The Ordinary, Is it honestly worth the hype?

For a few months Ive been seeing The Ordinary skincare products hyped up on social media. With its no frills packaging,active ingredients, low price tag and amazing online reviews on how this range has transformed womans’ skin, got me itching to try it out.

When I finally bought into all the hype and caved (I couldn’t take it anymore! I had to have it!), everything was obviously sold out online. Of course this made me want it even more. Someone recommended I purchase off, and low and behold they had ALL the products I needed and I received my delivery to Zagreb in 2 days. I can’t tell you how grateful I am with fast delivery for a change.

Most of the reviews Ive read online has been very positive which makes me question if these products are actually liquid gold for your skin (at a VERY) reasonable price, or the reviews were sponsored and everything sounds too good to be true (I hate that). This post is not and I’I will be giving my complete and honest review on the the products I purchased. Some background information on my skin type:

  • Combination and Sensitive- Oily with enlarged pores on my forehead and sides of my nose, and dry cheeks
  • Hormonal breakout prone on my forehead and chin
  • Hyper pigmentation on the sides of my mouth especially
  • Dark under eye circles
  • In Winter especially rosacea on my cheeks

Ive been testing the products for 2 months, everyday, so I have a pretty good idea on weather or not its worked for me. To have a 1st impressions on a  skincare product does not make sense to me, neither does trying a new skincare product range on your face for 1 week. You have to give your skin time to adjust to see results. This is the only way I can honestly recommend a product to you. I will let you know which products I would definitely repurchase and which ones Id skip.

In this review we will cover the following categories:

  • Retinoids
  • Vitamins
  • Acids
  • Hydrators
  • Other molecules


The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

What it claims to do- Targets signs of ageing

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Ethyl Linoleate, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Bisabolol, Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, Retinol, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ceteareth-12, Ceteareth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Carrageenan, Xanthan gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Cetyl Palmitate, Sucrose Laurate, Polysorbate 20, Isoceteth-20, Behentrimonium Chloride, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Disodium EDTA, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Since I hit my 30’s I’ve become somewhat obsessed with skincare. I always looked after my skin in my 20’s, but I didn’t have the need to use a retinol product. Before I had my son at 28 years old, I had perfectly, normal, blemish free skin. Pregnancy completely threw my hormones off balance and my skin has never been the same since. The Ordinary Retinol is the least expensive retinol on the market (as far as I know). Its also one of the few thats silicon free. Silicone does not agree with my skin, it irritates and clogs up my pores very easily which is unfortunate for me because so much makeup contains this ingredient its hard to avoid completely as a makeup artist!

Verdict- I use this product twice a week max. I could see a noticeable difference to the texture of my skin after just a few uses. My skin felt smoother and more supple. Retinol increases cell turnover and stimulates collagen synthesis. With consistent use of a topical retinol I can vouch that you can see an improvement of texture and tone. I don’t have many fine lines/ wrinkles (yet!) so I cannot say how it works at smoothing those out. Initially I experience some redness on my sensitive cheeks, but generally this product is not harsh, it did not give me rash nor did it break me out.


Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Niacinamide, Pentylene Glycol, Zinc PCA, Tamarindus Indica Seed Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

What it does: Targets many types of skin issues which I will list below

Ive never heard of this vitamin before I started using The Ordinary. The more I did research on it, the more I knew I needed this product in my life! Its a very popular vitamin used in Japanese skincare products, and Japanese woman have incredible skin. I simply had to try it out for myself. I love the short ingredients list as well, the cleaner the better!

If you have combination, oily or acne prone skin you would enjoy this product. Personally, for me, its helped to shrink my pores on my forehead and I have a lot less breakouts in that area as the oil production is now less. It seems to clarify the pores well, which is great for me as I wear makeup almost everyday. It took a few weeks for me to notice a difference, at 1st I thought it doesn’t work for me, but with consistent use Its now a regular in my skincare routine. It has calming properties as well, and I noticed the redness on my cheeks has significantly faded.

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside solution

What it does- Brightens and targets signs of ageing

As a vitamin C option this isn’t bad, but I didn’t find it great. I have noticeable hyper-pigmentation around on the sides of my mouth and chin and after 2 months I did not see any difference. I would give this one a miss. I have tried other vitamin C serums  which I preferred and that worked better on my skin. It does however help to brighten the skin and bring out your natural glow.


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2%

What it does- Exfoliates; unclogs pores; targets acne and congestion.

This is my favourite products from the lot. It has dramatically clarified and shrunk my pores on my forehead resulting in far less breakouts than I used to get before I started using this product. I cannot recommend the product enough if you have combination to oily skin and are breakout prone like me. 10/10

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Hamamelis Virginiana Leaf Water, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 20, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Ethoxydiglycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, 1,2-hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.


The Ordinary 100% plant derived Squalene

What it does- Protects skin against moisture loss

Ingredients: Squalane.

Squalene is a stable, 100% saturated, and non- comedogenic oil, suitable for ALL skin types. Im obsessed with this oil! Its so lightweight on the skin yet moisturises very well. Gives the skin a beautiful glow as well. I mix some of this into my daily moisturiser during winter and its worked perfectly for me. Definitely a product I would recommend especially if you have sensitive skin.

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

What it does- Hydrates the skin. Great for very dry skin and to plump up

fine lines. 

Ingredients: Rose Hip Seed Oil

Im a fan of Rose Hip Oil ever since I discovered it a few years ago. It doesn’t break me out and hydrates deeply. I love using this product overnight on my skin. I also use this as an eye cream If Im not using my trusty Kiehls creamy Avocado eye cream. You will wake up with hydrated under eyes and over time as it really softens any fine lines around the eye area.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% and EGCG

What it does: Helps to fade dark circles and de-puff

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Caffeine, Propanediol, Maltodextrin, Glycerin, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside, Gallyl Glucoside, Hyaluronic Acid, Oxidized Glutathione, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Polypodium Vulgare Rhizome Extract, Cetraria Islandica Thallus Extract, Sphagnum Magellanicum Extract, Urea, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Xanthan gum, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Propyl Gallate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Ethoxydiglycol, Benzyl Alcohol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

I have hereditary dark circles and the only way to truly cover it up its with corrector and concealer. Having food allergies and/ or a low thyroid can also result in chronic dark cirlces. I tried this solution out of pure curiosity as Ive never tried any under eye dark circle treatment. Caffeine is great to improve circulation at least (especially if you have puffiness), so I decided to give this a go. Surprisingly It does work, but do not expect overnight results. I noticed after about 2 weeks of use. I still have my circles but they were not as brown/grey/blue. The solution itself is a bit drying so I always apply a thick, rich, eye cream on top in the evenings to keep the area hydrated. I don’t have a problem with puffiness so I cannot say that it actually works for de-puffing.