Reviewed: The Best (and Worst) Skincare Products from The Ordinary [UPDATED]

What's worth buying from the brand everyone's talking about.
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The Ordinary skincare review

If you're into skincare, you've definitely heard of The Ordinary by now. 

The new Canadian brand has already revolutionized the industry by offering active ingredients in no-frills packaging at affordable prices. VERY affordable—most things are under $10!

No wonder my inbox has been blowing up with emails like these:

  • "I heard of a company that is getting a lot of hype, it's called The Abnormal Beauty Company or DECIEM. Their serums and other products are sooo affordable that I bought three and an oil for like $40 CAD. I was wondering if you had tried their products out and what you thought of them?" — Kelly
  • "Can you please tell me which toxic ingredients in The Ordinary's products that you try to avoid?" — Maia
  • "Would love to see your opinion on these products. Hearing some great things and such great prices." — Conny

So I've put together a comprehensive review for you of the entire Ordinary line! 

Below, I'm sharing my thoughts based on my experience testing each product and my evaluation of the ingredients lists (for the ones I haven't managed to try just yet). 

About The Ordinary

The Ordinary skincare review

The Ordinary offers no-frills skincare at affordable prices.

But first, a little background, in case you're just discovering this line. 

The Ordinary is the creation of the late Brandon Truaxe, a Toronto-based entrepreneur who died suddenly in January 2019. His former co-CEO, Nicola Kilner, is currently acting CEO.

Truaxe founded The Ordinary's parent company, DECIEM, in 2013. There are several other beauty brands under the DECIEM umbrella, including NIODHylamide, The Chemistry Brand and Fountain

The Ordinary is the biggest seller by far, and it's not hard to see why. The idea is to offer clinical skincare at affordable, honest prices, clearly communicated to the consumer—something Truaxe didn't see happening elsewhere in the beauty industry. Here's a great quote from the brand's About page:

"Commonplace technologies are referred to as groundbreaking and insensible pricing strategies confuse the audience, disguising commodity technologies as advanced." 

Having been a beauty editor for so many years, I know this is true! That's why The Ordinary is SO revolutionary. Its formulas are typically based around a single "hero" ingredient, and come housed in simple dropper bottles with plain white labels. 

Their skincare products are divided into following categories:

  • Retinoids
  • Vitamin C
  • Direct Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Hydrators and Oils
  • More Molecules
  • Cleansers
  • Suncare

Keep reading to find out what I'd buy and what I'd skip. I'll update this list as new products become available!

The Ordinary Retinoids:

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2 Percent in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane treats signs of aging such as fine lines, pigmentation and rough texture. 

  • A moderate-strength alternative to retinol that is said to produce no irritation.
  • Contains 0.2 percent of the active ingredient, hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), a retinoic acid ester with a similar action on the skin as Retin-A. However, most of the data to date on HPR comes from the manufacturer, so take this with a grain of salt! 
  • The term "granactive retinoid" refers to the delivery system for HPR, which includes the solvent dimethyl isosorbide in a 10:1 ratio to the HPR.
  • Super-affordable compared to other retinoids on the market.
  • One of the only silicone-free retinoids available.
  • Very stable, with a shelf life of 12 months.
  • Because of the squalane base, it has a light oily texture just like squalane oil.
  • The HPR imparts a slight yellow tint, but it isn't visible on the skin.
  • I think this is an ideal treatment for the eye area, since it is unlikely to produce irritation. It's also a great option for skin sensitive to retinol.
  • It MAY help with mild acne, according to this study—however, those subjects were also treated with retinol and papain in addition to HPR. The brand also states that it is not a treatment for acne.
  • Note that this product is no longer sold in Canada, as Health Canada now considers HPR to be a prescription drug.
  • Mad Hippie Vitamin A Serum, another silicone-free, HPR-based retinoid, is a good alternative to this product.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty 

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5 Percent in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane treats signs of aging such as fine lines, pigmentation and rough texture. 

  • A higher-strength alternative to retinol that produces little to no irritation.
  • Contains 0.5 of the active ingredient, hydroxypinacolone retinoate. It still isn't the strongest option on the market—that would be CyberDerm's Retin+Erase, which contains the full one percent HPR.
  • Super-affordable compared to most retinoids on the market.
  • One of the only silicone-free retinoids available.
  • Very stable, with a shelf life of 12 months.
  • Has a light oil texture just like squalane, with a slight yellow tint (which won't show up on the skin).
  • Again, this would be suitable for sensitive skin and the eye area.
  • It MAY help with mild acne, per this study, but the brand does not claim this as a benefit. 
  • Note that this product is no longer sold in Canada, as Health Canada now considers HPR to be a prescription drug.
  • Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinoid Serum contains the same 0.5 percent HPR, along with a one percent encapsulated retinol blend (however, it does contain silicones).

Where to buy: DECIEM • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2 Percent Emulsion

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion treats signs of aging such as fine lines, pigmentation and rough texture.

