The brain child of Brandon Truaxe, The Ordinary (which sits under the DECIEM umbrella) has shaken up the skincare industry in a big, big way. With effective products sold at crazily cool prices (their cult hyaluronic acid serum is just six quid), it’s a brand that’s had us questioning why we pay so much for our beauty products – and how much we should actually be spending once all the BS is cut. Why pay £50 for an acid serum when you can get one just as effective, for under a tenner? It’s a hugely clever brand – but my problem is sometimes it’s a bit too clever for my little brain. Science-led The Ordinary names its products things such as ‘Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F,’ packages much of its skincare in similar bottles and tubes, and forgoes the usual ‘serum/oil/moisturiser’ strictly-labelled tags.
When I was first properly introduced to the brand by the ambassador/PR/my now friend Laura Wythe, I had a million questions – most of which were, “what does this do??”. I’d routinely email her to follow up with these queries, asking when in my routine this concentrate would go or how long I should leave that peel on for. It must have been pretty tireless for her (she was gracious always, though) so I decided it would be handy for fellow confused folk to have a practical guide to follow. I couldn’t possibly write these summaries for every product in the range (there are lots), but with Laura’s help I’ve picked a select few bestsellers and briefly explained what they do, when they should be used, and who by. Hope it’s helpful!
Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
What? A liquid acid exfoliant
When? As a toner, in the PM, after cleansing, before serum/moisturiser. The website says not to use more often than once a day, but personally I’d suggest using it only a couple of times a week as it is a fairly strong acid. Always make sure you wear an SPF after use in the days after as the AHAs in this can cause more sensitivity to the sun.
For who? Skin that gets oily and suffers from breakouts or blackheads, as well as skin that is a little dull as the product improves radiance and skin texture. This shouldn’t be used on sensitive skin or broken skin damaged by severe blemishes.
100% Plant-Derived Squalane
What? Despite sounding like a monster from the deep, this is in fact an oil that promotes hydration.
When? After cleansing and toning (if you choose to), either morning or night. Apply a moisturiser afterwards for optimum nourishment.
For who? This is amazing for dehydrated skin, but as it is a plant-based formula, I think works well on most skin types.
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
What? A wash-off masque that exfoliates the skin and in turn helps congested pore and dullness.
When? After cleansing on clean skin, as you would a normal mask. Use this in the pm and no more than twice a week. Always make sure you wear an SPF after use in the days after as the AHAs in this can leave skin sensitive to UV rays.
For who? Blemish-prone skin with congested pores. Skin that needs a bit of brightening. As this is an acid, sensitive skin won’t like it.
Advanced Retinoid 2% (now Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion)
What? A retinoid formula that targets ageing, acne-prone skin, pigmentation and scarring.
When? Before oils and creams in the PM, but after lighter serums as part of your pm routine. Always make sure you wear an SPF after use in the days after as the AHAs in this can cause more sensitivity to the sun.
For who? Those suffering with any of the skin issues above, especially for mature or acne-prone skin. Be aware that as it speeds up cell renewal, this product can make acne-prone skin worse at first before it gets better.
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
What? A hydrating serum packed with hyaluronic acid, which boosts moisture and plumps skin.
When? When you would usually apply a serum, so after cleansing and toning and before moisturiser. Use it am and pm daily.
For who? Most people get on with this formula, and dry or dehydrated skin would especially benefit from it.
Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
What? An extra step that helps to brighten skin, improve texture and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
When? Use this in the morning and the evening, after serums and before oils or moisturisers.
For who? All skin types would benefit from using this, but those with redness and blemishes most.
Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
What? A high concentration of vitamin C, with a water-free formula to keep the dose stable.
When? This is best used in the pm rather than am and due to its strength (it can get quite tingly), I would suggest not using this every day.
For who? People looking to improve the radiance and tone of their skin. Vitamin C is great for most skin types, and offers an intense shot of healthy glow for the complexion. As this is quite a high dose, however it’s best for those who are already fairly experienced with Vit C.
Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
What? A no-frills face cream.
When? Last in your routine, am and pm, daily.
For who? Anyone, but oily skins might especially get on with this as it’s light and non-greasy.
Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%
What? A concentrate packed full with antioxidants which are great for the skin.
When? After water-based serums, before oils and heavier creams. You can also mix this with other products from the range to enhance the antioxidant ingredients. Try mixing with the Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone (described above).
Who? Those that need an extra boost for their skin. If you’ve been ill or run down, this is great to restore some glow.
This post is fondly dedicated to Deciem babe Laura Wythe – thanks LW, you’re a saint 😉