My Obsession with The Ordinary Skincare

My obsession with The Ordinary. What I love and hate about it.

What I love and hate about The Ordinary!


If your anyway into skincare then you've heard of The Ordinary products and the hype around them. They have been making huge waves in the beauty industry since they launched a year ago. When I first read about The Ordinary and saw the prices I thought there had to be a typo and the number was missing a zero. I've come from a beauty background that has a firm belief that you pay for what you get. I've always defended the high prices of skincare (and still do for some products) with the excuse of "how much do you spend on a good bag or shoes? You wear your face every day! You need to invest in it!"  But the more I researched the brand and its products, the more I saw they were the real deal.


The Ordinary is created by Deciem the abnormal beauty company, which have been on my radar for a while, In particular for the Niod product range. Over the past year, the hype about The Ordinary has reached a fever pitch! You can barely open a magazine or read a beauty blog without hearing about the brand. Leading to them being sold out on every website! I think I waited over a month for some of my products to arrive.


The brand describes themselves as

My obsession with The Ordinary. What I love and hate about it.

So basically it strips away all the fancy packaging and marketing campaigns to give you no frills simple products that work.


You must wonder how they can sell such quality products at such low prices. One of the reasons they can do this is the majority of the products are singular ingredients. Most serums have been specially formulated to get the ingredients to "be nice to each other" and not cause reactions. This process can be very costly. They are also created in high volume batches which brings down the price.

My obsession with The Ordinary. What I love and hate about it.

Why I love The Ordinary!


It works.

When I started it using the products I was sceptical that it could really deliver the results for those prices. The Ordinary proved me wrong. First, with their Retinol products, I have used the granactive Retinoid 2% emulsion and the Retinol 0.2% in squalane and found them to work just as well as retinol products that are 3x as expensive! I've also been really impressed with their products for pigmentation.


The range of products.

There is a product for every skin concern unless you are suffering from really bad acne. I also love all the different formulations and figuring out the best ones to use. They offer a huge range of products that really work.


It's inexpensive.

The Ordinary has also shone a light on how some products are way overpriced. The founder and creator Brandan Truaxe noticed the drastic cost difference between the raw ingredients and the finished products and how much of a markup was being added by the big cosmetics companies. He realised that if he created the chemicals himself, in a lab, and sold them in their purest forms, he could wipe out the middleman and offer hugely competitive prices.  So, luckily for us, he did just that.  

It's shaking up the beauty industry.

In an industry that’s often called out for dubious behaviour, like indecipherable ingredient lists, misleading ads and questionable claims. Deciem is refreshingly transparent about their pricing and ingredients. We'll be seeing a lot more skincare brands follow this low cost but high-quality trend.

The facial oils.

I love love love their facial oils. Rosehip oil has long been a favourite of mine for its super hydrating and antioxidant benefits. So it was one of the first things to go in the basket. They have a few other oils which I want to try including Moroccan Argan oil and Marula oil, which are usually a lot more expensive.


It's easy to treat different areas of your skin.

The fact most of the products are separate ingredients means you can mix and match, treating specific areas of your skin. Eg I use niacinamide on my nose and chin, Alpha Arbutin on my cheeks for pigmentation, Argireline  Solution on my forehead and around my eyes to help delay dynamic wrinkles.


The packaging

The Ordinary's products look like they come straight from the lab. Housed in a tinted glass bottle (very important so the ingredients don't degrade!) with a dropper to ensure you don't overuse or waste any of the product. It makes you feel a bit like a mad scientist, a drop of this, a squirt of that, creating your own personalised skincare potions.


My obsession with The Ordinary. What I love and hate about it.


What I hate about The Ordinary


Ok, hate is probably too strong a word but the brand isn't without its downsides. A lot of the reasons I love it are also some of the reasons it annoys me.


It's confusing.

The number of products and the rather scientific language can be overwhelming for the those who don't know their alpha hydroxy to their glycolic acids. Even though they offer guides, it can be very confusing figuring out all the chemicals, acids, powders and oils on offer. What do they all do? When should you use them? How should you use them? I've ended up doing personalised recommendations for a lot of friends as they find it so confusing knowing which products to get.