  • Formerly known as Advanced Retinoid 2%.
  • A unique formulation that contains two types of retinoids, and is said to produce little to no irritation.
  • Contains 0.2 percent hydroxypinacolone retinoate, just like the Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane.
  • Also contains retinol, but they don't disclose how much! All they say is that it is encapsulated and that it enhances the performance of the HPR. Since they're not specifically calling it out on the label, I'm guessing there's less than one percent retinol in here.
  • Very affordable, compared to most retinoids on the market.
  • One of the only silicone-free retinoids available.
  • Has a light weight texture, similar to a creamy serum.
  • Because it is water-based, it's not going to be as stable as the other retinoids in the line. However, they do still promise a 12-month shelf life.
  • My main concern is the high ethyl linoleate, an unsaturated ester of alcohol and linoleic acid that is prone to oxidation. For that reason, I think the other retinoids in the line are better options.
  • Note that this product is no longer sold in Canada, as Health Canada now considers HPR to be a prescription drug.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2 Percent in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane treats fine lines, photo damage and general skin aging.

  • A low-strength retinol that produces only moderate irritation (although I didn't experience any!).
  • Contains 0.2 percent pure retinol. Although it is associated with more irritation, it's a more proven ingredient than the HPR. I also think it's a bit safer, because it's not binding directly to the body's retinoid receptors (which could interfere with vitamin A uptake).
  • One of the lowest-priced retinols I've ever seen.
  • One of the only silicone-free retinoids available.
  • Very stable, with a shelf life of 12 months.
  • Has a lightweight oil texture (and unlike the granactive oils, it's clear).
  • This would be a good product to start with, if you are new to retinol.
  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3 contains a similar amount of retinol, 0.3 percent (but is silicone-based).

Where to buy: DECIEM • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5 Percent in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane treats fine lines, photo damage and general skin aging.

  • A moderate-strength retinol said to produce high irritation (although I didn't find this at all).
  • Contains 0.5 percent pure retinol—again, a more proven and possibly safer ingredient than HPR.
  • One of the lowest-priced retinols I've ever seen.
  • One of the only silicone-free retinoids available.
  • Very stable, with a shelf life of 12 months.
  • Has a lightweight oil texture and is clear.
  • I would try to move up to at least this strength after starting with the 0.2% Retinol, since it will be more effective against photoaging.
  • If your skin is already used to retinols, you could start here and then work your way up to 1% if you can tolerate it.
  • SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 contains the same amount of retinol, 0.5 percent (but is also high in silicones).

Where to buy: DECIEM • UltaCult Beauty

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 1 Percent in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane treats fine lines, photo damage and general skin aging.

  • A high-strength retinol said to produce very high irritation (although I only got increased dryness, which was manageable).
  • Contains one percent pure retinol, which has been shown in studies to improve sun damage and encourage collagen formation. Again, this is a more proven and possibly safer ingredient than HPR.
  • One of the lowest-priced retinols I've ever seen.
  • One of the only silicone-free retinoids available.
  • Very stable, with a shelf life of 12 months.
  • Has a lightweight oil texture and is clear.
  • I would start out with the 0.5% Retinol before using this strength.
  • Other products with the same one percent concentration of retinol include Drunk Elephant A-Passioni (reviewed here), Lixirskin Night Switch Retinol 1%SkinCeuticals Retinol 1.0 and Paula's Choice 1% Retinol Treatment.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Vitamin C:

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30 Percent in Silicone

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone brightens the skin tone and reduces the appearance of signs of aging.

  • Contains 30 percent pure L-ascorbic acid, the highest concentration I've seen.
  • A fraction of the cost of most L-ascorbic acid serums.
  • Since it has a silicone base (no water), it is also more stable and oxidation-resistant than the typical water-based L-ascorbic acid serums like SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic.
  • However, the high silicone content does interfere with the vitamin C absorption—the brand admits this, and says the silicone-free Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is more "efficient" (effective).
  • The silicones will also feel heavier on the skin and may aggravate acne, which is why I'm avoiding this one. More reasons I avoid silicones here!
  • Alterntively, try DCL C Scape High Potency Night Booster 30—it has the same 30 percent concentration of L-ascorbic acid, but is silicone-free.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23 Percent HA Spheres 2 Percent

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% brightens the skin tone and reduces the appearance of signs of aging.

  • Contains 23 percent pure L-ascorbic acid (higher than most formulas on the market), plus two percent hyaluronic acid.
  • Again, it's a fraction of the cost of most L-ascorbic acid serums.
  • Like the Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone, it is water-free, which makes it stable and resistant to oxidation.
  • This formula is also silicone-free, which means you're getting complete exposure to the L-ascorbic acid (whereas silicone-based formulas entrap the active ingredient, reducing effectiveness).
  • Has a heavier texture and gritty feel.
  • My one concern is the isodecyl neopentanoate, which is said to be an alternative to cyclomethicone—a heavy silicone. I think this one can cause breakouts, so if you are acne-prone, you may want to steer clear.
  • If you're looking for a silicone-free alternative, you could try COSRX Triple C Lightning Liquid (20.5 percent L-ascorbic acid) or SkinCeuticals Serum 20 AOX+ (20 percent L-ascorbic acid). However, these formulas aren't as stable as SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (15 percent L-ascorbic acid) which has ferulic acid and vitamin E.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUltaCult Beauty

The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder

The Ordinary 100 Percent L-Ascorbic Acid Powder

The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder

The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder targets uneven skin tone, dullness and signs of aging.

