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

This article was last updated in December 2018.

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 Toronto-based skincare entrepreneur Brandon Truaxe. He founded its parent company, DECIEM, in 2013, and runs several other beauty brands under the DECIEM umbrella, including NIODHylamide, The Chemistry Brand and Fountain.

Already, The Ordinary is the biggest seller, 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 Brandon 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
  • 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 produces no irritation (according to the brand).
  • Contains 0.2 percent of the active ingredient, hydroxypinacolone retinoate (HPR), which is a retinoic acid ester that is said to have 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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOSBeauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Squalane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bisabolol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil.

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. Health Canada allows a maximum of 1 percent, so it still isn't the strongest option on the market—that would be CyberDerm's Retin+Erase, which contains the full 1 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. 

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOSBeauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's BayWell.ca

Ingredients: Squalane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bisabolol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil.

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 1 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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • Beautylish • Cult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinol, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Xanthan gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Isoceteth-20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOSBeauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM

Ingredients: Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, BHT.

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.

Where to buy: Adore BeautyASOSBeauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM

Ingredients: Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, BHT.

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 1 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.

Where to buy: Adore BeautyBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay

Ingredients: Squalane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Retinol, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, BHT.

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!

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay 

Ingredients: Dimethicone, Ascorbic Acid, Polysilicone-11, PEG-10 Dimethicone.

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 2 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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOSBeauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid, Squalane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Coconut Alkanes, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glucomannan, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trihydroxystearin, BHT.

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!

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult Beauty • DECIEM • Well.ca

Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid.

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 (which this is).
  • 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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • Beautylish • Cult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Ascorbyl Glucoside, Propanediol, Aminomethyl Propanol, Triethanolamine, Isoceteth-20, Xanthan gum, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • Beauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Coconut Alkanes, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ethyl Linoleate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Squalane.

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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOSBeauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Coco Caprylate/caprate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Coconut Alkanes, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Polyglycerol-3 Polyricinoleate, Glycerin, Hexamethyldisiloxane, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Tocopherol, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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: 8 percent L-ascorbic acid and 2 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: ASOS • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Propanediol, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha-Arbutin.

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 2 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."

Where to buy: Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Well.ca

Ingredients: Propanediol, Ethyl Ascorbic Acid.

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 7 percent glycolic acid along with amino acids, aloe vera, ginseng and Tasmanian pepperberry to help reduce irritation.
  • As far as glycolic acid goes, this is a good formula—but I tend not to recommend glycolic in general as it makes skin more susceptible to sun damage and can be irritating, inflammatory and sensitizing.
  • 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

Where to buy: Adore BeautyASOS • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay 

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycolic Acid, Rosa damascena flower water, Centaurea cyanus flower water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Triethanolamine, Aminomethyl Propanol, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Aspartic Acid, Alanine, Glycine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Glutamic Acid, Arginine, PCA, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Hexyl Nicotinate, Dextrin, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Gellan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Hexylene Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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.

  • An inexpensive alternative to the pricey Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (which also contains 2 percent 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 some people. I'm not able to use this formula because of it—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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • Beautylish • Cult Beauty • DECIEM • Hudson's Bay 

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Leaf Water, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Ethoxydiglycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, 1,2-hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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.
  • 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.

Where to buy: ASOSBeauty BayCult BeautyDECIEM 

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Dimethicone, Azelaic Acid, Dimethicone/Bis-Isobutyl PPG-20 Crosspolymer, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polysilicone-11, Isohexadecane, Tocopherol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Triethanolamine, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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 5 percent lactic acid plus Tasmanian pepperberry to reduce irritation.
  • 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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca 

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

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.
  • 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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • Beautylish • Cult Beauty • DECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

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

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.)
  • 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: Adore BeautyASOS • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMWell.ca

Ingredients: Propanediol, Aqua (Water), Mandelic Acid, Glycerin, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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.

  • Contains 30 percent alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids) and 2 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.
  • 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 mild acid, especially a mild BHA. More about this here!
  • Note that this product is not sold in Canada.

Where to buy: ASOSBeauty Bay • Cult BeautyDECIEM 

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.

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 5 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: Adore BeautyASOSBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's Bay

Ingredients: Propanediol, Thioctic Acid.

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: ASOSBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's Bay

Ingredients: Propanediol, Ethylbisiminomethylguaiacol manganese chloride.

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 5 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

Ingredients: Propanediol, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract.

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 3 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 1 percent.
  • 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: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's Bay 

Ingredients: Propanediol, Resveratrol, Ferulic Acid.

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: Adore Beauty • Beauty Bay • BeautylishDECIEM • Well.ca

Ingredients: Borago Officinalis Seed Oil.

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.
  • 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: Adore BeautyASOSBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's BayWell.ca

Ingredients: Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil.

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.
  • 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: Adore BeautyBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's BayWell.ca

Ingredients: Rosa Canina Seed Oil.

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.

  • The least expensive squalane oil on the market.
  • A very stable (100 percent saturated) and non-comedogenic oil, suitable for all skin types. Read more about its benefits here!
  • I've tried this and more expensive squalanes—Peter Thomas Roth, Indie Lee and Biossance—and I can't really tell the difference between them.
  • This is the best face oil to buy from their line.
  • It can also be used on the hair to protect, add shine and reduce potential breakage.

Where to buy: Adore BeautyASOSBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's BayWell.ca

Ingredients: Squalane.

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

Ingredients: C13-16 Isoparaffin.

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).
  • 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: ASOSBeauty BayCult BeautyDECIEMWell.ca

Ingredients: Salvia Hispanica Seed Oil.

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 fat. The polyunsaturated content is only 4 to 7 percent, which is acceptable.
  • Since it's a heavier oil, this is probably not suitable for the acne-prone, but it would be great for dry skin.