It can damage your skin.

Because the products use such active ingredients if they are used incorrectly or used with the wrong product it can cause very bad reactions, which could potentially damage your skin.  The online support on the website is great for answer questions if you are not too sure about using some products


It can be time-consuming to use.

Because most of the products are just single ingredients you are using a lot more products so while your saving money buying the ordinary your not saving any time! Most of the time I love having a long skincare routine but for the days and nights, I just want to slap something on and forget about it. This doesn't really work with The Ordinary.


The Packaging

Another thing I love and hate about the products is that they all look the same. I love the simplicity of the bottles but when you're trying to find the one you want to use it can be very annoying having to pick each one up and see what it is. I can also be hard to remember which order to use them in. When I first started using the products I kept them in their boxes and wrote on the order it was to be used, which helped.


The Texture.

One thing a lot of people complain about is the texture. This doesn't bother me too much but I do notice a difference between some of the products eg the Hyaluronic acid and the Medik 8 version. The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid has more of a tacky feeling. This is because the time and money haven't been spent on refining the textures as some brands do. It doesn't make a difference to how well the products work.


My biggest issue… I now feel a little more than resentful paying more for other skincare brands!

For the results and the price, The Ordinary really is worth the hype. Before you purchase any of the ordinary, do your research! If you've any questions on what ordinary products you should be using let me know in the comments below and I'll be happy give you a personalised recommendation. (honestly, it gives me so much joy recommending products!). I will be doing a post review my favourite products soon. But for the moment heres, a picture of my stuffed drawer.
My obsession with The Ordinary. What I love and hate about it.



  • Elisha September 26, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    I agree that skincare really comes at a price but when you get to know which chemicals suit your skin, you can start branching out and find a cheaper alternative. Hope your skin is absorbing the best of Ordinary!

    • awelltravelledbeauty September 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm

      It sure is! I love it!

  • From Nee, To You September 26, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I have been wanting to try this brand out..super helpful!

    • awelltravelledbeauty September 26, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Your welcome. Hope you get to try the products they’re great but only start off with a few so you don’t overwhelm your skin.

  • Tanya Geno September 26, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Interesting… Never tried this product before.

    • awelltravelledbeauty September 26, 2018 at 8:19 pm

      They’re great! You should try them!

  • Kelly Moyer September 26, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Awesome. I would try these products. They seem to keep costs down in not having the extras.

    • awelltravelledbeauty September 26, 2018 at 8:20 pm

      And they really work! I hope you try them out!

  • Jen @ Jenron Designs September 27, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Very honest review I appreciate that a lot especially if you are investing a lot of money into a product.

  • Sheereen September 30, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    I just purchased my first foundation from them and I am amazed on how well it works for sooo cheap! Great read!

    • awelltravelledbeauty October 2, 2018 at 6:22 pm

      I love their foundations. I’ve got the serum and the coverage ones.

  • Lisa Carrasquero October 3, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Sara! So, I have combination skin but it is also really sensitive. My concerns are a brighter complexion, dark under eye, and smaller pores. Since I have sensitive skin, is there any products that would work for me? By the way i love your post! Thank you for being in depth and honest with your review!

    • awelltravelledbeauty October 4, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      Hi Lisa! I hear ya my skin is super sensitive as well as a combination.
      Some products that would be great for you are Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%.
      It’s a vitamin c product (which is great for brightening the skin and evening tone) This has a smaller concentration so it shouldn’t cause any sensitivity like some of the other vitamin C products. It’s also a great hydrator without being too heavy and you can use it in place of your daytime moisteriser.
      Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
      This is an amazing serum! It helps balance oil production, reduces blemishes and evens skintone.
      If you want to start on retinol i’d recommend the Retinoid 2% in Emulsion
      This is a great introduction to retinol products, particularly if you have sensitive skin. (see my post on retinol for the full list of the benefits of this holy grail product)
      If you want to add an oil, the Borage Seed Oil is great for soothing irritated skin.
      The Caffeine Solution 5% is super for dark circles and puffiness – and lasts for ages!

