‘The Ordinary’ Favourites

I’ve been meaning to write down my experience with skincare newbie The Ordinary for a while. The range has been a little known secret of mine for the past 9 months, but I think it’s time you found out just how good this brand is.

I think it’s important to give you a bit of back story about my skin. Basically, I used to neglect the fuck out of it. I’m talking going to bed with a full face of makeup on, using one dried up makeup wipe to half heartedly take my makeup off, and every now and then I’d exfoliate it with a mitt in the shower until I was basically red raw. I’m not joking, I cringe like mad looking back.

My skin has always been pretty hard wearing; combination to normal with thankfully minimal breakouts, which I genuinely put down to genetics. Just the odd volcano on my chin or cluster of blackheads on my nose but all in all, it’s behaved, even throughout my mistreatment. My biggest issues are the dark circles weighing down my eyes, a very freckly, pigmented complexion (which everyone says is cute, but it’s not when it’s blotchy looking like mine), and redness. I have Rosacea on my cheeks, meaning that changes in temperature, abrasive surfaces, foods, alcohol and even hormones give me bright red, flushed cheeks. Sounds all rosy and delicious, but it’s actually pretty horrid. I look like I’ve just ran a marathon and then topped it off with a generous application of blush.

So around 9 months ago, I had a lightbulb moment. My makeup wasn’t going on the same. My cheeks felt tight and sore. My forehead and nose glowed like a fucking lighthouse as soon as I walked out the house and my makeup was sliding off. My skin would feel raw and sensitive after washing my face and I generally knew it was time to start looking after my skin and stop dragging a minging beige baby wipe around my face for the sake of getting in bed faster.

So I decided to invest. And by invest, I don’t mean financially. I invested time. I became quickly fixated around the science of skincare, and fell madly in love with this brand.

Please just be conscious that every face is different, so don’t take what works for me as gospel and make sure to factor your own concerns into consideration. But if you learn one thing, please know just how important it is to educate yourself about your skin. You only get one face, and bear in mind how much people spend on their skin in later life due to the neglect they endured in their 20s. Just look at the stats for facelifts and Botox and it’ll scare you. I’m not saying these products can eradicate your concerns, but definitely soften the blow. And they always say, prevention is the best cure.

So onto The Ordinary. I’ll be honest, I fucking love this brand. I first found out about them via Wayne Goss, one of my favourite makeup artists and YouTube Gurus. He talks openly and honestly about the products he loves, having purchased them himself, and does makeup the old fashioned way. His opinion is Bible to me.

Basically the premise of the brand is to provide high quality raw ingredients that you can mix together to make your own custom skincare, tailored to your skin type and concerns. Oh and by the way, it costs nothing. Not kidding, this stuff is cheaper than any skincare brand I’ve ever come across. Their most expensive product is £12.00. Genuinely. What. The. Fuck. I literally bang on about their products to anyone who will listen. This shit WORKS.

Also, the packaging is gorgeous, I love the little laboratory style bottles with pipettes, it adds to the science-y feel. They’re vegetarian, free from perfumes, fillers and harsh chemicals and are literally crammed with skin saving properties.

Here’s my top The Ordinary products (so far) and how I use them.

100% Organic Cold Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil – £5.90
This oil is a raw oil extracted from the seed of the Argan plant. You’ll have probably heard of this oil in haircare products for its deeply hydrating and nourishing properties. This oil is quite rich and heavy, so I’d only recommend this for dry-normal skin. Oily people steer clear.

This helps with:

  • Deeply nourishing and hydrating dry skin
  • Injecting luminosity to the skin – it looks beautiful under makeup or mixed with liquid foundation
  • Fading dark spots to create a more flawless base
  • Preventing aging and wrinkles by keeping skin moist

I mix together 4 drops of this oil with the Rosehip Seed Oil and pat into my face AM & PM, using it instead of a moisturiser. I also use it on its own on freshly blow-dried hair (mid lengths downwards) for sleek shiny hair and to strengthen the ends to prevent breakage.

100% Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil – £9.00

Similar to the Argan oil, Rosehip Seed Oil is a raw oil from the seeds of the Rosehip plant. This oil is thinner and more lightweight, so can be used from dry to oily skin types. You can even use it if you suffer with acne.

