The Ordinary Review

By Josie Coffman

When my friend first asked me if I had heard of the Ordinary Skincare line I thought she was doing that thing you do when you can’t remember the right name. Turned out that really is the name. It’s a Deciem product and debuted last year to a whole lot of buzz.
I won’t lie, the biggest draw for me was the price. The most expensive product under the Ordinary line is the ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate solution 20% in Vitamin F at $17.80. That mouthful is a Vitamin C solution. Most other products are under ten dollars with many under six dollars. When you’ve been fighting off sensitive skin symptoms and wrinkles with ninety dollar Vitamin C serum and eighty dollar Retinoid those prices could almost made a girl giddy. So I went to their site at, had a look at their very helpful product guide and ordered a few things.

The products are not fancy. The name is not just a marketing ploy Not only is the packaging quite plain but so are the actual names of the products. The only one that doesn’t look like an answer on a chem final is the Buffet. And you’d need a degree to fully understand the product descriptions but you can get the gist amongst all the sciency language, and that product guide will help a lot when you’re planning a regimen.
The products themselves don’t have colors or scents and they don’t have the nice silky smooth feel of more expensive products but…so cheap! They are all vegan and cruelty free and made in Canada which has all those nice comforting regulations. Below are the products I’ve purchased and have been using for a couple of months. I have to say the results are as good or better than the expensive products I had been using.
Morning routine:

After cleansing (they do not have a cleanser and I don’t see any plans in the works to make one) I use the Buffet ($14.80) which is The Ordinary’s cocktail of helpful chemicals which is meant to target multiple signs of aging. Which is handy since I have them all. It’s clear and has a gel-like texture. My aging signs seem to be held at bay as well as could be expected without surgery.

 I let that dry a bit and then smooth on the Hyalruronic Acid 2% plus B5 ($6.80) which is also a clear gel and supports hydration. I have dry skin but with the HA it’s nice and hydrated.

When these are dry I finish with the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane ($7.90) which sounds like something a Bond villain would use to poison the world’s water supply but is actually a very light, clear oil. If you haven’t used facial oils I highly recommend them if your skin can tolerate them. The Ordinary has several to choose from. The squalane makes my skin dewy and soft but not greasy.

Night Routine

Again after cleansing I use the Advanced Retinoid 2% ($9.80). This is a milky, thin serum and has almost no texture once on the skin. Retinoids can be irritating so if you haven’t used one before read the info they provide. They have a 1% as well. Retinol is great for wrinkles and skin texture.

After this I follow with the Vitamin C Suspension 23% Plus HA Spheres 2% ($5.80). That name barely fits on the tiny container, but it works as well as the stuff for which I was paying ninety bucks. The problem for some here will be the texture—it’s vitamin C powder in a white, slightly oily suspension and it is a bit gritty. As you rub it in the sandy texture disappears but this could be a deal breaker for some. Since I only use it at night the texture doesn’t bother me. And there’s that low price. There are other C products in the line that wouldn’t have this texture but might not be as effective. Vitamin C can also be irritating so consider a different option if your skin is very sensitive but if you can use it, it works miracles for skin texture and elasticity.

Once this has been absorbed I follow with the squalane again. About three nights a week after cleansing I use the Lactic Acid 5% plus HA 2% ($6.50) —this a peel—simply followed by the squalane. It makes the skin very soft and helps with cell turnover but if you’re a sun person you might want to avoid it as it does increase sun sensitivity. I’m a pasty hermit so no problem for me.

The Ordinary does have a caffeine solution for dark circles and puffiness ($6.70) but not an eye cream which I need for hydration so I use a different brand’s product for that. And full disclosure, the one product I didn’t care for was the Natural Moisturizing Factors plus HA ($5.80). I found it a bit too waxy and not hydrating enough but it might work better for more oily and/or less mature skin.

I’ve been very happy with the results from these products and for me the lack of color or scent is a plus. And at these prices you can experiment and not feel too bad if something doesn’t work out, plus from what I hear they will happily refund your money if you’re not satisfied. They also have great customer service by phone and will help you find a routine that works for you. I’ve ordered a couple more products including a primer and I’m now eagerly awaiting the release of their ‘Colours’ line which is their version of foundation.

So if you want fancy packaging and products with a luxurious feel this won’t be for you, but if you’re just interested in better skin for a shockingly low cost–give The Ordinary a try.




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I'm a freelance journalist who has covered a number of topics including celebrity news, pets, food and pop culture. I currently cover entertainment news for Talk Nerdy With Us and various topics for 2 Palms Media under their Hot Pop Titles!

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