The Ordinary products have taken the beauty industry by storm since launching in 2013 with one bold promise: to be The Abnormal Beauty Company.
Since then, the sleek brand has crystalised mysterious formulas to inform people about their individual skincare needs with advanced clinical technologies. You might hear about hyaluronic acid more frequently than you do fruit nowadays and The Ordinary has played a big part in bringing oils, acids and other transformative ingredients to the forefront.
While this revolutionary transparency is very welcome, trying to navigate a world of % symbols, solutions and products named Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone can be overwhelming. We’re here to help you get started.
The number one thing to remember with The Ordinary (and any other brand) is that skincare is individual. What works for your friend might not help you and vice versa. The Ordinary targets skin concerns beyond breakouts like hyperpigmentation, dark circles and signs of ageing, so many of the products are multi-purpose if you use the right ones together.
Arguably the breakout star (though you won’t have any) in the last year or two, TO’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is an incredible serum that works on multiple skin types. It primarily targets breakouts, exposed pores and congestion, making it a dream for oily and/or acne-prone skin. The lightweight, water-based serum reduces excess sebum production which helps reduce inflammation and heal acne scarring.
When to use: Day and night – after cleansing and before moisturising.
Lactic Acid might not have the most appealing name but its benefits are delicious. The serum is a gentle AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) that gently exfoliates the skin without triggering inflammation and sensitivity. The water-based serum shouldn’t be used with retinol, vitamin C or any other AHAs because these peel away the surface of your skin to generate new, more evenly pigmented skin cells, so one will do the job.
When to use: Evening only.
Pro tip: Use SPF the morning after using Lactic Acid (and any other AHA) because it will increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
Ever wonder what ‘cold-pressed’ means? Cold-pressed ingredients are extracted without the use of heat or solvents, meaning they do not lose the proteins, fats and oils they’re being used for in the first place.
With that in mind, The Ordinary’s 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is a luxuriously hydrating oil that calms redness, brightens skin and regenerates damaged tissue. The multi-purpose oil is the best for dry skin and is also a great scalp and hair treatment, thanks to its fatty acids.
When to use: Evening – after toners and water-based serums, and before moisturisers.
Dark circles that just won’t budge? Puffy eyes that give it all away? Enter: TO’s Caffeine Solution.
This game-changing serum has an extremely high concentration of caffeine and EGCG to deliver a powerful blend of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories to your eye area. It reduces the appearance of puffiness and brightens dark circles by reactivating dying skin cells and reducing swelling. Thank us later.
When to use: Morning and night (massage a small amount into the eye contour with your pinky finger).
Another The Ordinary classic is the Buffet. This peptide serum targets multiple signs of aging by combining a number of peptides with amino and hyaluronic acids for an all-in-one treatment. The key ingredient is Matrixyl 3000, a peptide that stimulates collagen synthesis and skin repair.
If you didn’t already know, collagen production slows down from the age of 25 which is what ages our skin, so increasing it (from as early as possible) will help keep your skin looking plump AF.
There are many more The Ordinary products for us to break down, with specific guides for dry, oily, combination and acne-prone skin coming soon. For now, these essentials are worth diving into.
Remember, only use what will help you – we know it’s hard to resist them all.