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My Review on 5 Popular Products from The Ordinary — What’s Worth The Hype?

If you’ve been even on the periphery of the skincare community for the past two or so years, chances are, you’ve heard about The Ordinary. Sold at Sephora but priced more inexpensively than drugstore skincare (most of their items are $10 or less), this brand, owned by DECIEM, is all about offering you powerful ingredients without all the unnecessary frills. Each product tends to be pretty basic, and with only one or two active ingredients, the brand is perfect for mixing-and-matching or building out a custom skincare routine based on your preferences. The Ordinary brings the science of skincare and the formulations of products into the forefront of their brand, so you know what each ingredient does and which products to choose based on your skin concern.

The Ordinary is a great brand for skincare nerds on a budget, but are all of their products worth the hype, or are you only getting what you pay for?

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

Facial oils are a great ingredient to add to your skincare routine -- yes, even if your skin is already oily -- to smooth and nourish the skin, as well as to maintain a youthful glow. I’d wanted to try Rosehip Seed oil in particular because it supposedly reduces the appearance of acne scars. This one definitely does what a facial oil is supposed to do, and after applying it, my skin definitely feels supple and glowy. It is definitely oily, like putting olive oil on your face (I can’t say I'm surprised, though), so if you have normal or dry skin, you might like this product. As someone with normal to combo skin, this did feel a bit too greasy on my skin at times. I don’t mind looking and feeling extra ~moist~ after my night time skincare routine, but if you have oily skin, you might not love the texture of this product. I personally prefer the Great Barrier Relief from Krave Beauty for its creamier, more lightweight texture, but I do plan on using up the rosehip oil from The Ordinary.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

This is probably one of the most hyped products from an already very buzzy brand. Niacinamide is a powerhouse ingredient that can work for any skin type and address a plethora of skin concerns -- from dryness, to fine lines, to oil control, and more. I personally use Niacinamide to control oil and minimize redness. I like that The Ordinary’s formulation also includes Zinc. This thin serum layers well with other products and has not caused any reactions in my experience. While I don’t necessarily notice an immediate improvement with the niacinamide, on the days when I don’t apply it, my skin looks noticeably oilier. This product is a staple in my skincare routine, and I’m on my fourth bottle.

Azaleic Acid Suspension 10%

Azaleic acid is a gentle exfoliant that fights acne, reduces hyperpigmentation, and smooths skin texture. A safe, gentle ingredient, I would recommend this product to someone with sensitive skin who wants the benefits of the more mainstream, potent exfoliating acids like AHA and BHA. This serum does smooth my skin, but it’s a really thick, stiff texture. It sometimes leads to pilling under certain other skincare products or makeup, and it can be hard to spread out all over the face. While inconvenient to apply, it doesn’t feel heavy on the face. Overall, a solid product.

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the skin and has anti-aging benefits, but it is notoriously difficult to formulate. I’ll cut to the chase -- I didn’t love this product. Results-wise, it was fine. Application-wise, it’s not worth it. I found that this Vitamin C serum would pill up unless I mixed it in with a moisturizer -- I didn’t mind making that minor adjustment and it was an easy fix. However, this serum would also sometimes turn the skin around my eyebrows and hairline a light burnt-orange hue. I’m not sure why that happened or if the problem was with another step in my skincare routine, but between both the pilling and the turning orange, I didn’t feel like jumping through yet another hoop to make this product work for me.

This is probably one of the most affordable, decently-formulated Vitamin C serums out there. I won’t repurchase it, and to be honest, I’ve paused my hunt for a Vitamin C serum just because they’re just so hard to get right, and there are other less temperamental antioxidant skincare actives out there.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

This product is a super potent exfoliant, and is known in the beauty community for being the closest dupe to the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial. This facial peel contains both AHAs and BHAs, ingredients that are known for increasing cell turnover to reveal smoother, clearer skin. While I do see improvements after using this product, it can be finicky to work with and definitely not ideal for beginners. If not used correctly, your skin might peel or become red and splotchy. For optimal results, I apply a super light layer to my face, and I wash it off after a maximum of 10 minutes (or until the tingling gets unbearable). The Ordinary recommends using this product once a week, but I might suggest using it even less frequently. A solid product, but not for the faint of heart.

Overall, I tend to trust The Ordinary as a brand. If you want to incorporate a new ingredient into your skincare routine, The Ordinary is a great brand for test-driving different actives and seeing how your skin reacts to a certain ingredient, before splurging on a more expensive brand’s rendition.

Samantha is a senior at Connecticut College, double-majoring in Sociology and Economics. She is currently the Beauty Section Editor and a National Writer for Her Campus, having prior been a Beauty Editorial Intern during the summer of 2019. She is also a writer and Co-Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Conn Coll. She is passionate about intersectional feminism, puns, and sitcoms with strong female leads.
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