The story behind The Ordinary
The Ordinary is a popular skin care brand under the global beauty brand, Deciem’s, umbrella. Created to offer effective, clinical solutions at an affordable price tag, The Ordinary features a cohesive collection of treatments to meet the most common skin care needs. Since its launch, The Ordinary has gained a loyal customer base of users who not only love The Ordinary skin care products, but also appreciate the brand’s commitment to transparency.
The Ordinary’s founding philosophy is “clinical formulations with integrity”. For them, this means skin care treatments that provide solutions to real needs while maintaining open communication and honesty at all stages of their operations. From a brand standpoint, The Ordinary skin care products are manufactured and distributed from its home base in Toronto, Canada by a team of dedicated chemists in order to avoid outsourcing product development. Each of their formulations is simple, containing only a few ingredients including one or two actives, and leaving out additives, fillers, fragrance, and dyes. Even The Ordinary packaging is minimal with straightforward names that describe exactly what the product is without any extra fluff or deceptive details. This approach to skin care has enabled The Ordinary to become one of the most popular (and affordable) skin care brands on the market today.
The Ordinary Skincare Guide
The Ordinary offers results-driven products at affordable prices – what’s not to love? One problem with The Ordinary skin care products is that if you don’t know your alpha lipoic acid from your hyaluronic acid, choosing a product may become overwhelming. In order to help you out, we’ve created The Ordinary Skincare Guide, which highlights 12 of the most popular products by The Ordinary and the key ingredients.
- The Ordinary Buffet
First up is The Ordinary Buffet. Pretty interesting name, right? According to the brand, the name of this formula was inspired by some brands referring to their expensive products offering combinations of these technologies as a “buffet”, distastefully comparing such products to buffets that offer various kinds of food in one sitting. Inside The Ordinary Buffet is a comprehensive array of studied peptide technologies to target multiple signs of aging at once.
- The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane
Another best selling product is The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane (other available strengths include 0.5% and 1% retinol). Inside this formula you’ll find pure retinol combined with squalane, as well as other emollients like caprylic/capric triglyceride and jojoba oil. If you have not used high-strength retinol formulas in the past, the brand strongly recommends that you start your retinol regimen with The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane and adjust to higher strengths of Retinol 0.5% in Squalane and Retinol 1% in Squalane as your skin builds tolerance.
- The Ordinary Peeling Solution
The Ordinary Peeling Solution is a 10 minute exfoliating facial that should only be used by experienced users of acid exfoliation. It is said to offer deep exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes, as well as improve skin radiance, texture, and signs of aging. The formula contains 30% alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), including glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acid. The Ordinary Peeling Solution also contains 2% salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that further enhances exfoliation while also helping to reduce blemishes. The Ordinary Peeling Solution is also called “The Ordinary Red Serum” because the product is blood red due to the inclusion of a Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative that helps reduce irritation associated with acid use.
- The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% includes a high concentration of niacinamide, the amide form of vitamin B3, as the key ingredient. Niacinamide is a multi-tasking ingredient that provides numerous benefits to the skin. For instance, niacinamide is well known as a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants help the skin combat free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. In addition, studies have shown that niacinamide can repair the skin barrier and improve skin moisture, as well as reduce inflammation, blotchiness, hyperpigmentation, acne, and wrinkling. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% also includes the zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid (PCA) to balance the look of oily skin.
- The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
One of the brand’s most popular vitamin C products is The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. This product is a water-free suspension of 23% L-Ascorbic Acid powder. Since this is a very high concentration of vitamin C, a very strong tingling but non-irritating sensation is expected during the first 1 to 2 weeks of use until the skin’s tolerance to such high exposure is elevated. With continued use, The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension is said to brighten the skin tone and reduce the appearance of signs of aging.
- The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is a lightweight cream-gel system that offers a high concentration of azelaic acid in order to brighten the skin tone while visibly improving the evenness of skin texture and reducing the look of blemishes. Azelaic acid normalizes the shedding of skin cells and opens the follicle while also preventing the growth of acne bacteria. The result is fewer comedones (pimples). Azelaic acid also acts as an effective antioxidant.
