Review: The Ordinary

Extraordinarily ordinary?

I deliberated for ages over whether The Ordinary from Deciem deserves to be a ‘Best Pick’ — I found their customer service terrible and I can’t stand their pseudo-science and exaggerated claims — but they have a couple of gems that have made their way into my regular skincare routine. They’re the skincare equivalent of (now defunct) American Apparel — plenty of hype, some truly excellent stuff, and idiocy that might just eventually sink the company. Clever gimmick and initial hype can only go so far.

Let’s start with the good, shall we? I love the white and grey aesthetic of the packaging! It’s simple but in a pleasingly luxurious way. The products are both luxurious and incredibly affordable. Beautiful packaging and key ingredients that would rival some expensive cosmeceutical brand on the marketing. And that’s why it’s such a surprise when you see the prices — they are $4.50–17.80, and everything is boxed and perfectly presented. It’s the glass-bottled serums that I think are the best thing, though — they layer very well and can easily fit into a routine (unlike the ones that come in a tube!). The beauty (or the downfall) of The Ordinary serums is its simplicity. Each features just 1 (max. 2) key ingredient and it is quite clearly labelled as to its concentration, purpose and effect.

This also brings me to the bad. I don’t trust “clinical” brand any more than I trust “all-natural” ones. The focus on delivery systems, use of science-y jargons and chemical names, and listing percentages appeal to the wannabe scientists and the skincare enthusiasts. It implies science without actually providing the necessary proof of clinical studies and relevant data. It’s a gimmick much like the fear-mongering appeal of “green” brands, and one that I don’t appreciate. “Clinical formulations with integrity”, they state, bold statement when they have not provided evidence to support any of their clinical claims. Integrity is earned — it’s not given just by filling PR releases with science-y jargons. Deciem’s advert for The Ordinary implies integrity equals low price. Surely Deciem remembers they also have other skincare lines and they’re significantly more expensive!?

Review The Ordinary Squalan

Anyway, sidetracked. After testing a good number of The Ordinary for more than 6 months, my most favourite, perhaps unsurprisingly, happens to be as simple as a formulation can be — 100% Plant-Derived Squalane — just one ingredient. The colourless, scent-less “oil” (in quotation because squalane technically isn’t an oil) gives dry skin a major moisture boost without sitting heavy. I use it straight or mix a drop or 2 into my moisturiser or facial oil. It also works brilliantly at taming flyaways and smoothing dry ends without making roots lank and greasy. It’s identical in every way to HABA’s Squalane II but for a small fraction of the price — ¥2,700 versus CDN$7.90 for 30ml.

I also like Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F. Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate (a.k.a Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate) is one of the most expensive vitamin C derivatives and The Ordinary’s version, CDN$17.80 for 30ml, is barely more expensive than purchasing it as a raw ingredient. The oil serum is light enough to use in warmer weather but substantial enough really nourish and brighten the skin during the winter months. This isn’t for everyone — those with oily, acne-prone skin might want to sidestep this — but it’s a great option if you’re curious to see what this form of vitamin C can do for your skin. Their other glass bottled serums that I tried, disappointingly, didn’t show real, tangible results on my skin.

I can’t wholeheartedly recommend The Ordinary. Ultimately, the brand is very aptly named, as it is quite ordinary — a run-of-the-mill brand with a clever gimmick and some good products. Their customer service is some of the worst I’ve seen. Add to that their arrogant attitude when paying customers (products I have are a combination of personal purchase, gift, and PR samples) do complain, and it just completely turns me off. I don’t care how cheap the products are, poor customer service is automatically a deal-breaker for me. Lots of companies push out similar products and do it better than they do. They aren’t as special as they think.

If you are finding this English content outside of RatzillaCosme.com, then the site is guilty of plagiarism! RatzillaCosme.com does not participate in paid product placement posts. All products are independently selected. Outbound retail links are affiliate links, which means that the site may earn a small commission if you click on one of these links and make a purchase.

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SGG
SGG
1 year ago

The Granactive Retinoid Emulsion 2% is misunderstood by many – it contains both Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate and the standard encapsulated Retinol that is found in the other Retinoid formulations with Squalane. The 2% figure represents the combination of both HPR and regular Retinol %ww in the emulsion. HPR may or may not work, but the emulsion works because it still has standard Retinol, which comes right after HPR in the ingredients list.

