The Ordinary Skincare: All of The Ordinary’s Best Products and How to Use Them in 2021

The Ordinary Products; best of the
Courtesy of The Ordinary
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To the ordinary consumer, the skincare industry can be summed up with two words: confusing and expensive.

Shopping for new skincare products can feel a bit overwhelming — and for good reason. There are thousands of options and countless ingredients to consider, and many men are new to the skincare game. Advertisements push countless skincare options in our faces with slogans and values that often deeply contradict one another. C-List celebrities that made it three episodes into The Bachelorette are paid a pretty penny to tell us through Instagram why the “best men’s moisturizer” they’re holding but not using on their face is their go-to treatment for dry skin. And all of that for a price that’ll even have you considering opening yet another credit line? It’s a lot, so it’s time for us to introduce you to The Ordinary Skincare.

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Why We Love The Ordinary Skincare Products

Once upon a time, the only way skincare companies could appeal to men was by calling their product “Gunpowder Tornado” and using bourbon and tobacco fragrances. Now that men’s skincare has gone mainstream, we’re seeing a lot more gender-neutral skincare companies like The Ordinary, which makes fantastic products for men and women. In fact, The Ordinary has been on the forefront of this evolution.

If you haven’t already heard of this iconic and constantly evolving skincare line, The Ordinary Skincare is a collection of products that offer effective clinical treatments that simplify the world of skincare. It’s a no-frills, minimalistic line that utilizes the power of integrity with zero room for BS. The Ordinary Skincare makes products for all types of skin, which makes it easy to pick the right product for your particular problem. And, get this, not a single one of their products costs over $20. Heck, most of their products fall right under $10, making this one of the best skincare brands for men and women alike at an affordable price.

We know, the labeling on each bottle might get a little bit intimidating given the brand’s minimalistic approach and in-your-face naming (each product is labeled as various skincare ingredients), but we promise there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of and you can leave your lab coat at home. And if you are intimidated, jump to the bottom first for an FAQ on how to shop The Ordinary, with a breakdown and definitions of the most common skincare ingredients you’ll encounter.

Additionally, all treatments from The Ordinary are vegan and not a single product is ever tested on animals, so this is a full-throttle cruelty-free brand.

  

The Best Products From The Ordinary

Below, you’ll find our breakdown of the top products from The Ordinary, as well as simple instructions on how to use them. We recommend choosing 2-3 products from this lineup and giving them 2-3 weeks to see if your skin is responding as you’d hoped.

While The Ordinary Skincare can effectively change your skin for the better, we understand it is a little scary hopping from one regimen to the other, even when your existing regimen is not giving you the results you want. Change can be hard, but implementing The Ordinary Skincare products into your daily skincare routine is tremendously worth it. Below we’ve rounded up 17 of our favorite products from The Ordinary skincare. You’ll be throwing your current skincare regimen in the trash in no time.

Plus, if you’re here in November, you can enjoy 23% off everything below for “Slowvember” when you buy from The Ordinary’s website, DECIEM.com.

1. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

BEST FOR ACNE-PRONE SKIN

To start off, one of The Ordinary’s most-raved about products of all time is their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% facial serum. We know what you’re thinking, how the hell do you even pronounce Niacinamide? The answer is that we’re still not fully sure, but we do know that this stuff is a gamechanger. This facial serum is perfect for somebody looking to get rid of acne, red spots and/or uneven skin. It has the ability to effectively shrink enlarged pores and fight oily skin so less dirt gets trapped, which in turn reduces pore size. Over time, this can help fight breakouts and clear your skin. Some reviewers from Ulta that have had problems with their skin throughout their whole life even report that they’ve experienced a total skin transformation in a matter of just a few months.

