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Does the Ordinary even need an introduction any more? Well, I'll give it to you in a sentence: pared-back active ingredients at a low cost. You can pick their products up from Deciem directly, Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic, Feel Unique and now even Boots. A few months back I was invited to chat about all things skincare with the lovely people from Deciem and they kindly gifted me some products, which I've been slowly but surely working my way through ever since. Although I've done a post like this before, with all the new launches they've had out recently, I thought it was time to update my Ordinary must-haves...
10. Natural Moisturising Factors + HA* | £4.90 | This is a pretty basic moisturiser but it does the job, so I really can’t fault it. It’s formulated with all sorts of skin-loving hydrators like glycerin, urea, ceramides, amino acids, hyaluronic acid and fatty acids. The concept behind this product is to replenish, moisturise and draw water into the skin using ingredients that naturally occur within the body. This means it's a great product for sensitive skin and will work for almost any skin type. I find this product nice and moisturising without feeling rich or greasy on the skin. It has a lovely softening effect and nicely smooths out dry patches. Is it something I'm jumping up and down about how amazing it is? I guess not, but it's a good moisturiser with good ingredients at a very good price-point. This now comes in a larger tube, which is a pro for me because I feel it's very easy to use this product up in its entirety pretty quickly.
9. Squalane Cleanser | £5.50 | This is a product I feel quite similarly towards as I do to the moisturiser; whilst I won't be throwing out every other cleanser I own in favour of this one, it does what I want it to at an affordable price-point. This cleanser is formulated with sucrose esters for hydration, glycerin to draw water into the skin and, of course, squalane - a plant-derived, non-greasy oil that mimics the natural oils our skin produces. This makes it another product that's unlikely to cause irritation to many people. It has a sort of balm-cream consistency and a nicely lightweight texture. It definitely leaves my skin softer and more hydrated, plus it's a nice multi-tasker, working well as a morning cleanse but also to gently and effectively melting away makeup.
8. Buffet + Copper Peptides | £28.90 | This super-powered serum combines the Ordinary's popular Buffet mix with copper peptides. This is a really nice product and the only reason it isn't higher on the list is because I can't help but compare it to Niod's version of the same thing! (Which I love - check out my comparison of the two here.) The Buffet formula contains peptides such as matrixyl (which can help to renew the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines - more on that shortly), various hyaluronic acid molecules (to attract water into the layers of the skin) and hydrating castor oil. This specific formula also adds in copper peptides, hence the higher price-point of this product. Much has been made about this ingredient; brands love to market it as a miracle cure for ageing. Though peptides can be fantastic as an anti-ageing ingredient, the research I've come across suggests they might be exaggerating just a little. However this serum still offers usually-pricey peptides at a more affordable price. The serum has a blue colour and is slightly thicker and more gel-like (be careful because it can pill up a little bit if combined with certain primers / foundations). In terms of the effects it has on my skin; I definitely notice it looks plumper, healthier, more hydrated and more radiant when I use this serum. Whilst it isn't as life-changing as Niod's version of this concept, it's also half the price and there's a noticeable difference in the overall quality of my skin when I use this serum.
7. 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil* | £9 | Now we're getting into the products I'm firmly a cheerleader for! I'm a long-time fan of rosehip oil; it's rich in fatty acids and is an emollient, so will really soften the skin and lock in moisture. There is also research to suggest it has healing properties, making it a gentle option for those looking to help the appearance of scarring. It also contains natural Vitamin A (from which retinol is derived) so could even help with signs of ageing (though this hasn't been definitively proven) and various antioxidants to protect the skin against free radicals. This option from the Ordinary in particular is a fantastic one if you want to seriously moisturise your skin without smothering it and causing a breakout, as well making your skin look and feel healthy. My only slight negative is that this is definitely a very oily formula, but for £9 I'm really not that bothered! I use oils overnight as the last step in my skincare routine so having a bit of a shiny face isn't the end of the world.
6. 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane* | £2.75 | I was originally gifted this product and when I went to repurchase it I was like; 'is it on sale or something?' But, no - this oil really is just £2.75! As I discussed earlier, squalane is an amazing source of fatty acids and antioxidants but, though it's one of the less greasy oils out there, it can still be a bit much for the daytime. This formula is super-lightweight, fast-absorbing and doesn't make my face look shiny on the surface. At the same time it's incredibly moisturising - I use 2-3 drops on my face before my moisturiser on dry winter skin days, and it works a treat. I also find this amazing on the scalp; I've suffered with a dry, sensitive, flaky scalp for many years and this product has been a game-changer. Once a week I apply a nice amount before bed when I'm planning on washing my hair the following morning and I experience far less irritation and flakiness.
