The Ordinary Skincare Review

The Ordinary was probably the most hyped skincare brand of 2016, and the hype has not died down yet.

They claim to have simplified skincare by providing cheap, simple products that get the job done. They are definitely a skincare brand on the cheaper end of the price scale as their most expensive skincare product is the “Buffet” (a peptide serum) that retails for just under €15. The Ordinary is a Deciem company, they also own skincare brands Hylamide and NIOD.

The Ordinary is cruelty free. Their products and ingredients are not tested on animals nor do they sell anywhere where it is required by law to test on animals. However, Estee Lauder recently purchased a minority share in the company so it might be a bit of a grey area now.

Shopping on The Ordinary’s website when you are not all that familiar with skincare is complicated. They seem to be very science-y when discussing their products and, now that I know more about skincare as a whole, I find a lot of it to be waffling. They do have a regimen guide though, which helps simplify the process a little.

Shipping is free if you order from their website and spend over €25. They are also stocked on Cult Beauty (free shipping over £40), Beauty Bay (free shipping over €19), ASOS (free shipping over €25) and Amazon.

Before we get started on the products, I feel like it’s worth noting that I’ve never really had skincare issues. I’ve never had acne or general problems with my skin, nor do I have sensitive skin; my biggest qualm up until now was oily skin and my current routine (and a better understanding of my skin and what it needs) has helped me balance that.

I’m not saying this in any way to be braggy or whatever, but it’s worth noting. If you have acne, severely sensitive skin or any other problems, I do not know how your skin will react to these products and I do not want to encourage anyone to use products that might make their skin worse. Please consult your dermatologist.

Now onto the products:

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Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Ever since I got big on skincare, I have loved acid toners. Acid toners essentially slew the dead skin on your face off and encourage your skin to produce new skin faster. At least, that’s what glycolic acid does.

When I first started using acid toners, I started with First Aid Beauty’s Facial Radiance Pads (review coming soon), which were a mixture of glycolic and lactic acid, but I soon ran out and started looking for alternatives. At €8, I couldn’t say no to the toning solution although the high percentage of acid made me a little nervous.

Surprisingly, I don’t find this toner to be as strong as the Facial Radiance Pads, but it does do the job. Due to it’s potency, I’ll admit applying it does tingle but it’s not irritating. The label specifically says to only use it once a day, ideally in the PM, and to NOT use it on compromised skin. I repeat, do NOT use it on compromised skin. And yes, your freshly creamed top lip does count. I had to learn that the hard way.

Unfortunately, due to the toner being an AHA, it makes your face more sensitive to sun exposure, meaning you have to cover up whilst using it and for a week after, so it’s not a product you can take with you when you’re off on holiday (which is why I had to buy an alternative for the summer. There is no way I’m spending my days at the beach with a towel over my face).

Would I recommend this product? Yes. Will I repurchase it? No. It is a good product (hence the recommendation) but I personally preferred the Facial Radiance Pads.

If you’d like to see a comparison post being the Toning Solution, the FAB Facial Radiance Pads, and the NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix, let me know.

Where to buy: The Ordinary, Cult Beauty, ASOS, Amazon

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Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

It took me a while to like this product. Alpha Arbutin is a great for helping with acne and acne scarring. It was the product that first made me take an interest in The Ordinary.

When I first started using it, all my scars had already faded so I started using it in the hopes that it would prevent spots and hyper-pigmentation. I don’t typically get spots but when I do, they immediately scar and leave a brown spot, even if I don’t touch them.

This product is uncomfortable to apply. It’s very tacky, especially if you apply it on your whole face which is what I did at first. When I finally did get some spots and, eventually, hyper-pigmentation, I wasn’t sure that the Alpha Arbutin was doing anything. I didn’t give it much of a chance and stopped using it.

