You’re going to want to get a drink and a snack for this one, because I have a LOT to say in my review of The Ordinary skincare range.
Spoiler alert: It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to my face, and without a doubt the best affordable skincare.
I’ve tried a long list of products from this affordable skincare (and now makeup!) brand, and I’m getting into the details of each product, what it does, and why I love it.
About The Ordinary Skincare
The Ordinary skincare is an extremely affordable line of products from Deciem, a company that focuses on creating beauty products that are backed by intense scientific research. When you read up on these products, you’ll find in-depth, technical descriptions of the active ingredients, rather than flowery marketing language and pink packaging (not that I don’t love both of those things). The approach is very honest and straightforward, and in my experience, so are the results.
The majority of products in the line are under $5, with the most expensive product coming in at $15. That’s much less expensive than most skincare that you’ll find at the drugstore! The company offers free shipping on orders of $25 or more, and that money will stretch a very long way to get you several products to try.
My Skin Type
Obviously, everyone’s skin is different, and the condition of your skin is heavily affected by everything from genetics to what you eat and drink. Keep in mind that my experiences with these and any other products won’t be exactly the same as yours, so take my advice with a grain of salt! I’m (obviously) not a doctor, dermatologist, or skincare expert. I’m simply sharing what has worked for me!
My skin is typically both dry and dehydrated. I deal with some oily skin, mostly on my forehead, and a lot of dry, dull, lackluster skin pretty much everywhere else. My main focus when it comes to skincare is hydration and moisture, so I tend to pile on oils and thick creams.
I don’t typically get a lot of breakouts, but I do have a couple from time to time. These aren’t a huge concern for me, though, so I don’t really use any products that target acne.
In the winter, my skin has a tendency to be very flaky and extremely dry, and since using these products, I haven’t experienced this at all this winter. And I’ve been spending a lot of time outside in the freezing cold! I think I can attribute much of this to my continued use of acid exfoliation, amino acids, and oils from this skincare line.
The Ordinary Review
ONE // Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Hyaluronic Acid is a miracle for moisturizing, as it is able to attract up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. When you apply HA to your skin, that water is held to your skin’s surface, creating a bouncy, hydrated feel. This is your go-to for healthy-looking, plumped skin.
I like to use this as a first step in my skincare routine, following it with oils and creams for even more intense, deep hydration. My skin always looks really healthy and juicy (technical term) when I use this, but I wouldn’t recommend using it as your only moisturizing product.
I haven’t tried the Glossier Super Bounce Serum myself, but supposedly this is a great inexpensive dupe.
This is the only product that I haven’t really been impressed with. It’s like a lightweight moisturizer. I had the 30 ml bottle of this, and I felt that there was hardly any product in it! I ran out of this quickly, and I didn’t really see any incredible results. I definitely prefer the Hyaluronic Acid 2% serum for HA hydration. However, this is now available in a larger 100 ml bottle, so if you like it, it will last much longer for you.
THREE // Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%
It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I think this is the best product I’ve tried from The Ordinary. This acid is an antioxidant which works to combat fine lines, wrinkles, and texture. I noticed an IMMEDIATE difference in my skin texture when I first used this product. This stuff really, really does work! My skin is so much more soft and smooth when I use this acid, I kind of can’t believe it. If you buy one thing from the brand, make it this! I can’t speak to its effectiveness on lines and wrinkles, but I’d say that it’s definitely worth a try if these are skin concerns for you.
ALA is sensitive to sunlight, so keep this guy out of the light. It’s also very potent, and should only be used 2-3 times per week, or it can cause sensitivity.
FOUR // Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
This acid is an intense exfoliator that will leave your skin smooth and clear. I’ve never had any problems with redness or sensitivity while using this product, but there’s a less intense version available (Lactic Acid 5%) if you’re concerned about that. I’ll use this only about twice a week to avoid causing irritation. Remember that acid exfoliation makes your skin more sensitive to the sun, so don’t forget SPF while you’re using this! (The Ordinary is developing an SPF product; I can’t wait for it to be released!)
The BEST facial oil – especially for the price. I’m a bit of an oil fanatic, and this is a fabulous one. (I use different oils to cleanse, hydrate my hair, face, and body..it’s my favorite skincare product ever, for just about anything.)
