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  • Stella Lee

Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules - Original vs Retinol

My review on Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum & Retinol Capsules

Speaking of retinol, here's a blog post that I wanted to write up for some time now, and I've finally pushed myself to get this one done!

I live for these ceramide serum capsules. I started using the original (gold) ones 5 years ago and I've never looked back. Elizabeth Arden can sometimes come across as a more "mature" brand (probably because of how long it has been around) but I really wish that I started using ceramides earlier than I did. My skin has transformed massively since discovering these ceramide capsules.

A couple of years later, the "retinol ceramide" serum was launched. I was asked a few times which one I prefer. They are actually very different products and I prefer to use both, not either.

What is ceramide?

Ceramides are skin-identical substances - they are lipids (oils) naturally found in human skin, particularly concentrated at the outest layer of the epidermis. The extracellular matrix of skin (containing 50% ceramides, 25% cholesterol and 15% fatty acids) has an essential barrier function, including preventing water loss. My favourite analogy is brick and mortar - Ceramides form the mortar that glue the bricks (skin cells) together. Both ceramides and cholesterol deplete with age, making skin lose integrity and moisture over time.

What is retinol?

There are definitely more articles written on retinol than there needs to be! In a nutshell, retinol (when converted to retinoic acid) speeds up cell turnover and increases collagen production in deeper layers of skin. It has consistently been crowned the gold standard as an "anti-aging" ingredient. The increased cell turnover means it tackles signs of aging from all fronts: lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone and uneven texture. Retinoic acid (the active form of retinol) can be prescribed to treat acne and acne scars.

Because of the way that retinol works, it can make skin more sensitive and there are side effects, such as dry, itchy, irritated and peeling skin. In most cases, these side effects go away in a few weeks. Some people call this process (of skin getting used to retinol) "retinisation". However, retinol is not suitable for everyone. If in doubt, always consult your skin professional or GP.

Snapshot of the original formulation

(See a full review here)

The original formulation contains 3 types of ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol - the major components of the extracellular matrix of skin. It has a silky smooth texture which feels more like an oil than serum. Except for oily skin type, a moderate amount can be used under makeup; otherwise, it can be used in the evening.

The formulation focuses on nourishing and replenishing skin. Within a few days of use, I noticed a significant improvement in the smoothness and softness of my skin. In the longer term I noticed that the overall texture has improved, and I have not been gaining much more fine lines.

Recently, I experienced the power of this serum in repairing my moisture barrier, which was compromised due to high(er) dose retinol use. This serum helped me getting through various stages of sensitised skin, and I am so grateful that I discovered it a few years ago.

This serum is the most re-purchased beauty item in my life.

Snapshot for the retinol formulation

A lot of the retinol products in the market specifies a percentage. Common compositions range from 0.25% to 1%. The retinol percentage in this formulation is a secrecy. I enquired and I was told that it is "proprietary" information but it is potent because the capsules keep the retinol fresh and active. Based on that response, as well as my personal experience (see below), I believe that the percentage is at the lower end. That said, this formulation is effective and I did see a difference within a few weeks' time.

The retinol formulation is very different to the original formulation. While the original formulation has a oily feeling, the texture of the retinol formulation is silicone-heavy - it almost feels like a silicone-based makeup primer. However I would use this in the evening because retinol can get broken down by light quite quickly (and therefore rendering the retinol less effective). I like to use it after toner, and before hyaluronic acid serum (I do not follow the thin to thick rule; instead, I always use ceramides before hyaluronic acid). Because it does not spread as far as the original formulation, I need to use more of the retinol formulation (a half to two-third of a capsule per application). Sometimes I add a facial oil as well as to help with the dryness of my skin.

My skin got used to this retinol serum very quickly. I did not have to phase this into my skincare regime to build skin tolerance (from day 1 it was applied generously every night) which was a risky thing to do (oops) but I simply did not turn my mind to it at the time. I only experienced very minor skin peeling in the second week, and my skin rode it out without the need to lower the dose or decrease frequency of use to alternate days.

The most significant improvement was skin radiance. I also felt that my skin looked more rested and refined. That said, the improvement I saw was not as big as a high % retinol serum. I am happy with this serum regardless, as the side effects on me were next to none.

This formulation is a great gentle starter for retinol beginners. That said, it is always a good idea to introduce retinol progressively.


Advanced Ceramide Capsule

Retinol Ceramide Capsules


Ceramide 1, 3, 6 II

Ceramide NS (2), NP (3)

Fatty acids

​Linoleic acid, Linolenic acid

​C18-36 Acid Triglyceride






Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1 (matrixyl 3000)

​Vitamin A

​Retinyl Palmitate


Other ingredients

​Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, squalene, tocopherol

​Sunflower seed oil, olive oil, Camellia Senensis (green tea) leaf extract


Lightweight oil

Silicone-based serum

Recommended use

​Day and/or evening


These two formulations compliment each other really well.

The original ceramide formulation focuses on skin replenishment and nourishment.

The retinol ceramide formulation focuses on "anti-aging", with retinol and matrixyl 3000 are amongst the most widely-proven ingredients to tackle wrinkle, lost of density and elasticity.

I drop the retinol ceramide serum whenever I have another retinol serum in my routine, but otherwise I come back to this retinol ceramide serum from time to time.

Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid ceramide capsules

These capsules must have been such a hit that Elizabeth Arden has later released both vitamin C and hyaluronic acid versions. I have also used both of these and a comparison blog post is in the making.

Ingredient list - Advanced Ceramide Capsule

Isononyl Isononanoate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isododecane, Isopropyl Myristate, Dimethicone, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ceramide 1, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 II, Cholesterol, Cocos Nucifera (coconut) Oil, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Dimethiconol, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Medicago Sativa (alfalfa) Extract, Phytosphingosine, Retinyl Palmitate, Squalene, Tocopherol.

Ingredient list - Retinol Ceramide Capsule

Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bht, C18-36 Acid Triglyceride, Camellia Senensis Leaf Extract, Ceramide NP, Ceamide NS, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethiconol, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Laurylmethacrylate/glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Lecithin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Phytosphingosine, Phytosterols, Polysorbate 20, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/dicaprate, Retinol, Sorbitan Laurate, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane, Phenoxyethanol.


About me

Makeup artist and hair stylist based in Sydney. Founder of the well-known award-winning bridal specialist team Faces Makeup & Hair. Beauty junkie with an obsession for skincare.

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Apr 03, 2023

Retinyl Palmitate Is in the original and that’s a form of retinol

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