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Skincare Review: The Ordinary

Updated: Nov 2, 2023

By Camryn McLen

For years I had the same skin care routine and never really changed it or tried other products. It was strictly just cleanser, toner and moisturizer. During quarantine it seemed as if my skin was getting too used to the products I had been using because they stopped working as well as they used to. Since my routine was so basic, I figured I needed to add something to it in order to see if there would be a difference.

I had always seen The Ordinary brand in stores like Ulta and Sephora, but I never really paid much attention to it. When I was searching for new products to use, that was the first brand that came to mind. I spent a couple of hours watching YouTube reviews of some of the products since I wasn’t exactly sure which ones to buy. Not only were there mainly good reviews, but the prices of the products were actually affordable for the quality unlike a lot of other skincare brands.

I’m no skincare expert, and everyone’s skin is different, but the products I did end up buying and have been using for over a year now have definitely made a difference when it comes to breakouts and oily skin.

The four products I decided to try were the niacinamide serum, hyaluronic acid serum, squalene cleanser and chemical exfoliant.

There are several benefits of the niacinamide serum (Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%). For starters, Healthline shares that it focuses on irregularities in texture as well as hyperpigmentation and blotchiness that may appear on the skin. More pros of the serum include reducing redness, regulating oil production and minimizing the appearance of pores. Niacinamide is also in aid in producing keratin which results in healthy and firm skin.

Two things I’ve noticed that have worked for me with the niacinamide serum is the oil production regulation and the minimization of my pores. Prior to using this serum, I had somewhat oily skin but I’ve noticed that since I’ve been using this for over a year now, my skin is noticeably less oily. I used to try to use a certain primer to minimize my pores, but the serum does that for me over time instead. Though it may have taken a few months to start noticing a difference, it was worth it and my skin looks much smoother. I use this every morning and night before moisturizing.

According to Healthline, hyaluronic acid serum (Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5) helps restore any moisture lost in the skin while also making sure it still looks healthy. More benefits include anti-aging and smoother skin texture. I used to use this every morning and night before the niacinamide, but because it helps replenish moisture and my skin is more on the oily side, I switched to only using it at night. This way it doesn’t take away from what the niacinamide is doing for my skin. I also use this after the chemical exfoliator since it can feel like it dries up your skin.

Before using the squalene cleanser, I had no idea what squalene even was. I soon learned that squalene is a colorless oil that helps with anti-inflammatory and reducing swelling. The Ordinary’s squalene cleanser also acts as a makeup remover. Although it helps dissolve makeup, I wouldn’t solely use it to take off your makeup. I use it after already removing my makeup to dissolve any spots that I may have missed or didn’t clean entirely. Though I haven’t seen as big of a difference as I have with the other products, it definitely helps remove any leftover makeup that could potentially clog my pores. I only use this at night if I’ve worn makeup during the day.

Lastly, there’s the chemical exfoliator (AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution) which some say looks like the vampire facial. This is probably my favorite product out of the four. Even though it has ‘peeling solution’ in its name, don’t be fooled. It doesn’t peel off like a face mask does, instead it’s intended to peel out all the dirt and oil that may be causing congestion. I used to use a facial scrub to exfoliate until I learned that physical exfoliation can be tough on your skin and cause micro-tears. Once I started using the peeling solution I felt as though the results were much better than the scrub.

Ulta’s website explains that the goal of this exfoliant is to target congested skin, texture irregularities and uneven skin tone. This product is meant to only be used at night and because it’s so strong, it’s recommended to only use it twice a week for no more than 10 minutes. It may feel weird at first because it makes your face feel tingly for about a minute or so, but you get used to it after months of using it. Your skin also may feel dry afterward which is why they recommend using the hyaluronic acid afterward. I haven’t done physical exfoliation since I started using this and I can honestly say the difference in my skin is much more noticeable than when I used a scrub.

I’d be willing to try more products from The Ordinary in the future, but as for now I don’t want to mess with how well these current products have been for my skin. If you aren’t into skincare but want to start getting into it, or even if you already are into it but want to try new products, I recommend starting with The Ordinary.


What products from The Ordinary would you like to try? Let us know on Instagram and Twitter or leave a comment!

All photos from Pinterest


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