The Ordinary Skincare Guide: What Product is Right for Me?

The Ordinary is one of the hottest skincare companies at the moment, and if you're keen to get on the hype but a little intimidated by their confusing product names then you've come to the right place.

Ditching all forms of traditional marketing, their skincare goodies have the most scientific names possible, so it can be overwhelming to even know where to start.

Luckily, we've broken down their entire product range so you can easily build a routine for you, no matter what your skincare concern is.

So keep reading to find out what The Ordinary products to buy...

The Ordinary Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil - Applying Product to Cheek with Dropper - 550 x 367The Ordinary Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil - Applying Product to Cheek with Dropper - 550 x 367

The First Signs Of Aging

The Ordinary has an extensive range of anti-aging products, and we say it's never too early to start with an anti-aging skincare routine!

Dehydrated skin will not only highlight the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but will also speed up the aging process, so keep your skin looking youthful with The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5.

There are many benefits to using hyaluronic acid but it's mostly known for its water-retaining properties. Hyaluronic acid will keep your skin looking plump and firm, whilst encouraging collagen production.

Jo explains the benefits of Hyaluronic Acid and what it can do for your skin:

Vitamin C is another key ingredient when it comes to collagen production so should be incorporated into your routine. The Ordinary has several vitamin-c rich products, but if you're only at the early stages of aging, we recommend you use a lightweight formula such as The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% . This will not only reduce early signs of aging and keep skin hydrated but will brighten your skin tone.

A mild exfoliator such as The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% will also minimise fine lines by stimulating cell regeneration and targeting age spots. This serum also contains additional hyaluronic acid to lock in any moisture lost during exfoliation.

Retinol is one of the best anti-aging ingredients out there, and The Ordinary have multiple retinol products to choose from! If you've wanting to know what The Ordinary products to buy to help with anti-aging, Retinol is one of the best options.

We suggest using a retinol once a day, three times a week if you want to maintain a youthful complexion.

What Is The Difference Between The Ordinary Retinol Products?
  1. 1. Moderate Strength, No Irritation
  2. 2. High Strength, No to Low Irritation
  3. 3. Low Strength, Moderate Irritation
  4. 4. Moderate Strength, High Irritation
  5. 5. High Strength, Very High Irritation

Products For Mature Skin

If you're further along the aging process, you may expect to pay a small fortune on gold-plated anti-aging skincare products. Thankfully, The Ordinary has plenty to offer in terms of both effective, and affordable skincare.

The peptide serum The Ordinary Buffet targets multiple signs of aging such as wrinkles, uneven skin texture and dehydrated skin for a more youthful complexion. It contains a specifically designed peptide, Matrixyl 3000, which stimulates collagen production and repairs skin. This peptide can also be found in The Ordinary Matrixyl 10% + HA which contains the peptide in high concentrations for maximum benefits.

Alternatively, opt for the infamous anti-aging ingredient Retinol. The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2% (formerly known as the Advanced Retinoid 2%) contains a high concentration of both pure retinol and a fast-acting retinol derivative to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and to firm loose skin.

Vitamin C is crucial in any anti-aging skincare routine, no matter how far along the process you are. The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F is an oil-based solution which contains a stable vitamin c derivative to brighten skin and reduce signs of aging. The oil based formulation is perfect for those with dry and mature skin.

If you don't have issues with dry skin, choose The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% which has high concentrations of pure vitamin C.

What is the Difference between The Ordinary's Vitamin C Products?

Dry And Dehydrated Skin Types

The Ordinary have products suitable for both dry and dehydrated skin, which can either rebalance oil levels or rehydrate the skin.

If you have naturally dry skin, your skin struggles to retain moisture in the skin. Water-based products will be ineffective, so you will want to stick to oils to ensure your skin is nourished. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil  is perfect for the job as it contains a blend of moisture rich fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants to help nourish and protect the skin.

If your skin is dehydrated, this means you don't have enough water in your skin which can cause premature aging. Your skin is also more sensitive to outside elements such as UV rays and pollution, so you will want to rehydrate it for a healthier complexion. Hyaluronic acid has incredible water retaining properties so The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 will be a worthy new step in your routine.

You may also want to try The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA which contains a powerful blend of amino acids, fatty acids, hyaluronic acid and other natural ingredients found in your skin to repair and rehydrate your complexion. This lightweight moisturiser offers immediate results without a greasy finish.

