If you’ve ever done a google search to find skincare product reviews, it’s hard to avoid The Ordinary.
The amazingly affordable brand has been taking social media beauty accounts by storm.
As a thirty-something woman, I am not only considering starting to lie about my age, but I think a lot about my skincare and the conservation of my youth.
Maybe too much.
I see wrinkles where I didn’t before. My frown lines are deeper from an apparently frown-y life, and I notice the skin on my neck starting to become thinner and crepey-er.
The high resolution selfie camera on my iPhone hasn’t exactly boosted my confidence either.
Good genes might be the most important factor when it comes to healthy aging, but good habits with better products help too.
The Ordinary, a brand by the Canadian company DECIEM, offers a line of serums and cleansers that are inexpensive and effective.
I’ve been using Ordinary products for about five years now and I swear by a few that I use daily.
I am also not a fan of scents or perfumes that you find in many skincare products and The Ordinary’s products have no fragrance. None.
Here are my top 3 products from the Ordinary (and a few runners up) that give my complexion a soft, younger-than-my-years glow.
Niacinimide and Zinc Serum ($6.50)
I have always had oily bits on my face and my pores are like the craters of the moon. When I read up on the Niacinimide and Zinc serum and it’s pore-shrinking, redness reducing and re-texturizing properties, I clicked BUY.
Not to get too science-y, but niacinimide is just a fancy word for niacin — or vitamin B3 — and zinc is zinc — the mineral that is good for the immune system and provides some sun protection.
This serum also helps with the production of keratin which keeps the skin nice and taut. If there’s something that will help keep my face from drooping onto my neck over time, I’m in.
I noticed a glow as soon as I started using this serum. My pores were less gape-y and any redness or irritation faded.
I have some hyperpigmentation that lightened a bit. If I could keep only one product from the Ordinary, it would be Niacinamide + Zinc.
This is an everyday serum for me, and it can be combined with other products without risk of chemical reactions that do weird things to your face.
AHA+BHA Exfoliating Peel Solution ($8.50)
I had some reluctance with this serum, as the idea of a “chemical peel” sounds like I’m going to put battery acid on my face. I read that it can burn or tingle, so I spot-tested it on my wrist first.
No burn, no tingle.
Onto my face it went–a bright red colors that looks a bit like blood. It did tingle a bit. Ten minutes later I washed it off.
The results weren’t immediately noticeable, but the next morning I woke up to the glowiest, softest skin I’ve ever seen. I was converted to the church of chemical peels.
AHA and BHA stand for alpa hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids — ingredients that are commonly found in skincare and exfoliate the top layer of skin cells. This solution also contains lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acid so it’s an especially acidic serum.
A little goes a long way and you should only use it twice a week, max. I suspect my one bottle will last me at least a year, so it is worth the money.
One caveat is that you need to use sunscreen after using the AHA BHA peel, as it will make your skin especially sensitive to those bright rays coming from the sky.
Matrixyl 10% + HA ($11.50)
I decided to try Matrixyl on a whim, despite being one of The Ordinary’s pricier products at a whopping $11.50.
The stuff is pure gold.
Matrixyl is a magical peptide that plumps the skin and makes fine lines disappear. I have tried other brands of matrixyl and this one is by far my favorite.
You put it on, give it a little time, and feel ten years younger.
The addition of HA — the beloved hyaluronic acid which has been trending in skincare — helps retain moisture.
If I want to make sure I have a youthful glow for an outing, I make sure to use my Matrixyl from The Ordinary.
Caffeine and EGCG Eye De-Puffing Serum ($7.50)
Caffeine is that sweet nectar in your coffee and EGCG is a compound from green tea.
This serum is awesome under the eyes at night to reduce puffiness and dark circles. It has a nice tightening effect if applied to the rest of the face.
Ascorbic Acid and Alpha Arbutin ($11.00)
Ascorbic Acid is vitamin C, plain and simple.
I’ve had some pigmentation showing up on my upper lip from years of waxing off the ol’ lady ‘stache (oh the irony!) and this serum reliably fades it.
Careful though! Vitamin C can’t be combined with some other serums, like Matrixyl and retinol, so use with caution.
(Here is a handy link to what Ordinary products you can and cannot mix.)
Lactic Acid and HA ($8.00)
This is a gentler version of the earlier AHA BHA peel, but also wonderfully effective.
As a stage performer I have to wear gobs of makeup to look like a real person under bright stage lights. After washing all the goo off of my face after a show I put on a light layer of lactic acid before moisturizing.
The stuff dissolves any residue from all that makeup to prevent overnight breakouts.
As it’s an acid and can irritate the skin, I try not to use it more than twice a week.
If you want to keep your face young and fresh on a shoestring, don’t hesitate to check out The Ordinary’s affordable line of products.