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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

35 Models Considered
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1 Experts Interviewed
418 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best The Ordinary skincare

Last Updated July 2020

Finding high-quality skincare products is always a challenge, but it can be even tougher if you’re on a budget. That’s why The Ordinary skincare products are so popular. Not only do they deliver real results, but they also offer affordable prices that won’t break the bank.

The Ordinary skincare products are all about simplicity. From the ingredients to the product names to the packaging, the brand puts its formulas front and center. Each product is named for its main active ingredient(s), so you know exactly what you’re getting. The Ordinary is a full-service skincare brand, which means you can choose from cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, masks, and other key products to build an entire skincare regimen. Best of all, whether you’re a savvy skincare shopper or a skincare novice, The Ordinary has products that will fit your needs to a T.

Our buying guide is chock-full of tips to help you choose the best The Ordinary skincare products for your skin. We even offer up some specific product recommendations to take all the guesswork out of shopping.

The Ordinary employs an in-house team of biochemists and materials chemists to develop its formulations.

Key considerations

Product type

The Ordinary offers nearly every kind of skincare product that you need to build a complete skincare regimen, including the following:

Cleansers: These are obviously an essential part of any skincare routine because they wash away dirt, oil, makeup, bacteria, and other grime that can lead to breakouts, enlarged pores, uneven texture, and other skin issues.

Toners: These are usually used after the cleanser to remove any dirt, makeup, or other residue still lingering on the skin. Some toners can also help tighten the pores and/or exfoliate the skin.

Serums: These are lightweight products that usually contain antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients to improve skin tone and texture. They’re extremely effective at penetrating the skin and can boost moisture as well.

Face oils: These are filled with nutrients but are also extremely useful for hydrating the skin. They can be mixed in with a serum or moisturizer or layered over your moisturizer.

Moisturizers: These deliver hydration that keeps the skin from feeling tight, flaky, and/or itchy. They can also prevent the skin from looking dull.

Eye treatments: These are used to treat specific issues with the skin beneath the eyes, including dark circles and puffiness. Some also help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

Masks: These are treatments that sit on the skin for a specific period to provide a potent dose of ingredients before being washed off. You can usually find face masks for all skin types, with some that absorb oil, those that hydrate the skin, and others meant for exfoliating the skin.

Peels: These are intense exfoliating products that contain acids that help remove the top layers of dead skin.

Sunscreen: This is an essential last step in any skincare routine because it offers protection from UV rays, which can cause damage and even skin cancer.

Ingredients

The Ordinary categorizes most of its skincare products by the main ingredient type that the formula features.

Antioxidants, including alpha lipoic acid, ferulic acid, and resveratrol: These fight free-radical damage to help the skin look brighter and more even, smooth fine lines, and soothe inflammation. Some also provide hydration.

Acids, including glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, and mandelic acid: These help with exfoliation to remove dead skin cells. They can help treat fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, acne, scars, and other texture issues.

Oils, including argan oil, rosehip oil, chia seed oil, and marula oil: These are mainly used to hydrate the skin and repair its protective barrier.

Hydrators, including hyaluronic acid and squalene: These deliver moisture to the skin and help bind water in its outer layers.

Peptides, including copper peptides, Argireline, and matrixyl: These help stimulate collagen and elastin production to aid the skin in looking younger and firmer.

Retinoids, including retinol and granactive retinoid: These promote cell turnover and boost collagen production. They’re effective for treating fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and other skin texture issues.

Vitamin C, including ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate, and magnesium  ascorbyl phosphate: Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps fight free-radical damage. It can help brighten the skin, improve skin tone, treat fine lines and acne scars, and smooth skin texture.

Targeted, multipurpose anti-aging serum

The Ordinary’s “Buffet” is an anti-aging superstar. It features a comprehensive combination of peptides, amino acids, and other anti-aging ingredients that can help with dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, dullness, and uneven texture, standing out as a single product that targets multiple signs of aging. We also love that it’s a vegan, cruelty-free formula.

 

Features

Skin type and concerns

The easiest way to choose The Ordinary skincare products is to use your skin type and concerns as a guide.

Dry or dehydrated skin benefits from products that restore moisture to the skin, so opt for The Ordinary moisturizers or hydrating serums that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid or oils.