  • A pure L-ascorbic acid powder designed to be mixed with other treatments and applied to the skin. 
  • A much cheaper alternative to the True Botanicals Vitamin C Booster.
  • Comes with a scoop—they recommend mixing one quarter to one half a scoop with five to 10 drops of serum, or a pea- to dime-sized amount of emulsion-based products.
  • Since it's not pre-mixed, the L-ascorbic acid remains fresh and stable.
  • This is a great option if, like me, you've struggled with vitamin C oxidizing before you could use it up!
  • Good Molecules Vitamin C Booster Powder is another pure L-ascorbic acid powder at a similar price point.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12 Percent

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% brightens the skin and targets signs of aging.

  • Contains 12 percent ascorbyl glucoside, a vitamin C derivative.
  • Ascorbyl glucoside is not as powerful as the gold standard, L-ascorbic acid. It's effective for evening out skin tone, but probably won't help much with collagen synthesis.
  • That said, it is highly stable—even in a lightweight, water-based solution (like this).
  • This would suit any skin type, especially acne-prone skin. 
  • It's also fast-absorbing, so it's perfect for layering under other skincare products.
  • Alternatively, try Summer Fridays CC Me Serum, which also contains ascorbyl glucoside along with niacinamide and ethyl ascorbic acid for more brightening power.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20 Percent in Vitamin F

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F brightens the skin tone and reduces the appearance of signs of aging.

  • Contains 20 percent ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, a vitamin C derivative.
  • Like ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate is not as powerful as L-ascorbic acid. I would expect it to help with skin tone, but not collagen synthesis.
  • It is highly stable and oil-soluble (this product has an oily texture).
  • The "vitamin F" in this product is the ethyl linoleate, which has a very unsaturated fatty acid profile—up to 82 percent polyunsaturated (source). 
  • For that reason, I would avoid this formula and choose a vitamin C that doesn't contain unstable fatty acids, such as the Ascorbyl Glucoside 12% Solution or the Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution.
  • Alternatively, try Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Brightening Serum or Joanna Vargas Rescue Serum; they also contain ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate but in a more stable squalane base.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%

The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10 Percent

The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%

The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% brightens the skin tone and reduces the appearance of signs of aging. 

  • Contains 10 percent magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (MAP), a vitamin C derivative.
  • MAP is more stable but less potent than L-ascorbic acid. However, MAP is specifically beneficial for brightening, more so than other vitamin C derivatives.
  • Has a light cream texture, but does contain silicones and sacha inchi oil, an unstable polyunsaturated oil (source). Also contains isodecyl neopentanoate, which may trigger acne.
  • For those reasons, I'd stick with the 100% L-Ascorbic Acid PowderAscorbyl Glucoside 12% Solution or Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution instead.
  • Or, try Glossier Super Glow, which contains five percent magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and is more stable (with a lower silicone content).

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8 Percent Alpha Arbutin 2 Percent

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% brightens and evens out skin tone, and reduces the look of dark spots and signs of aging.

  • A unique combination of two powerful brightening ingredients: eight percent L-ascorbic acid and two percent alpha arbutin.
  • Alpha arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinone and inhibits melanin production. 
  • A stable, water-free and oil-free formula, although it will have an oily feel due to the propanediol base and may trigger breakouts. 
  • I think this is a safer, less irritating alternative to hydroquinone, and it is a simpler formula than the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA. However, there are still questions about the long-term safety of alpha arbutin.
  • For brightening, I'd probably stick to other forms of vitamin C or the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%This study found that niacinamide gave the same results as hydroquinone, without the side effects.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution

The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15 Percent Solution

The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution

The Ordinary Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution brightens the skin tone.

  • Contains 15 percent ethyl ascorbic acid, a vitamin C derivative.
  • This study found that as little as two percent brightened skin and improved radiance after one month of twice-daily application.
  • More stable than L-ascorbic acid, especially in this water-free, propanediol-based formula.
  • The oily texture may aggravate acne-prone skin.
  • Otherwise, I think this is a great option for anyone seeking more "glow."
  • The company also offers this ingredient in higher concentrations: Hylamide C25 Stabilized Vitamin C Booster (25 percent ethyl ascorbic acid) and NIOD Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid 30% Network (30 percent ethyl ascorbic acid).
  • Alternatively, try Dermadoctor Kakadu C 20% Vitamin C Serum, which has 20 percent ethyl ascorbic acid.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Direct Acids:

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7 Percent Toning Solution

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution exfoliates the skin, improving radiance, clarity and texture. 