A couple of months later, I started incorporating it into my skincare routine again. This time, I used it as a spot treatment for hyper-pigmentation scars I already had. I noticed a huge difference. In about 4 weeks, the darkest scars around my mouth had drastically faded and were almost gone. I love this product, my one qualm with it was the tackiness on application but using it merely as a spot treatment has seriously reduced my discomfort.

Would I recommend this product? Yes. Will I repurchase it? Yes. Unless I come across another product that is better at fading hyper-pigmentation scars than the Alpha Arbutin before I finish the bottle (highly unlikely, I’ve already tried quite a few), this will absolutely be going back in my shopping cart.

Where to buy: The Ordinary, Cult BeautyASOS, Amazon

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Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

My Queen. My Icon. My Idol.

I love, love, love this product.

Before I made my first purchase with The Ordinary, I thought I had oily skin. I didn’t. My skin was so dehydrated that it just happened to produce a shit-ton of oil on a daily basis to try to make up for it.

This was often exacerbated but my usage of skincare products targeted towards oily skin. Namely, drying products. Usually with alcohol in them, lots and lots of alcohol. My skin didn’t need drying, and it most certainly did not need alcohol (no one’s skin needs alcohol, alcohol is an irritant). What my skin needed was hydration. And moisture. And lots of it.

I bought the Hyaluronic Acid on a whim. I read that it hydrates and I thought “I mean, I guess”. It was €7, I didn’t give a shit. I noticed an immediate difference in my skin. It was hydrated, plump, it just looked so fresh. It took away the dullness that I had before, my skin hasn’t looked like this in years.

It has been three months since I started using this product and my skin has been seriously transformed. I cannot believe how much of a difference one product has made to my skin. My one qualm with this product is the same as with the Alpha Arbutin: it’s tacky. My love for it makes me care a lot less about the tackiness of the Hyaluronic than the Arbutin despite the fact that the Hyaluronic is the product I put on my entire face. I can deal.

Would I recommend this product? Absolutely. Will I repurchase it? Yes. I also plan on purchasing NIOD’s Multi-molecular Hyaluronic Complex as it is supposed to be a better version of The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic that penetrates your skin more deeply and, therefore, is capable of better hydrating your skin. Also, no tackiness.

I’ll be back with a comparison post to let you guys know which one I prefer.

Where to buy: The Ordinary, Cult Beauty, Beauty Bay, ASOS, Amazon

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Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

This product did not work out for me and I cannot say I am surprised. Finally, we get to a dud. Except it’s not really a dud. Let me explain.

My dark circles are hereditary. Meaning, they’re permanent. No drinking of water, changing of diet, sleeping early, or applying of potatoes, cucumbers and other various vegetables will get rid of them. They’re here to stay. Unless I get fillers (if anyone is willing to pay for them, I have a PayPal and will absolutely accept your money).

If you click on The Ordinary’s description of this product, they state pretty clearly: “Hollowness in the eye contour as a result of structure of sub-dermal tissues like fat and bone can result in visible shadows under the eyes. This shadow, which is not to be mistaken for dark circles, cannot be addressed with topical skincare including this formula.” – Basically, if your dark circles were crafted by God himself, this product isn’t for you.

I bought it anyway, just in case. So no, this product did not work out for me. Not at all, not even a little bit. But I am not surprised. I was told, I just didn’t want to listen. Would I recommend it? No. Will I repurchase it? No, obviously.

Where to buy: The Ordinary, Cult Beauty, Beauty Bay, ASOS, Amazon

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Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

This is one of the products I enjoyed the least, not because it doesn’t work but because it’s uncomfortable to apply and keep your face.

I loved this product because it gave my skin that from-within glow that I previously thought could only be achieved through drinking 4.4L of water a day and masterfully applied dew-producing makeup products. The difference in your skin is noticeable within two or three days; jackpot.

What I didn’t like about this product was having it on my face. It’s gritty. If you’ve ever had dried salt on your face after a swim in the sea and rubbed your face after, you’ll know what applying this feels like. And then it has almost a sticky consistency.

