Photo taken from official website

I came across the Irish brand Pestle & Mortar when Caroline Hirons (the super famous UK skincare blogger) claimed that their Superstar Retinol Night Oil is “the best retinol I’ve used outside of a prescription“. With a claim like that, and especially from one who’s known to be a skincare guru, how could I not check that product out?! Around the middle of last year in 2016, I became concerned when I started seeing super fine lines on my forehead. I tried to incorporate more hydrating products into my skincare routine thinking that it might be fine lines caused by dehydration. While those products did help, I still wasn’t fully satisfied with the results. I did some research on my own and came to the conclusion that I need to start including a retinol product to up my game for the fight against signs of ageing. I bought the Superstar Retinol Night Oil and have been using it since January 2017. Before we begin on the review proper, let’s take a look at its ingredients, shall we?


Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil*, Rosa Canina (Fruit) Oil*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Oil**, Ribes Nigrum (Black Currant) Oil*, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinyl Palmitate, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil***, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil**, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu/Foraha) Seed Oil**, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil*, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Tocopherol, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil**, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil**.
*Cold Pressed | **Cold Pressed and Organic| ***Steam distilled

The ingredients which I’ve highlighted in red, bold and underlined are actually the star ingredients of this product. Both are esters of retinol. As stated in their official website, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate represents a new generation of Retinoid. It is an aesthetic ester of all-trans retinoic acid that works similarly to prescriptive Tretinoin (Retin-A) but without the irritation. Retinyl Palmitate, on the other hand, does not penetrate as deeply as the Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate so it is better for surface exfoliating purposes. These 2 ingredients are supported by the more nourishing blend of organic oils and cold pressed using booster technology in Ireland, to deliver the right mix of Vitamins A, E, C and B along with Omegas 3 and 6. I believe this is why the product is able to work its magic without drying out the skin at the same time.


It has a light oil texture that is comfortable even in Singapore!

How does the Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night Oil fare?

Even though I had not used any retinol products before this (Note: I started using the Differin Gel much later after this product), I was gung-ho and went straight to using it every night with no reservations. And I was rewarded for my “courage” with fabulous results! Now I must say that when I first started using this product, I was quite “meh” about it. I mean I couldn’t really see super fast and drastic results, unlike with acid toners, much to my instant gratification self. However, I do know that skincare is a life-long process and you will only be rewarded many years later and you realise that you look much younger than other people your age.

What changed my opinion of my product was this: During the Chinese New Year period around the end of January this year, me and my husband brought our 2 year-old daughter to China to meet her paternal grandparents. Her grandfather had never met her before ever since she was born and told my husband that he really wanted to see her. Now China, especially the northern region of Hebei where my husband was originally from, is very very cold around that time of the year. Knowing that, I brought only gentle hydrating products, with the exception of the PIXI glow tonic, to prevent my skin from drying out. When I came back to Singapore, my skin was in a mess! Firstly coming back to hot (with average daily temperatures hovering around 31 ~ 34 degree Celsius)  and humid Singapore from a cold country was a shock to my skin. Secondly, the pollution in China was really really bad, due to most people burning coal during winter for warmth, and it affected my skin too. It also didn’t help that I usually have hormonal acne around that time of the month and I was having my period when I came back. My skin was dry yet it looked oily with random breakouts on the bottom half of my cheek area. I started using this product again hoping for a miracle to happen. Within a week, my breakouts had stopped and actually started healing, my skin became balanced again and the grey pallor was gone. I was a convert!

My routine for using this product is this: Cleansing Oil => Cleanser => Acid Toner => Hydrating Toner/ Mist => Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night Oil => Night Cream. Sometimes when I get back home late or when I’m feeling lazy, I’ll just cleanse my face, spray a copious amount of hydrating mist, massage in 2 pumps of this night oil and go to sleep. I’ll still wake up with soft hydrated skin. Currently I alternate the use of this product with the Differin gel. That is, if on Monday night I use this retinol oil, I’ll use the Differin gel on Tuesday night and continue with this on Wednesday night. My skin is kept relatively happy in this way.

Where can you find it?

This product is not available in Singapore locally. However, you can buy it from their online shop ( and they do ship worldwide. It retails for 76 Euros or 63 British Pounds (30ml sized).

LookFantastic SG has also recently stocked this brand.

Receive $5 off your first order when you spend S$30 on LookFantastic by either clicking HERE or use my referral code SUMB-R2!

Thank you for reading!

2 Comments on “Review – Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night Oil

  1. Pingback: Review – Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Original “1970” – Engineering Beauty

  2. Pingback: Step by Step Guide to Incorporating Actives for Your Skincare Routine – Engineering Beauty

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