  • Contains seven percent glycolic acid along with amino acids, aloe vera, ginseng and Tasmanian pepperberry to help reduce irritation.
  • Has a low (acidic) pH of 3.5-3.7.
  • As far as glycolic acid goes, this is a good formula. But I tend not to recommend glycolic in general because it can be irritating, inflammatory and sensitizing. As an AHA, it makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage.
  • The brand actually cautions against acids for these reasons (even though they sell them!), suggesting that "indirect" exfoliation with NIOD Non-Acid Acid Precursor 15% is safer. 
  • Personally, I feel that BHAs/salicylic acid are a better choice than AHAs, as they are anti-inflammatory and have some photoprotective properties—more about this here
  • For a slightly stronger treatment at a similar price point, try The Inkey List Glycolic Acid Toner with 10 percent glycolic acid.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2 Percent Solution

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution exfoliates the skin and inside the walls of pores to fight acne and improve clarity.

  • Contains two percent salicylic acid at a pH of 3.2-4.0.
  • An inexpensive alternative to the pricier Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (which contains the same amount of salicylic acid).
  • Ideal for treating and preventing acne, blackheads and congestion.
  • Can be applied as a spot treatment or all over the face. I've had great success using BHAs twice a day all over—more about this here
  • I'm not sure why the brand suggests that retinoic acid and benzoyl peroxide will be more effective for acne... I've not found that to be true at all, and salicylic acid is also a much safer ingredient. 
  • Can also be used as a general exfoliant, brightener and anti-aging treatment. More here about salicylic acid's many benefits. 
  • My only concern is the high concentration of witch hazel (the second ingredient), which can be irritating for sensitive skin. I'm not able to use this formula—I get a flaky red rash! So don't rule out salicylic acid if you experience the same thing. I've had much greater success with COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid, reviewed here.
  • That said, I know many people do tolerate this product just fine. The best way to proceed is to do a patch test first, before you make it a regular part of your routine.
  • Another witch hazel-free option is The Inkey List Beta Hydroxy Acid, which has two percent salicylic acid and a similar price point.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10 Percent

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% brightens the skin and evens out tone while reducing the look of blemishes.

  • Contains 10 percent azelaic acid, a dicarboxylic acid that is naturally produced by yeast that live on our skin.
  • Helps acne in numerous ways. It kills bacteria, decreases redness and swelling, loosens dead skin cells and reduces production of keratin protein (both skin cells and keratin can clog pores). It can also help get rid of post-acne marks faster.
  • If you don't have acne, you could use this for its antioxidant properties and to fade pigmentation.
  • Has a lightweight cream-gel texture and a pH of 4.00-5.00 (so it's not super acidic).
  • My main concern is the high silicone content, which might negate some of the benefits. If you know your skin doesn't do well with silicone, you probably want to avoid this. Otherwise, it may be worth a shot!
  • Note that this product is not sold in Canada, where azelaic acid is available by prescription only.
  • For a low-silicone option, try Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster, which delivers the same 10 percent concentration of azelaic acid.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5 Percent HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA exfoliates the skin.

  • Their mildest acid exfoliator.
  • Contains five percent lactic acid plus Tasmanian pepperberry to reduce irritation.
  • Has an acidic pH of 3.60-3.80.
  • If you want to use AHAs, I generally recommend lactic instead of glycolic acid, since it's gentler and hydrating. However, AHAs are more irritating than BHAs, and make skin sun-sensitive.
  • I would start with this formula before moving up to the Lactic Acid 10% + HA.
  • A similar formula with five percent lactic acid is Revolution 5% Lactic Acid + Hyaluronic Acid Mild Skin Exfoliator, which is also inexpensive.

Where to buy: DECIEMUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10 Percent HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA exfoliates the skin.

  • A high-strength 10 percent lactic acid exfoliator with calming Tasmanian pepperberry.
  • Has an acidic pH of 3.60-3.80.
  • I think this is a better choice than glycolic acid, but again, like all AHAs, it will make your skin more sensitive to the sun and could be irritating.
  • If you're new to acids, use the Lactic Acid 5% + HA before moving up to this strength.
  • Alternatively, try The Inkey List Lactic Acid or ClarityRx Brighten It 10% Lactic Acid Solution, which also contain 10 percent lactic acid

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10 Percent HA

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA exfoliates the skin.

  • One of the few mandelic acid formulas on the market. (Unlike lactic and glycolic, mandelic is not a naturally occurring acid and must be artificially created in a lab from bitter almonds.)
  • Contains 10 percent mandelic acid, with an acidic pH of 3.50-3.70.
  • Mandelic acid is the gentlest alpha-hydroxy acid, due to its large molecule size. 
  • May be suitable for sensitive skin that can't tolerate even low-dose lactic acid. However, being an AHA, it will still increase photosensitivity.
  • I'm also not entirely convinced of its safety—Dr. Loren Pickart, whose opinion I trust, considers it a neurotoxin. (See this study, for example.)
  • Until we know more, I think the Lactic 5% + HA is a safer alternative.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

The Ordinary AHA 30 Percent BHA 2 Percent Peeling Solution

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is a 10-minute exfoliating peel to brighten, even out skin tone, clear congestion and fight acne.

