The Ordinary is a brand that I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time, and I finally took the plunge back in March. After a few months of using a handful of their products, I’m finally doing a review of how some of their products worked for me. I have used the following from the brand, so please stay tuned if you’re interested in any of them:
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
100% Plant Derived Squalane
Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
AHA 30% + BHA 2%
Today I’ll be covering the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, Marine Hyaluronics, and the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. Stay tuned if you want to hear about the other products, as I will be reviewing those on Thursday.
The Ordinary is a brand that is known to be extremely affordable; the majority of their products retail for under $10. The prices are so affordable because their formulas are simple: they contain no fancy filler or “supplemental” ingredients, and no scents. A lot of skincare brands have products that are a blend of many beneficial ingredients, which is a good thing, but increases the price of the product.
On the other hand, products from The Ordinary contain only one active ingredient, along with other ingredients needed to make it stable. For example, its Plant-Derived Squalane contains only Squalane, and not a blend of different oils.
The Ordinary is a bit of an overwhelming brand to delve into at first, particularly for skincare newbies. The names sound very technical, which is intimidating, but nothing a little research can’t fix. The official website is a good place to start when trying to figure out what the products do, and which one will work best with your routine.
All products from The Ordinary products are cruelty-free and made in Canada.
Most of the serums come in a glass bottle with a dropper, which I really enjoy as it keeps everything sanitary (except for when I dropped the dropper onto the floor one time). The Vitamin C suspension also used to come in a dropper bottle, but due to customer feedback, it now comes in a tube.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Hyaluronic Acid needs no introduction – it’s the darling in the skincare world because it provides what everyone is looking for regardless of skin type: hydration. I was the most excited about this serum because my skin needs all the hydration it can get, but it was a bit of a letdown. On the plus side, I found it to be moisturizing and I liked that it was unscented. The consistency is quite thick and a bit tacky once applied to the skin, which was annoying but something I could get past. My main problem with it is that it caused a crazy amount of pilling. I tried a lot of different ways to apply it – in light layers, waiting 5-10 minutes before applying something else, etc. etc. No matter how I applied it or how much time I let it sit before applying other products, it always pilled underneath my makeup. I started using this at night, but it would still pill underneath my other skincare products. The pilling is a dealbreaker – I finished the product up, but I would rather try HA from a different brand.
The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 retails at $6.80 CAD for 30mL. It is gluten-free, silicone-free, oil-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.
I totally forgot to take a photo of this before throwing away the empty bottle, but here’s a photo of the product taken from my latest Empties post (along with three random Lush lip scrub 😆)
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.
The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics
This is a fairly new addition to The Ordinary’s line – when I ordered the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 back in March, this was not yet available. Once I finished the HA 5% + B5 in June, I made another order to try this one in hopes that I would have better luck with it. After using it for four months, I’ve decided that I much prefer the Marine Hyaluronics to the Hyaluronic Acid 5%. Unlike the HA 5% + B5, which has a thick texture, this one has the consistency of water. It’s kind of annoying to apply because it runs all over my hands, but I love that it’s not sticky like the HA 5%. Not only that, but it doesn’t pill underneath makeup or other skincare products, and I find it to be more hydrating.
However…THE SMELL. At first, I told myself it smelled like dried saliva (don’t pretend like you’ve never woken up with drool on your face and pillow). Then, I finally decided that it smells like vomit. I looked it up on Reddit to see if other people were experiencing the same scent, and I’ve found much more creative descriptions from other users: whale’s vagina, regurgitated old cheese, synthesized dead fish, a mermaid’s dirty bed sheets. Honestly, it smells bad but it isn’t too strong. The application process is unpleasant, but the scent disappears right away once it’s applied, so it’s not a deal breaker for me.
The Marine Hyaluronics are named as such because it contains “skin-friendly marine bacteria, Hawaiian red algae, Glycoproteins from Antarctic marine sources, micro-filtered blue-green algae and several health-supporting amino acids”, which is why it has a fishy smell.
The Marine Hyaluronics retails at $6.80 CAD for 30mL. It is gluten-free, silicone-free, oil-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Algae Extract, Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides, Pseudoalteromonas Ferment Extract, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Arginine, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Aspartic Acid, PCA, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, Propanediol, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Salicylate, Sodium Benzoate, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
Vitamin C has become a hugely popular skincare ingredient in the last few years. It’s an antioxidant, which is supposed to brighten the skin. The Ordinary has a whopping 8 products that contain Vitamin C, which can be confusing for skincare newbies – they do have a useful guide that can help you choose the right one for your skin, though. I chose the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% which is silicone-free and made up of 23% L-Ascorbic Acid powder.
This is the first Vitamin C product I’ve tried in a long time, so I’m not sure why I chose the one with the highest potency instead of starting small – go big or go home, I guess? Three out of eight of the Vitamin C products are light oils, and I don’t really have room to fit another oil into my routine. One is a 30% Vitamin C suspended in Silicone, which I did not want, and another was straight 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder, which I was also not interested in because it seemed like too much work to mix. That left two, this one and the Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% – after some research, I decided on the Vitamin C Suspension.
Disclaimer: The packaging says that you will feel a tingle, so I didn’t think much of it when it started tingling. But this stuff literally BURNED my skin the very first time I used it. I ended up with flaky, red patches all over my face for the next two weeks. I’m not sure what happened – maybe my skin was just not used to the potency and freaked out, but I tried again right after my skin healed, and it never happened again. Also, I wouldn’t so much call the sensation a tingling, but moreso a stinging – on the website, it says a VERY STRONG tingling but non-irritating sensation for the first 1-2 weeks. My skin has now gotten used to it, but I would say the tingling is still quite strong, although it wears off after the first few minutes. It also has a weird chemical scent that I don’t like.
Due to the L-Ascorbic powder, this Vitamin C feels very gritty when you apply it on its own. I saw on Reddit that a lot of people recommended mixing it with the Hyaluronic Acid to make it not gritty, and it really does help. Not only that, but the HA helps with the tingling, too. I had to use a lot of the HA 5% to dilute it though – a whopping 6 drops every time! Since running out of the Hyaluronic Acid 5%, I’ve been using this to mix with the Vitamin C Suspension, and the smell of vomit plus chemicals is pretty terrible, haha.
This Vitamin C but has really helped with my hyperpigmentation, even though it’s not a miracle product – it does take continual use for a few weeks to see results. I do like it, but I think I would want to try some other Vitamin C products first before repurchasing this.
The Vitamin C Suspension retails at $5.80 CAD for 30mL. It is gluten-free, silicone-free, oil-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.
Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid, Squalane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Coconut Alkanes, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glucomannan, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trihydroxystearin, BHT.
If you’re interested in any of the other products, stay tuned! I will have a review of those up on Thursday.