Where to buy: Adore BeautyBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's BayWell.ca

Ingredients: Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil.

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: Adore Beauty • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Well.ca

Ingredients: Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit Oil.

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)—although 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 content of the argan, baobab, brazil nut, inca inchi, rosehip and borage oils, which will cause them to oxidize quickly.

Where to buy: ASOSBeauty BayDECIEM

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Bisabolol, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Isochrysis Galbana Extract, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Seed Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Oenocarpus Bataua Fruit Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Hydroxymethoxyphenyl Decanone, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol.

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—so should be ideal for layering under creams or oils, or to wear alone if you don't need much hydration.

Where to buy: ASOS • Beauty Bay • DECIEM

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Propanediol, Betaine, Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Sodium Lactate, Arginine, PCA, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Threonine, Valine, Proline, Isoleucine, Lysine HCl, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Glutamic Acid, Citric Acid, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol. 

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.

  • The most affordable hyaluronic acid serum I've seen.
  • Their answer to SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel.
  • Unlike many hyaluronic acid products, which sit on the surface and actually draw moisture OUT of the skin (more about that here), this one is formulated to penetrate and improve hydration levels.
  • My main concern is that it contains low-molecular weight hyaluronic acid, which is associated with inflammation and scarring.
  • For that reason, this isn't a product I would personally use, but since it contains high- and medium- weight hyaluronic acid as well, you're at least getting a variety of molecule sizes. (I'd still recommend Consonant HydrExtreme instead, since it outperforms hyaluronic acid and is made with just two natural ingredients. See my review here.)

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • Beautylish • Cult Beauty • DECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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: Adore Beauty • Beauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's BayWell.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Algae Extract, Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Arginine, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, Propanediol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Salicylate, Sodium Benzoate, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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.

  • A very unique, amino acid-based moisturizing cream.
  • Replicates our skin's own Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF)—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.
  • Has a light, non-greasy texture.
  • One of the few silicone-free moisturizers on the market.

Where to buy: Adore BeautyASOSBeauty BayBeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Hudson's BayWell.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Glucose, Maltose, Fructose, Trehalose, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Urea, Allantoin, Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Lecithin, Triolein, Tocopherol, Carbomer, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Pentylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

The Ordinary More Molecules:

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. (It's half the cost of NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum 2:1, for example.)
  • Contains 1 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.

Where to buy: Adore BeautyASOS • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEM • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Copper Tripeptide-1, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Trehalose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Urea, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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 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 1 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.
  • It should also help calm redness, reduce sallowness and brighten the 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!

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty BayBeautylish • Cult Beauty • DECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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!

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOSBeauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Trehalose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Urea, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • ASOS • Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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 2 percent concentration, rather than the 1 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: ASOS • Beauty Bay • Beautylish • Cult Beauty • DECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Alpha-Arbutin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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.

  • Contains 5 percent caffeine, which may reduce darkness and puffiness by increasing circulation (see this study).
  • Also contains EGCG (epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside), a polyphenol with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
  • It's worth a try, but I'm not convinced this will do much for dark circles, as those are usually related to food allergies, low thyroid or both.
  • However, caffeine has many other beneficial effects for the skin, including repairing sun damage, acting like a sunscreen (though it's NOT a replacement for sunscreen) and inhibiting carcinogenesis. It may also give temporary improvement of cellulite.

Where to buy: Adore Beauty • Beauty Bay • Beautylish • Cult Beauty • DECIEM • Hudson's Bay • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caffeine, Maltodextrin, Glycerin, Propanediol, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Hyaluronic Acid, Oxidized Glutathione, Melanin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Urea, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Xanthan gum, Lactic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Propyl Gallate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Benzyl Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

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 Argireline... 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: Beauty Bay • BeautylishCult BeautyDECIEMHudson's Bay 

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Propanediol, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Gellan Gum, Sodium Chloride, Isoceteth-20, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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 non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • They unfortunately don't disclose the percentages of the active ingredients, so it's impossible to know whether this gives adequate protection. See my tutorial for what I look for in a sunscreen.
  • High in silicones, which could aggravate acne-prone skin. More reasons I avoid silicones here.
  • The sunflower seed oil 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.
  • This is a better choice than their SPF 15, but these sunscreens meet more of my criteria (high protection and free of silicones and unstable oils).

Where to buy: ASOS • Beauty Bay • Cult BeautyDECIEM • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Astaxanthin, Disodium Uridine Phosphate, Ethyl Ferulate, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Picea Mariana Bark Extract, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Glucose, Maltose, Fructose, Trehalose, Urea, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Isochrysis Galbana Extract, Lysolecithin, Lecithin, Triolein, Pentylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Polyglyceryl-5 Trioleate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Tocopherol, Alumina, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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 non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  • Again, they don't disclose the percentages of the active ingredients, and this SPF 15 version would give you even less protection than the SPF 30.
  • Also high in silicones and unstable sunflower seed oil.
  • I would go with the SPF 30 over this one, but these sunscreens are preferable to both (they give a high level of protection without the silicones and unstable oils). 

Where to buy: ASOS • Cult BeautyDECIEM • Well.ca

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hexyl Laurate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Astaxanthin, Disodium Uridine Phosphate, Ethyl Ferulate, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, Picea Mariana Bark Extract, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Glucose, Maltose, Fructose, Trehalose, Urea, Allantoin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Isochrysis Galbana Extract, Lysolecithin, Lecithin, Triolein, Pentylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Polyglyceryl-5 Trioleate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Tocopherol, Alumina, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

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

Yes, there are a few things I'd avoid, and I may not agree with some of their ingredient claims. I also wonder a bit about the quality of ingredients we're getting, and whether, in the rush to market, they've gone through appropriate testing. 

However, 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?

I'd love to hear what you think!

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