May 052017

The beauty world is a-buzz about The Ordinary Skincare, a subdivision of Deciem which is housed in Canada. The brand was started to essentially hack the world of high-priced skincare with effective formulations that sell at an extraordinary price point–many formulations are under $10. As the website says, “The Ordinary exists to communicate with integrity and bring to market effective, more familiar technologies at honourable prices.” The line is free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, benzalkonium chloride, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury, oxybenzone. For many of us who are used to paying in the range of $60 to several hundred, this idea is a breath of fresh air. Certainly a shelf of high-end products quickly escalates. The concept that The Ordinary offers clinical formulations at below-drugstore prices is quite attractive. The line ships from their own website as well as from Beautylish.

I tried a few products from their line to see how I thought the line stacks up against a higher-end experience. To jump to the conclusion, I found that several of their products are quite effective. However, I noticed a lack of refinement in a few areas that users of high-end products are likely to notice, and one that just didn’t seem to stack up at all.

First up is The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% ($5.80). This white cream definitely delivers the Vitamin C. It didn’t take more than a week for my skin to look better, brighter and more fabulous. As you likely know, Vitamin C is a tried-and-true active ingredient that works well for anti-aging. The ingredient list offers Ascorbic Acid (another name for Vitamin C) as the first ingredient, followed by squalene (an anti-oxidant). Click to enlarge–

The actives are delivered in a highly emollient white cream in a travel-friendly squeeze tube. For those who have experienced dry skin with typical Vitamin C serums, this may be welcome news. Unfortunately, the cream has some white lumps in it (which seems to dissolve as you apply it) and a very distinctive (not very pleasant) scent. For me, the cream was too moisturizing to wear under foundation and it felt quite heavy. You might not notice any of these qualities if you wear it overnight, but be forewarned those with clog-prone skin may tread cautiously because this formula is on the heavy side.

One product that really delivered was The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG ($6.70), a water-based serum that firms and tightens the undereye area. We all know that caffeine can get rid of puffiness tout de suite, and this one delivers on that score.

Delivered in a glass bottle with a serum pipette, a 1/2 drop under each eye wakes up the undereye area all day long.

At this price point, I’d recommend this. Click to enlarge.

If you’re looking for brightening old acne areas or dark patches, I thought that The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% ($7.90) was a really effective, fast-working solution.

In less than two weeks, I saw significant fading.

This formula is suspended in a clear cream that feels a bit silicon-ish (you can see Dimethicone in the ingredient list), but delivered great results without clogging or breakouts (on me). It applies clear and the scent is minimal. It feels neutral on the skin, despite the name “acid” in the product name I did not experience any stinging or sensitivity. It didn’t interfere with any sunscreen or foundations that I used during my trial. Ingredients:

According to the line, “this treatment brightens the skin, reduces the look of blemishes, and promotes an even tone and texture. It also fades hyperpigmentation and reduces the redness associated with rosacea.” I don’t believe that it reduced the look of blemishes, but it did seem to fade acne marks and the fading of hyperpigmentation was visible. (I’m sorry, I don’t have rosacea so I did not test that claim).

I had high hopes for The Ordinary the Buffet ($14.80), which promised to be an all-purpose anti-aging serum rich with antioxidants and moisturizing ingredients. A thin clear serum, this applied well and sinks into skin beautifully. 

Like the Caffeine serum, this comes in a glass bottle with a clear glass pipette to distribute the product.

I didn’t find this product effective despite using it for about two weeks. In fact, on some mornings I found that my skin was slightly drier than the night before. Although the product didn’t sting or leave any adverse effects, I didn’t find that the Buffet delivered. Although they are at higher price points, I find more serums on the market that did far more for my skin.

Here is the Buffet’s ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Overall, I found that The Ordinary is on an admirable venture to hack the high price of active skincare. There are some bumps in the road, of course, as the new line gets off the ground. Those who are used to paying more will love the prices, but may find that some of the features of higher end skincare is lacking. As with all skincare, of course, your mileage may vary. These are available from The Ordinary’s own website (items arrived well-packed in 1-2 weeks) and Beautylish.

Have you tried any of The Ordinary line? What did you think?

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  4 Responses to “The Ordinary Skincare: My Thoughts”

  1. I have not tried any of the Ordinary products yet, but as a skincare junkie, it is only a matter of time. Thanks so much for your honest review. I am interested in several of their products including the Caffeine Solution and Azelaic Acid. Your reviews of both certainly helped put them in my YES category 🙂

  2. O oo I am always looking for an eye cream/serum and I do have some discoloration that could use some work, these do sound worth trying for the cost as it’s hard to spend $60 plus for skin products that do not help. Interesting line!

  3. You may have just nailed down a quandary I’ve been having! I’ve been using “The Buffet” for a few months now, and while I have noticed a bit of a healthier look to my skin, I’ve been experiencing some dryness in the mornings and that’s not typical for me at all because I use a pretty emollient nighttime routine. I hadn’t thought of it possibly being the serum that’s the culprit, thank you for your information! I’m curious to d/c for a few nights so I can see if that’s the problem.
    You mentioned you liked other serums better…may I ask what you recommendations might be if I need to replace The Buffet? I have normal-to-dry , aging skin ;). Thanks again!

    • I’ve been enjoying AveSeena’s lately—it’s having a real impact as an age-fighter. Otherwise, I’ve had good luck with Chanel. I’ve also used a fair amount of targeted serums (most are reviewed here, like Drunk Elephant).

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