RocMarci
RocMarci
1 year ago

MUAC mandelic acid peel has a bit sky high shipping rate for me so I was thinking on buying The Ordinary’s 10% mandelic acid, seems to me that they have their own theory about the above 10% strength, kinda concerned it will be too low since the starting strength for MUAC is 25%, hm.

Hannah YP
Hannah YP
2 years ago

How do you feel about their Granactive Retinoid 2% serum? Wth is granactive?

maria
maria
2 years ago

I know this is primarily a Japanese beauty blog, but please do more reviews on Western skin care products (especially the more affordable ones)!!! I’m always thrilled when you review a Western product because then I can actually get it without a lot of hassle.

D
D
2 years ago

i’m glad someone else agrees that their customer service to be horrible… had terrible experiences with them too.

RocMarci
RocMarci
3 years ago

Great read. Do you find some vit. C derivatives superior to others or, again, it just varies skin to skin?

Cilantro
Cilantro
3 years ago

Hi! Thanks for the in-depth review. This is awesome! I was looking for a review that questioned their big claims and separated the “fluff” from the ones actually work.

Have you tried the Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG? How do you find it and do you think there’s a similar product that performs better? Many thanks!

Anne Katrine
Anne Katrine
3 years ago

Have you tried the Alpha arbutin 2% + HA? if you have did you like it or can you recommend a japanese product that is similar if better?
I must say it’s really nice to see a down to earth review of the Ordinary, I find their pseudo-science kind of off putting too.

Kim
Kim
3 years ago

Hmmm… I like their products and have a few. Maybe I’ve been reading different info than you (I found the Ordinary through Google and then read through their ingredients and site), but I don’t get why you would say they are pseudo-scientific. Perhaps you could elaborate so I can understand better? I’m a science student so I can read a study but this isn’t my area (cosmetics and skincare is just a pet interest of mine.) I’ve looked at some (not all) of their products and many of them seem to have promising ingredients, some less so. I haven’t seen… Read more »

Sarah ,
Sarah ,
3 years ago

Did you try the azelaic acid suspension? I’m considering getting it but it seems to be quite silicone heavy so I’d love to hear your opinion of it.

真夏
真夏
3 years ago
Reply to  Ratzilla

Hi Ratzilla! Thank you for the review! I tried the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. I have acne-prone skin and was suffering from mild redness on my cheeks. I was worried that it would be acne rosacea and I wanted to try some Azelaic Acid product without a prescription. This 10% Azelaic Acid was cheap and easy to get, and it did work on my red cheeks.

abby
abby
3 years ago

Hi, Ratzilla! I have acne-prone skin and the Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% has been good at dealing with and preventing acne so I was wondering how was the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution? I am looking for something to replace my Biologique Recherche P50T so I’ve been looking into this. I hope it’s not like Pixi Glow Tonic cause I disliked that. I also have the Vitamin C Suspension 13% + HA Spheres 2% (pilled when put on top of my serums + real oily) and Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (haven’t seen results yet). I guess my… Read more »

abby
abby
2 years ago
Reply to  Ratzilla

Thanks for sharing this! Finally got it and just wanna share that it’s great to use under serums or moisturizers. It actually made me appreciate the Vitamin C Suspension 23% since having damp skin makes the grit disappear.

Izabella Prado De Medeiros
Izabella Prado De Medeiros
3 years ago

I wondering about the “Buffet” serum… Did you tried it?

Alison Montgomery
Alison Montgomery
3 years ago
Reply to  Ratzilla

So, what anti-aging ingredients do you recommend? What products do you use in your doubting for anti-aging?

Izabella Prado De Medeiros
Izabella Prado De Medeiros
3 years ago
Reply to  Ratzilla

And about Matrixyl… This ingredient are not proven to work? I’ve seen it in other brands..

Canvas Notebook
Canvas Notebook
3 years ago

You didn’t happen to try their Vitamin C Suspension 23%
+ HA Spheres 2%, did you? It looks promising but I couldn’t say for sure.

Canvas Notebook
Canvas Notebook
3 years ago
Reply to  Ratzilla

oh gross. I was thinking of getting it for my neck and body since it’s cheap, but would the oil ruin my clothes?

Canvas Notebook
Canvas Notebook
3 years ago
Reply to  Ratzilla

Oh gosh, gross. Well, I hope if you find any affordable Vit C for body that you post about it. Thanks so much for always responding to comments! ^_^

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