- The Ordinary Lactic Acid
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA is a high strength lactic acid superficial peeling formulation. Lactic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that has the ability to exfoliate the skin, stimulate the skin’s natural regeneration process, and help the skin to retain moisture. Lactic acid is particularly beneficial for those with sensitive skin because it provides gentler exfoliation than other AHAs, such as glycolic acid. It works by breaking down keratin, a protein that acts as a glue to keep skin cells together. By dissolving keratin, lactic acid helps to exfoliate the top layer of dead skin cells, leaving skin looking brighter with a more even tone.
- The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 combines low-, medium- and high-molecular weight hyaluronic acid, as well as a next-generation hyaluronic acid crosspolymer at a combined concentration of 2% for multi-depth hydration. Hyaluronic acid is an exceptional ingredient for adding hydration to the skin. It draws in moisture from the environment and can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. To further enhance skin hydration, The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 contains panthenol (provitamin B5), which is a highly effective humectant.
- The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution offers mild exfoliation in order to improve skin radiance, clarity, and texture. The key ingredient is glycolic acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the skin, improves skin hydration, and helps to reduce signs of aging. The Ordinary Toner also contains a Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to help reduce irritation associated with acid use.
- The Ordinary Rosehip Oil
The Ordinary Rosehip Oil contains only one ingredient: 100% pure organic Rosa canina (rosehip) seed oil. Rosehip oil contains provitamin A, mostly as beta carotene. Beta carotene has the ability to increase cell turnover and promote regeneration in the outer layers of the skin. Over time, this can help even out skin tone and add a “glow” to the skin. All-trans retinoic acid (a vitamin A acid), another important component of rosehip oil, stimulates cellular regeneration and collagen production within the skin. This improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles. The Ordinary Rosehip Oil can also help soothe the skin and calm inflammation thanks to gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is known to improve the skin’s barrier function.
- The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
The Ordinary Moisturizer contains 11 amino acids, phospholipids, alpha/beta/gamma fatty acids, triglycerides, sterols and sterol esters, glycerin, ceramide precursors, urea, saccharides, sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid. All of these components are Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMFs), which are elements that keep the outer layer of the skin protected and well-hydrated. Due to all of the various NMFs in this formula, The Ordinary Moisturizer offers non-greasy hydration for all skin types.
- The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
The final best selling product we’d like to discuss is The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, which is meant to help exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes. With continued use, this solution is said to promote better visible skin clarity. Of note, this solution does contain a high concentration of witch hazel, which can cause skin irritation for some people.
What are the key ingredients in The Ordinary products?
After reading about the best selling products by The Ordinary, you may be wondering what exactly ingredients like peptides, retinol, squalane, and salicylic acid can do for your skin. Below we’ll give you a brief description of each of the key ingredients used in the best selling products by The Ordinary.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Many of The Ordinary skin care products contain AHAs because this group of ingredients provides numerous benefits to the skin. The primary benefit of AHAs is their ability to exfoliate the skin by targeting corneocytes (dead skin cells that make up the stratum corneum) in a process called corneocyte desquamation. By enhancing their breakdown and increasing the separation of skin cells, the rate of cell turnover is increased, leading to smoother, brighter skin and a more even complexion. AHAs are also known to increase skin hydration and stimulate collagen synthesis.
The Ordinary has an entire portfolio of vitamin C products that includes various vitamin C derivatives, such as ascorbyl glucoside, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ethylated ascorbic acid, and more. Using various derivatives of ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) allows this ingredient to be used with a variety of ingredients and still remain stable. But all vitamin C derivatives are converted to ascorbic acid once they are absorbed into the skin. Ascorbic acid is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin against free radical damage. This is important because the harmful effects of free radicals occur as direct chemical alterations of the cellular DNA, the cell membrane, and cellular proteins, including collagen. Damaged collagen manifests as signs of premature skin aging, including wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin. Ascorbic acid not only protects collagen from free radical damage, but also stimulates the synthesis of new collagen in the skin. By increasing the amount of collagen in the skin, signs of aging will be diminished and the skin will appear more firm.
Several of The Ordinary skin care products include multiple peptide technologies, one being the Matrixyl 3000 complex. Matrixyl 3000 is a combination of the matrikines palmitoyl tripeptide-1 and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7. Matrikines are messenger peptides that provide anti-aging benefits by signaling to cells to produce more collagen. Another technology is Matrixyl synthe’6™ peptide complex with palmitoyl tripeptide-38, a peptide derived from the tripeptide KMK naturally found in collagen VI and laminin. In-vitro studies have found palmitoyl tripeptide-38 to have a matrikine-like effect that stimulates the synthesis of collagen I, II, IV, fibronectin, hyaluronic acid, and laminin 5.
