The Ordinary's £5 Foundations | Worth the Hype?

If one brand has rocked the beauty world in 2017 then it's The Ordinary! In case you've been living under a rock: this brand (which is owned by Deciem, who also brought us Hylamide and Niod) essentially create amazing formulas for an affordable price and started out with skincare. The Serum Foundation (£5.70) and the Coverage Foundation (£5.90) mark their first foray into makeup, but how did I get on with them...?


Dear lord. The ordering process. I actually get asked a lot on social media how I ordered the foundations and how long they took. Essentially I originally placed by order with Victoria Health back in April and got the Serum Foundation around 6 weeks later and the Coverage around 6 weeks after that, so it's been a long road... From what I know, there are few reasons for this; firstly Deciem only has one factory from which they make these foundations (one shade at a time), though they're now expanding, in addition to this, I think the demand was unprecedented and on top of all that, these were originally manufactured without pumps, which were then added due to popular demand. 

At the time of writing, the majority of shades are available, and if yours isn't then you have two options. You can either place an order on Victoria Health and your products will be dispatched and you'll be charged for them as and when they come in stock (without any additional postage costs). Or you can sign up on the Deciem website to receive and email notification when your shade is available. Currently other stockists don't have these foundations, however I'd expect BeautyBay, LookFantastic and ASOS to also sell these on their website once stock levels stabilise.

Colour Selection

Both foundations come in an inclusive 21 shades, which is something I've never come across before at this price-point. The number indicates how fair or deep the shade is and the letter tells you whether the shade has Red, Neutral or Yellow undertones. Given the time it takes to receive some of the shades from ordering and based on the price-point, if you really aren't sure, it might be worth getting two shades (that way you can mix and match based on how your skin tone changes throughout the year).

I completely randomly opted for the shade 2.1Y and it turned out to be a good guess! It's very slightly darker and more than I'd usually go for, but it's a pretty decent match as we head into summer. I don't usually swatch foundations but I really struggled to find any guidance on which shade to choose online, so hopefully this is helpful! As you may be able to tell from the image below, the Serum 2.1Y is a tiny bit darker and more orange than the slightly lighter and more yellow-based Coverage 2.1Y. For reference, I'm a MAC NC37-40.

Packaging & Product Information

The packaging is simple, functional and of reasonable quality; I've said before of the Ordinary that it's almost iconic in its simplicity. I was pleasantly surprised that you get 30g of product in here, as the bottle looks tiny and that's pretty much the standard amount you'd get whether the foundation is drugstore or high-end. It comes with a pump that you can turn on or off and none of the writing has rubbed off the bottle for me. Both foundations are vegan and cruelty-free, plus contain no alcohol or oils.

The Serum Foundation

This arrived a good while ago so I've had plenty of time to test it out. The consistency when you dispense the product is very watery. I personally like to apply it with a damp beauty sponge. It gives a good medium coverage, which was actually more than I expected from the name and was a pleasant surprise, as I thought this would be the foundation I liked less of the two. It can also be built up in any areas you think you need a bit more coverage.

The finish once applied is what I'd describe as 'natural skin'. It kind of mimics your skin's texture; if you've used a moisturising primer then it'll have a slightly more dewy finish, if you're dry then unfortunately it might not add enough hydration for you on its own. This is what makes it quite hard to pin down; how it looks on you will totally depend on your skin type!

The longevity of this is decent. It doesn't go patchy but after around 5 hours I can definitely see a bit of shine coming through and need to powder. After 8-10 hours, it does start to fade from my problem areas and begins to look less than perfect.

The Coverage Foundation

This has a much thicker consistency and definitely looks and feels more like a traditional foundation. You can apply this with a damp sponge or a buffing brush; both work really well. It has a nice, even finish and despite giving a good medium-full coverage, it doesn't look thick or heavy.

I find that this has a satin finish because it's definitely not dewy or overly glowing, but it also isn't a matte formula. This means it can work well for a variety of skin types, but if you're on the extreme of either end, it might not be for you. Dry skin types might crave more hydration and if you're oily, it might not be enough to keep the shine at bay. However for my combination complexion, it works nicely.

This holds up fairly well, I'm going to say. Again, by lunch time, I do find myself reaching for the powder, however it's nothing major. What I do notice though is that after 6+ hours of wear, it can start to settle a bit in fine lines and look a bit 'melt-y', so it isn't going to be one I use for a night out.

The Verdict

I think that with these foundations, the price on one side and the difficulty in getting hold of them on the other can colour your opinion. You can end up saying 'it's good for £5' or 'it really wasn't worth all the time or effort', but we've already covered off these points, so I just want to talk about them as products in themselves.

The Serum Foundation was surprisingly my favourite of the two; it's a great everyday option that I reach for all the time before work. I definitely recommend it and see myself repurchasing it when I run out. 

The Coverage Foundation is good, but I just feel like I have products that hold up a little better and give a similar effect. If you're on a budget, then this is a really fantastic alternative to something like MAC's Studio Fix Fluid, however purely as a foundation it just isn't my favourite.

So, are they worth the hype? Overall, I have to say: yes!

Have you tried the Ordinary Colours yet?

