Update: to read my complete 27 product full review of The Ordinary please click HERE.
It’s been almost two months since the launch of Deciem’s new line The Ordinary and it has been a total whirlwind for everyone involved! From the moment it was announced there has been such an incredible buzz about it and that has not stopped. I probably got about 20 messages about it within an hour of the debut and since then The Ordinary has become one of my most asked about brands. By now, most of you will know what this new “skincare concept” is all about, but if you’re still new to it, you can read my introduction to the brand here. As I said in that post, this has become one of the biggest (and arguably most important) launches in the history of skincare and a total gamechanger. I have been using 5 out of the 10 products for the past few weeks now and can’t wait to tell you all about them, because they have proved to be far from ordinary…
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Glycerin, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Retinol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
When The Ordinary launched this was the product I was the most excited about, as I had been desperately hoping Deciem would release some sort of retinoid product ever since I discovered the magic of CAIS (review here). I had a feeling it was something they would do very well and I was not wrong. Retinoids/Retinols are so important when it comes to skin health and do everything from reducing wrinkles, correcting pigmentation irregularities and fighting some forms of acne, as well as increasing cell turnover, blood flow to the skin and collagen production. What this means is that when it comes to anti-aging skincare, this is one of the very best ingredients you can use because it prevents and reverses the signs of aging like nothing else. I have used quite a few retin (retinoid, retinols, vitamin A) based products over the years and this is without a doubt the best one for many reasons.
This serum contains solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate and an encapsulated retinol for a combined 2% weight concentration, which is highly advanced and effective and should cause less irritation than other products like this. It also contains Tasmanian Pepperberry Extract (seen in the Lactic Acid serum and the new Hylamide Hydra-Density Mist) to help reduce inflammation and redness, but also for it’s antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Despite the name of the brand and the price of the product, this is a highly sophisticated formulation that is easy to use and works well with other products.
As soon as my package arrived from Victoria Health I had to go and wash my face right away so I could get this on. Yep, I was that excited. What immediately struck me about this serum is the texture. It has a beautiful, light, milky consistency that feels cool and watery on the skin and absorbs perfectly, due to the fact that it’s a water based emulsion. It has a faint somewhat chemical scent because it’s fragrance free and I actually don’t mind it at all, as it smells like every other retin product I’ve used (except Luna). I initially thought I would use this once a week, but that quickly changed after seeing how well my skin responded to it. There was absolutely no irritation of any kind (redness, dryness, flaky skin, sensitivity) and because of the formula it left my skin immediately plump, hydrated and glowing, which I had never experienced before with this type of product. I now use it every other day and it’s actually so gentle that you could use it daily, which I did for a week and again, there was no irritation, only happy skin.
So, even though I use this on alternate nights, where it sits in my routine depends on what else I’m using. If I include CAIS then the lineup would be: double cleanse, SDSM, CAIS, wait one minute, this product, wait 5 minutes, sometimes a toner but not always, then usually Buffet or any other serum but again not always, followed by an oil, balm or moisturizer (oh, and please don’t skip sunscreen when using this). If I’m not using CAIS then I apply this directly after cleansing on to clean skin before continuing with my routine. It has worked perfectly with every product I have used after it, which is so important to me because I hate it when the layers start to pill or roll. I generally prefer to keep it simple when using this product as it does so much on it’s own and if you’ve read my post about “two step routines” (here), then you’ll know I have even used it as my only product some nights. I use about 2/3’s of a pipette full, which is definitely way more than needed, but I am addicted to the plump, glowing effect it gives and my skin just drinks it up.
(example nighttime skincare routine: De Mamiel cleanser, NIOD SS cleanser, SDSM “toner”, CAIS treatment, Retinoid serum and La Belle Lune oil.)
This would work well on all skin types, but especially those with mature, dry or sensitive skin because it’s so effective without being irritating. Those with acne prone skin would also greatly benefit from using this, but be warned, there may be some purging in the initial weeks. I know many of you use or are familiar with Sunday Riley’s Luna, and this uses the same form of retinoid as that. I used Luna for over two months back when it first launched and it didn’t do much of anything for my skin. With this on the other hand (and for a fraction of the cost) I have seen a steady improvement in skin tone, clarity and smoothness, just like with the Verso serum (which is 10x more expensive) that I was using before this arrived. Thanks to The Ordinary I now have the very best retinoid product available at an insanely fair price and I can’t recommend it enough.
Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Zinc PCA, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Pentylene Glycol, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
I have been a long time fan of both niacinamide and zinc and was so happy to see both ingredients in the same product. Even though this is described as a “blemish formula”, it is actually one of my favourite serums for dealing with hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) works to suppress melanin (pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes colours) from reaching the skin’s surface and can also protect the skin against the UV damage that stimulates freckles, brown spots and skin discoloration. It also tackles fine lines and wrinkles, sallow tone, blotchiness, elasticity and of course, the dreaded hyperpigmentation. It is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, which means along with the zinc, it works very well to heal blemishes. Zinc (as seen in La Roche Posay’s now cult Serozinc) is amazing for healing the skin, reducing excess oil production and clearing acne. It is also an important ingredient for our overall health and I take it as a supplement.
