of all-trans retinol requires metabolic conversion to all-trans retinoic acid and is mediated through activation of nuclear retinoid receptors in human keratinocytes.

Sodium Hyaluronate: The salt form of hyaluronic acid, a water-binding ingredient that has the ability to fill the spaces between collagen and elastin. Sodium hyaluronate has been used for moisturization and wound healing since its discovery, it can hold up to 1000 its own weight in water;

Adenosine: It treats wrinkles and restores the skin. A study using an adenosine cream showed that it is an effective ingredient in the treatment of periorbital wrinkles (crow’s feet) and glabellar wrinkles (folds between the eyebrows).

Evaluation of the anti-wrinkle efficacy of adenosine-containing products using the FOITS technique.

Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate: Emulsion stabilizing, viscosity controlling agent;

Caprylyl Glycol: Functions as a humectant, skin conditioning agent, emollient, and also function as a stabilizer, and can increase the antimicrobial activity of other preservatives (for example, phenoxyethanol).

Acne triggers according to CosDNA

PEG-100 Stearate strikes 1 out of 5. Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, and Cetearyl Alcohol strike 2 out of 5. Glycine soja Oil strikes 3 out of 5. Isopropyl Isostearate strikes 5 out of 5.

Irritants according to CosDNA

Carbomer strikes 1 out of 5. Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, and Cetearyl Alcohol strike 2 out of 5.

Safety according to CosDNA

PEG-100 Stearate and Sodium Hydroxide strike both 3 out of 9. Phenoxyethanol strikes 4 out of 9. Retinol strikes 9 out of 9. Fragrance strikes between 1 and 4 out of 9.

CosDNA analysis: Vichy Liftactiv Retinol HA Advanced Concentrate.


Both the 5 mL sample and the full-size packagings are a metal tube. This is very interesting and important because retinol can be degraded by UV light, so the packaging can’t be transparent.


The only problem about this tube is that you, unfortunately, lose some product. You can’t have nearly every single drop of product that you would have if it were an airless pump bottle.

Texture and scent

The texture is very creamy. It’s soft and feels good.

I particularly don’t feel any scent even though it has synthetic fragrance in it.

How to use

Can be used alone as a daily treatment or layered under your other moisturizers for an added layer of moisture.

  • Avoid eye area.
  • Should be combined with another skincare for face SPF = 15 every morning after application.
  • Avoid over-exposure to UV rays and sunlight.
  • Do not combine with other retinol products consecutively.

Sunscreen always!!! Whether cloudy, raining, snowing, ending the world…


Three years ago, when I was 18, I used my first retinoid product. I chose the most powerful retinoid (tretinoin) and the highest concentration available (0.1%). Yes, not everyone can tolerate tretinoin because it might be very irritating and drying. However, my skin was very oily and I went through the entire tube smoothly. I gave it a break because I had reached the point I wanted. So I decided to try it again this year, 3 years later, and you know what? My skin didn’t tolerate it. It dried out my skin insanely. I had to stop, of course, and I decided to try retinol, which is much gentler and doesn’t dry the skin if well-formulated.

Now, about this product, let me start by saying that it’s very gentle on my skin to the point that I can actually use it around my eye areas. It doesn’t sting, it doesn’t make my skin dry, it doesn’t burn, its tolerance is just great. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it contains a lot of fatty alcohols. They can function as an emollient, and in a formula where the main active might dry out the skin, fatty alcohols are great ingredients to be added. However, if you have an acne-prone skin you might want to pay double attention because some fatty alcohols might worsen your acne problem.

The inclusion of glycerin and dicaprylyl ether is also very welcome and well thought. Glycerin has similar effects to topical hyaluronic acid but doesn’t attract as much water as hyaluronic acid does, while dicaprylyl ether is an emollient that doesn’t make the skin greasy. Still, this formula contains one type of hyaluronic acid (the salt form), making this product very moisturizing. With all of these emollients, I was expecting this product to be heavy/greasy. Thankfully, it’s well absorbed and doesn’t leave my skin greasy.

What effect does it have on your skin? I don’t feel the need to exfoliating my skin very often since I started using this product, my skin is much smoother. I also feel like my skin is slightly firmer even though I don’t have problems with loss of firmness.

Hydration test using Susee Nano Spray Machine

Let’s check before and after using this product. I use Susee Machine to check the levels of both water and oil.

  • Before applying the product: 42.8% of water and 28.6% of oil.
  • Right after applying the product: 60.2% of water and 18.9% of oil.

Final thoughts

I didn’t expect much from this product but it managed to give me some nice effects without drying my skin out. Its texture might not please oily skin people during the day but it can be worn during the night without any problem. Acne-prone skin should be careful as it can worsen acne! Ask some samples to your dermatologist, I bet he/she has this product.

I wish Vichy could start using more than one molecule of hyaluronic product in its product because this is so past. Even small companies are introducing at least two forms of hyaluronic acid.

Overall, this is a nice product if you want to introduce retinol to your routine and want to start smoothly.


Rate: 4.2/5


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