I would often apply moisturiser mixed in with an oil after this and still, it had almost a tacky feel to it. It’s not the same kind of tacky as the Arbutin and Hyaluronic, as the tackiness with those two disappears within a minute. The tackiness of the Vitamin C stays and I would usually find my face almost gluing itself to my pillow at night. It has been recommended that I pat this product in and also mix it with my moisturizer without an oil, I do plan on doing that just so I can use up the product, but it is disappointing that it’s such a hassle.

Would I recommend it? I mean, it’s a good product. But there are definitely other hassle-free forms of Vitamin C. Will I repurchase it? Probably not. I will be trying their other Vitamin C products, and I heard that the brand is working on reformulating this particular product, so I guess I’m not the only one that’s been complaining about it.

Where to buy: The Ordinary, Cult Beauty

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100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

I don’t usually put oils on my face. It’s just… the idea of it… it doesn’t sound pleasant. This oil changed everything for me.

Although I’ve cut oils out of my summer time skincare routine (I cannot bring myself to apply them, no matter how light they are), this was perfect for me in the colder months. It’s light, moisturizing, and it will give you that glowy, glowy skin. Two drops are enough for your whole face and it soaks in so quickly. And it’s not just me, I’ve yet to see a bad review of this product, it’s that amazing. It’s also sold out most of the time, which totally sucks. If you can get your hands on it, get it.

Would I recommend it? YES! Will I repurchase it? Yes, but I would like to purchase the same oil by Majestic Pure from Amazon and compare the two. The Ordinary sells their 30ml bottle for €10 whilst Majestic Pure has theirs retailing for £9 for 120ml. We’ll see which product wins. Stay tuned!

Where to buy: The Ordinary, ASOS, Amazon

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Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

Like the Hyaluronic Acid, I bought this moisturizer on a whim. I was already using FAB’s Ultra Repair Cream (yes, yes, review coming soon) and I figured another moisturizer couldn’t hurt.

This product isn’t wow, but it is good. It’s light, so it’s perfect for summer for me. However, the consistently of the moisturizer changed after about 6 weeks of usage for reasons unknown and although the product still works just fine, it made squeezing it out such a challenge. So much so that about three weeks ago, I squeezed so hard that the corner on the top end of the packaging busted open. I’ve since been trying to use up this product as quickly as possible before the bacteria really seeps in and I end up with a case of dermatitis.

Would I recommend this product? Like I said, it’s good but no. Will I repurchase it? No, and if anyone knows any other good, light moisturizers for summer, please let me know.

Where to buy: The Ordinary, Cult Beauty, ASOS, Amazon

I’ve seen a lot of people wonder why Deciem, a company which already owns two skincare brands, would come out with something so cheap, especially as the success of The Ordinary might affect the sales of their other brands. I feel like The Ordinary is the perfect marketing ploy. You put out simple but effective (“one-trick ponies”, as Stephanie Nicole called them) skincare products that cost about as much as a kebab, meaning pretty much everyone can afford them.

First of all, everyone will try them out of curiosity. If they work, they keep repurchasing. The people who like the products and who can afford to purchase something a little bit more expensive, will eventually look to Hylamide and Niod. The customers who can’t, stick to the Ordinary. They have covered their bases in the most effective way possible and, for that, I must applaud them.

Overall, I think The Ordinary is a pretty solid brand. Are they the best skincare brand ever? No. Do their products work miracles? No. And they don’t claim that either, which I definitely respect them for. Their products do what they say they will do if you use them correctly. They’re not the best, most luxurious skincare products of all time but they are effective. And they are good, especially for the price.

The Ordinary is a great skincare brand for those who are just getting into it and want to discover more. It’s also great for those who are on a tight budget and cannot afford to go for the more higher end brands. It has a little something for everyone and even if their products don’t work out for you, at least they don’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Note: Some affiliate links used. Affiliate links means I may receive a commission should you ever choose to click through and make a purchase. It is one of the ways I keep this site running. Thank you for your support.