These three The Ordinary musketeers have been sitting in my bathroom cabinet for quite a few months now and I am finally ready to share my [unbiased] opinion on both the brand and its bestsellers. Interested? Then just keep on scrolling.
About the Brand
I believe that at this point The Ordinary needs no introduction, but in case you're new to the brand (hey, thanks for stopping by!) here are a few things worth mentioning: being a sub-brand of DECIEM, The Ordinary is one of the most affordable, professional skincare lines globally. Why, you ask? The key idea here is to give customers pure clinical formulations (such as direct acids, retinoids, oils etc) wrapped in a minimalistic packaging. No smart marketing slogans, no gimmicky tricks, no sky-high pricing - only scientifically-proven skincare ingredients and formulas that should show visible results. The Ordinary is now available online on sephora.com, as well as its own webshop theordinary.com
Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%
One of a few reasons why I wanted to explore the world of The Ordinary - I was on a hunt for budget-friendly dupes. Majority of AHAs and BHAs that I love cost an arm and a leg, however, higher price is normally justified by a complex mix of multiple acids and additional [expensive] ingredients. As you might know, lactic acid is an organic, water-soluble compound derived from sour milk, which is known for its exfoliating and anti-aging properties.
The Ordinary offers two types of lactic acid: 5% or 10%. Since I have sensitive skin, I figured it would be best to start with a mild version first, so I picked Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. This formula is diluted by hyaluronic acid (we will talk about it in a minute), as well as Tasmanian Pepperberry, which acts as an inflammation-soothing ingredient here.
Lactic acid helps improve uneven skin tone, get rid of texture and fine lines, which is why it is loved by many skincare enthusiasts (myself included). The Ordinary version looks baby-peach in the bottle, but when applied it appears to be colour- and scent-free. It is also quite lightweight and watery, so it does get absorbed in a matter of seconds, leaving a smooth (even somewhat hydrating) film on the skin. Thankfully, it doesn't feel tacky/sticky and even with a dry skin like mine, I can wear it alone at night without any additional creams or lotions. It does tingle, but only a very little bit.
Results: Smoother, clearer, brighter skin (pores and blemishes are minimized in size). You should only apply a product like this in the PM, once a day. Frankly speaking, I only use it once a week and find that for my skin type it is more than enough. Unlike my other AHAs, this formula doesn't plump my skin as much; if anything - I always make sure to use a richer cream the next day to ensure that I don't feel dehydrated (which can sometimes happen to me after using this particular formula). Is it better than my holy grail Institut Esthederm Intensive AHA Peel Serum? No. Is it better than my other holy grail Drunk Elephant Framboos Serum? No. But to be fair, both of those serums are an AHA blend (glycolic, lactic, salicylic, citric acids etc) and not just lactic acid in its pure form; which is why, naturally, they do a little bit more than just exfoliate my skin.
Verdict: if you suffer from excessive skin texture, this peeling solution might be right up your alley. If you've never used acids like this before, start with 5% and if all goes well, proceed with 10% over time. I didn't notice any difference in my fine lines, but as a basic exfoliating (and exfoliating only) treatment, it is quite nice. In my case (bear in mind that I am used to stronger acids) I will keep on using it, but will not repurchase, because I might benefit more from the brand's 10% formula. P.S. always wear sunscreen after using your acids!
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
This is easily the most wanted product from the brand; Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a serum that you can use in the morning or evening, paired with your regular skincare products to boost hydration and prevent dryness. Hyaluronic Acid is known for its amazing skincare benefits; it makes your skin softer and retains a ton of moisture. What is even better - it works for every single skin type out there, even the most sensitive, thanks to its gentle formula and calming properties.
The Ordinary have mixed low, medium and high molecular types of hyaluronic acid, while B5 is here to ensure a multi-depth skin penetration and noticeable results. This formula is colour-, scent-free and feels a bit tacky to the touch. It might also move around quite a bit underneath makeup.
Results: this product didn't wow me. I have noticed zero difference in both: how my skin felt or looked. I've tried a lot of different ways to incorporate it into my skincare regimen, but alas! There was no plumping, no nothing. My usual creams do more for me and even mixed with this product, there was no difference.
Verdict: I was quite disappointed because this is (judging from glowing reviews online) the brand's five-star product and being a huge fan of anything and everything HA, I was left high and dry (literally dry). I will use it up on my neck or hands, but I can put my hand on heart and say that this serum is just mweh. I will not repurchase or encourage any of you to try it. If you are looking for a great HA serum, I would highly recommend Institut Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Serum instead.
100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil
Last but not least, being as dry as Sahara desert, I figured to give the brand's 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil a go. And you might even guess why - yes, I was hoping to find a Drunk Elephant Marula Oil dupe.
Marula oil is, hands down, the most hydrating oil out there. Believe me, I have tried them all (rosehip, argan, etc). Here are a few reasons why I love it so much: it has a clear, scent-free and ultra fine consistency. Unlike most oils, it is quite watery and does not leave your skin feeling heavy or greasy; at the same time you only need a very small amount (2-3 drops) for your entire face. This oil might trick you into thinking that you are actually working with a regular serum - it is balmy, smooth and gets absorbed relatively fast, leaving a nice hydrating layer on the skin. If that wasn't impressive enough, marula oil is packed with antioxidants that will rejuvenate the skin. This oil is a miracle for anyone with dry or very dry skin. You can also use it on your hair.
Results: soft, hydrated and clear skin. Irritation and spots are minimized.
Verdict: I must admit that although I do enjoy Drunk Elephant version a little bit more, results are pretty much the same, so you can easily go with The Ordinary instead and save your hard-earned money. I would not call them "dupes", but this is as close as it gets. If you have dry skin and want to introduce a good oil into your PM skincare routine, check this one out!
That's it for my very first The Ordinary haul! I will definitely make sure to try more products from the brand in the future, so please leave your recommendations and requests below.