The Ordinary Beauty – Skincare Product Review
Being an avid follower of Caroline Hirons and other amazing skincare gurus for years, I feel that I’ve learnt a lot about what I should and shouldn’t being using on my skin for general skin health, but most importantly, for ageing!
I’m an inch away from the big 3-0 and this means that age prevention has been on my mind an awful lot. I’m hoping that by taking preventative steps now, I can avoid the haggard and saggy vibe in years to come!
I’ve dabbled in a few high end products, but I want my skincare to be sustainable. There’s no point in splurging out on expensive products only to stop after a month and not use it again because you can’t afford it (she says but doesn’t follow).
I love to research what I’m buying before investing (I’m pretty careful about what I put on and in my body), and after a lot of research I was really excited to try The Ordinary. About five years later and I’m still as excited about the brand as I was then.
This brand is probably not new to you and I feel like everyone and their mum has tried something from The Ordinary, however if for any reason you’ve been living under a rock and you don’t know what I’m talking about, or you haven’t decided which product is best for you, here are my thoughts on the (many) products I have used. I’ve left off a few products as I didn’t want to bore you to tears or be too repetitive going over super similar products, but I’m sure I’ll do a different or updated post in the future with anything not discussed.
The brands philosophy is that there’s no need to make products unaffordable due to great big expensive packaging, labels, boxes etc etc, when what really matters is the product inside. I love this mentality and most of the time big extravagant packing is just hard to store and more likely to break or leak when travelling, therefore the focus on the power of the product is right up my ally.
To be honest, despite the fact it’s meant to be cheap and basic, I love the packaging. I suppose the tubes do feel slightly cheaper than the competition and the droppers don’t feel as robust as their expensive rivals, but the glass bottles (which the majority of the products are), is great quality. If the product reacts to UV, the bottles are made from brown glass to prevent loss of potency and the packing per product is user friends and easy to use. Despite being cheaper because of this, I don’t think the products look or feel… naff. In fact I still think they look pretty sleek and high end.
I’ve tried a few products and most of them have ended up being cult for me with a couple of serums that I just won’t live without, especially when they’re so affordable there is no need to go without.
Argireline – The Ordinary
Inhibits muscle movement to reduce lines and wrinkles
Yes this sounds terrifying. When I first found out why argireline is effective I expected it to feel like numbing cream on my face and thought I was going to look like I’d been to the dentist and be unable to move my face. This is not the case AT ALL. The product is designed to stop your muscles from being tight and creating the lines and wrinkles around the forehead and eyes, however I do use this all over my face because, well – why not?
I use this in the mornings before my daily moisturiser and can’t really tell any different in my face at all, however since using this I’ve seen in improvement in lines around my eyes and the deeper ‘frown line’ between my eyes. I do mix this with Matrixyl (discussed below), so I believe that the power of these two combined have helped with any improvements I’ve seen. If you have lines that you are concerned about, why not give this a try?
“B” Oil – The Ordinary
Enhances skins radiance
I’ve been using “B” oil for a few months now and I’ve been really enjoying it. I’m sure it has none of the properties of Sunday Riley’s Luna, but it really reminds me of it in colour and texture and the scent is similar too. The smell is pretty potent and is a bit like seaweed so beware of this if you’re looking to try and are turned off by a heavier scent, but that aside, the product is really lovely. I use it at night over my other oils and serums and find that it really does help with radiance and hydration. Definitely one of my favourites and a product I will continue to re-purchase as a part of my everyday skincare for sure.
Buffet – The Ordinary
Buffet is a multi-peptide serum aimed at targeting signs of ageing and can help plump out lines and wrinkles
What I love the most about this serum is that it covers so many bases that you only need one serum instead of 10! Of course, I use additional serums for areas that I want to target and focus on and because I’m a skincare junkie, but I love to grab this one if I want a one stop shop or need something versatile for travelling.
I apply this at night after other treatments (either retinol or hyaluronic), and since introducing it into my skincare routine my skin seems to be healthier and definitely happier. For a really powerful product in a good sized bottle, £12 is 100% worth the money.
This is the most expensive product I’ve bought from The Ordinary, but £12 is far less than I pay when shopping other brands making it a total steal!
EUK – The Ordinary
Antioxidant for the skin
I’ve had EUK for a while but have actually only used it a handful of times. This formula is designed to regenerate on the skin in order to protect from oxidisation and prevent free radicals and chemicals in the air damaging the surface of the skin. I have no idea if this is completely in my mind or if it actually feels like this, but I could feel the product on my face all day. It was almost like it was crawling on my skin, not in an irritating way, but in the way that I imagine it regenerating and creating a barrier (this is why I feel like it’s in my mind haha)!
I want to give this antioxidant another go and will try to do so in the summer, especially as this product is great for cities and being out and about where there’s lots of chemicals in the air. I’m going to use it when going into London and see if it makes any difference to the appearance of skin. My experience so far is that it’s not my fav, but it’s early days and who knows, I might come back in a month and love it! Nevertheless, I love what the product is designed to do and think it’s a great serum to have in your collection, especially if you live in a city or commute in and out of London.
