beauty brand to watch: the ordinary

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In case you haven’t heard, this not-so-ordinary skincare line is taking the beauty world by storm – for very good reason. The Ordinary is by far the most exciting thing to happen to my skin (and my wallet) this year. For around $10 a pop, these highly-effective serums pack a ton of power without breaking the bank – something I had not thought possible before discovering this game-changing brand.

But that’s their whole mantra: The Ordinary believes that tried and true ingredients are nothing to write home about, and should not be priced as such. In their About Me page they say it best: “[The Ordinary’s] offering is pioneering, not in the familiar technologies it uses, but in its honesty and integrity.”

Not to mention, all of The Ordinary’s products are free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, benzalkonium chloride, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury, oxybenzone, and NOT tested on animals. Doesn’t get much better than that.

If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling pretty skeptical right about now. But let me tell you firsthand that, in my experience, The Ordinary more than lives up to the hype. See below for my thoughts on the products I have been using consistently over the past several months.


Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

When I have breakouts, this is my go-to remedy. I talked about this a little when discussing my travel skincare routine, but the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is basically a quick, easy fix for sudden breakouts – alcohol-induced, hormonal, or otherwise. Again, don’t pile on too much or it can get a little tacky and difficult to blend. But feel free to use this up to 2 times a day (both morning and night) if you are in desperate need of some acne-fighting power.


AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

This incredibly powerful mask is great – it exfoliates the skin and clears pore congestion in minutes. But, as much as I love this mask, it’s not one of my go-tos. In part because I just can’t get over the slippery, gel-like consistency. I much prefer clay-based masks because I find them to be less messy and a bit easier to apply. I also worry that this mask is a bit too powerful. When I put on a face mask, I like to kick back and relax for an extended period of time – sometimes over an hour. But with this one, I can’t imagine leaving it on for more than 10 minutes for fear of what it might do to my skin. And that’s just not enough time to make me feel pampered. But I fully acknowledge that both of those reasons are slightly irrational. If you want something quick and powerful, by all means give this a try.


Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

I’m still quite new to eye creams – the only one I have ever used before is the GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream from Origins, which I love. But I never noticed a huge difference in my under-eyes when using it. So, I thought I’d give this serum a try as it has a high concentration of caffeine and is meant to be incredibly effective (according to reviewers and makeup artists alike). Overall, I like the consistency and texture of this a lot. It does get a little sticky if you use too much, but, in general, it’s cooling and very refreshing to apply in the morning. However, I still don’t notice a huge difference in my under-eye area. To be fair, I don’t use it super consistently which could be a contributing factor to its apparent ineffectiveness. I’ll have to devote a little more time to this one and continue forming my opinion.


Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (Previously Advanced Retinoid 2%)

After readingthis article on Man Repeller, I was determined to find a good retinoid and integrate it into my skincare routine. But in researching different products I came across a lot of reviews which stated that, despite their effectiveness, retinoids tend to cause pretty severe dryness and skin irritation. As someone who already struggles with dry skin, this was a big deal-breaker for me and I discontinued my search immediately. But then, I discovered the Ordinary’s Advanced Retinoid 2%. All of the reviews stated that, unlike other retinoids, this one caused very little skin irritation or light sensitivity. Yet, it was just as effective at brightening and evening complexions as its less gentle counterparts. And after using it for several months I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree. This is something that I do not go a night without using. And, in the three short months I’ve been using it, my skin has never been better. If you are struggling with breakouts or acne scarring at all, I can’t recommend this enough!



This might be my favorite product that I’ve tried from the Ordinary. Formulated with a base of 11 skin-friendly amino acids and multiple hyaluronic acid complexes, this is meant to target multiple signs of aging at once. Being only 24, I can’t speak to its effectiveness on that front, but I will say that this makes my skin feel incredibly soft and vibrant. I think it’s also played a role in brightening the dark spots around my jawline. Maybe not – it’s hard to explain. My skin just feels healthier when I use this in a very noticeable way, making it a must-have for me.