This is very different to the Retinoid serum because it has a slightly cloudy, fluid gel texture that is a little sticky, but not at all tacky and spreads and absorbs quickly and easily. It’s a basic formula that has a mild, nondescript scent that doesn’t linger or irritate. Less is definitely more with this and I take just a drop or two (slightly less if I’m using it with AA + HA) and apply it after toning and before my “end” steps (moisturizer, oil or balm). It layers really well with everything I use before and after it and leaves a touch dry, comfortable finish. I pretty much only use it in the mornings now as I have other nighttime products that are very active and I don’t like to overload my skin. In a routine the order would be cleanse, tone (or SDSM and CAIS then tone), watery serum, this, other gel or oil serums, then end products like suncreen, moisturizer, oil or balm. Using this during the day is just a personal preference, but I think those with acne prone skin could really benefit from using this after the Retinoid serum to help create balance and counteract any purging. This is something that should work well for every skin type, but those with hyperpigmentation and/or acne would benefit the most. It works so well to create balance, increase clarity and improve tone and texture. I do know that niacinamide doesn’t work for everyone and a few people have experienced breakouts, either because they’re allergic to it or the “raw” formula/high percent has been too much for their skin, but for me it’s been excellent. This can be used daily, morning and night and how often you use it depends on what your skin needs.
(example morning routine: Oskia cleanser, January Labs mist, Omorovicza serum, N+Z serum, Ilia sunscreen.)
One of the reasons I was so excited about this is because I saw such fast results with Oskia’s Renaissance Brightlight Serum and that has only 5% niacinamide. Even though that product is packed full of skin loving ingredients like MSM, peptides, prebiotics and fruit enzymes, the niacinamide (plus natural Arbutin and zinc) is what I believe made all the difference, which is why I’m seeing the same results with this. It leaves my skin balanced, soft, bright and even and mixed with the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA has proved to be a decent dupe. While I don’t need to repurchase the Verso serum, I would still consider getting Renaissance Brightlight again because it’s a great product and one of the few actually worth the price. For now I am happy with this, but I will do a niacinamide roundup soon because it’s in a few products I love like Amy‘s brilliant Clarifying Glow Serum (review soon), and I believe the only other 10% one out there is from Paula’s Choice, which is almost 8x the price for 1/3 less.
Alpha Arbutin is a popular skin brightening ingredient used extensively in Asian beauty products (see here), but for some reason it has been very much underrated in western beauty until now. It is such a great ingredient for hyperpigmentation because it actually prevents melanin from forming in the first place and can also reverse the level of skin darkening after too much fun in the sun. It’s probably one of the best ingredients you can get for dealing with sun spots, dark marks and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation because it’s so potent yet very gentle. It’s a slow release active that has been combined with a next generation hyaluronic acid making it perfect for all skin types, but especially those with sensitive skin.
The texture of this is very similar to N+Z, although this is a completely clear gel that is slightly thicker and a tad more stickier, yet not at all tacky and still absorbs just as well. It has that same dry to the touch finish and my skin doesn’t feel coated, which is why I love how lightweight these serums are. It again, layers perfectly with everything I use before and after it and I only need a drop or two because it spreads very well. As I said, I love mixing this with N+Z to create a “basic” version of my beloved Oskia serum and the funny thing is that this mix actually has a better consistency and absorbency than the Oskia, which is quite tacky and doesn’t always layer well if you don’t apply it “correctly”. I also love this as my daytime serum to protect my skin against any sun damage and I think it serves as a great “booster” to my sunscreen. In a routine this would go after cleansing and toning and before heavier serums and your end step. It can be used every day, morning and night and would actually be really nice to use along side the Retinoid at night for an even more potent brightening duo.
(example morning routine: Sarah Chapman cleanser, Omorovicza toner, AA+HA, N+Z, Exuviance eye serum, Sarah Chapman moisturizer, Kypris sunscreen.)
Again, this serum would work very well with all skin types, but those who suffer from uneven skintone, hyperpigmentation or are trying to undo any sun damage from this summer would benefit greatly from using it. If you find that N+Z isn’t right for you or you know you’re allergic to niacinamide, then give this a go because they provide the same type of results.
One of the things I have loved the most about the launch of The Ordinary is the fair and honest price point. There’s no getting around it – never before have serums this potent been sold at this price and it has been a revelation. I have always reserved the bulk of my “skincare funds” for serums because for me, results will always trump luxury but now I can have both. Part of the reason I wanted to review these three products together is so I could also show you what I did with the money I “saved” from not having to repurchase the Verso and OSKIA serums, so please allow me to introduce you to the beautiful Kypris Beauty Elixir II: Healing Bouquet!
The combined price of the Verso and Oskia serums is an eye watering £180/$225, so to celebrate the extra money I had just lying around I decided to treat myself! I have been coveting this gorgeous oil for well over a year, but could never bring myself to purchase it because I felt my money was best spent on results driven serums. I felt comfortable splurging on this oil because I can now get high performing serums at a highly affordable prices, which I couldn’t do before. We no longer have to choose between luxurious products or ones that provide the best results and we don’t have to pay a premium price for the not so premium ingredients that deliver those results. That’s what’s so incredible about The Ordinary – we can now have it all.
I could not be happier with the five products I have been using from The Ordinary and these three have performed just as well or better than their much more expensive counterparts. You can read Part 2 of my review on The Ordinary here featuring goodies like “Buffet” and the Rosehip Seed Oil, as well as other reviews on Deciem products below:
- Copper Amino Isolate Serum 1% Review
- Hylamide C25 Review
- NIOD Flavanone Mud Masque Review
- NIOD Non-Acid Acid Precursor 15% First Impressions
- NIOD June Favourites
- The Ordinary Review Part 2
- Deciem x The White Company Collab
Disclaimer: This is not an ad or sponsored and no affiliate links have been used. These products were sent to me with no obligation to review and all opinions are my own.