5. The Ordinary 2% Salicylic Acid Solution | £4.30 | This is one of my 'can't live without' products that I'll always have a bottle of on my shelf. This solution contains salicylic acid - a chemical exfoliant that not only treats surface issues (such as helping to fade away blemish scars over long-term use) but can also penetrate into the pores (as it's oil-soluble) to treat active breakouts. I only use this as a spot treatment, not all over my face (because that would be way too intense!) however it's so effective. Used on an active breakout, it helps shrink and dry out the spot, then when I continue to use it after the blemish has scarred over, it really helps the mark to fade away quickly instead of leaving behind permanent damage.
4. 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil | £8.10 | Marula oil is a non-fragrant oil packed full of fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidant goodness. This oil comes from the seed of the marula tree and will work with most skin types in need of a bit of TLC, especially during the cold winter months. It softens, smooths and moisturises my skin and is a great last step in my evening skincare routine to lock in all that good stuff. I would also say of this oil that is is a little heavier and a little greasier than more expensive formulas, but it's a small price to pay for a skincare product that works a treat for under £10!
3. Pycnogenol 5%* | £8.60 | This is a new ingredient to me and one that I'm really excited about, which you can probably tell by it's ranking on this list! This oil has a red colour and I use 2-3 drops every other night before bed. Pycnogenol is derived from French maritime pine bark and is an incredibly powerful antioxidant. It's moisturising, anti-inflammatory and can improve skin elasticity. I also find it has an amazing softening and smoothing effect on my skin and helps some of the cold weather redness I've been experiencing this winter. It even makes my skin look plumper and fuller! It's just an overall win in my books and I will absolutely be picking this up again when I run out.
2. AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution | £6.25 | This product is a little bit terrifying; it's blood-red in colour and says 'professional use only' on it! However... used once a week, I find it to be an incredible effective treatment in just 5-10 minutes. This contains salicylic acid, which we just discussed, as well as a potent hit of glycolic acid. This is another chemical exfoliator however works more at a surface level to smooth the skin and give your complexion an overall glow-boost by breaking apart the dead cells so they fall away. This is incredible for softer, smoother, clearer, more radiant and perfected skin in an instant, making it perfect if you have a big event coming up and you want to look your best.
1. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% | £8.90 | Niacinamide (or Vitamin B3) is a fantastic all-rounder that will work with almost any other skincare ingredient in your routine. This is a lightweight gel serum that absorbs pretty well. Whilst it can leave a bit of tackiness, it's nothing major. Not only can it repair the skin's natural barrier, but it can help improve redness, reduce the size of pores, diminish the appearance of fine lines and balance out sebum production (so your skin doesn't get too oily). Is there anything it doesn't do? I find this to be a great product for everyday maintenance. Using something like this daily with all these amazing benefits really helps maintain my skin so it stays in an overall healthy place and keeps everything balanced and in harmony! Whilst it won't transform your life like the peeling solution will, it's an underrated hero that keeps my skin ticking over nicely.
Overall, it's safe to say I'm a huge fan of the Ordinary and what they've done for the beauty industry! There may be a few products you're surprised not to see on this list - for me the hyaluronic acid serum is a bit too tacky and I've found similarly-priced products I don't have this issue with. When it comes to the retinol - this is the rare occasion where I do think you get what you pay for; whilst the Ordinary's version is nice enough, I've just used some amazing, seriously transformative retinols that perform better for me. The other product you may be surprised is absent is the glycolic acid toner - I just find it a bit harsh for my skin. Whilst it works, I just would prefer a few more hydrating ingredients in the mix for regular use to balance things out. Whilst I've had a few duds, all in all (once you've cut through the terminology!) the Ordinary is a great place to try some amazing skincare ingredients. Just be sure to check out their regimen guide so you know the actives that work together and ones that don't.
Have you tried the Ordinary? What are your favourite products or the ones you want to try?
Have you tried the Ordinary? What are your favourite products or the ones you want to try?