Glycolic Toner – The Ordinary
A gentle exfoliating toner to brighten and refine skin texture
I wanted to try a more affordable glycolic acid for a long time and was so pleased that The Ordinary created their own. The bottle is huge so will last forever and I do mean forever. You only need a cotton pads worth each time you use it and I don’t use this overly often. Even if I was to use it daily (not advised), it would last me a good few months. Cleverly, there is a screw top for when travelling so as not to risk and leaks or spills and a convenient twist open applicator for using when at home day to day. I love this because leaky products in your suitcase are the worst and realising you’ve lost precious skincare is even harder to deal with!
For me, this product is a little like the EUK where I can feel it on my skin (I’m sure there are lots of people who like that feeling so please don’t let this put you off), which does leave me feeling like I need to wash it off, however the results are great and I can tell that it is really working. The feeling is just a personal preference and you have the same with any glycolic.
Again, great product, a great alternative to more expensive glycolic acids like Alpha H and it will last you a long long time.
Hyaluronic Acid – The Ordinary
Hyaluronic acid targets dehydrated skin, and helps plump the skins surface
For a long time I was using Hydraluron which I do love, however it was costing me a fortune to maintain and I found myself going through the tubes far too quickly as you don’t get a lot of product. In my plea to find a long term affordable solution I tried this from The Ordinary. This was actually the first product of theirs that I tried and I can’t live without it now. I have relatively normal skin, which is prone to being dry, however over the Winter I’ve noticed that I get dryness and sometimes slightly flaky skin around my nose and areas where I have healing blemishes. Using a hyaluronic acid has massively reduced the dryness and has helped with the effectiveness of the other moisturisers I have been using too – bonus!
I use this at night and top with Buffet and/or a thick moisturiser. The difference in my skin was not instantly shocking. I didn’t wake up with amazingly plump and hydrated skin, however over a few weeks I can tell that my skin is plumper, more hydrated and less prone to changes in the weather. I know that it is one of those products where if I stop using it I will see a difference and the lack of moisture in my skin will become noticeable again. If you want to begin adding some more complex products into your skincare outside of basic cleansers and moisturisers, this is a good place to start.
Matrixyl 10% + HA – The Ordinary
Reduces deep lines and wrinkles
Matrixyl is hands down my favourite skincare product from The Ordinary. It stimulates collagen which reduces lines and wrinkles and this is something I am after right now. I know my lines and wrinkles aren’t that bad at all, but you know when it’s your own face and you obsess over the smallest imperfections? Basically this solution is my solution to botox haha. Not only have I noticed a slight improvement in the lines that I do have, but I have noticed my skin is clearer and feels plumper and just better in general. Obviously I use a lot of different products on my skin so I can’t be sure that it isn’t the combination that is helping with my skin, but I do have a feeling that this oil has a LOT to do with it. I highly recommend adding this to your routine, especially if ageing and prevention is top of your list.
Natural Moisturising Factors + HA – The Ordinary
Great for boosting moisture and re-hydrating dry skin
I really like this product from The Ordinary, as it’s pretty different to any of the other products they offer. I find the brand tends to focus more on specific formulations that are best carried as oils, so mostly when using The Ordinary I’m mixing my very own magical concoction of liquid in the palm of my hand, however this is a classic moisturiser in a tube – I love that! The product is so simple. The ingredients are full of lovely things like amino acids, the tube makes it easy to travel with and easy to use on the daily, and the results are fab.
I use a tiny bit of the natural moisturising factors if I’m using it as a day cream and overnight I use this almost like a moisture mask. I layer it on thick and let it soak into my skin and do its thing.
The small tube is perfect for travelling, and the large tube is great for at home and will last you months.
Retinol Formulations: Retinol 1% In Squalene & Retinol 5% Granactive Squalene Solution – The Ordinary
Retinols stimulate the production of new cells, reducing fine likes and wrinkles
Retinol 1% In Squalane
I didn’t feel the same tingle/strange skin crawling sensation that I do with Sunday Riley’s Luna, however I did like how it made my skin feel the next morning and I could tell there was a difference. It’s probably obvious that I love the sun so I don’t use it everyday so as not to end up with worse skin than before, but when I have a few days off of this treatment, I can notice a difference in the quality and texture of my skin.
This is not a retinol for beginners and if you’re starting out then I would avoid this go for a granactive solution. The best advice with retinols is to start small and work up. Even if you’re are a hardcore retinol user but have had a break, you can’t just go straight back in with anything too high. I’ve done this a hundred times thinking ‘it’s fine I’ve used them before’ and wake up to red, irritated and dry skin the following day. Fight the temptation!
Retinol 5% Granactive Squalane Solution
I started using this formulation after a lot of research suggesting that it’s better to start small and increase the potency over time. I do love to tan so I didn’t want to try anything major and end up damaging my skin further with sun damage so this was my sensible choice. It’s quite runny so I tend to use the dropper directly onto my face (this is a tip if you want to try and get the most out of your skincare without wasting lots of product by dropping it into your hands first), and massage in with my fingertips.
