What to buy from The Ordinary: A skincare routine for every skin type

·10-min read
Photo credit: The Ordinary
Photo credit: The Ordinary

You've probably heard a lot about The Ordinary. A true industry rebel, this accessible skincare brand found fame by taking previously pricey ingredients – from rosehip to retinol – stripping away all the fancy frills, and delivering effective formulas to the masses without the triple-figure price tags.

What is The Ordinary?

Really, it's no wonder The Ordinary has taken the world by storm, with hero products that regularly sell out and clever (yet incredibly simple) formulas that genuinely work. While the brand is most coveted for their skincare potions, its latest innovation, the Multi-Peptide Lash and Brow serum, has gone viral for the incredible transformation made to this TikToker's lash growth. With the video reaching over 10 million views, it's clear The Ordinary really knows how to please a crowd.

So, if you're not au fait with this brilliant brand just yet, we've got you covered. Here, see our beginners guide to The Ordinary, then discover the ideal skincare routine for your specific skin type and concerns.

Why is The Ordinary so affordable?

As beauty consumers began to understand how ingredients and formulas work – and in what quantities and percentages they do that work best – The Ordinary popped up offering those holy-grail skincare ingredients like retinol and hyaluronic acid, all for less than a tenner.

The cheap prices were made possible by the brand's savvy, disruptive business model. There's no fancy packaging, celebrity marketing campaigns or pricy telly ads to drive up the cost of each bottle, meaning the savings could be passed onto the consumer.

The brand's candid descriptions, simple packaging and tangible results have made it an overnight success. Two years later, they're officially the OG of affordable, science backed skincare brands that value results over the luxury trimmings, with the likes of Q+A and The Inkey List following the same trail that The Ordinary blazed.

What you should know, before buying from The Ordinary

The brand's lab-style labels are famously tricky to understand, meaning that constructing your own routine can get a bit confusing.

Whilst it's a great idea to start taking care of your skin from an early age, it's also important to keep things simple. Consultant Dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto says she’s noticing an increase of younger patients becoming more interested in using skincare ingredients to target ageing concerns. ‘Whilst 5-10 years ago, many of those concerned with ageing changes such as fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation would be 40 upwards, I am now seeing many in their 20s expressing concern and keen on finding “preventative” treatments’ she reveals.

‘This is a result of increased access to information, pressures to look good placed, social media and filters, selfie and celeb culture.’

By over-using potent ingredients, your skin doesn't actually need can cause more harm than good— so it's important you keep things simple and avoid too much mixing. Luckily, we have you covered.

What are all The Ordinary products for?

Before we get into the products, here's a quick crash course on some of the most well-known (yet easily confusing) skincare terms you should have on your radar before checking out.

Hydrators & Oils

Think of your classic humectant such as hyaluronic acid, which has a plumping effect on the skin, as well as cold-pressed oils that provide vital fatty acids such as omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 along with other phytonutrients.

Retinols & Retinoids

A derivative of vitamin A, retinol increases cell turnover – your skin’s natural renewal process – and triggers the production of collagen and elastin (two proteins responsible for your skin’s firmness and plumpness) while even regulating oil production.

Antioxidants

These clever skincare ingredients work by preventing and reducing damage to skin cells by neutralising free radicals: atoms (found in pollution and UV rays) that have lost an electron, making them unstable and able to damage skin cells that get in their way.

Antioxidants such as vitamin C work to protect the skin by giving these free radicals an electron, rendering them harmless. Vitamin C is also a great ingredient to brighten your skin.

Acids

It sounds daunting to cover your face in acids, but they are wonderful ingredients that are proven to treat a myriad of conditions from pigmentation to acne and wrinkles. Most work to dissolve the 'glue' that holds dead skin cells together. This is important because these cells absorb light rather than reflecting it, resulting in dull-looking skin.

There's plenty of acids that most dermatologists rate, and the one you should use will depend on your skin type and levels of sensitivity. You can find the full spectrum in The Ordinary's line-up, from glycolic to lactic and the spot-clearing salicylic.

Peptides

Your body naturally produces peptides and proteins – which are responsible for your skin’s natural resilience and strength – but, as with everything that seems to keep skin glowing, this production process is constantly under attack, be it internally (via ageing and stress), or externally (from the environment). Adding peptides into your skincare routine is an easy way to up your levels.

The best products from The Ordinary

The Ordinary appeals to every person out here, and depending on your skin type, the products that'll want to incorporate into your routine will differ. So to cut any confusion, here's a breakdown of some of the best products from The Ordinary that will satisfy your skin (and hair) needs. But first, take a look at these top sellers:

1.The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Lash & Brow Serum

The viral Lash & Brow serum proves you don't have to drop big bank to grow longer, fuller looking lashes and brows. Most serums come with a three-figure price tag, but this simple formula comes at only £112.40 without compromising on the hard-working ingredients: it incorporates a four peptide complex to support fuller brows and lashes.

2. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

A wonder product for tackling dark circles, this can be used both AM and PM before all other skincare products. Simply pat a few drops along the eye contour to help diminish panda eyes.

3. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Ok, this one is a very potent powerhouse. If dullness, hyperpigmentation and blemishes are a constant concern, this resurfacing treatment contains a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids to banish them. Simply leave on for five minutes and wait for it to work its magic: although if you're a sensitive soul, give it a miss.

4. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The ultimate hydrating molecule, HA is praised for its ability to retain over 1,000 times its weight in water within the cells of the skin. Think of it as your skin's ultimate thirst quencher. It's also a winner for sensitive skin types.

5. The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

Did you know that your body produces squalane? But as we age, the amount we make naturally starts to diminish, which is why using it topically can help to keep your skin soft and healthy. The Ordinary sources its squalane from plants, meaning it's vegan-friendly, too. It's best applied after your water-based treatment, such as hyaluronic acid.

The Ordinary skincare routine for sensitive skin

AM

A no-filler ethos means The Ordinary’s potions can be highly potent, so sensitive souls should approach with caution. However, there is a routine that will work to nourish and soothe easily irritated skin. In the morning, reach for moisture-binding Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (£5.90) then follow with Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (£4.90), which is essentially a fancy name for a great no-nonsense moisturiser.

PM

After dark, try the 100% Plant-Derived Squalane (£5.50) for hydration without clogged pores, then top with your Natural Moisturising Factors + HA once more.

Cost of routine: £19.10

The Ordinary skincare routine for dry skin

AM

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a perfect choice for dry skin. This wonder ingredient can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water, meaning it delivers heavy-duty hydration without making skin feeling suffocated.

The molecular size of HA determines its depth of delivery in the skin. This formulation combines low, medium and high molecular-weight HA, meaning it works just about everywhere you want it to. Even better, it's supported by vitamin B5 to bolster surface hydration.

Next, double your hydration dose with Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, which seals all the good stuff into the skin’s surface. It's packed with fatty acids that work to protect and hydrate the outer layer of skin. (Oh, and did we mention it now comes in an XXL version for a mere £6.75?)

PM

Come evening, repeat your morning routine, but sandwich a layer of 100% Plant-Derived Squalane between your serum and moisturiser for an extra shot of hydration. For a brightening once-a-week treatment, apply AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, which works by exfoliating the skin's topmost layer for a brighter, more even appearance. Sound good? We think so, too. Apply it for no longer than five minutes though – we recommend three minutes max for newbies.

Cost of routine: £25.40

The Ordinary skincare routine for acne

AM

One of the best ordinary products for acne is the Salicylic Acid Masque, which contains a beta hydroxy acid alongside witch hazel to unclog pores and clear up blemishes. Use it in conjunction with Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, which regulates sebum production to keep your complexion in balance.

PM

If you’re a long-time acne sufferer, you’ve likely got a few scars to show for it. Applied in the evening, skin-regenerating Retinol 1% in Squalane can work wonders on fading acne marks and pigmentation.

If you’re new to the retinol game, try diluting a drop of this serum with your regular moisturiser until your skin is accustomed to the actives.

Cost of routine: £22.80

The Ordinary skincare routine for fine lines

AM

The mysteriously named Buffet is your first port of call for tackling fine lines. Turns out, the name refers to the buffet-like array of skin-boosting ingredients within: think peptides, hyaluronic acid and amino acids. Seal the deal with Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.

PM

Come evening, you can go to town with the regenerating treatments. First up, swipe Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution over cleansed skin to dissolve dead skin cells, allowing your Buffet serum to sink in super deep.

Follow this with Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion and finish with an optional layer of moisture via 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil or 100% Plant-Derived Squalane. For an added boost, treat with AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution once a week.

Cost of routine: £36.40

The Ordinary skincare routine for pigmentation

AM

Fading pigmentation is no easy feat, but with the gel-like Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA serum you’re in with a fighting chance: the high concentration of active ingredients works to reduce melanin production. Follow this with - deep breath - Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F, which is essentially a great Vitamin-C infused oil.

PM

In the evening, slough away dull skin cells with Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution before applying your Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA once more. Finish with Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% for brightening, or choose Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane for increased cell renewal.

Cost of routine: from £41.40

The Ordinary skincare routine for oily skin

AM

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is your secret weapon when it comes to regulating sebum production. Slather it on, then seal with Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.

PM

Come evening, try the Salicylic Acid Masque to clear any breakouts, and top with Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1, to finish.

Cost of routine: £20.90



You Might Also Like