Our Double Play Retinol Clinical Testing Journey

First Posted on January 16, 2023 in:anti-agingdecoding activeseye areainsights & debunkspeptidesretinol

We always talk a lot about the value of clinical tests in skincare and how helpful they can be in making a purchasing decision. Needless to say, we're doing celebratory dances over here because we finally completed our first clinical, designed with all the bells & whistles that we wanted. After 12 weeks of testing our Double Play Retinol Eye & Face Treatment, we’re excited to finally share the results. This has truly evolved into one of our more elaborate projects that took 2+ years to formulate, pre-test, re-test, re-formulate, and finally put through this clinical test. 

Why Double Play?

Like any other Chemist Confessions product we create, one of the most important things to us is “how do we give a product a chemist twist, so it’s not just another formula launched into the abyss of the same things?” With Double Play, our goal was to tackle 2 categories in skin care we had major gripes with: tiny $$$$ tubs of eye cream with questionable (sometimes none at all) efficacy and poorly formulated retinol treatments that are unstable, don't do enough, or even do too much and you've now flayed your skin. 

The goal became very clear: create a formula that delivers all the brightening, wrinkle fighting powers of a retinol that is gentle enough for the eye area. Easy peasy! Right? 

Those were our famous last words before diving into formulation. Fine tuning the level of retinol, carefully choosing a supporting cast of active ingredients that would boost the efficacy but not add to the irritation, and combine everything into a nourishing formula that can stabilize all the active ingredients – Let's just say we've encountered issues at almost every single step with this baby.

When we have finally, created something we were satisfied with, it was time to put it through a few tests.

Dermatologist Validated Safety

The first step to validating Double Play was validating that it IS in fact gentle enough for the eye area. During the patch test phase, we were only able to rely on ourselves and our (very supportive!) friends & family. Now it’s time to formally test what we think is a winning formula. In a 6 week test with 35 women overseen by a dermatologist, we were able to confirm that Double Play doesn’t cause irritation. Additionally, 77% felt that the formula was moisturizing enough to use by itself without additional moisturizer. Sweet! Check off #1.

Clinical Design and Before/After Visia Pictures

Once we confirmed the gentleness and safety, it’s finally time to put it through a full fledge clinical designed just the way we like it! 

chemist confessions double play retinol eye cream clinical specs

We were stoked when the results came back right at the end of 2022 (talk about the best Christmas gift ever) and we found that not only has Double Play delivered on all of our targets in terms of improving crows feet, dark circles, general fine lines & wrinkles - it was able to do so in as early as the 6 week time point.

We could write many more paragraphs gushing about the design of the study, how we selected a rigorous age group to test on, and go through every result in granular detail, but we think pictures are worth 1000 words here. So cue B&As!


Results: Let's Look at the Numbers!

The awesome before & after pictures made us very happy, but pictures are only one part of the equation. What matters the most to us are the numbers - were these improvements significant? Did a majority of the subject see a measurable improvement or did a couple of awesome results skew the numbers? These are important metrics to look at in a clinical study, and we're happy to report that Double Play delivered.


chemist confessions double play retinol eye cream results summary


The Visia images were then evaluated by experts and graded on a 5 point scale.

double play expert grading


Key Takeaways

This has been in the works for so so so long. We probably encountered every roadblock imaginable in a project - formulation challenges, long testing schedules, and even Covid-related delays. We're shedding tears of joy that all of our hard work panned out, and that we were able to hit every single claim we set out to accomplish. 

*Ready to incorporate retinol? Check-out our actives calendar for inspo. Here's a blank calendar to help you customize your routine!

chemist confessions retinol and exfoliating calendar

blank skincare calendar for you


Retinol: The Tried-and-True Way to Putting Off Botox

Retinol has been a longtime fan favorite anti-aging molecule. And for good reason! As a cosmetic ingredient, retinol is one of the few that has decades of research and data behind its efficacy. In fact, this is why in our book, Skincare Decoded, we refer to this active as one the Big Four and stands alongside the champs, ascorbic acid, AHAs, and niacinamide. But, you’ve probably heard of the downside of retinol - flaking, shedding, redness, dryness. While it may sound intimidating, just a cou...

Read more

I'm Shopping for Niacinamide! Halp!

So you wanna get some niacinamide into your routine eh? Welp unfortunately in the past couple of years, this category has become quite the circus of products. So let’s take a stroll through the niacinamide landscape and see if we can find your next niacinamide discovery. But Wait! A Quick Recap Before We Explore If you haven’t already, we highly recommend going back to our niacinamide intro to recap what niacinamide can do for your skin. To sum up in one line, niacinamide has shown that with ...

Read more