Introducing : Pestle & Mortar NEW Superstar Retinol Oil.

This Retinol night treatment from Pestle & Mortar has just launched and I wanted to share with you some key factors about this oil and why it is well worth sticking it on the shopping list/ lust list / christmas list…or at least just getting on your skincare radar.

The Superstar Retinol Night Oil is as it sounds ; an oil, a PM one and it contains Retinol ; hooray! It’s pretty advanced in terms of formula and the actual ‘Retinol’ (Retinoid) used and for the price, it’s one of the best Retinol oils on the market in my opinion. Familiar with the Sunday Riley LUNA oil? This is remarkably similar ; Pestle & Mortar have obviously been taking notes…


Ok, let’s try and break it down ; the key ingredient / Retinol in the Superstar oil is called HYDROXYPINACOLONE RETINOATE (that’s the one and only time I will write that). This is basically a next generation / advanced retinoid that has multiple skincare benefits including reversing the signs of ageing, smoothing lines and wrinkles & boosts collagen production. (NOTE: It’s also the one in LUNA) You may be reading this and thinking blah blah blahhhhh that’s what all ‘anti-ageing’ products do….or say they do ; however Retinol is THE ONLY PROVEN anti-ageing ingredient that there is out there. In short, you need something with this in it if you want anti-ageing in your skincare.  

Vitamin A/ Retinol is also readily absorbed & accepted into the skin and has the ability to repair damage caused by free radicals. It truly is an exceptional ingredient and if used correctly and within a decent skincare routine, it can make a huge difference to your skin.

Why do people talk about Vitamin A when talking about Retinol and what’s the difference? Ok so this is when it gets confusing a little…..basically RETINOL is a type of RETINOID which is found in VITAMIN A. Hence why people often refer to Retinol as Vitamin A and the other way around. There are different types hence why different brands often say they have a ‘new’ type of retinol etc etc etc. This is always changing and advancing. Some brands use 1, 2 , even 3 types of Retinol in their products but the key to it actually working is how stable it is and the %. Often pure Retinol is pretty unstable and can be inactive pretty much as you open the jar ; Just do your research. 

Retinol, in a decent concentrate will usually be a PM treatment (as is the Superstar, Sunday Riley, Chantecaille Retinol, 111 skin, Strivectin etc etc) as it can make your skin sun sensitive. Some cheaper products may contain retinol at low levels so it can be used in the day and night. As a general rule, if you want it to be strong / active, stick to the ones that are just for PM use. If using in the day, ensure you are slathering on at least an SPF30.

Retinol DOES NOT exfoliate your skin although people think it does due to the ‘peeling’ effect it can give you. This is simply your skin cells turning over as opposed to removing dead skin cells, which is what exfoliation will do. It is perfectly fine/safe, and advised to use AHA’S & BHA’s alongside retinols.


So aside from having the aformentioned key Retinoid ingredient, what else is making the Superstar oil so good? It contains a superior blend of organic, cold-pressed oils that also help to reduce pore size, and even the skintone and texture. The oils have been selected to deliver optimum amounts of Vitamins A, E, C , B along with Omegas 3 & 6 which are all hugely beneficial to the skin. 

What’s the faff with cold pressed oils? A lot of brands are throwing this term around at the moment (again, Sunday Riley are big on this..also Kat Burki, PAI, Organic Pharmacy) so what are the benefits? Well cold-pressed oils are made by using lower temperatures to extract the oil from the source (nuts/seeds/plants etc) which keep the oil stable and all the valuable elements in tact. Cheaper oils are made by using huge commercial batches and higher heat which often leaves the oil completely devoid of nutrients ; hence why they are cheaper.

The texture of the Superstar is a silky, lightweight oil ; it absorbs into my combination skin easily without any sticky residue. One pump is plenty for full face application & I often do half a pump to start and if I need more, I go for another half. Use this after you have cleansed in the PM, don’t use anything else under or over it, this is sufficient on it’s own and you shouldn’t really need anything else.

I have had no adverse reactions whilst using Pestle & Mortar Superstar, no peeling etc, although I have been using retinols in my regime for many years. If you have never used any retinol then ease yourself into it by starting off using it 2x/week and just build it up. On that note, this is a non-irritating formula ; no parabens, mineral oils, fragrance etc so if you want to start using retinol in your skincare, this would be a perfect place to start. The black packaging and pump isn’t just for show, this ensures the ingredients are kept air & sun exposure so Superstar is kept active and potent with every use. 

It has a really nice, slightly herby & musky smell (possibly the cumin seed?) which I actually really like…it just smells like it’s going to be good for your skin. As specified it has no added artificial fragrance to make it smell a certain way, it’s simply the natural oils within.

Skincare authority & absolute LASS Caroline Hirons featured this oil in her favourite 5 Retinols which speaks volumes, you can watch her natter about it here. She also breaks down the terminology and faff probably a lot better than I have here.

The Pestle & Mortar Superstar Retinol Night oil costs £63 for 30ml. Not cheap, but as explained above, the price is absolutely justified with the quality of retinol and the addition of organic cold-pressed oils. It is available to purchase here