      To use these products use
      1.Niacinamide – in areas of congestion
      2.Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% all over face
      3.Caffeine Solution
      4.Your regular SPF

      1.Niacinamide – in areas of congestion
      2. Retinoid 2% in Emulsion
      3.Caffeine Solution
      4.Borage Seed Oi
      5. Regular night moisturiser

      The trick is to introduce new products slowly.
      Let me know what you think and if you have any questions!

  • Kelly December 22, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Hi Sara! My primary skin concerns are early signs of aging (I’m 30 yo and want to prevent any major wrinkles etc) and uneven skin texture. I purchased buffet + copper peptides, peeling solution, and their HA cream last week and really like them so far. However, I really want to take it to the next level and have a more throurough regimen for day and night. I should mention that I am breastfeeding, so unfortunately retinols and retinoids are ourlt of the question for the time being. What do you recommend? Also, do you have any favorites for every day SPF (either within the ordinary or another band?). Thanks so much for this post! So helpful :).

    • awelltravelledbeauty December 23, 2018 at 12:40 am

      Thank you so much for the comment Kelly! I love putting together recommendations! I’ve been using the Buffet and Copper peptides for awhile now and I love it! So a couple of things I would recommend are

      An antioxidant would help support and protect your skin. I currently use a few drops of The Ordinary’s EUK 134% mixed in with SPF. As it’s very strong it means you can’t use the Buffet with Copper peptides with it or Vitamin C which is annoying. But they have just released a new antioxidant called Pynogenol 5% which I’m going to switch to when I’m finished the EUK. I explain why antioxidants are so important in this post.

      Argireline Solution is a serum which you use on your forehead and around your eyes to help prevent dynamic wrinkles forming. I love it!
      If you are going to use a strong vitamin c product its best to alternate use.

      SPF Shh don’t tell the Ordinary but I am currently loving Uriage Age Protect Multi Action SPF 30. It helps to protect against skin aging from blue light from our computers and phones (yup another thing to worry about!). If you use a few drops of the Pycnogenol mixed in with this nothing will get through to damage your skin!

      Rosehip oil. Great for anti aging and one my all time favourites!

      Vitamin C. As you can’t introduce a retinol yet I’d recommend using a vitamin c product most nights. The problem is trying to figure out which one is best for your skin. The vitamin 30% in silicone is the one I use at the moment but some skin types not react well with silicones. The Vitamin C 23% dosen’t have any silicone but some people (me) don’t like how it feels sort of gritty. The there is the L-Asorbic Acid Powder which you can mix in to a night cream.

      It’s hard to know which Vit C is the best one, you’ve just got to try them out. Nearly all of them will feel very tingly for a minute or two and you also can’t use the Buffet with Copper peptides with a Vitamin C

      Routine wise I’d recommend

      Buffet with copper peptides all over face
      Agrireline Solution around eyes and forehead
      Your eye cream
      HA all over the face
      SPF with a few drops of Pycnogenol

      Eye Cream
      On alternate nights Buffet with Copper Peptides
      Rosehip oil
      Vitamin C product on alternate nights.

      Just a note on the peeling solution. If you haven’t used it yet start off for 5 minutes, it dose sting like hell but it goes away after a minute or two. Then do it for 10 minutes the next time. It is one of the strongest acids you can get so I recommend only using it once a week especially during the winter as you don’t want to damage the skins protective barrier.
      After using it, the rosehip oil and / or your regular cream is enough. Anything else could cause irritation. Also if you have a jade roller it feels amazing on your skin after using the peeling solution.

      I think that’s it (I told you I love doing recommendations!)

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Also sorry for any weird links to iherb, I have a plugin which keeps creating random links and I can’t seem to change it)

  • Eva January 16, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Hi Sara! Thanks for the interesting article. I just discovered The Ordinary but feel a little bit overwhelmed with all the information. Nevertheless, your article convinced me to try out some of their products 🙂 Would love to see what you recommend for my combination skin with an oily t-zone prone to break outs and somewhat enlarged pores on my nose. The rest of my face is sometimes dry in wintertimes. I can’t wait to try The Ordinary products in my skincare regimen. Again thank you for the article and review, it was really helpful!