Best Exfoliation Products

There are many benefits to exfoliating your skin, including re-texturising uneven skin, counterbalancing pigmentation, and brightening dull looking complexions. Exfoliation can also help blemish-prone skin and those with dry patches. However, manual exfoliation is a thing of the past for The Ordinary as they offer several chemical exfoliants instead, to do the job in a more gentle way.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is an alpha hydroxyl acid which exfoliates the skin for a brighter and smoother look and feel. With regular use, glycolic acid is also known to help reduce the appearance of fine lines. This toning solution contains additional plant extracts and aloe vera to reduce irritation and redness caused by using acids.

If you'd prefer a milder AHA, consider lactic acid. The Ordinary have two different strengths,  The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% and The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA, and both work to re-texturise skin and minimise pigmentation. The weaker lactic acid is a perfect choice if you have sensitive skin.

Alternatively, retinol makes for a great exfoliant as it delivers dramatic results. Retinol is known for its anti-ageing properties as it reduces the appearance of fine lines and pigmentation spots, however, it is strong especially for sensitive skin. If you are using a retinol simply for exfoliation purposes we recommend The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane.

The Ordinary Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil - Smiling and Applying Product to Face with Fingers - 550 x 367The Ordinary Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil - Smiling and Applying Product to Face with Fingers - 550 x 367

Products For Sensitive, Blemish-prone And Oily Skin

Some of the products from The Ordinary can be much too strong for sensitive skin due to their high concentrations of active ingredients. However, if you suffer from blemishes or redness, The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is an effective and mild solution.

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, improves skin texture and smoothness, whilst calming breakouts and reducing any excess oil build up. Zinc is an anti-inflammatory which will help soothe skin and neutralise redness.

Discover more about the Niacinamide Serum in our 'What You Need To Know' guide.

Products For Brightening Dull Skin

Vitamin C is one of the best ingredients for brightening skin and minimising any discolouration. The Ordinary have four products which are rich in vitamin C so you can enjoy the benefits no matter your skin type. Discover which vitamin C product is best for you by reading our 'What are the differences between The Ordinary's Vitamin C Products?' guide.

Vitamin C products from The Ordinary:

Dark Under-Eye Circles And Puffiness

Whilst The Ordinary focus predominately on skincare products for the face, they do offer an eye serum. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG is perfect for those who needs an extra caffeine boost. This serum helps reduce the appearance of dark under eye circles and puffiness.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG has an extremely high concentration of caffeine, green tea leaves antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which are proven to brighten the under eye area for a wide-awake look.

Best All-rounder

If you're tempted to dip your toes into the world of The Ordinary but still aren't sure about what is best for your skin then choose The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil.

Suitable for all skin types, this oil is rich in vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids which help to brighten, hydrate, calm and repair skin for an overall healthy complexion. You really can't go wrong with this oil as it contains nothing but goodness!

What Ordinary Products Should Not Be Mixed?

While everyone’s skin is different and has different levels of tolerance, there are some general rules when it comes to skin care that will help you achieve the best results.  

  • The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2% 30ml + The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone 30ml

 Products containing Retinol (Vitamin A), don’t play well with products with Vitamin C. Both of these ingredients have anti-ageing qualities and help the skin with firmness and brightness. However, when combined these ingredients can have a negative effect and irritate the skin. These ingredients are best used separately, Retinol at night and Vitamin C in the morning, and always follow with sunscreen. This advice applies to all The Ordinary products that contain these two ingredients. 


  • The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane 30ml + The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution 240ml

Retinol also doesn’t mix well with AHA’s like Glycolic acid (as well as BHA’s like Salycilic acid found in The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque - 50ml). This is because it is used to stimulate cell-turnover, while AHA’s/BHA’s both work to exfoliate the skin. This really disturbes the skin’s surface and can also lead to irritation and dryness. 

  • The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 30ml + The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder 20g

Vitamin C (or L-Ascorbic Acid) and Niacinamide are both excellent ingredients when it comes to evening out your skin tone and reducing pore size. However, when mixed together the two unfortunately cancel each other out, and may promote excessive redness and irritation. 

So, what are the best products from The Ordinary?

Choosing products from The Ordinary is a bit of a minefield, and it's hard to know what will and won't work for your skin.

However, once you've found the products which compliment your skin, we have no doubts that you will absolutely fall in love with this innovative and affordable brand. Pure active ingredients which deliver seriously good results.


The Ordinary: Best Products For Each Skin Type

How To Layer The Ordinary Skincare Products Based On Your Skin Type

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