5 Skincare Must-Haves from The Ordinary

This is not sponsored post, fyi! Last week, I pulled a poll on my Insta-stories asking if you guys would be interested in a review about my recent skincare purchase from the Ordinary, and 100% of you said yes! I am a kinda girl who would not mind paying more for skincare and makeup products since I know they will go directly to my face/skin. To me, skincare products are some of the things that I believe ‘you pay for what you get.’ The fact that everything from the Ordinary is under $20 gave me so much doubt! I went ahead and purchase some anyway just to give it a shot after hours of browsing their website. I ended up not only finding out more about their products and ways to incorporate them in the most informative way! They also further suggest skincare regimens and products that suit certain skin types which I find so interesting to read and learn from.

I knew about the Ordinary from reading IntoTheGloss top 25 beauty products of 2017, and the Ordinary’s serums won ‘the bargain’ award for their simple, well-priced, well-made formulations. I mean IntoTheGloss is my favorite go-to destination whenever I need a product suggestions to stay up-to-date with the beauty advancement these days. I have a normal skin type. Sometimes my cheeks would get patchy and dry if I forget to put on moisturizer. For most days even with minimal or heavy makeup, however, my skin does get somewhat oily, especially the forehead area. Skin concerns? Well, I am a woman in her 20s, so anything that prevents pre-mature lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone and texture, and some exfoliating treatments occasionally as well. With my skin type and the mentioned needs in mind, I purchased 5 skincare products from the Ordinary hoping them to do just that! I also purchased a serum foundation which was too cheap for not giving it a try. I will include it at the end of this post as an extra, but for today’s post, I just want to highlight the 5 skincare products that I tried it for myself.


‘Clinical formulations with integrity.’

The Ordinary is championing in single-ingredient skincare products, their transparency in product sourcing, production, and integrity. The Ordinary is a brand from DECIEM- an umbrella of many other brands, such as NIOD and Hylamide, that are focused on advanced functional beauty. According to their website, all DECIEM products across all brands are ‘free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, benzalkonium chloride, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury, oxybenzone.’ They do not test on animals nor pay others to do so. They also state that the fact that their products are not available in mainland China due to their requirement on products to be tested on animals. You can also follow them on Instagram which the founder, Brandon, would directly communicate and announce things all by himself there. The company is based out in Canada, by the way!My 5 skin care picks form the Ordinary:

Here are my night time skincare steps:

1. Cleanser (double-cleanse if wearing makeup- sometimes chemically or physically exfoliate)

2. Toner

3. Serum

4. Oil

5. Moisturizer

I truly believe that night is the best time to repair skin. Compared to those fancy 11-step Korean skincare regimen, mine is pretty simple and relatively quick I’d say! Honestly, there are days that I am too tired and sleepy, I tend to skip step 2, 3, and 4 altogether. For days when my skin feels tight and looks dull due to stress or hormone change, I’d use the full benefits of a mask while submerging myself in a hot bath to relax, de-stress, and pamper. However, 98% of the time, I always follow all 5 steps to make sure my face is well cleansed and hydrated before sleep. Besides drinking lots of water and applying all of these skincare products, I’d absolutely recommend a silk pillowcase to sleep on with. With proven benefits such as lessening of wrinkles, bedhead, and sleep crease through time due to the super soft silk fabric that won’t tug. And I always make sure to sleep facing upright to avoid pre-mature wrinkles. If you are a stomach sleeper, get the silk pillowcase assistance asap.

1.  The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% – 30ml $6.50

PH 3.60-3.80

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The Ordinary has two Lactic acid + HA versions, one is 5% Lactic Acid and one is 10%. I went for a milder formulation since it is an acid, I want to slowly introduce my skin to it. So keep this in mind if you are a newbie like me, just in case!

WHAT IS LACTIC ACID? Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. This formulation is supported with a purified Tasmanian pepperberry known to reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is often associated with exfoliation. Lactic acid is known for treatment of dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells, fine lines, and wrinkles which ultimately leaves your skin appears plumped and radiant. Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is another super popular pricey yet effective product that contains lactic acid as an active exfoliate. So I guess, if you want to give a chemical peel product a try that does not break your bank, go for this one!

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Isoceteth-20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

HOW I USE IT: As directed, I only use it at night time. I apply three drops directly on my skin, one on my forehead and one on each cheek, massage it in, and continue with my serum and moisturizer. This product is not supposed to be rinsed off! They suggest to mix it in with other treatments to reduce strength until skin develops tolerance.  I don’t use this every day although you totally can! It is pretty effective as exfoliating off layers of my dead skin and leave it super soft.

2. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution – 30ml $7.20

10-Minute Exfoliating Facial

PH 3.5 – 3.7

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As clearly stated in the product information page on the Ordinary website, this formulation contains a very high amount of active acids (~30%). It is called a 10-minute exfoliating facial for a reason, therefore, it must be washed of within 10 minutes! Also note that this is a chemical peel not a physical exfoliating peel. So please be advised and learn it for yourself if you have problematic, acne-prone, or sensitive skin.

If you have uneven skin tone, uneven texture, fine lines, wrinkles, or if your skin is dull, seek for products that contain active acids like AHA and BHA. One of my favorite skincare brands, Drunk Elephant, has a very popular product called T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial which contains 25% AHA and BHA. And this formulation from the Ordinary contains ~30% BHA and AHA and is much cheaper.

WHAT ARE AHA AND BHA? ‘Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) exfoliate the skin’s topmost surface for a brighter and more even appearance. Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) also exfoliate the skin with an extended function to help clear pore congestion. This combined 32% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture and reduces the look of fine lines with continued use. Salicylic Acid further exfoliates inside the pores to target congestion and visible blemishes. The formula also contains a hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Crosspolymer, pro-healing Vitamin B5, antioxidant Black Carrot and a soothing Tasmanian Pepperberry to make it tolerable by most skin types including sensitive skin.

Ingredients: Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

HOW I USE IT: I only use it when I feel like my skin feels congested with uneven texture. It is suggested to only use it once or twice a week. I am sure after reading all about these acids and product warnings, you would not want to touch this. It even looks scarier in person as the product itself look red in the bottle and when applied on the face. At night, I use 3 drops on my wet and bare face, one on my forehead and one on each cheek, massage it quickly, and time myself for 10 minutes. After that, I rinse it with luke warm water and go in with my normal night time skincare routine. I love how effective this chemical peel is. My skin feels super soft the next day! I always make sure to use sunscreen the next day in the morning. Out of all of the Ordinary products that I purchase, this is my most favorite one!

3. The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane – 30ml $7.90

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Don’t run away if you have oily skin just yet! Oils are proven to be very effective skincare ingredients. I have been using Morrocan oil on my hair for years, Argan oil on both skin and hair, and there is no doubt that they have saved my skin and hair all through harsh winter seasons. Squalane is relatively new to me! I saw a few bloggers promoting Biossance’s squalane products, and that got me quite interested in trying one day. Well, they are expensive, and that is the reason why I have been holding off on trying their stuff.
WHAT IS SQUALANE: Squalane is a much more light-weight, non-greasy, and superb hydrating solution. It is 100% plant-derived (commonly from sugarcane or olives) and is suitable for all skin-types, yay! However, I’ve got to say that this Ordinary’s squalane’s plant origin is unknown as they only say ‘squalane’ in the ingredient list. Anyways, squalane can also be used on hair which offers heat-protecting benefits such as stopping moisture loss and breakage. Due to its hydrocarbon-only chain structure (calling out all Chemistry folks), it contains 100% saturated fat and is proven to be stable in various UV conditions and temperatures which is another plus for products that will go on to your face.

Ingredients: Squalane

HOW I USE IT: I apply three drops after my water-based products aka after toner and serum but before moisturizer. So far, I have been alternating between this product and the Rose hip oil which is mentioned right below. And I love them both.

4. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil – 30ml $9.80

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WHAT IS ROSEHIP SEED OIL? As the Ordinary claims, Rosehip Seed Oil (extracted from an African Marula Oil called ‘Rosa Canina Seed Oil’) is rich in linoleic acid (omega 6), linolenic acid (omega 3)and pro-vitamin A, all of which degrade when the oil extraction process involves heat, hence, the cold-pressed method ensures the good oils stay. Rosehip Seed Oil has been shown to reduce signs of photo-ageing and many other skin conditions. This formulation is unrefined, hence, it has a very oily scent (almost stinky! scent, in my opinion). This scent is due to its high omega fatty acid content. If you have ever come across Rose Hip Oil that does not have any scents, this is because it has already been refined and offers reduced benefits.

Ingredients: Rosa Canina Seed Oil.

HOW I USE IT: I love adding this oil right before my moisturizer, and of course after cleansing and serum. Regardless of the distinctive scent, I love how it makes my moisturizer goes on smoothly. It feels rich and lightweight and extremely moisturizing.