To use this, just apply the serum in the morning and night before lathering on heavier creams. For those with acne-prone skin, The Ordinary Skincare facial serum can be a gamechanger.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

$5.90

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

$4.54

  

2. The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

BEST FACE MASK

If you’re the type that likes to put in a little extra effort once or twice a week with a quick, 10-minute face mask, replace all your “healing” clays and mud masks with The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Masque. While you shouldn’t add this to your daily routine, this face mask for men is perfect to use every once in a while to rejuvenate your skin and enhance your complexion. The mask contains both clay and charcoal for a deep clean that will unclog pores you didn’t even know you had. Aside from cleaning, the mask will replenish any negative aging effects that might occur on the face and correct skin tones. It’s an incredible mask to lather on acne-prone areas and will treat your problem spots before they even begin. Reviewers that even suffer from cystic acne recommend this stuff for its combative spot treatment abilities.

If you’re going to give it a try, use just once or twice a week by rubbing thoroughly onto clean, dry skin. Keep the mask on for around 10 minutes, wash it off and benefit from the recipe’s super-cleaning abilities.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

$12.00

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

$9.24

  

3. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

BEST PEELING

If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you might have already been introduced to the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution through the app’s #ForYouPage, but if you’re lame and don’t have the TikTok app, let us give you an introduction. This blood-colored liquid offers immense exfoliation to help combat pore congestion and improve your face’s glowing properties. It also softens your skin to make it feel as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Don’t overuse this product, it’s not meant to be part of your daily skin regimen, but it really effectively has the ability to control breakouts and radiate your complexion if used correctly and in small batches. It’s more or less one of those products that help keep your skin looking “normal” by using once every week or two. And when you throw it on, don’t scare yourself — you’re going to look like Carrie at her prom night.

When applying, make sure you’re using the solution on clean, dry skin, preferably at night. Rub evenly along your face and neck, leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse clean with lukewarm water. Watch yourself glow in the mirror afterward!

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

$7.20

The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

$5.54

  

4. The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

BEST RADIANT

The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% is the perfect way to combat dull skin by making it look more youthful and glowy. Vitamin C does this naturally, and because this facial cream is jam-packed with it, you’ll begin to see a difference in your skin’s quality in no time. The texture is a bit greasy and gritty at the same time, which tends to be a big “no” from some, but this stuff really has the ability to enhance skin. It’s a great product to use when dealing with acne spots, too.

Simply add a small amount twice a day every single day and watch your skin improve even as you age. A slight tingling feeling may often occur upon application, which is entirely normal for the product. The Ordinary recommends that if you are using this product to not use their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum, so keep that in mind when purchasing.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

$5.80

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

$4.47

  

5. The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

BEST SPF

Ask any dermatologist and they’ll likely tell you protection from the sun is essential to maintaining your skin in the long term. That’s why you need to add The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants to your arsenal. It relies on specially formulated zinc oxide and titanium oxide to reflect and absorb damaging, aging UV rays without resulting in harmful free radicals. But it also restores and protects skin further with what The Ordinary calls the Bio-Active Antioxidant Network, seemingly consisting of the multiple fruit- and plant-based extracts and tocopherol (vitamin E) listed in the ingredients.

If you’re using any retinoid products in this list, make sure you pick this up too as retinoids make skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Evenly apply this mineral face sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure, and don’t forget to give the tube a good shake first. For optimal protection, reapply after getting into the water.

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of DECIEM

The Ordinary Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

$7.47

  

6. The Ordinary ‘Buffet’

BEST FOR AGING

While getting older comes with a lot of great things, like ~experience~ and ~wisdom~, some unwanted things tend to occur as well, like dreaded skin aging issues. Unlike The Ordinary’s usual branding, the ‘Buffet’ is almost jokingly titled due to the slew of anti-aging medicinal properties baked into the cream. With Matrixyl 3000, Matrixyl synthe’6, Argirelox and Relistase peptide complex, the four-ingredient anti-aging product works to reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles, folds and looseness. Reviewers who are just starting to show signs of aging rave about this stuff in the comments, explaining that just after a few applications of the “Buffet,” they’re already seeing massive signs of rejuvenation to their skin.