This oil doesn’t make me break out (I’ve had issues with argan oil breaking my face out, but it’s great for hair and body hydration), and it makes my skin so, so hydrated. I like to apply a few drops on my fingers, lightly rub my hands together, and then distribute across my face in upward motions. I’ll try to massage my face a little to really help the oil to sink in.
I’ll also note that it’s a common misconception that those with oily skin should not used any oil-based products. Typically, oily skin is actually quite dehydrated and oil production is your body’s way of trying to re-hydrate. Apply a facial oil at night, wash it away in the morning, and you’ll likely see that your skin produces less oil overall!
SIX // Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
Caffeine is your best friend for tightening and brightening saggy areas – hence, the many body creams that are meant to be applied to your rear to reduce cellulite. The caffeine solution from The Ordinary is meant to target bags and dark circles beneath your eyes. It’s nice and cooling and enjoyable to apply, and it has tons of rave reviews as to its effectiveness. I don’t think I’ve been consistent enough with use to notice a difference yet, but I have high hopes! One woman’s review even states that she uses this for a quick “facelift” before events, since it tightens up the skin so well. Curious to try this sometime!
SEVEN // Coverage Foundation
Who knew that you could get a gorgeous, high-coverage foundation (with a pump!) for $6? Of the two foundations from The Ordinary, this is definitely the one I use most, because I’m a high-coverage, mask-everything kind of girl most of the time. I prefer to apply with a brush, and this provides a nice, matte finish. If you have especially dry skin, keep in mind that this does tend to cling to texture and dry patches, so make sure you’re using a nice hydrating primer before you apply.
EIGHT // Serum Foundation
In my opinion, this foundation is just as nice as the coverage foundation, but it’s a completely different product. This offers very sheer coverage that doesn’t completely mask skin imperfections. It evens skin tone and adds a really nice glow, but if you’re after coverage, this is not for you. I LOVE this as a “weekend foundation,” when I’m not wearing much makeup and I don’t want to mess with taking time for application. I literally apply this with my hands like a moisturizer and it instantly makes me look much more fresh and awake (paired with plenty of undereye concealer, of course).
These foundations are both absolutely beautiful, especially when you consider the price point. The only potential issue is the ability to find a shade that suits you when you have to pick from a photo on the computer. However, I made my best guess, and I think it’s honestly the perfect color for me – and for the price, it’s worth a try! Because these two products are so different, I definitely think there’s room for both of them in your makeup bag. I’ll definitely be re-purchasing both when I run out!
NINE // High Adherence Silicone Primer
I LOVE this stuff so much. A lot of silicone-based primers can make your skin feel kind of greasy and weird, but this one is just silky smooth and hydrating. It fills pores, provides a great base for long-lasting makeup, and blurs other skin imperfections.
This product has a lot of negative reviews, and I think that has to do with how it’s being used. You need a TINY amount of product, and it will spread really far across your whole face! If you use too much, it can “pill” up and make your foundation look strange, so just be careful. I think this would be a great product for anyone with combination skin, because it helps makeup to adhere to oily areas, but it’s also hydrating on dry patches.
What’s on My Shopping List
There’s a lot more to explore from this incredible brand, and I’ve got my eye on a few bits to try out soon, including a couple that have been teasing me for a while with “coming soon.”
ONE // EUK 134 0.1%
This antioxidant has fantastic reviews. It’s meant to even skin tone, brighten skin, and reduce the appearance of redness. That’s definitely a combination of benefits that I can get behind!
TWO // The Ordinary Sun Protection
Although these products have yet to be released, I can only imagine that they’ll be ultra gentle, lightweight, and nice to apply. I can’t wait to try them!
THREE // The Ordinary Watercolours
Again, these have not yet been released. I’m assuming that these will be some kind of water-based liquid blush, and I bet they’ll be gorgeous!
FOUR // Buffet
This comes in at $15, making it the most expensive product you can buy from the brand. That’s because this little bottle contains a mix of a variety of different ingredients that work together to target a number of different signs of aging at the same time. It contains amino acids and hyaluronic acid as well, and it’s got great reviews.