  • An inexpensive alternative to Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, which has 25 percent AHAs and two percent BHAs.
  • Contains 30 percent alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids) and two percent beta-hydroxy acids (salicylic acid).
  • Also includes hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and Tasmanian pepperberry to calm the skin, plus black carrot, which acts as an antioxidant.
  • Has an acidic pH of 3.5 - 3.7.
  • Should only be used twice a week, at night.
  • It's not a bad treatment, but I would argue that you'd get better results from daily use of a mild acid, especially a BHA like the COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid. More about this here!
  • Note that this product is not sold in Canada, where AHA concentration must be under 10 percent.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2 Percent Masque

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque is an exfoliating and brightening mask for oily and acne-prone skin.

  • The brand's first face mask.
  • Contains two percent salicylic acid, the same amount as the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution. It helps remove surface dead skin cells, so skin looks brighter and feels smoother. Salicylic acid also deep-cleans the pores (although they're not claiming that here).
  • Also contains kaolin clay and charcoal, which attract and remove pore-clogging debris.
  • Has a pH of 3.5-4.50, which is slightly higher than the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, but still acidic.
  • Silicone-free and oil-free (although it does contain squalane, which I consider an oil).
  • Meant to be used once or twice per week on dry skin for no more than 10 minutes before rinsing off. 
  • I would argue that you'd get more skin benefits from using a mild leave-on salicylic acid treatment as often as daily, if tolerated. Some good options include COSRX Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol, COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad and Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum.
  • Since it doesn't contain witch hazel, this mask should not cause irritation like the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Antioxidants:

The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%

The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5 Percent

The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%

The Ordinary Alpha Lipoic Acid 5% fights free radicals and improves skin texture and tone.

  • Contains five percent alpha lipoic acid (ALA), an enzyme with strong antioxidant activity.
  • ALA inhibits the cross-linking that contributes to wrinkles, and is said to deliver a glow after just one application. However, keep in mind that much of the research was done and popularized by Dr. Nicholas Perricone, who has a conflict of interest because he uses ALA in his own products
  • A stable, water-free and oil-free preparation, but has an oily feel due to the propanediol.
  • Because of the high concentration of ALA, sensitive skin will probably find this too harsh.
  • Meant to be applied only two or three times a week, at night, so could be a good alternative to daily vitamin C.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1%

The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1 Percent

The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1%

The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1% protects against free radical damage and reduces redness.

  • Contains 0.1 percent EUK-134 (ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol manganese chloride), a synthetic molecule with potent antioxidant activity.
  • EUK-134 helps prevent and repair UVB damage, and is said to be one of the strongest antioxidants available (see study here).
  • Likely the only product offering it in such a high concentration.
  • A stable, water-free formula, although the propanediol may be problematic for acne.
  • Must not be used near acids or vitamin C in your routine.
  • A great alternative to vitamin C-based antioxidant serums.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5%

The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5 Percent

The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5%

The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% fights free radicals and improves skin hydration and elasticity.

  • Contains five percent Pycnogenol, a trade name for a type of bark extract derived from pine trees that grow along the coast of southwest France.
  • The extract contains procyanindins (flavonoids), bioflavonoids and phenolic acids that have been found to protect from free radicals and the degradation of collagen and elastin.
  • Although there are many clinical studies on this ingredient, almost all them have used Pycnogenol as an oral supplement—not a topical. So it's not as proven as vitamin C, but could be a good alternative antioxidant for those who can't tolerate it.
  • Also has the ability to restore the activity of oxidized vitamin C. If you've struggled with vitamin C oxidizing on your skin, this could be a great treatment. (They suggest applying the Pycnogenol first, then the vitamin C.) 
  • Has a deep red colour that can stain light-coloured fabric, but shouldn't show up on your skin since you're only meant to use one or two drops.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%

The Ordinary Resveratrol 3 Percent Ferulic Acid 3 Percent

The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%

The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% protects from free radical damage.

  • Contains three percent each of resveratrol, a phenol derived from Japanese knotweed, and ferulic acid, a phytochemical.
  • Stronger than most formulas with these active ingredients, which typically have less than 0.5 to one percent. For example, SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E only contains one percent resveratrol.
  • A simple propanediol-based formula (although it has an oily texture that may not work for acne-prone skin).
  • I would avoid this one since resveratrol has been shown to have estrogenic actions (source).

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Hydrators and Oils:

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100 Percent Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil hydrates and calms the skin.

  • A soothing, nourishing oil derived from the seeds of the borage (starflower) plant.
  • Its fatty acid profile is about 35 to 38 percent polyunsaturated, which I would consider too high (I try to avoid oils that are higher than about 15 percent). 
  • I think the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane and the 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil are better choices, as they're more stable and resistant to oxidation.