This helps with:

  • Hydrating the skin
  • Fading scars
  • Reducing fine lines & wrinkles
  • Fading pigmentation & dark spots
  • Soothing and healing acne
  • Calming redness and rosacea flare ups

This stuff has been a miracle worker for me; it adds such a healthy glow to my face and has really helped to cool and soothe my red cheeks. I mix together 4 drops of this oil with the Moroccan Argan Oil and pat into my face AM & PM, using it instead of a moisturiser.

I’m sure a lot of you are recoiling after discovering I put actual oil on my face. Surely adding oil to your face makes you even oilier? I hear you all say. In most cases, this is actually incorrect. Unless you’re already Slip’N’Slide level oily, this technique should work for you. Your skin is usually oily because your skin is being stripped of its natural oils by your everyday skincare products. Therefore it often works hard to overproduce oil, going into overdrive to counteract your destruction, hence making your skin oilier and oilier. Turns out, if you just add oil to your face, your skin should neutralise over time and stop working so hard to produce oil, leveling your skin out. How many times did I just say oil?

Advanced Retinoid 2% – £8.00 

This is a milky serum that works to target a whole range of skin concerns. In simple terms, Retinols/oids are Vitamin A derivatives. They’re one of those trigger words in skincare that instantly catch your eye, and usually it’s reflected in the price. For 2% Retinoid, you can often pay £40-£80 a bottle. This product is genuinely redefining the skincare industries’ standards and is absolutely incredible.

This helps with:

  • Boosting collagen production – making skin fuller & plumper
  • Reducing wrinkles & preventing fine lines
  • Evening out discoloration & skin tone
  • Brightening the skin by speeding up cell turnover
  • Unclogging pores & reducing acne
  • Reducing inflammation & redness

My skin feels so much plumper and smoother since using this. I use it once a day, in the PM, patting it into my skin before my oils. Retinols/oids can have a tendency to make skin more sensetive, so you may notice your skin feels delicate at first. It’s important to use with sunscreen as your skin is more predisposed to reacting with UV light.

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG – £5.80

We all know caffiene is good. It’s tasty, it’s addictive, it’s the only source of hope on a Monday morning. Think of this bottle as coffee for your eyeballs. As I mentioned, dark circles are a big issue for me, so this product is a must. The caffeine constricts blood vessels to reduce discolouration and swelling, whilst EGCG (a substance extracted from green tea) has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Winner winner.

This helps with:

  • De-puffing the eye area
  • Reducing the appearance of dark circles
  • Reducing discolouration & swelling around the eyes

I do like this product, however, be aware that it’ll take a miracle to completely eradicate dark under eyes. They’re often hereditary, so I haven’t noticed an enormous difference in the colour of them with this, however it does a great job of brightening and de-puffing my eyes. I gently pat 2 drops of this around the contours of my eyes AM & PM, but be careful, if this shit gets into your eyes, it stings like a bitch.

Lactic Acid 10% + HA – £5.80

You usually only hear about Lactic Acid in your GCSE P.E. class, but this stuff has changed my face for life. Lactic acid is a mild acid that gently exfoliates and resurfaces your skin by lifting away the very top layers to reveal baby soft skin underneath. The ‘HA’ stands for Hylauronic Acid, which strengthens the top layers of your skin, meaning it’s better able to attract and retain moisture. This basically means your skin holds water better and can remain strong and hydrated for longer without the need for excess product.

This helps with:

  • Improving skin texture by sloughing away dead skin sells gently
  • Reducing pigmentation by stimulating cell regeneration
  • Improving the skin’s ability to stay moist naturally
  • Targeting uneven skintone, textural irregularities & fine lines

This is my favourite product from the range so far. After using it once my skin was suuuper soft and my makeup went on like a total dream. My pores were minimised, my spots had reduced and any unwanted texture and bumps were gone. It’s literal magic. I apply 5-6 drops of this twice a week in the evenings and avoid using other skincare that night. Remember, this is an acid, albeit a gentle one, so it has to be used infrequently to give your skin a chance to repair. Don’t forget to wash your hands after putting it on and wear suncream afterwards as your skin will be more sensitive.

