Incredibly inexpensive compared to similar serums from other skincare brands. Free of fragrance and additives. A little goes a long way. Noticeably improves the look of skin. Suitable for all skin types, including those with sensitive skin.
Must wait for the product to absorb into the skin before applying other skincare.
Visibly reduces pore size and lightens hyperpigmentation. Limits shine without the need for mattifying makeup products. Fragrance- and alcohol-free. Suitable for those with acne. Brightens and clears up congested skin.
Scattered reports of product causing breakouts and drying out skin.
Targets blemishes and also helps even out skin texture. The 2% salicylic acid solution is a potent, proven acne-fighter yet gentle thanks to the inclusion of witch hazel. Can be applied directly to spots or all over the face as a preventative treatment.
Results are mostly positive, but a few reviewers didn’t notice much improvement.
Formula includes moisturizing amino acids, dermal lipids, and hyaluronic acid. Only need to use a small dollop, so the tube lasts a long time. Absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave behind a sticky residue. Free of alcohol, oil, and fragrance.
Those with oily skin may find this moisturizer too thick, which could lead to breakouts.
Includes green tea extract as an ingredient along with 5% caffeine, both of which have been shown to reduce the look of dark circles and puffiness around the eyes. Noticeably brightens the eye area. Gentle enough for this sensitive area.
Doesn’t work for everyone. May dry out skin around the eyes for some.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Most of The Ordinary skincare formulas don’t contain any parabens, sulfates, or phthalates.
In addition to skincare products, The Ordinary also offers hair care products and foundation.
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.
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.
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.
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