Where to buy: DECIEMCult Beauty

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil

The Ordinary 100 Percent Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil hydrates the skin and reduces the appearance of flaking.

  • An unrefined, cold-pressed oil derived from the kernels of the argan tree.
  • An inexpensive alternative to Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil.
  • Cold-pressing does make it more resistant to oxidation, however, it is still has significant polyunsaturated fatty acid content—about 38 percent, which I consider too high.
  • However, it would be fine to use on your hair, since it helps add sheen and softness.
  • For skin, go for the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane or 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil instead.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100 Percent Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil hydrates and reduces signs of photo-aging.

  • An unrefined, cold-pressed oil that is derived from the seeds of the rose bush.
  • An inexpensive alternative to Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil.
  • Cold-pressed does make it more resistant to oxidation, but it's still a very unsaturated oil, from 67 to 87 percent polyunsaturated (source). That means it is unstable by nature and will degrade relatively quickly in the presence of light, oxygen and the heat of your skin.
  • Saturated and monounsaturated oils like the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane and 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil are much better options.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

The Ordinary 100 Percent Plant-Derived Squalane

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane hydrates the skin and protects it from water loss.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane

The Ordinary 100 Percent Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane hydrates the skin and hair.

  • A low-molecular weight squalane.
  • Faster-absorbing than the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, leaving no oily residue behind.
  • An ideal lightweight oil for taming frizz in all hair types.
  • For skin, I'd stick with regular Squalane. I'm hesitant to use fragmented, low molecular weight ingredients on my skin, due to concerns about bioaccumulation.

Where to buy: DECIEM 

The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100 Percent Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil hydrates and calms the skin.

  • A soothing, nourishing oil derived from the seeds of the chia plant (a member of the mint family).
  • An inexpensive alternative to Maya Chia Supercritical Omega-3 Chia Face Oil.
  • It is a highly unsaturated oil, about 73 percent polyunsaturated—meaning it will oxidize and go rancid fast (if it isn't already at time of purchase).
  • That makes it more suitable as a hair oil, where the oxidation doesn't matter.
  • For skin, I would definitely avoid this one and go for the more stable 100% Plant-Derived Squalane or 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil instead.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephora • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

The Ordinary 100 Percent Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil hydrates the skin and may brighten its tone.

  • An unrefined, cold-pressed oil derived from the kernels of the fruits of the marula tree.
  • A much cheaper alternative to the popular Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil.
  • It's a fairly stable oil, comprised of mostly monounsaturated fatty acids. The polyunsaturated content is only four to seven percent, which is acceptable.
  • Since it's a heavier oil, this is probably not suitable for acne-prone skin, but it would be great for dry skin.

Where to buy: DECIEMUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil

The Ordinary 100 Percent Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil

The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil hydrates the skin and helps maintain normal barrier function.

  • A nourishing oil derived from the pulp of the berries on the sea buckthorn shrub.
  • Because it is high in carotenoids and lycopene, it has an orangey-red colour that will be visible on the skin until it is washed off.
  • It is a primarily monounsaturated oil, and naturally high in antioxidants such as vitamin E, carotenoids and lycopene, which theoretically could help fight free radical damage.
  • However, it also contains about 15 to 26 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids (source), which have a much longer half-life than the antioxidants.
  • While it's a better choice than sea buckthorn oils that are derived from the berry seeds (they are very polyunsaturated), the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane and the 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil are going to be more stable and protective.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary “B” Oil

The Ordinary B Oil

The Ordinary "B" Oil

The Ordinary "B" Oil hydrates and calms the skin.

  • Contains a blend of squalane, marula, argan, baobab, pataua, brazil nut, inca inchi, rosehip and borage oils.
  • Also includes an algae (isochrysis galbana extract) that stimulates melanin production for darker skin pigmentation and accelerates tanning time from UV rays (source). Strangely, they only claim that it will give you "radiance."
  • Although the squalane may have a slight stabilizing effect, I would avoid this based on the high polyunsaturated fatty acid content of the argan, baobab, brazil nut, inca inchi, rosehip and borage oils. This will cause them to oxidize quickly.
  • More stable oil blends include Herbivore Orchid Facial Oil and Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora 

The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5

The Ordinary Amino Acids B5

The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5

The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5 hydrates the skin.

  • A water-based serum with amino acids and panthenol.
  • Similar to Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, it replicates the natural amino acids in our skin that keep us hydrated.
  • Amino acids may also help with anti-aging.
  • Lightweight, oil-free and silicone-free.
  • This would be ideal for layering under creams or oils, or to wear alone if you don't need much hydration.

Where to buy: DECIEM • Sephora

The Ordinary Hylauronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary Hylauronic Acid 2 Percent B5

The Ordinary Hylauronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary Hylauronic Acid 2% + B5 hydrates and plumps the skin.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephora • Ulta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics hydrates the skin.

