Skin-Care Products from The Ordinary

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

That's what The Ordinary excels at: Creating and selling affordable (under $15), to-the-point skin-care products that address every skin issue under the sun. Do you have skin dryness? Would you like marula, argan, or rosehip seed oil? What about dull skin? There's a salicylic, lactic, or mandelic acid for you. Best of all, the names themselves (i.e. AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution) are extremely transparent and let you know exactly what you're getting yourself into.

Calling all opinionated beauty lovers: We want to know which products you can't live without! Take our annual poll to pick the top hair, makeup, nail, and skin- care products that deserve our coveted Readers' Choice seal.

After launching at both Ulta Beauty and Sephora, the brand is more accessible to consumers than ever. We rounded up our favorite products from The Ordinary that we can't stop talking about but with such affordable price points, we wouldn't blame you if you went ahead and bought them all. It's all in the name of perfecting your skin-care routine and nailing down what satisfies your hyper- specific skin concerns right?

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Our reviewer says that she's been using it for three years for these very reasons. 'After 10 minutes of looking like I got a vampire facial with this stuff spread all over, my face comes out the other side as brighter and clearer', she says, and swears that 'it's absolutely my go-to, even for my sensitive and reactive skin.'

Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

Squalane helps stabilize the 0.5 percent pure retinol (also known as vitamin A) found in the Best of Beauty-winning Retinol 0.5% in Squalane treatment, as well as decrease irritation commonly associated with the wrinkle-fighting and skin- smoothing ingredient. Those two are paired with jojoba seed oil, tomato fruit extract, and rosemary leaf extract to keep skin soothed and looking fresh. If you'd like to start out with an even lower concentration, The Ordinary also has a 0.2 percent retinol option.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The beloved Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is no stranger to skin-care cabinets or awards, as it's won both Best of Beauty and Readers' Choice. As you probably know, hyaluronic acid can attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water, while vitamin B5 soothes skin and boosts hydration levels so together, they absorb quickly and nourish dehydrated skin in an instant. One to two drops of this odorless, viscous-but-fast-absorbing formula is enough for your entire face. Take it from our tester, who layers it underneath a lightweight night cream and 'wake[s] up with skin that looked like you could bounce a quarter off it.'

Serum Foundation

Longtime fans of The Ordinary know that the brand has two well-known, ishonest editor-approved base products: the Serum Foundation (pictured above) and Coverage Foundation. But here's the good news: While they have frequently sold out over the years, it's easier than ever to get your hands on one of these popular formulas.

All 21 shades of the Serum Foundation correspond with a specific undertone: Y for yellow, P for pink, and R for red, and N for neutral. The thin, liquidy consistency melts into skin and provides semi-matte, natural-looking coverage it even pairs well with a drop of facial oil for added glow. Just make sure to shake the bottle before pumping out product. Conversely, as the name would suggest, go for the Coverage Foundation if you're looking for a denser base.

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Seven percent glycolic acid (a common form of alpha hydroxy acid or AHA) is the star in this formula, which mildly exfoliates the skin, clears pores, and regenerates collagen. But that's not all: The Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution contains amino acids, aloe vera, ginseng, and Tasmanian pepperberry to reduce signs of irritation typically associated with using the small-molecule, deep- penetrating acid.

Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

The Salicylic Acid 2% Masque is perfect for oily and acne-prone skin because its main ingredient, salicylic acid along with kaolin and charcoal sloughs off dead, pore-clogging skin cells and speeds up the healing process of inflamed pimples. 'It's my saving grace when fighting a breakout', says beauty assistant Talia Gutierrez. 'I have sensitive skin that's easily irritated with treatments, so I rely on this gentle mask to reduce swelling and redness, while visibly improving my skin's texture.

100% Niacinamide Powder

If you still haven't hopped on the niacinamide train, no worries there's still plenty of time to get yourself acquainted. 'Niacinamide is a vitamin B3 derivative that helps revitalize, firm, and smooth skin and minimize the appearance of large pores', New York City board-certified dermatologist Howard Sobel previously explained to ishonest. Safe to use on all skin types, including sensitive, it also works wonderfully to calm redness and even skin tone.