High Spreadability Fluid Primer – £5.50

This is a lightweight serum-style gel cream that makes applying makeup completely seamless, minimising the dragging that your skin can endure when using a makeup brush.

This helps with:

  • Hydrating the skin without adding excess oil for a natural dewy look
  • Keeping makeup stay where you put it – without moving, creasing, cracking, flaking or oxidising throughout the day

I love this primer as it’s lightweight and bridges the gap between a moisturiser and a primer. If you’re looking for that airbrushed appearance, I’d recommend the next primer, but this one is beautiful on its own or under makeup to add radiance to the skin. I add a pea sized amount after moisturiser but before makeup.

High Adherence Silicone Primer – £3.90

This is my preferred primer. It’s much more silicone-y and in my opinion, does a better job than the above primer for heavier makeup looks. This shit makes you looked airbrushed!

This helps with:

  • Making makeup smoother to apply
  • Mattifying oily patches on the skin
  • Hydrating the skin before makeup is applied
  • Blurring imperfections and filling in open pores
  • Keeping your makeup in place for long periods of time – preventing creasing, oxidisation, flaking and patchiness

I apply 3 drops of this primer after moisturiser but before foundation. I absolutely adore this product, however it may not be great if you have congested, acne prone skin as it’s very heavy and can clog pores easily.

Natural Moisturising Factors + HA – £4.90

If you’d rather have a cream moisturiser instead of an oil, this is definitely the product to go for. It’s non-oily, lightweight and really smoothing and hydrating. This is great for any skin type from dry and sensetive to oily or acne prone. It’s full of Amino Acids and the HA stands for Hylauronic Acid, which I mentioned under the Lactic Acid product.

This helps with:

  • Repairing and stimulating new cell growth to make skin smooth and soft
  • Deeply nourishing and hydrating dry skin
  • Strengthening the skin to help it retain and absorb water better

I personally prefer moisturising with oil as I feel like it penetrates deeper in to the layers of my skin and makes me glow more, but if you’re wary of using oil or have a naturally oilier complexion, I’d definitely try this. Add a penny sized amount to your face and neck AM & PM.

Salicylic Acid 2% – £3.80

Similarly to Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid 2% is a mild exfoliant that removes the top layers of skin to reveal the softer skin beneath. However, it has many healing properties and helps to heal spots and blemishes.

This helps with:

  • Treating blackheads, whiteheads and blemishes
  • Reducing redness in existing blemishes
  • Minimising pore size to prevent clogging and future breakouts

This shit is a Godsend. I apply a few drops directly over any blemishes with a cotton bud twice a day until the spot is gone. I also rub it in to any areas where my skin looks clogged or congested. I’m a picker when it comes to spots so I apply this to broken skin, even though you’re not meant to, but it heals them quickly regardless! My spots are literally gone the day after, it’s legit incredible.

In the featured picture I do also have Argireline Solution 10 (£5.50) and Matrixyl 10% + HA (£9.00), and I’ve just had the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (£6.80) arrive today, however I’ve barely tried these yet so I’ll wait before giving my opinion.

As you can probably tell, I love all the products I’ve tried so far, but the definite winners are the Lactic Acid, Rosehip Seed & Moroccan Argan Oils, High Adherence Silicone Primer and Salicylic Acid. This brand is so reliable and for the price, it’s hard not to just buy everything and try it to see if it works for you!

For reference, I bought all my products from Victoria Health, an amazing website that provies a lot of scientific insight into their products. Their delivery is pretty slow but I love their site. You can visit them here: Victoria Health Website – The Ordinary. You can also buy a smaller selection of The Ordinary products at www.beautybay.com and www.cultbeauty.co.uk.

If you’re a skincare science nerd like me, you can read a more in depth review of every product in their range on the Victoria Health Website here: The Ordinary – The Definitive Review

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my opinion on one of my favourite skincare brands. I’m going to do another post soon on the other skincare products I use and do a breakdown of my full routine step by step with more photos of my skin to show you its transformation.

Thanks for reading.

A x

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