  • An alternative to hyaluronic acid-based hydrating serums.
  • Contains algae, polysaccharides and proteins derived from marine bacteria.
  • Has a super-light texture—it's less sticky and sinks in faster than Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5.
  • Silicone-free and oil-free.
  • The only downside is an unpleasant scent... kind of like fermented fish or something! Fortunately, I've found it goes away if you layer something else, like a sunscreen, on top.

Where to buy: DECIEMUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA hydrates the skin and targets signs of aging.

  • The least expensive moisturizer on the market, and one of the few silicone-free moisturizers available.
  • A unique amino acid-based cream, suitable for most skin.
  • Replicates our own Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF), which are naturally-occurring amino acid compounds that bind and hold onto water.
  • Amino acids not only hydrate, but also perform many of the same functions as retinoids, such as improving fine lines and wrinkles and treating sun damage.
  • Oil-free, with a light, non-greasy texture.
  • Alternatively, try Indie Lee Active Oil-Free Moisturizer or Omorovicza Elemental Emulsion; they're even more moisturizing, and also silicone-free and oil-free.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Peptides:

The Ordinary “Buffet”

The Ordinary Buffet

The Ordinary "Buffet"

The Ordinary "Buffet" targets multiple signs of aging.

  • Contains five different peptide complexes in a base of amino acids, hyaluronic acid and probiotics.
  • Matrixyl 3000 is proven to stimulate collagen production (source), but its action has been compared to TGF-B1, an inflammatory scar-forming protein (source).
  • Syn-Ake and Agirelox (a newer version of Argireline) help relax the muscular contractions that contribute to dynamic wrinkles, and have been compared to Botox. However, there have been anecdotal reports about sagging from these types of peptides.
  • It's worth noting that some dermatologists, such as Dr. Leslie Baumann, believe peptides are overrated.
  • They also interact with other ingredients—the brand advises not to use this formula in the same routine as acids, L-ascorbic acid or ethyl ascorbic acid.
  • Personally, I'd stick with more proven anti-aging ingredients like retinoids and vitamin C!
  • Similar serums with multiple peptides include Kate Somerville Kx Active Concentrates Bio-Mimicking Peptides Serum and Revolution Multi Peptide Serum.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%

The Ordinary Buffet Copper Peptides 1 Percent

The Ordinary "Buffet" + Copper Peptides 1%

The Ordinary "Buffet" + Copper Peptides 1% targets multiple signs of aging.

  • The most affordable copper peptide product I've seen. 
  • Contains one percent copper peptides, along with the same actives found in "Buffet": Matrixyl 3000, Matrixyl Synthe'6, Syn-Ake, Relistase, Argirelox, probiotics, amino acids and hyaluronic acid. (The total concentration of actives in here is 26.1 percent!)
  • Copper peptides stimulate healthy collagen production and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. They have been found to reduce wrinkles, sun damage and hyperpigmentation, and improve skin elasticity, density and firmness (see this study).
  • Has a blue tint (which disappears when rubbed into the skin) and a jelly-like texture. Just a warning, it smells a bit like blood!
  • Although I'm not in love with some of the "Buffet" peptides, I think this would be worth using for the copper peptides alone, which are a great alternative to retinoids (and just as beneficial for the skin, if not more so).
  • The brand advises not to use this in the same routine as acids, L-ascorbic acid or ethyl ascorbic acid... but I'm thinking the acids should be okay, since Dr. Loren Pickart (who pioneered copper peptides) often suggests them together.
  • The company also offers NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1 with two percent copper peptides.
  • Alternatively, try the copper peptide serums from Dr Roebuck's, NuFace or Skin Biology.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA

The Ordinary Matrixyl 10 Percent HA

The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA

The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA reduces the look of static and dynamic wrinkles.

  • Contains two Matrixyl peptide complexes, Matrixyl 3000 and Matrixyl Synthe'6, along with hyaluronic acid.
  • For static wrinkles, Matrixyl 3000 signals your skin to produce more collagen. But this may be the wrong kind of collagen—the stiff, inflexible type associated with scar formation.
  • For dynamic wrinkles, Matrixyl Synthe'6 stimulates the synthesis of six components of the skin matrix, and is particularly effective for reducing forehead lines and crow's feet.
  • The brand advises not to use this in the same routine as acids, L-ascorbic acid or ethyl ascorbic acid.
  • I think this is a better choice than "Buffet" and Argireline Solution 10%, but not as proven as the retinoid family.
  • Revolution 10% Matrixyl Wrinkle & Fine Line Reducing Serum has the same concentration of Matrixyl, at a similar low price. Or try The Inkey List Collagen Booster.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%

The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10 Percent

The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10%

The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% improves the appearance of dynamic wrinkles.

  • Argireline is a peptide that is claimed to have a "Botox-like effect" by targeting wrinkles caused by muscle movement.
  • The 10 percent concentration found in this product has been shown to decrease wrinkle depth by 17 percent after 15 days (source).
  • The brand advises not to use this in the same routine as acids, L-ascorbic acid or ethyl ascorbic acid.
  • What is unknown is how the skin reacts long-term or after you stop using it... anecdotally, some people have reported sagging! (This is along the same lines as Botox, which can cause muscle atrophy after prolonged use.)
  • I'd consider this more of a "quick fix," not something that actually builds better skin. Personally, I'm more comfortable with tried-and-true retinoids or vitamin C!

