If there's one brand that's had everyone talking in 2017 so far, it's been the Ordinary. After several products on back-order finally arrived (believe it or not, this post has been in the pipeline since October!) and I had a chance to test everything fully, I'm now ready to share my full and honest review of the products I have here.
The idea behind the Ordinary is to bring proven skincare ingredients at affordable prices. Instead of including expensive ingredients whose functionality isn't proven, each product focusses on an active ingredient. I must admit, though, the scientific approach is likely to alienate many general consumers who don't really know what the ingredients are in their skincare products and want something that's labelled 'intensely moisturising' or 'radiance-boosting'. However at the low price-point I was happy to take a bit of a punt on a few products that looked promising.
The majority of the Ordinary's products are serum-like, however there are also primers, oils and moisturisers as part of the range. The idea is that you can even mix them together to create your own customised skincare routine and if you're struggling to understand how or when to use any of the products this article is really handy. The packaging is plain and functional; it does the job and I feel like it's almost becoming iconic in its simplicity. It's now available via The Ordinary, Victoria Health, BeautyBay and ASOS.
100% Organic Cold-Press Rosehip Seed Oil* | £9 | Rosehip oil is one of my favourite skincare ingredients and this is the most affordable formulation I've tried yet! I do think I still prefer the extra (but still all-natural) ingredients offered by my Pai Rosehip oil but I think this definitely competes with my other favourite from Trilogy. It has a lightweight texture that's nothing greasy however I still use a product like this overnight. It's a brilliant all-in-one to intensely nourish dry skin (without causing any breakouts) and make it look bright and healthy. It definitely improves the texture of skin overall when you use it for an extended period of time, making it softer and smoother, as well as clearer.
Lactic Acid 10%+ HA | £5.80 | I must admit this one was a bit of a disappointment for me! I generally really get on well with acid exfoliants, however I just didn't feel this was really effective and it had quite a tacky finish on my skin. It has quite a strange smell, which I would have tolerated if it worked for me, given the price. However I expected this to increase the radiance of my skin, help to fade any scarring left behind by blemishes and for the hyaluronic acid (though it's not clear to me how much of it this contains) to ensure my skin felt nice and hydrated, but I didn't notice any significant changes to the texture or quality of my skin.
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc PCA 1% | £5 | We've gone from lowlights to one of the highlights of the collection, in my opinion! This is another clear serum and though it leaves a tiny bit of tackiness, it doesn't peel off in balls when I apply my moisturiser and the texture isn't at all noticeable once I've finished my skincare routine. This is amazing if you suffer from blemishes and I've been switching to it every time I've had a breakout. It does a great job of calming down any redness and inflammation, ensuring my skin is clear and my complexion even.
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 | £5.90 | This has a really similar texture to the Niacinamide, however isn't quite as tacky to me. Hyaluronic Acid's selling point is its ability to hold moisture in the skin and this definitely does. My skin looks so healthy and plumped whenever I use this! There are a few dehydration lines on my forehead which really annoy me and I use them to judge how parched my skin is and how effective products to combat that have been. This really helps to smooth their appearance and give my skin an overall softness. Definitely another highlight of the collection for me.
Retinol 1% | £5.80 | This has a really unusual texture - it almost looks like a clear silicone primer gel but it smooths right on and actually has a fairly hydrating finish. I tried this every night for a good 2 months in order to fully see the results. I found that this mild retinol still made my skin look fresh and its tone and texture much more even. Retinol also had amazing anti-aging properties so hopefully this will also help my skin longer term. This isn't at all harsh; as someone whose skin isn't really used to retinols, I didn't find this stripping or irritating.
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% | £5.50 | I used this product pretty much everyday for a few weeks when my skin was a bit tired and spotty, which really showed how great it was, and it's since become a regular in my skincare routine. It has a smooth cream, moisturiser texture that's neither greasy nor matte. I wouldn't say it's overly hydrating (you'd want a moisturising serum underneath it if you're dry) but for oily skin (which I think would benefit from this kind of product the most), I think it's enough. This is amazing at keeping the skin clear; I'm one of those people destined to always have at least one spot, even if it's not a full-on breakout! However whilst using this, my skin was incredibly clear and free from redness. My pores were clear and it definitely helped the appearance of scars from old spots that tend to become hyper pigmented. If you suffer from blemishes or uneven skin tone this is definitely worth giving a go (and it's only a fiver!)
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% | £7.80 | This is cream-based product that has a smooth, hydrating, non-greasy, non-sticky finish. This is essentially a form of Vitamin C that acts as an antioxidant. I personally use this in the mornings in place of a moisturiser because it's nourishing enough for my combination skin on its own. It makes my skin look bright, fresh and even (helping to improve the appearance of blemishes and imperfections), however unlike some of the more intensive ingredients that give you these effects, it's actually quite nice and soothing.
Natural Moisturising Factors + HA | £4.90 | This is a really nice, no-frills moisturiser. It's not rich, it's not heavy, it's not greasy, but it does the job when it comes to softening the skin and adding a nice amount of hydration. If you have dry skin, I don't think this will do enough for you, however if you're normal, combination or oily I think it's a great option. It doesn't have any fragrances or irritating ingredients so for sensitive or acne-prone skin, it could also be a really great one to try. The ingredients are all proven to be effective and include hyaluronic acid, triglycerides and amino acids.
High-Adherence Silicone Primer* | £3.90 | I'll be honest: I didn't think I'd like this product! The word 'silicone' conjures memories of slippery clear gel-like primers, which are the opposite of what I want these days. However when I squeezed this out, it had a definite cream-like consistency, which was a nice big 'tick'. I then smoothed it onto my face five or so minutes after my moisturiser and there was none of that horrible peeling effect. Instead it gave my skin a really smooth finish and my makeup stayed in place and shine-free from when I left the house at half 7 to when I got home at around half 6. I've been using this most days since and in my opinion it's a total winner!
High-Spreadability Fluid Primer* | £5.50 | This next highlight of the bunch was really quite unexpected! This has a serum-like formula that spreads across the skin with ease. It leaves my skin neither matte nor overly dewy; it just has that perfect satin finish. It doesn't make my moisturiser peel off or anything like that and actually did an impressive job of masking my pores appear less pronounced. I definitely feel as though my base goes on smoothly and my skin looks at its best when I use this, and it also increases wear-time. I'm giving this a very enthusiastic thumbs up!
By and large I'm soooo impressed with the products I've tried and I think the concept of this brand is genius. Even if there are one or two duds, at the end of the day these products cost less each than the average drink I'd buy on a night out! In fact, the amazing silicone primer will set you back less than a large caramel latte from Starbucks... The products are simple, functional and do what they say on the tin. For me, the one drawback is that you need to know your skincare stuff to work out which products are for you, or be willing to do some Googling (or there's always the 'lucky dip' method I opted for...)