It’s suggested to include this into your daily AM and PM skin cleansing regimen directly after washing your face. It’s recommended that you do not use this in a regimen that includes any vitamin C, so if you’re using the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, skip out on this one.

The Ordinary 'Buffet'; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary 'Buffet'

$14.80

The Ordinary 'Buffet'

$11.40

  

7. The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

BEST FOR A CLEAN MUG

Every skincare routine needs a gentle, hydrating facial cleanser and you’d do well to pick up The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser. Suitable for all skin types, this cleanser relies on sucrose esters — an oil-binding surfactant — to draw out impurities, allowing them to be easily rinsed away. Squalane, glycerin and tocopherol ensure your skin gets plenty of moisturization and hydration too.

For best results, rub the balm between your palms for 10-30 seconds until it becomes clear and oil-like. This helps the sucrose esters do what they do best and gently cleanse your skin.

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of DECIEM

The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser

$6.08

  

8. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

BEST HYDRATING

Suffering from dry skin no matter how much moisturizer you’re putting on your face? That’s no match for The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. A few drops of this and your skin has never felt any smoother in your life. It has the ability to smoothen your skin and even out your tones, and many customers have reported success with treating acne scars that may have accrued over the years. A little will go a long way, too, so feel free to only use a small amount of this product to both feel and see the difference it’ll bring to your dryness and tonality. This is a great multi-use skincare product, and if you’re trying to get rid of acne scars, it could become your new secret weapon.

To use this product, place a few drops on your fingertips and evenly spread around your face before applying any creams or other moisturizers. Given it’s only $6.80 is mindboggling for what it does — add this to your regimen and never experience facial dryness again.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

$6.80

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

$5.24

  

9. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

BEST TONING

Get the radiance that you’ve always wanted by adding The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution into your daily regimen. This tingly-when-applied gamechanger mildly exfoliates the skin when applied and works to improve your skin’s radiance, vibrancy and clarity. Many reviewers say that this toning solution completely cleared their faces in only two weeks while tightening some of their wrinkles in the process. And if uneven skin tones are your problem, then this toning solution will effectively fight redness so you’ll never be embarrassed to leave the house. It also works wonders for dryness.

Be a little careful when applying this toning solution. The Ordinary recommends that you use this at a maximum of once a day during your nighttime regimen. Saturate a cotton ball or pad and evenly distribute the solution along your face and neck to get the job done and be sure to limit sun exposure while using this product as well.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

$8.70

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

$6.70

  

10. The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

BEST FOR FINE LINES

A wise man once said: slow and steady wins the race. That’s exactly the mindset you need to have when working with The Ordinary’s Retinol 0.5% in Squalane. Unlike the majority of The Ordinary’s product, reviewers explain that you aren’t going to experience the results you want right away. This stuff takes time to perfect and diminish those fine lines and general signs of aging on your face. People with acne scars and pigmental problems also use this product to smooth out and diminish overall patchiness. One thing to keep in mind is that you have to refrigerate this stuff after opening to keep the consistency the same the entire time of using which is a little unusual, but hey, whatever works.

When applying, be sure to only use a small amount at night after using water serums and before throwing on heavier creams. Don’t use with other retinoid treatments unless your intent is to completely botch your face. Make sure you lather your face in a thin layer of sunscreen in the morning to reduce the possibility of burns.

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of Amazon

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

$8.69

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

$4.47

  

11. The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Concentrated Serum

BEST ANTI-AGING SERUM

Serums are basically concentrated versions of your go-to anti-aging products. The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Concentrated Serum works all over your face as a toner, but it’s best used for targeting age spots and discoloration, thanks to the brightening properties of alpha arbutin and exfoliation from lactic acid. The hyaluronic acid is also a welcome addition. It not only hydrates your skin, as it typically does, but it prepares your skin for the alpha arbutin here, maximizing the effects of the 2% concentration.