    • awelltravelledbeauty January 18, 2019 at 10:08 pm

      Hi Eva,

      Thanks for your comment, I’m delighted you enjoyed the post. So with combination skin, the most important thing is to keep the skin balanced. As I say in the post, one thing I love about The Ordinary is how easy it is to treat different areas of your skin, which is why it’s great for combination skin.

      I’d recommend the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, it helps to reduce sebum production, so it helps prevent congestion from excess oil. It also helps with evening out skintone and protecting the skins barrier. You can use it 2x days if you want – it won’t dry out your skin but if you use a strong vit c product in your routine, i’d alternate use as it can make the vit c ineffective. The Glycolic Acid 7% toning solution is another great one for combination skin. It helps to exfoliate the skin by dissolving dead skin cells, which helps keep the pores clear.
      It’s best to use in the pm as it can make the skin more sensitive to sun and start off using it every second or third day as it can take time for your skin to get used to it.

      Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is a great all rounder which you can use as your daily moisturiser. It helps to brighten the skin and reduces blemishes. It also helps with any redness and inflammation. For hydration, it would be good to add in some oils. The 100% Plant-Derived Squalane is great for combination skin is similar to what is found in our own skin so by using it on oily parts your telling the skin it doesn’t to make so much oil and on the dryer parts it provides the hydration that the skin can’t produce in the area. You can also try the 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane which is even lighter. This can be used every day in the am and pm.

      Then for the occasional breakout, Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is brilliant! I still can’t get over the price for that amount. You would usually be paying double for half the amount even for “drug store” brands!

      Let me know if you have any questions on these and let me know how you get on!!


      • Eva March 9, 2019 at 9:31 am

        Hi Sarah,

        I have been using the products that you suggested for more than a month and my skin has never looked so good! I don’t have that many blemishes, my skin is already more even toned and it even looks more glowy and healthy. The routine became a calming ritual and it really gave me a confidence boost. I’m still amazed with the quality of the product for that kind of price! Thank you so much for your recommendations! I’m hooked on the Ordinary

        • awelltravelledbeauty March 11, 2019 at 10:38 pm

          I’m delighted to hear this Eva! Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how your getting on x x x x

  • Robin February 15, 2019 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Sarah! This is an amazing article! I have verrrry dry skin, am 40 and the wrinkles are coming on full force lol. What do I use???? I’ve been using the hylauronic acid, buffet and vitamin c bit really not sure when and how and which should go first and second and which shouldn’t be combine. It did feel tingly with vitamin c application. Thanks in advance for your help!

    • awelltravelledbeauty February 15, 2019 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Robin,

      Thank you so much for your comment! I would recommend adding in an oil – The Rose Hip oil would be perfect as it’s really hydrating and anti aging. The Hyaluronic Acid is also great for dry skin, you can use this twice a day as your first serum on clean skin. If you are using one of the stronger Vitamin C products (the 23%, 30% or 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder) it’s best to alternate the of The Buffet ie use the Vitamin C Product in the morning and the Buffet in the evening. Vitmain C can cause the peptides in the Buffet to become ineffective. In general, it’s best to use the Vitamin C once a day. Don’t be afraid to add in a retinol or retinoid (See my retinol post for why you should be using them) To start off with the Retinoid 2% in emulsion is fantastic. I prefer the emulsion to the Retinoid 2% in squalane (They are just different textures – the emulsion is more of a watery serum and the squalane is oily).

