The Gentle Retinol Oil That Cleared My Skin Dullness

It’s taken my glow to a whole new level.

How PSA's Midnight Courage Night Oil became my dull skin savior.

I know your skin does a lot while you’re sleeping, but my nighttime routine doesn’t carry the same weight as my morning routine. Sometimes I even skip it (breaking the ultimate beauty rule, I know). When I do take care of my face in the evening, it’s mainly out of a begrudging sense of responsibility. But people grow and things change — and for me, it was when I started using PSA’s Midnight Courage Night Oil that I became better about my p.m. skin care game.

Good packaging can easily sway me into buying or trying something, which is the true reason why I first started using PSA products. The line’s skin care collection all come in colorful, fun, and chic bottles that are easy on the eyes. But I ended up sticking to them because of their transformative powers on my complexion.

My skin is, in a word, temperamental. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) which is a scientific way of saying my hormones are always doing whatever the hell they want to. I can’t predict PMS breakouts or bouts of dryness or any other skin woe that could crop up at a given moment. So while the devil — in this case, my hormonal fluctuations — works hard, my skin care products have to work harder. And this oil has quickly surmounted everything else in my vanity to become the heavyweight champion of my routine. Read on for how it’s transformed my glow.

First Up: The Basics

PSA is a skin care brand that’s a cousin to Allies of Skin, both founded by Nicolas Travis. The latter, which has been around since 2016, is a higher-end line of potent skin care formulas. Travis launched PSA about a year ago with more playful, accessible products targeted to the Gen Z consumer.

Midnight Courage is the standout of the line, IMHO. Every drop of the facial oil is packed with heavy-hitting and transformative ingredients that are revered for their skin-boosting results. Getting through all of the superstars within the bottle is going to be quite the laundry list, so bear with me.

For starters, the oil features a 2% hydroxypinacolone retinoate, aka a retinoid complex. This is a relatively less irritating form of retinol that still has the standard hyperpigmentation and fine line reducing prowess. The formula also includes bakuchiol, an ingredient commonly referred to as nature’s retinol (it’s sourced from a plant). This also delivers similar benefits you’d expect from a retinol: rejuvenating, anti-aging, and dark spot-fading effects, only without creating the sensitivities common with retinol use.

And there’s more. The formula is also packed with multitasking oils. Rosehip and baobab both contain vitamin A and E for evening out the complexion and boosting collagen production. Then the duo of pomegranate and sunflower oils helps strengthen the skin barrier and allows it to more effectively retain moisture.

Why I’m Obsessed

Talk about beauty sleep: If you’re only going to use one product at night, let it be this — it’s good enough to be a one-and-done. That said, during my particularly hormonal or acne-spiked weeks, I’ll first apply PSA’s Liquid Clarity for an added boost since it contains salicylic acid (a staple breakout-fighter).

The Midnight Courage itself is really silky — it’s viscous and feels like the middle point between a traditional face oil and a light serum. I’d say it’s a bit too emollient for my skin to use in the day, but it’s the perfect nighttime texture. I like the dropper to be half full before I dispense the product into my hands. It immediately warms up, so I’ll massage it into my face for a minute to make sure it's evenly distributed. I check back on my skin a few minutes later and am truly always shocked to find that my face has slurped it right up — a quick glance in the mirror tells me I look radiant, so I’m then able to catch my (supposed) eight hours of sleep as the product goes to work.

When I’m using this baby, I wake up with alarmingly radiant skin. It’s supple and soft, and it’s evident the oil has been doing its job all night. Most of the usual dullness has been treated — instead, I look glowy and awake and not like I stayed up late binge-watching Fear Street.


There is a marked difference in my skin the day after using Midnight Courage versus when I’ve skipped it. If you are only going to use one serum in your nighttime routine, this transformative multitasker should be it. And if you’ve had trouble finding a non-irritating retinol product, try this gentle formula — you’ll get the same glowy results (if not more).