For uneven skin tones or particularly stubborn spots, this is among the best of The Ordinary Skincare.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Concentrated Serum; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of DECIEM

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Concentrated Serum

$6.85

  

12. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

BEST BRIGHTENING

If you suffer from acne or rosacea, look no further, The Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is the solution you’ve been looking for to fight unwanted redness and texture. Users reported that in only a few days, they saw a dramatic change to their skin that they haven’t experienced with any other product, prescription or not. This will leave your skin glowing without the redness and diminish small bumps caused by rosacea for a totally matte finish. People with acne have claimed that this has fully transformed their face in a way it’s never looked before because the product reduces signs of congestion to fight new breakouts before they occur. If you’re looking for fast results, this product from The Ordinary skincare is a good place to start.

Use Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% in the morning and/or at night when washing your face. Obviously, try your best to avoid your face and mouth. Look for early results in just a few days.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

$7.90

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

$6.08

  

13. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

BEST EXFOLIATOR

Last but certainly not least, we love The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA for its gentle exfoliation properties that bring fresh brightness to the skin. The texture of this serum is a bit sticky and slimy, but just a few small drops will bring a glowing radiance to even the most sensitive of skin types. You’ll see quite a relatively quick decrease in breakout occurrences with nightly use with full coverage. Reviewers claim that nothing else has effectively cleared their skin like this product, and given the fact that it is one of the most gentle exfoliating serums on the market, this should be a staple in your skincare regimen if you’re struggling to find something to effectively do the job.

For best practice, exfoliate with this serum once a night. You can dilute it a little with other treatments if it is a little too strong at first for your skin to build up some tolerance. It will increase your sensitivity to the sun, so make sure that in the morning you put on a little bit of sunscreen before heading outside.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of Ulta

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

$6.80

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

$5.24

  

14. The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

BEST FOR ALL SKIN TYPES

Rose hip seed oil is all the rage right now in terms of skincare products. Even for men! This daily formula uses 100% rose hip seed oil. That’s quite literally it. It is sustainably sourced, organic and completely high-quality so you know what exactly it is you’re implementing in your regimen. Rose hip seed oil is great for people of any and all skin types to use. Prone to oily skin? Maybe you’re dry? How about normal, or maybe sensitive? It doesn’t matter, The Ordinary makes this rose hip seed oil perfect for everyone.

Use this product once a day at night right before you hit the hay and after you use any water-based serums or treatments.

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil Courtesy of Sephora

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

$9.80

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

$7.55

  

15. The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

BEST FOR HAIR

We know that we said we were going to talk solely about The Ordinary Skincare, but listen — this brand’s even got a hair product worth trying out. If you’re experiencing any hair thinning, you need to try The Ordinary’s Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density in order to get a healthier, more voluminous look to your locks. This product, like the others, is totally multi-gender, so men and women alike suffering from hair thinning issues will be thankful for this product. It works fine with curly, wavy, straight and coily hair types and will have your locks looking fuller and denser in no time.

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density Courtesy of The Ordinary

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum for Hair Density

$17.90

  

16. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

BEST FOR PUFFY EYES

When you’re burning the candle at both ends, your eyes will show it, whether you get the classic dark circles or puffiness. The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG will make short work of that. Caffeine and epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside (EGCG), an organic compound with proven antioxidant effects, melanin reduction, anti-wrinkle and hydration properties, combine to reduce discoloration and basically wake up and refresh your under-eye skin.

Apply this solution to your under-eye areas and along your orbital bone. Gently pat this solution into your skin and avoid contact with your eyes.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG; best of the ordinary skincare Courtesy of DECIEM

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

$5.16

  

The Ordinary The Daily Set

ALSO CONSIDER

Buying individual products is great, but a great set can take a lot of the thinking out of the process. The Ordinary The Daily Set features three products designed for everyday use, including the Squalane Cleanser, the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (featured above) and the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. That’s a cleanser and two top-notch moisturizers. If you use these every day in sequence, your skin will be glowing in no time at all.