The Ordinary Buffet also contains a unique peptide complex called SYN-AKE, a synthetic peptide that mimics the effects of the peptide Waglerin 1. Waglerin 1 is a component of the venom found in the Temple Viper, a poisonous snake native to southeast Asia. SYN-AKE peptide complex works by reducing muscular contractions in the face and reduces cell movement; thereby keeping the skin smooth. Relistase peptide complex in The Ordinary Buffet is designed to increase skin firmness and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by inhibiting the enzyme elastase. The final peptide complex in The Ordinary Buffet is ARGIRELOX peptide complex (with acetyl hexapeptide-8, pentapeptide-18). ARGIRELOX fights expression wrinkles by attenuating muscle contraction in the pre-synaptic pathway.
The Ordinary retinol products are ideal for those dealing with signs of aging since retinol is clinically proven to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve uneven skin tone, restore skin firmness, and shrink the appearance of enlarged pores. Retinol provides all of these benefits by first being converted to retinoic acid (its active form) after being absorbed into the skin. Then, retinoic acid interacts with the retinoic acid (RAR) and retinoid X receptors (RXR) located in the nucleus of the cell. These nuclear receptors increase the production of procollagen and function to block the release of inflammatory mediators. Finally, retinol functions as an antioxidant and helps the skin combat free radicals.
The Ordinary includes squalane in several of their product formulations because it is a very effective emollient. Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that mimics squalene, a natural compound in your skin that plays an important role in lubrication and protection. Squalane helps to replenish and strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier.
The final key ingredient we’d like to talk about is salicylic acid, a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that works by softening and dissolving keratin, a protein found in the skin that acts as a “glue” to keep cells together. This allows salicylic acid to exfoliate the skin and slough off dead skin cells. Salicylic acid also has the ability to penetrate deep into pores, where it helps to loosen clogs and allows oil to flow out more freely. Thus, salicylic acid is known to break down blackheads and whiteheads.
Where are The Ordinary products sold?
The Ordinary skin care products are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party sellers like Amazon, Ulta, and Sephora. The brand has a store locator and list of authorized retailers on their website.
What is The Ordinary return policy?
All Deciem brands, including The Ordinary, offer a 365-day full refund policy.
Is The Ordinary cruelty free?
The Ordinary is cruelty free. DECIEM and The Ordinary do not test on animals and do not ask others to do so. For this reason, none of their brands or products are sold in stores or conventional retailers in mainland China, since such sales require animal testing for registration purposes.
The Ordinary reviews
Since its debut in the skin care industry, The Ordinary has received glowing reviews from users and experts alike. The most popular The Ordinary reviews focus on the brand’s effective formulations and affordability. It is common to find customers comparing The Ordinary skin care solutions to some of the most well known and respected skin care brands as comparable and more affordable. Other The Ordinary reviews appreciate the detail the brand takes in explaining their products, ingredients, and the science behind why they work well for the skin. This helps customers feel informed about their skin care purchases and further exemplifies The Ordinary’s mission to provide clinical skin care solutions with integrity.
Negative The Ordinary reviews are mostly from customers who experienced reactions to these products, such as skin irritation and breakouts. To prevent this from happening, the brand recommends following The Ordinary Patch Test Guide. Patch tests are an easy way to help predict if you will have a negative initial reaction to a new product. It is recommended to perform a patch test before incorporating a new product into your routine. In The Ordinary Patch Test Guide, the brand has outlined a general method for conducting your own patch test based on the type of product.
What are some alternatives to The Ordinary?
If you’ve tried products by The Ordinary and weren’t happy with the results, we’d like to recommend an alternative for you to consider. As far as peptide serums go, we’d say Formulyst’s Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum is truly one of the best. This serum stands out from others on the market because it combines six rejuvenating peptides to help smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition, this formula contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin, chondrus crispus extract, and sodium hyaluronate. All of these ingredients draw moisture into the skin in order to maintain hydration while simultaneously giving the skin a more plump appearance. Ultimately, Formulyst’s Anti-Wrinkle Peptide Serum helps to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles – leaving skin looking and feeling smoother, stronger, and radiantly more youthful.