This solution is much more oily than some other formulations and is a clear/orangey colour. It’s much closer to a facial oil in consistency which personally I love. The squalane is a natural moisturiser so along with amazing anti-aging factors, this will prevent too much dryness as result of the retinol – win.
I always add a moisturiser over the top of my treatments because my skin can become so dry, but I find that this is enough for me overnight and my skin feels hydrated the following morning too. I haven’t found any irritation or trouble with using the granactive solutions as they are moderate in strength and do claim to offer no irritation so if you are starting out, this is a good place to start.
I love that The Ordinary make it possible to use products like this on a daily basis without completely breaking the bank. If you haven’t tried any retinoids or retinols before, I cannot recommend these product enough.
Salicylic Acid 2% Solution – The Ordinary
Unclogs pores and helps to clear blemishes
I love to use salicylic acid on my spots and blemishes, especially when I’m having hormonal breakouts or have blemishes that are out of control! You do have to be careful with this solution as it’s obviously very drying, so be careful not to use on clear skin and try and keep application specifically on the spot itself. I like to decant a few droppers of salicylic into a little travel pot to take away with me as there’s nothing better to use on a spots and to prevent breakouts getting worse. I highly recommend this solution, especially as you know it doesn’t have an unnecessary chemicals or fragrances which can make aggravated skin worse.
Squalane Formulations: 100% Plant-Derived Squalene & Hemi-Squalane – The Ordinary
A light oil hydrator for skin and hair
Squalane amazingly can be used on the skin or hair, making it one of the best products to keep in your beauty collection. The oil feels pretty lightweight on the skin, however it’s intensely moisturising at the same time. I use this before I go to bed and let it soak into my skin and work its magic. My skin is soft, plump and completely moisturised the following morning, but doesn’t feel clogged or suffocated. The hemi-squalane version is easier to spread, making it better for use on hair rather than skin, but I use both formulations of my skin and love them equally!
Vitamin C Forumulations: Vitamin C Suspension (with and without silicon) & Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F – The Ordinary
Vitamin C products are perfect for brightening a tired or dull complexion
Vitamin C Suspension (with and without silicon)
I am really excited to talk about this product! I love it. The vitamin C in these products is water free which makes it stable and long lasting and being in a cute little tube or bottle, it’s so easy to use.
I use this in the morning and evening, not everyday, but when I feel I need it and it makes my skin feel AMAZING. The sensation of this on your skin is like nothing else. First of all the cream suspension is really grainy, almost like an exfoliator and it does burn and tingle when applied, but only for a few seconds to a minute or so. I want to put a little disclaimer out there by saying this product is not going to be for everyone and that is totally fine. There are so many different versions of vitamin C out there now that you can try, however if you are to go for a good quality, a stable product, and high potency, you aren’t going to get away from the grain sadly.
Personally I really enjoy that feeling. It wakes me up, makes my skin feel fresh and alive and ready for the day. I also like to know that the products I’m investing time and money into using are actually doing their job to improve my skin’s texture and appearance and the tingle is physical confirmation for me!
My favourite of the cream formulations is the silicon free solution. I prefer it because it’s free of silicon (obviously), and as much as I’m not going out of my way to remove silicon from my skincare, if I can easily avoid it, I will. I’m also not a major fan of the silicon feeling on my skin, however for those who like less of the grainy sensation and who like that silicon silky soft feeling, the silicon-based version could be the one for you.
Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F – The Ordinary
The oil solution is a great alternative for those who want to avoid the burn on application and who may just prefer oil formulations. I like to use the cream in the morning but I use a lot of oils at night, so I like an oil so I can layer and mix different combinations.
Seeing as I am a total geek when it comes to anything health/beauty/life related, I do enough research to write a dissertation on every product I use, so it did take me a while to find a vitamin C product I wanted to invest in and try. I have to be honest; I was pleasantly surprised to find these vitamin C products that are not only stable in one container pre-mixed (no ripping open daily sachets and mixing them with a carrier each time), but that actually lasted and remained effective.
At the time of my serious studying (haha) the stable solutions tended to be sold in 7 to 14 day doses at a much higher price than The Ordinary’s cream tube’s or oil formulation, which definitely lasts me well over a month or more.
These products are great value for money; for the effect it has on your skin, the price point, but even more so because of how long the product lasts and its stability. My top tip for using vitamin C is to mix it with another oil from The Ordinary called Pycnogenol. I’m going to write a separate post of the power of using these two products together but trust me on this one; grab a bottle of each, mix them together in your palm and pat on your skin before bed – the dream team combination!
I mean, it’s pretty clear I love this brand and most of the products they offer. There are some products like Matrixyl and vitamin C oils which have become absolute staples in my routine for the foreseeable future. I love that the brand is able to provide high quality, high potency products in an accessible and affordable way. I know the original ethos of the brand was to skimp on packaging in order to keep costs down, but The Ordinary’s packaging is actually one of the reasons I love it so much. It’s simple, affordable, user friendly, travel friendly and most importantly, effective.
All in all, great products, amazingly priced, easy to get a hold of, and created in a way that you can mix your own combinations and really tailor your skincare to make it personal and unique, BOOM.
Check out more beauty – 5 Skincare Products For Summer