The Ordinary The Daily Set Courtesy of DECIEM

The Ordinary The Daily Set

$14.63

  

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FAQs About The Ordinary Skincare

Where can I buy The Ordinary Skincare?

You can purchase The Ordinary Skincare easily at places like Amazon, Sephora, Ulta and the brand's main website, DECIEM.com. But, we're going to let you in on a little secret: The brand is much cheaper to purchase online at Sephora, Ulta and DECIEM, not Amazon. Your first instinct might be Amazon considering that's where you buy everything, but trust us on this one — Sephora, Ulta and DECIEM have your back here.

Where is The Ordinary Skincare made?

The Ordinary Skincare is made by their parent company DECIEM in Canada. Formulations are created in-house by their team of bio-chemists working hard to provide great results for all kinds of people.

Is The Ordinary Skincare vegan?

Each product from The Ordinary is certified vegan by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), but technically not certified vegan. They are actively working toward the certification and hope to have it soon.

What the heck do all The Ordinary labels mean? How am I supposed to know what I need?

Instead of choosing a confusing brand name for its many formulations of its products, The Ordinary chooses to name its products by their primary active ingredients.

So to understand what each product does, to some extent, you have to know the basics of the named ingredients. Thankfully, we know all about these terms and ingredients and have defined some of of the more common ones below.

For example, if one of the named ingredients is HA, or hyaluronic acid, that product is some kind of moisturizer. If one of the named ingredients is salicylic acid, AHA or BHA, that product is meant to exfoliate, fight acne and encourage the growth of new healthy skin, similar to face scrubs or chemical peels. If you see a combo of both, the product is likely some of anti-aging serum meant to rejuvenate skin and fight signs of aging like wrinkles and spots.

  • HA / Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a humectant — something that retains moisture — and is frequently used in hydrating and moisturizing products. It naturally occurs in skin and other parts of the body. Bigger molecules of HA sit on top of the skin for surface-level hydration while smaller molecules penetrate further for more profound hydration. (The Ordinary features a mix of HA molecules in its products for this reason).
  • Squalane: This organic compound has natural emollient and hydrating properties, making it a natural choice for moisturizers. It’s generally better for dry skin than oily skin.
  • Retinol and Retinoids: Retinol is essentially vitamin A and retinoids are compounds with a similar or related chemical composition. These chemicals promote skin regeneration and skin turnover, making them useful for almost any skin condition, including acne and psoriasis. Most notably, they’re frequently used in products that address the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and discoloration. An important note: Retinoids make skin more sensitive to sunlight, so using a sunscreen after applying a product with retinoids is critical.
  • Alpha Arbutin: This is a molecule that inhibits the formation of melanin, the pigment behind the coloration in human skin. (Darker skin tones contain more melanin). That makes it extremely useful to even out skin tone and minimize age spots and discoloration.
  • Niacinamide: Niacinamide is the water-soluble form of vitamin B3 with anti-inflammatory properties. That makes it useful in skincare products dealing with acne, rosacea and generally inflamed, red, irritated skin.
  • AHA / BHA: Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are two closely related classes of compounds known for their exfoliating powers that help treat acne and blemishes as well as reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Some examples included lactic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid, all which are very common in anti-aging and anti-acne products.
  • Peptides: Peptides are chains of amino acids that form proteins together. Importantly for skincare, peptides make up collagen, a key component of healthy, elastic skin.
  • Matrixyl: Matrixyl, aka palmitoyl pentapeptide-4, is basically a signature peptide with proven anti-wrinkle properties. It’s relatively new to the cosmetics scene and hasn’t made a huge splash, but it features in some of The Ordinary’s products.
  • Suspension: When you see the word “suspension,” all that means is that the active ingredient is not dissolved in the formula. For example, the Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone means the vitamin C is delivered to skin via silicone and maintains its solid particle form, which is better for maximum exposure.