Oily or acne-prone skin benefits from products that deep clean the pores, so serums and treatments that help exfoliate or promote cell turnover, like those that contain retinoids and salicylic acid, are a good option.

Mature skin benefits from products that help stimulate collagen and elastin production, brighten the skin, and promote cell turnover, so serums and treatments with ingredients like retinoids, vitamin C,  glycolic acid, and peptides are the best choice. Hydrating products also work well for mature skin, which means hyaluronic acid- and oil-based treatments are another effective option.

Dark spots and other hyperpigmentation can be treated with products that contain vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, retinoids, and acids.

Enlarged pores and uneven skin texture respond well to products that contain acids, vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, and azelaic acid.

Water- vs. oil-based formulations

When you’re choosing The Ordinary products to build a skincare regimen, it’s important to consider whether they’re water- or oil-based formulas. Water-based products should be applied to the skin first because they absorb more easily. Oil-based products take longer to penetrate the skin, which can prevent thinner, more watery serums from soaking into the skin if they’re applied first.

Packaging

The Ordinary skincare products have fairly simple packaging, which is one of the reasons that the brand can keep its prices so reasonable. Thinner, more liquid serums, oils, and treatments typically come in glass bottles with a medicine dropper dispenser that makes it easy to take just a few drops of the product. Thicker products with a creamy consistency generally come in plastic squeeze tubes that can sometimes dispense a little more product than you intend.

All of The Ordinary skincare products are cruelty-free.

The Ordinary skincare prices

The Ordinary skincare products are all fairly affordable, but they vary in price based on the type of product and the ingredients they contain. Most products cost between $5 and $29.

Inexpensive: The most affordable The Ordinary skincare products are formulas that contain a single active ingredient or a less potent form of the active ingredient. These products typically cost between $5 and $10.

Mid-range: These The Ordinary skincare products are generally formulas that contain more than one active ingredient or a more potent form of the active ingredient. These products usually cost between $10 and $16.

Expensive: The most expensive The Ordinary skincare products are typically formulas that contain two or more active ingredients or particularly potent forms of the active ingredient. These products generally cost between $16 and $29.

DID YOU KNOW?

Most of The Ordinary skincare formulas don’t contain any parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.

DID YOU KNOW?

In addition to skincare products, The Ordinary also offers hair care products and foundation.

Tips

  • Do a patch test before using a product. The Ordinary recommends doing a patch test before using any of its skincare products. Apply a dab to a small, inconspicuous area of your skin and wait 24 hours. If you don’t have a reaction, you can use the product as normal. If you experience redness, burning, or itching, don’t use the product.
  • Don’t use more than three serums in your skincare regimen at one time. This is recommended for best results.
  • Follow the instructions. Some The Ordinary skincare products can be used both morning and night, while others are meant only for morning or evening use. Follow the usage instructions on the packaging for the best results.
  • Use sunscreen. Some The Ordinary skincare products make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it’s essential to use a sunscreen daily.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is a perfect formula for anyone with clogged pores or blemishes. The niacinamide helps reduce the appearance of blemishes and congested pores, while zinc helps regulate oil production. We also like that it can be used both morning and night and can also help brighten the skin.

Other products we considered

The Ordinary makes so many effective skincare products that we just couldn’t feature all of them in our product recommendations. We’ve included a couple more here that we like. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is an excellent option for anyone hoping to combat dryness or dehydration. It features low-, medium-, and high-molecular weight hyaluronic acid to help hydrate and attract water to the skin at multiple depths for highly effective moisturization.

We also love The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution for intense exfoliation. It contains glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid, so it can help fight blemishes and improve skin texture and tone.

If you’re not sure how to create a skincare regimen with The Ordinary skincare products, the brand’s website offers several sample routines based on particular skincare concerns.

FAQ

Q. Are The Ordinary skincare products vegan?
A.
The majority of the line’s products are vegan. The brand has a legend for each product on its website to explain which are vegan as well as oil-free and/or nut-free.
 

Q. What is the shelf life of The Ordinary skincare products?
A.
The Ordinary recommends using all products within 6 to 12 months of purchase. All products have a period-after-opening symbol on the side of the box and on the bottle itself to provide a more specific recommendation.
 

Q. What’s the best way to store The Ordinary skincare products?
A.
The Ordinary skincare products typically last longest when stored at room temperature in a cool, dry location. Keep them out of direct sunlight, too.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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