      So your routine should be

      AM – cleansing
      Hyaluronic Acid
      Rose Hip oil if you feel you need it and have time for it to soak in.
      Vitamin C

      PM – after cleansing
      Hyaluronic Acid – If you want the Buffet does contain HA but in a smaller %
      Retinoid 2% in Emulsion
      Rose Hip Oil
      A hydrating cream

      Just a note on dry skin, your cleanser is really important. Make sure you are using an oil or balm type, so you don’t strip any essential oils. Cerave Hydrating Cleanser has been my life saver! Also make sure you have enough omega oils in your diet (ie fatty oils from fish and nuts) a deficiency can be a cause of really dry skin.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

      Sarah xoxo

  • Gary Kotz February 22, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    I have been using deciem products for a while
    I just received a order with products I haven’t used
    Here are what I have
    Buffet copper
    Ha b5
    Niod photo %8
    Alpha lipoic
    rtinol 5%
    B oil

    I am thinking adding rose hip and if you would recommend a vitamin c product . Can you tell what routine you would suggest

    Thank you

    • awelltravelledbeauty February 24, 2019 at 1:23 am

      You’ve just reminded me that I have a bottle of photography fluid in my drawer – cant remember what % it is, think i tried it on my skin and thought thats too dark, saving that for summer – which is silly as I’m away in the sun at the moment…. anyhoo always start off with the buffet and copper peptides, do you mean the voicemail mask for Vc? And Te? i’m not sure what that is. The EUK and Pycnogenol 5% are pretty much the same, the EUK gives a slightly higher antioxidant protection but you can’t use it with vitamin c.

      So routine I would recommend

      AM – if not using a vitamin c
      Buffet with Copper peptides
      HA everywhere
      Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (I presume this is what you meant by Nmf) where you need it, usually the t zone.
      Alpha Lipoic on areas on pigmentation
      a couple of drop of EUK or Pycnogenol mixed in with the B oil or your moisteriser or your spf

      Buffet with Copper peptides
      HA everywhere
      Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
      Alpha Lipoic on areas on pigmentation
      Retinol 5% – because this is already in a squalene oil you prob wont need to use the b oil but if you skin is very dry and the squalene absorbs quickly you can add it on
      Night time moisturiser if you use one.

      I always recommend rosehip oil – it’s just great at everything. You could use it in the evening after the retinol a couple of times a week as an added boost.

      Vitamin C is a tricky one the Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% is a good one to start off with as its not too strong and you can use all the above products with it. If you go for any of the other Vitamin C products you can’t use the Buffet with copper peptides or the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
      I’m still playing around with their Vitamin C products. I’ve used the 23% and 30% and haven’t been wowed by either, both are a bit irritating on the skin and I don’t like the texture of the 23%. Like using retinol, starting off with a lower vitamin c is better but you really need to play around with them to see what you like. What I don’t like you may love. I would also recommend adding in Argireline Solution 10% it’s amazing! it helps to slightly freeze the muscles, thus reducing and preventing dynamic wrinkles.

      let me know how you get on!


      • Ina March 9, 2019 at 6:03 pm

        I’ve been recently diagnosed with Seborrheic Dermatitis on my face.
        I’m very interested to try Niod products and more from The Ordinary. Before being diagnosed with SD i got Mandelic acid,Azelaic acid, Squalane oil,Seabuckthorn oil,Alpha arbutin+ha, all from TO. I also have lage patches of hyperpigmentation on my upper cheeks. I’m very confused with the SD, i thinks it s very very mild. I was also diagnosed with psoriasis on my scalp.

        • awelltravelledbeauty March 11, 2019 at 11:11 pm

          Hi Ina,

          Thank you for your comment. I have Seborrheic Dermatitis so I feel your pain! Luckily it’s rare that I get flare-ups now, think my last one was about 6 months ago. If you are in the middle of a flare up I wouldn’t use any other products on the area except the ones you have been prescribed by the doctor and a moisturiser that doesn’t irritate and helps calm the itching. I have recently discovered Uriage DS Emuslion which is amazing for SD!

          If you feel that your skin is doing better you can start introducing TO products on the areas that you don’t have the SD, but you should wait till it’s fully cleared up before beginning a full routine. Because of the SD, your skin’s surface is out of whack so it’s really important to make sure the skin’s barrier is completely repaired before you start using stronger products. To help strengthen your skin’s barrier, I’d introduce a ceramide like Cerave Hydrating Cleanser and a probiotic serum or moisturiser Like Auralia or The Inkey List have just launced a new probiotic moisteriser on Cult Beauty

          Let me know how your getting on with the SD and if you have any questions. Take lots of omega oils and probiotic supplements – and no sugar, not even fruit for a few days!



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