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  1. So interesting, hopefully they will become readily available soon! I've been considering these foundations for a while but never took the plunge, might pick up the serum foundation x


  2. The shipping aside, this definitely worth the hype, especially if it's the dupe for MAC's foundation.

    Selene Addicted | http://seleneaddicted.blogspot.com

  3. I did look into ordering the serum foundation a while back but I think they were out of stock, plus narrowing my shade down was so hard! The serum one does sound more suited for me, but if only it was a bit more hydrating xx

    Velvet Blush

  4. Sounds interesting, I actually haven't heard of this brand before...

    I have a new post up on the blog, would love to know your thoughts:

    * Electric Sunrise - Fashion and Lifestyle Blog *

  5. I've been seeing the ordinary everywhere lately and everyone seems to praise it! Both of these foundations sound incredible for the price, I must try it out xxx

    Jasmine || http://www.blogsallbeautyy.blogspot.co.uk

  6. Thank you for sharing this - Apparently I have been living under a rock because I haven't heard of them at all haha. I am going to wait a little bit for the company and the products to develop (so hopefully I get a foundation before six weeks haha). The coverage foundations so closely matched to your skin - You did a good job. I like the idea of the serum one but I'm worried about the orange tones :(

    Have a great week!

    Chloe @ https://girllgonerogue.blogspot.co.uk/

    1. I'm not sure if all the shades are like that or if it's just mine to be honest xx

  7. I really want to try both of these, but my shades have been out of stock for forever. Thank you for the honest and thoughtful review!

    xx, The Makeup Feed

  8. I've seen these floating around, but weirdly never looked for a review, so I'm glad I stumbled across this. Definitely one I think I'm going to have to try out, love a good foundation. Thanks for this review, postage aside, I think I'll be making a little purchase :S

    Jamie-Leigh x

  9. I might try the serum foundation but on't bother with the other one! xx


  10. I guess Ive been living under a rock because I havent really heard about this brand! Haha! The serum foundation sounds really lovely and I never go for a foundation like that.


  11. I ordered them when they were originally first available odd the Deciem website and similarly had quite a long wait, but I also think they are worth the hype. I have been enjoying both of them more than I was expecting for the price point. I can't quite believe the value of these and their skincare products too. A great review.

    Kristy | www.thevioletblonde.com

    1. Their approach hs definitely changed the beauty world! xx

  12. wow i can not believe these are only £5 thats amazing xx


  13. I wasn't too sure about these but so far the reviews have been good, I do like that they don't charge extra for postage so might place an order soon. I wasn't even going to bother with the Serum foundation doesn't seem like my cup of tea but your post has definitely made me consider it. Thank you for sharing, great, unbiased review. Hope you are having a great week x

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

  14. I have been wondering about this brand for some time now, I am going to have to place an order!

    Danielle xx

  15. I'm glad that you found it worth it, 6 weeks is long to wait. I haven't tried any of their products yet. http://www.mrsqbeauty.com

  16. The serum foundation does sound really good! Will definitely order if/when the ordering process is ever simplified.

    Abigail Alice x

  17. I still haven't tried anything from this brand! I probably wouldn't go for the foundation but I'd love to try some of there other products x


  18. I have seen so many reviews of this and honestly I did not realise until now that these were only £5!!! I thought they were uber expensive. I think that was just me and I must have missed that. That said I think the wait time and not being able to swatch them (even if they are only £5 ) I would find frustrating. I'm a little bit tempted though still but I might wait until like you said some of the hype goes and stock level stabilise x


    1. They're definitely the most affordable foundations I've found with a decent shade range xx

  19. The brand Ordinary has seriously blown up, definitely hope they release their products in more countries

    Beauty Candy Loves

  20. I haven't tried them yet, but I want to! The Serum foundation is the one I'm really interested in trying since everybody seems to prefer that one more. It's been out of stock on their website for the longest time and it's so frustrating!

    Nicole | The Glam Surge

  21. Ordering myself some now!


  22. I only ordered the coverage foundation as I didn't think I would like the serum version but I'm not a fan of it unfortunately, it doesn't look that good on my skin although I need to try it with different primers, it settles in my fine lines and doesn't last well. I might buy the serum version once it's easily available. x

    Mummy's Beauty Corner

  23. I would love to try the Coverage foundation, I'm curious!


  24. For some reason I got the serum in 3 point something and it's to dark so I have to mix it with something else. I need to order the right shade but I'm not sure I can be bothered haha. I have the coverage foundation but I still need to give it proper test xx


  25. I love the Serum but did not get on with coverage one. Glad they both worked well for you. Xx

    Toni | sheergloss

  26. I'm on my 3rd day of trying the Serum and I'm loving it. Admittedly it doesn't help keep shine at bay but I don't mind because the finish and wear of this is amazing. It's strange that the colour is so much deeper on the Coverage - I would still want to try it because its not exactly breaking the bank xxx

    1. It is quite odd as they're supposed to be the same shade! xx

  27. Thank you for such a thorough post on these, Jasmine. I didn't even bother with these as the back order was ridiculous. Maybe after the hype dies down, like when people have completely forgotten about these then I will place an order.

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

  28. The Ordinary is a brand I'm desperate to try. I'm waiting for a couple pieces to come back into stock on Cult Beauty so I can finally try out the brand! These both sound pretty good for their price point, I'm definitely going to check them out! xx

    Dany | Danielle Reine

  29. I LOVE the sound of the Serum foundation, it sounds just like the kind of product I go for!


  30. This is so perfect for my skin type! and its only £5 ishh! brilliant xo
    Erika Jane | Blissful Wonder

  31. Thank you for your comments :) hope this was helpful! xx

  32. Thank you for a thorough review Jasmine! These are definitely on my wishlist to try. I'm ok to wait until they are more readily available though:)xo

  33. I've been wanting to try this foundations because everyone just talks about The Ordinary, The Ordinary, and The Ordinary. Unfortunately, their official retailer in my country run out of the shade that suits my skin tone. Based on your honest review, I think the reason for the hype is that they're soooo affordable yet good quality products.

    xx Alyssa // STYLE VANITY

  34. I would def try the one with more coverage but I definitely have been under a rock cuz i've never heard of this brand! Great review tho and I will keep a lookout for them!


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