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The Ordinary: Worth the Hype?

What products did I pick up and why?

By Cait FawkesPublished 7 years ago 5 min read
Top Story - November 2017

It is an understatement to say that The Ordinary skincare range has caused a bit of a stir in the blogosphere as of late. Not all of the feedback has been good, with some criticisms that the strength of the active ingredients may be compromised by the affordable packaging and that the simple formulations are not as sophisticated as even marginally more expensive products.

However, as a skincare fanatic with a tight budget and free next-day ASOS delivery, I absolutely love this brand. Here are the products I decided to give a go:

Advanced Retinoid 2%

I always want to use retinol products because retinol is one of the few ingredients actually clinically proven to prevent and reverse signs of aging. It does this by stimulating skin turnover which, in turn, stimulates collagen production and improves elasticity. It also reduces hyperpigmentation, helps skin to stay hydrated, and treats acne; you name it, it does it—why wouldn’t we want it on our skin!?

Thanks to amazing bloggers and vloggers like Caroline Hirons, touting their in-depth knowledge to the wider public, so many of us are now so much more clued up about ingredients, what they do, and what to look out for than we ever have been before. With this in mind, many of us know that Retinol is vitamin A and is a type of Retinoid. What we really want the skin to produce out of Retinol is Retinoic Acid, which is the active ingredient. Different skincare products offer differing strengths, and have different Retinoids in them at different stages along that journey of forming Retinoic acid. That means that even if something has a high percentage of Retinol, it doesn’t mean that all of that is going to be turned into the active ingredient; it’s also not very stable, so its strength and efficacy can be lost if exposed to sunlight/air*.

That all being said, even though 2% sounds very high, don’t let it put you off if you’re new to retinol**; this doesn’t feel like a very strong formulation, and as someone who had used retinol on and off before, I haven’t noticed any reaction or sensitivity caused by using this product. This may be a disappointment to those who really like to give their face a good pummeling with the stuff, but for me, I’d rather be using some retinol than none at all and as I can’t afford any other retinol product at the moment I was thrilled to see this come onto the market.

*The pipette packaging of this retinol has been criticised for this reason, as it exposed the product to air with every use.

**Although I’d still go easy at first.

I really like the way this product applies, it’s a runny opaque serum which has enough slip and a thick enough texture to do a little bit of a massage routine as you apply it before bed. I haven’t been using it heavily recently as I’ve been in the sun quite a bit and I know it can increase sun sensitivity (new skin coming to the surface) but definitely like the way my skin looks in the morning after use it and I’m happy just knowing I am using some kind of Retinol whatever the end strength may be. Available for £8 from and amongst other stockists.

Matrixyl 10% + HA

I picked up the matrixyl because I’ve used peptide serums in the past and really like the prepped and primed feeling they gave my skin. Matrixyl has, in recent years, come to the attention of the blogosphere and mainstream media following studies that also suggest it can reverse signs of aging — much like retinol — by stimulating collagen and elastin production.

This serum gives an instantly plumping feeling to the skin, as in many serums, thanks to the inclusion of the instantly hydrating hyaluronic acid (see below) but it also creates a longer term feeling of resilience and bounce to the skin which makes it a perfect base on which to start the day.

Never ceasing to have expensive taste, this is my first The Ordinary repurchase, following weeks of liberally applying it to refresh sun-drenched skin, despite its relatively hefty price tag of £9.

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

Vitamin C is well known for its skin brightening properties and as an antioxidant which helps to mitigate the damage done by harmful UV rays and free radical attacks on the skin. As well as these two great attributes, it can also play a part in diminishing already present signs of aging as it plays a vital role in collagen production and evens skin tone, reducing the appearance of age spots.

This particular formulation is pretty gritty as is to be expected from a powerful vitamin C product and, as it’s a water free suspension in order to protect the potency of the vitamin it is also fairly oleaginous and has quite a balmy feel which, like the retinol, also makes it really nice product for massaging into the skin for a good few minutes as part of a morning or evening routine. The gritty feeling fades quite quickly if you initially press it into your skin and let it warm up so you don’t end up feeling like you’re scratching your skin with the gritty texture, which can happen if you try to rub it in straight away.

I definitely feel that this product makes my skin brighter and, even though it can create a bit of a tingle on application, feel that it rescues sun exposed or tired skin and gives it a bit of revitalisation. A great investment for £4.90.

Hyaluronic acid 2% + B5

I love this ingredient, as someone prone to dehydrated skin any hyaluronic acid based serum has the ability to completely turnaround my skin when it is tired. As humectants both hyaluronic acid and B5 have the ability to draw in and hold water in the skin protecting its elasticity and reducing the appearance of lines caused by dehydration.

This serum, in its simplicity, is perfect for anyone with tired and worn out skin, it’s lightweight and sinks into the skin quickly meaning it’s easy to layer with other products and makes a lovely primer for makeup. I love to use it round my eyes as that’s where the dehydration is most prevalent on my skin and it gives that lovely tightening, elasticising feeling leaving my face refreshed and uplifted. A revitalising addition to any routine at £6.

Find The Ordinary's growing range of skincare and make-up at their website.

product review

About the Creator

Cait Fawkes

I love to write, create and communicate. Amateur writer, photographer and artist

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