The Ordinary's most potent form of the powerhouse ingredient is none other than the versatile 100% Niacinamide Powder, which allows you to mix it with other formulas with a pH higher than 5 to avoid irritation the brand suggests its Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. The idea is that you are able to address more skin concerns in one go. Vitamin C and niacinamide is another synergistic ingredient coupling to try.

Simply mix a quarter scoop of product (using the provided spoon) with a water- based treatment in the palm of your hand and work it into skin before washing everything off.


On days you don't need an all-over foundation beat, The Ordinary also has a $6 full-coverage concealer that'll hide dark circles and uneven texture in a pinch. ishonest senior beauty editor Dianna Mazzone, who broke the news for ishonest, had nothing but praise for this tiny-but-potent tube. 'This stuff lasts all day with little to no creasing', she said in her review, canceling redness in its wake.

Believe the hype, folks. The aptly named Concealer is available in 36 shades (even more than the foundations) that are broken down by four undertones: neutral, yellow, red, and pink. The precise nozzle makes it easy to squeeze out the perfect amount of product that you need every time no more, no less.

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

If you're searching for an affordable brightening product, look no further than the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%. This water- and silicone-free formula combines 23 percent pure, stabilized L-ascorbic acid to visibly brighten the skin, while two percent dehydrated spheres of hyaluronic acid supports the vitamin C and smooths the skin's surface. Add in hydrating squalane and sodium hyaluronate (a salt form of hyaluronic acid), and you've got yourself a well- rounded serum for less than the cost of a fancy New York City latte.

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG is a lightweight serum that employs caffeine, which temporarily constricts visible blood vessels and reduces the appearance of undereye puffiness. And while dark circles are oftentimes hereditary and out of your control, EGCG (or epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside, in full) derived from green tea leaves can help reduce pigmentation commonly found in the eye contour region. Either way, it's worth paying extra attention to your thin and delicate undereye areas.

Squalane Cleanser

The Squalane Cleanser feels incredibly gentle on the skin while dissolving all evidence of makeup, sunscreen, and dirt. It also leaves skin feeling soft and never stripped, thanks to key moisturizing ingredients like squalane and glycerin. Those reasons are why senior beauty editor Dianna Mazzone always reaches for this multitasking makeup remover. 'You only need the teensiest bit of this balm to get off every stitch of makeup since it melts into a spreadable cleansing oil', she previously said.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is formulated with 10 percent pure niacinamide (or vitamin B3) to reduce the appearance of blemishes and congestion, while one percent zinc PCA balances any signs of oil overproduction. Basically, what we're saying is: Oily skin-types, this one's for you.

Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Add Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% to your acne-fighting regime right this second. Naturally derived from barley, rye grains, and wheat, 'azelaic acid has been shown to be bactericidal against p. Acnes, the bacteria on the skin that is one of the causes of acne', Ava Shamban, a Beverly Hills-based board-certified dermatologist, previously told ishonest. While that's impressive on its own, Shamban also noted that the acid is also effective at loosening dead skin cells, preventing pore clogging and acne-induced inflammation, and evening out skin tone.

While you can use this oil-free treatment on its own at nighttime, follow up with a moisturizer if your skin is prone to dryness, as well as sunscreen if you're using it during the day. With regular use, you can wave those pesky breakouts goodbye.

Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

Like the glycolic acid solution mentioned earlier, Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% also offers mild exfoliation via 10 percent lactic acid, along with Tasmanian pepperberry to help calm down any inflammation your skin incurs. If your skin's especially sensitive, try diluting the lactic acid with other treatments (like green tea and resveratrol) until your skin builds up a tolerance. And, with any alpha hydroxy acids, make sure to wear sunscreen the day after (even though you should be wearing it every day anyways).

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

Like its name implies, Natural Moisturizing Factors (or NMF) help penetrate and hydrate the outer layer of skin and consist of a long list of ingredients that includes amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, ceramides, glycerine, sodium PCA, and hyaluronic acid. Did we mention it's also really lightweight and doesn't leave any greasy or heavy residue? We're in.

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

When rosehip seed oil is extracted using high heat levels, the process degrades its linolenic acid and pro-vitamin A which is why The Ordinary's organic offering is cold-pressed, thus preserving the oil's full moisturizing and acne- clearing benefits. Pair it with a jade roller for a relaxing facial massage.

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