6 Month Update: My Experience with The Ordinary Products (Part 1)

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
Marine Hyaluronics
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.

Repurchase? No

The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics

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.

Repurchase? Yes

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension

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.


Repurchase? Maybe

If you’re interested in any of the other products, stay tuned! I will have a review of those up on Thursday.


13 thoughts on “6 Month Update: My Experience with The Ordinary Products (Part 1)

  1. I had wanted to try some stuff from them, then their CEO went off the deep end, which kinda killed things. But then after some research, I discovered they constantly change the sources/suppliers they get their ingredients from. They go for the cheapest they can get. So if a product works for you, there’s no guarantee it will if you repurchase it as the ingredients might actually be different (I saw a video comparing labels that showed exactly this). So they’re actually not 100% consistent in their formulas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How fascinating, I had no idea that they use different suppliers all the time! I guess that is another reason why they can keep their costs so low. It would be interesting to try more than one bottle of the same product to see if you could detect a difference in the formula.


      • Yeah that’s exactly how they keep costs so low. And what you could always do it get another bottle of a product and compare the ingredients list with the one of the same product you previously used to see if anything is different. It sounds too much like a crap shoot to me.


  2. Pilling is the worst! I hate trying to use silicone based primers because they always pill with my gel moisturizer. I’m glad the other hyaluronic acid product worked but those smell descriptions are awful! Leave it to reddit to get creative 😂

    I would be too scared to try that Vitamin C suspension a second time after it burned your skin, I’m glad it worked for you after that though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it the actual worst? Especially when you’ve done all your makeup and then put on foundation, and the product pills underneath the foundation. Lol the marine hyaluronics smells pretty bad but I would say that the people on Reddit are exaggerating a little. I guess it also depends on how sensitive the person is to scents, too.

      I was a little scared to try it a second time but I figured my skin just had a bad reaction to it the first time! I didn’t want to use it just once and not give it another chance.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In hindsight, I agree with you about the HA. At the time, I hadn’t tried much HA products except for one other which was Hada Labo. The Ordinary HA is easy to use in my opinion and easy to incorporate into a simple routine however had to agree about the pilling!! It seems to be okay though when I use it with Clinique Dramatically Different. Pilling after you’ve moisturised is annoying…pilling after you have finished your foundation is even more annoying lol.

    Wow those Reddit smell descriptions. I don’t think I’ll be trying that product any time soon.

    The Vitamin C Suspension did not burn my skin like yours but definitely did not like it at all. Still one of the worst products I’ve tried. It just doesn’t absorb into my skin, it just sits on it for hours! I had some tingling sensation and it made my skin reddish though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I bought the Hada Labo while in Japan! I’m so excited to try it out. It’s annoying that you never know what products that TO Hyaluronics Acid will react to and pill under. And yes, it’s super annoying when you have to do your routine all over again when you realize that it’s pilling under your foundation!!

      LOL it’s too bad it smells bad, I actually really like the Marine Hyaluronics!

      I looked online and no one seemed to have the same reaction as me. It was so weird and awful! I am fairly new-ish to Vitamin C product – which ones would you recommend?


  4. Too bad about the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. There are some really well-rated Japanese Hyaluronic Acid liquids that are quite inexpensive. Have you hard of the online Japanese online store Dokodemo? I found it from Reddit and placed an order a while back and I really like it! Shipping isn’t outrageous and you can get lots of random stuff from various sellers.
    This particular Hyaluronic Acid lotion intriqued me:
    I’m probably going to pick it up on my next order.

    I’d been warned about that Vitamin C Suspension and luckily I’m able to touch & feel these products before committing. I’m glad I tried it because it turned the back of my hand all red! I’ve never had any vitamin C products burn my skin so I decided to stay away from that one. I did pick up the L-Ascorbic Powder on its own from TO – have yet to try it but I hope I’ll fare better with it.

    LMAO Reddit’s descriptions for the Marine Haluronics. I ❤ Reddit! Never change!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I bought the Hada Labo HA in Japan and I’m so excited to try it! I haven’t heard of Dokodemo but I just looked it up and it has a nice selection for prices that aren’t bad! Especially having just coming home from Japan, I’m now interested in seeing where I can pick up Japanese products online. Thanks for sharing! That Hyaluronic Acid is SUPER affordable!

      Omg, I can’t believe the Vitamin C Suspension turned the back of your hand all red!! I hope the L-Ascorbic Powder doesn’t give you any bad reactions. I do wish we had a brick and mortar store in Calgary so that I could test products out.

      LOL people are so creative with descriptions!


  5. I tried the Hyaluronic acid too and I was disappointed. I really didn’t see any increase in hydration and I hated the consistency of it. And I don’t know what dried saliva smells like… and I’m glad LOL


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