The Ordinary is a Canadian company that focuses on affordable skincare—and we don’t mean affordable in the sense of something cheap and useless, but rather in the sense that they’re selling products for their actual cost. The brand was founded by Brandon Truaxe. Brandon has since unfortunately passed away and the company is run by the co-founder Nicola Kilner.
Truaxe explained that he wanted to create a new type of beauty company that used its in-house expertise to produce high-quality goods at a reasonable price while also avoiding the use of unnecessary additives and harmful ingredients. He’s been able to do just that with The Ordinary’s products—they’re formulated without fragrances, colorants, mineral oil, or parabens, which are all common causes of skin irritation. This means they’re suitable for pretty much anyone (including people with sensitive skin), and if you’ve ever had a bad experience with an over-the-counter product, it’ll be worth trying out The Ordinary.
In addition to being free from those problematic ingredients, they’ve also got antioxidants like Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid in many of their products that help boost your skin’s hydration.
Which products to buy
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Hyaluronic acid is an oil-free formula that combines low, medium, and high molecular hyaluronic acids and cross polymer next-generation hyaluronic acid for multi-level hydration. Vitamin B5 promotes extra skin hydration, which makes this product perfect for dry skin (but also works on other skin types).
Note: People with dry skin are often told to use a moisturizer. A moisturizer uses a lot of Hyaluronic Acid, but HA is too big to penetrate into the bottom skin, so you don’t get any hydration, it just sits on the surface and makes your skin feel better for a little while. The Ordinary is trying to make a better moisturizer by using three different sizes of Hyaluronic Acid and also making two of them cross polymer.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
With 30% alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic/lactic/tartaric/fruit), 2% beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid), hyaluronic acid (crosspolymer), vitamin B5, black root, and Tasmanian black pepper.
Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) effectively exfoliate the top layer of skin for more radiant and even skin. Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) also work on the surface of the skin, but their function is mainly to reach the depths and thus clean clogged pores. The combined 32% AHA / BHA formula offers a deep exfoliation that helps with impure skin while improving skin radiance. The product with regular use also improves the texture of the skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines.
The formula contains a derivative of Tasmanian black pepper to prevent irritation that is often present when using acids. This derivative is of plant origin and varies seasonally in color, which means that this color variation can be seen in the formula. The product is also enriched with a crosspolymer form of hyaluronic acid to soothe, vitamin B5 helps with healing, and black root serves as an antioxidant.
Note: This formula contains a very high concentration of acids. We recommend using it only if you have used acids before and you are familiar with their use. We also do not recommend this product for people with sensitive skin.
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) reduces dark spots and cleans pores. The high, 10% concentration of this vitamin in the formula comes conjugated with the zinc salt pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance the visible effects of sebum production.
Note: if you also use topical vitamin C in your skincare, use it alternately (not at the same time) with this formula (ideally vitamin C in the evening and this formula in the morning). Otherwise, niacinamide may affect the integrity of the pure form of vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid).
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser
This cleanser gently removes impurities and makeup, leaving the skin smooth and moisturized after each use. In addition to Squalane, the formula also contains lipophilic esters, which are gentle, moisturizing, and extremely effective in dissolving make-up and other impurities on the face, while increasing the lubricity of the product. When rubbed between the palms for about 10-30 seconds, the product undergoes a significant change in texture, from a balm-like consistency to a clear oil-like consistency. This allows the sucrose emulsion esters in the formula to capture and mix dissolved makeup and facial impurities with a water rinse. Because the formula is non-comedogenic and soap-free, it is designed to be gentle enough for everyday use without drying out the skin, making it suitable for all skin types.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
The mask with 2% salicylic acid improves dull skin and texture imperfections. The formula with charcoal and clay smoothes, cleanses, and refreshes the skin. The structure of salicylic acid contributes to lipophilicity and the ability to mix with lipids found on the surface of the skin. It removes dead cells on the surface of oily skin prone to impurities, thus revealing more radiant skin below. Charcoal and clay are ingredients known for their deep cleansing properties due to their porosity and large absorption surface. They help remove impurities on the face that would otherwise remain on the surface of the skin and clog pores. The mask is washed off the face after a maximum of 10 minutes.
Note: Do not use the product on sensitive skin, skin that is peeling or otherwise damaged.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
Natural moisturizing factors (NMF) are elements that allow the outer layer of the skin to be protected and well moisturized. NMFs are made up of several amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, phospholipids, glycerin, saccharides, sodium PCA, hyaluronic acid, and many other components that are naturally present in our skin.
This formula offers a non-greasy moisturizer that acts as a direct instant aid to all weakened NMF components. It contains 11 amino acids, phospholipids, alpha/beta/gamma fatty acids, triglycerides, sterols and sterol esters, glycerin, ceramide precursors, urea, saccharides, PCA sodium, and hyaluronic acid. It offers instant hydration and long-lasting results with regular use.
We’ve been using The Ordinary products for several months now and our skin has never been better. This is no exaggeration. It takes a lot for us to fall in love with a new skincare line, but The Ordinary won us over.
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