I was introduced to The Ordinary skincare brand by a YouTuber, Stephanie Nicole. If you know of Stephanie, then you know how in-depth her reviews can be so she has a genuine trust factor with her following. The basis of this brand is very simple. The company uses simple, clean, clinical proven ingredients that one would find “ordinary” and use them as clean skincare. Very refreshing.
PLUS … mostly everything is under $10. Talk about a win, win!
So, of course, my frugal brain decided to give it a try. What’s not to lose? $20? We’ve waisted more money on makeup primers or foundations. Am I right?
Disclaimer: I have oily, acne-prone skin. With cystic-acne. So the products I chose may not necessarily work for you. However, you’re in luck! Because I am a Licensed Medical Aesthetician and I can assist you with determining your own skin type at the bottom of this review. As well as assist you in choosing the correct products for your skin type. Please write to me and let me know how I can help!
The 5 Products in my starting line-up were:
- Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane
- Squalane Cleanser (as a pre-cleanse because it’s oil-based)
- Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
- Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
- Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Right out the gate, I will be honest and admit that I did not like the Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane (1). I found this to be an oil-based serum. It broke me out in the patch chest. So no girl … I couldn’t go forward. I like to purchase retinoids to place as serums at night. They truly are the closest thing we have found to the “Fountain of Youth.” Retinoids refine and tighten your skin while you sleep. You do need to invest in a good sunscreen when you use them, but night after night they assist in the cell turn-over of your skin. Reveiing supple, fresh skin each morning. Now there are many side effects associated with using retinoids so you should not get into this type of clinical skincare unless you’re versed on the subject. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I will write a complete review of Retinoids one day. I just wanted to give a little understanding of why this was one of the items I chose.
I then moved on to the Squalane Cleanser (2). I chose this item because I am always looking for a good pre-cleanse. I am a firm believer in the two-step (double cleanse) method of washing your face. Both day and night. At night, I use an oil-based cleanser as a pre-cleanse because I usually have on makeup and need to take it off. Many people are scared of oil-based cleansers. They associate oil with pore-clogging. While this may be true with some oils it is not true with all oils. What makes the difference is the oil’s molecular structure. Some oils are thick. Oils like: Wheat Germ Oil (aka Vitamin E), Coconut Oil, and Cocoa Butter. These oils are meant to moisturize, NOT, cleanse. If you find a “cleanser” with these ingredients please do not say I told you to buy it. They moisturize because the cannot penetrate the sebum and unlock the pores on your face. These types of oils simply sit on top of the skin as well as leave a layer of moisture (oil) behind. A true oil-based cleanser will be composed of an oil that clings to sebum. Think of oil and water. When you mix them (ie: the cleanser and washing water) all the oil sticks together. This is what cleanses your pores. Because as you wash, the oil cleanser will grab onto all the sebum within your pores and wash away with it. This is great for makeup removal because the oil in the cleanser will also break down the makeup allowing for a deeper clean.
With allllllllll of that said, lol, … I did not like this cleanser for my face. At all. The texture was weird when adding water. That is not something I look for in my pre-cleanser. Instructions advised for a dry cleanse, in which you put no additional water and just wipe off with a cloth. I applied this method but I did not feel it made any difference as well as a residue of oil was left behind. I was not interested in reaching for this product again, however, I did like it for eye make-up removal. I found that it removed a lot of the makeup and was gentle to the eye skin area. No tugging or ‘scratching and that’s important. Mama aight no spring chicken no mo’ and wrinkles are a NO in this house. I can recommend this product as an eye makeup remover but that is all.
Not to mention. The very first ingredient is WATER. -__- My fault for not seeing this before I purchased the product. I failed to do my research. I ‘ve accepted the loss and moved on.
Next came the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (2). Now, this … this was a home run. I loved it. Great texture. It did not break me out at all. Clean feeling. No oily residue. I noticed a difference by the 3rd night. My skin was looking more even .. more “refined”. Of course as the universe would have it …. The Ordinary has discontinued this product. But trust if it ever does come back ….. I will be purchasing 3!
The Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (3) was a decent product. This is a basic, clean moisturizer. Something a person with oily skin desperately needs. The fewer ingredients, the better. However, nothing wowed me about this moisturizer. I believe it was a little too moisturizing for my skin type. I applied it at 9am and by 11am, I was greasy. It is a general, good clean, moisturizer for anyone looking for one. I would recommend this product to Men and anyone with dry skin and/or sensitive skin. As the scent is little to non-existent. It contains Hyaluronic Acid (the HA) which is a notoriously famous acid for moisture, and I found the moisture sticks around for a while. I particularly love using this on my clients after a chemical peel. I find it is the perfect balancing partner for me to send them confidently out my door.
Lastly, the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (4). This is a serum to use in the AM to target skin color evenness and reduced sebum production. Again, my writings on acne production are coming soon. But sebum is the oil that your skin naturally produces. When you get dirt and water (sweat) mixed in with this oil it can/will get stuck within the under layers of your skin. Causing what we know as a “pimple”. More serious cases cause cysts. Which is why a person can have “cystic acne.” I really enjoyed this product. I find it keeps a glow on my skin. It does give some moisture but creates a barrier more than anything. My skin does not feel greasy after application or hours later like normal. I also love putting this on my skin before any makeup application. I feel it helps my skin not break out due to my foundation.
All in all. I really, really, liked The Ordinary as a brand. I love what they stand for and the openness the brand has with it’s products. There are no fillers and unneeded by-products as most other brands use. The ingredient list on each product is rather short and to the point.
Not every product is going to work for everyone. Including indiviuals with the “same” skin type. Something that worked for me may not necessarily work for you. With that said, the products I did use, and loved … I will continue to use them and would highly recommend. Matter of fact, I just went through my 3rd bottle of the Niacinamide serum and placed a restock order 2 days ago. As for the products I used and did not like. I would still recommend them as they may work for someone else. They are clean, straightforward products, with clinically proven ingredients … but I would recommend exercising caution while using.
If you would like to get assistance with determining your skin type. Please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org below in the comment section so we can assist you virtually. As well as help you find the products you will need to get your skin in the best shape of it’s life.
Thanks for reading! Hope this helps someone out there ♥
– Crissi Ro