Why Rosehip Seed Oil? If you are in a market for an anti-aging product, Rose Hip Oil is the best one to go for! I have already started using anti-aging skincare products when I was at my early 20s. The Ordinary also recommends using Moroccan oil or Argan Oil on super dry skin and hair which I have already been using both for the past 3 years.

5. The Ordinary “Buffet” – 30ml $14.80

The “Buffet’ is also known as the multi-Technology Peptide Serum.

PH 4.50-5.50 

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WHAT IS SERUM? Serum is a skincare product you can apply after cleansing but before moisturizing. It is often water-based or oil-based and is packed with high concentration of moisturizing ingredients (hyaluronic acid, ceramides, etc) to help skin retain moisture. It is somewhat similar to an essence but does not target specific skin needs or problems and is gooier and more concentrated. I have normal and slightly dry skin, and for the most part, it is normal and healthy. If you have acne-prone or more sensitive skin types, please do research prior to purchasing any skincare products, especially serums since they are potent and powerful ingredients which can irritate your skin. You can read here to find out more product recommendations in terms of serums for different skin types.

List of the peptide technologies which takes up to 25.1% of the formula by weight (found on the website):
Matrixyl 3,000 peptide complex (with palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7)
Matrixyl Synthe’6 peptide complex (with palmitoyl tripeptide-38)
Syn-Ake peptide complex (with dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate)
Relistase peptide complex (with acetylarginyltryptophyl diphenylglycine)
Argirelox peptide complex (with acetyl hexapeptide-8, pentapeptide-18)
Probiotic complex (with lactococcus lactis lysate)

in a base of 11 skin-friendly amino acids and multiple hyaluronic acid complexes. 

HOW I USE IT: I like to use it at night time before moisturizer and after cleansing as directed. I add three drops, one on my forehead and one on each cheek by directing dropping it using the dropper that it comes with, and massage it in with my fingers. I do notice it makes my skin feel sticky the next day, and the obvious reason is a large amount of glycerin used (it’s listed as the second ingredient in a very long list of ingredients). Glycerin/glycerol is a very common skincare ingredient, naturally derived from animals or plants or synthetically produced. It forms a protective layer that prevent moisture loss, and if used in large amount, it can feel tacky/sticky. One serum application a day is good enough!

6. The Ordinary Serum Foundation – 30ml $6.70

(My shade: 2.1 P for medium with pink undertone)

This is by far the cheapest foundation that I have ever bought. The bottle is tiny, but a little goes a long way. I do not need much even though it has a very watery consistency. It feels quite thin and lightweight on the skin, but I find it does not give me the dewy look that I need in terms of a face product. It covers my pores and uneven spots pretty well. I have a blog post about all of my top favorite foundations, here. I still reach for it on the daily basis but still prefers a BB cream over this. Again, since my skin is so dry, and I’d prefer a dewy healthy (almost oily!) skin look over a matte face any days!

FINAL THOUGHTS: Skincare doesn’t have to be expensive.

It is a common belief that ‘what you pay is what you get.’ And I used to be a firm believer of that. Especially skincare, I used to pay $100 for a jar of night moisturizer from Shiseido and was so close to getting a bottle of SK-II essence which costs over $150 just to try it out and see what the buzz is about. Shiseido used to be the queen of all Asian skincare, well, at least that is what I know from my aunts and other women I know who spend so much money to invest in their premium skincare line. I don’t shop for beauty products and makeup often, but when I do, I always want to make sure I put trust-worthy quality stuff. The Ordinary has earned a fan aka me! Their skincare products are simple and effective. I wish that there are more skin care companies out there that listen and understand that we all have a face and a skin to take care of. It is true that we as consumers pay for the technology, but good things are meant to be shared. If they are too expensive, not many people will get their hands on or will they ever get to try them. I am not sure, however, DECIEM or the Ordinary can be able to keep the price so low. But well, I guess, skin care does not have to be expensive, and thanks to whoever behind this brand!

Which product would you try? Let me know in the comment section below! Hope you find this post helpful!

Thanks for reading!

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Information obtained from theordinary.com website, IntoTheGloss, and my general knowledge and my own experience in using mentioned skincare products.

2 comments so far.

2 responses to “5 Skincare Must-Haves from The Ordinary”

  1. Kayla Christianson says:

    I’m definitely going to look into this company! I love reading about all your suggestions, thanks An!

    • antrieu says:

      Thanks Kayla! Glad you’ve found it helpful! Definitely check out their products since they are so afforable! I love all of mine!

An Trieu

Currently based in Seattle, Style & Senses is my digital life and style journal of all things that inspire my senses and beyond. Hope you stay inspired, as always! - An Trieu.

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