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary More Molecules:

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10 Percent Zinc 1 Percent

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% balances sebum activity and reduces the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion.

  • One of the only high-dose niacinamide treatments on the market.
  • Certainly the lowest-priced—it's a much cheaper alternative to Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster.
  • Despite only marketing it as a treatment for reducing acne and excess oil production, niacinamide can actually help with many other skin issues, and is suitable for all skin types.
  • For acne, this study found that topical niacinamide gave comparable results to one percent clindamycin gel. 
  • This report determined it can reduce pore size and oil production while improving fine lines and wrinkles.
  • This study found niacinamide was as effective as hydroquinone for pigmentation.
  • Niacinamide also helps calm redness, reduces sallowness and brightens skin. 
  • Unfortunately, the texture is not as elegant as other formulations—it's a little sticky, and tends to pill when worn under other products. See my tutorial for tips on how to prevent pilling!
  • Alternatively, try Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum, which has the same 10 percent concentration of niacinamide at a low price point.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2 Percent HA

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA reduces the look of dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

  • Alpha arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinone, and treats pigmentation by inhibiting the formation of melanin.
  • Contains a high two percent concentration, rather than the one percent typically used.
  • I think it's a safer choice than hydroquinone, and less irritating.
  • But I'd still recommend niacinamide (Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%) or vitamin C as the safest brightening treatments. This study shows that niacinamide offers similar effects to hydroquinone without side effects.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5 Percent EGCG

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG reduces the look of puffiness and dark circles.

Where to buy: DECIEMSephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Cleansers:

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser is a gentle cleanser and makeup remover for all skin types.

  • The most affordable cleanser on the market.
  • Soap-free and sulfate-free, so it won't strip the skin's natural moisture barrier.
  • Also moisturizing, due to the high squalane oil content.
  • Has a cream consistency that turns into an oil when you rub it between your hands. (You're supposed to this before applying it to dry skin.)
  • The squalane and sucrose esters (sucrose stearate, laurate and trilaurate) dissolve and trap debris so it can rinsed off with water. However, for stubborn makeup or sunscreen, you may need to cleanse twice and/or use the cloth method.
  • Other excellent cream cleansers include Dr Roebuck's Noosa Nourishing Creme Cleanser, Peet Rivko Gentle Cleanser and Naturally Serious Major Moisture Gentle Cream Cleanser.

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Suncare:

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants protects skin from the sun.

  • Along with their SPF 15, this is the lowest-priced mineral sunscreen I've seen.
  • Protects with 14.03 percent zinc oxide and 5.44 percent titanium dioxide.
  • Slightly low in active ingredients, but better than most sunscreens. (For adequate UVA and UVB protection, I like to see at least 15 percent zinc oxide and at least 7.5 percent titanium dioxide. See my sunscreen ingredients tutorial for more information.)
  • High in silicones, which could aggravate acne-prone skin. More reasons I avoid silicones here.
  • The sunflower seed oil (seventh ingredient) is somewhat of a concern—I don't think it should be present in high amounts in sunscreens, since it becomes unstable in UV light.
  • Has a tendency to leave a white cast, so may not be suitable for darker skin tones.
  • This is a better choice than their SPF 15, but there are more elegant options, such as the sunscreens from REN, Ava Isa and Drunk Elephant. See my mineral sunscreen guide for more!

Where to buy: DECIEM • SephoraUlta • Cult Beauty

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 with Antioxidants

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 with Antioxidants

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 with Antioxidants

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 with Antioxidants protects skin from the sun.

  • Along with their SPF 30, this is the lowest-priced mineral sunscreen I've seen.
  • Protects with 9.76 percent zinc oxide and 3.74 percent titanium dioxide.
  • Definitely too low in active ingredients. For adequate UVA and UVB protection, you need at least 15 percent zinc oxide and at least 7.5 percent titanium dioxide. See my sunscreen ingredients tutorial for more information.
  • Also high in silicones and unstable sunflower seed oil.
  • Has a tendency to leave a white cast, so may not be suitable for darker skin tones.
  • I would go with the SPF 30 over this one, or see my mineral sunscreen guide for more options. 

Where to buy: DECIEM • Cult Beauty

Conclusion

The Ordinary skincare review

The Ordinary's skincare offerings are too affordable not to try.

​I hope this helps you make your purchase decisions regarding The Ordinary

ANY skincare aficionado would be impressed by their concept of simple, affordable, ingredient-focused serums, which have never existed before! 

Plus, they're really too affordable NOT to try. If they don't work for you, it's no big hit to your wallet, right?

To sum up, here are my top picks:

I'd love to hear what you think!

Shop Editor’s Picks

Have you tried anything from The Ordinary?
Which products have worked / not worked for you?

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