5 Products From The Ordinary That Are *Actually* Worth Your Time

Best products from The Ordinary

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The Ordinary, a brand launched by Deciem in 2016, has changed the beauty industry. When their products hit retail shelves in 2017, eye-catching glass bottles that looked straight from the lab caught on with consumers. Their habit of clearly labelling the percentages of actives generated an explosion of interest in the science of skincare, and is arguably responsible, at least in part, for the rise of the skinfluencer.

One of the challenges of the range is the sheer number of products, and ingredients there are to navigate. The Ordinary has close to 50 products in its line, although not all of them are available in Australia.

To provide some guidance, I curated my top five products from The Ordinary and explained why they work.

The Ordinary, Multi-Peptide Lash and Brow Serum

The Ordinary, Multi-Peptide Lash and Brow Serum ($25)
Image credit: The Ordinary

As a beauty journalist, I’ve tried a lot of lash serums, and not many of them have worked for me. This new launch from The Ordinary does. While I’m not finished trialling The Ordinary, Multi-Peptide Lash and Brow Serum ($25) yet, after just two weeks my lashes are already noticeably longer and thicker.

While I assumed it was witchcraft that made this product effective, it’s not. The Ordinary has used four peptides — the messenger systems of the skincare universe — to promote hair growth and protect existing lashes.

These peptides are combined with conditioning, strengthening and antioxidant ingredients like caffeine, zinc chloride, panthenol, red clover and larch wood. Interestingly, Larch Wood extract is also found in Virtue, Flourish Density Booster ($71), a scalp serum I raved about in May. There is strong evidence it’s a good natural alternative to hair growth supplements like Minoxidil. 

The applicator is similar to eyeliner. After cleansing, paint a thin line as close to the root of your lash as possible. The formula is extremely absorbent, so won’t interfere with your eye makeup. Stay tuned for my full review, but I can safely say this is worth your money. 

The Ordinary, Serum Foundation

The Ordinary, Serum Foundation ($13)
Image credit: The Ordinary

The Ordinary, Serum Foundation ($13) is a very lightweight, medium coverage foundation with a transfer-free finish.

I came across this foundation backstage at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week, and makeup artists love it for its accessible price point, extensive shade range, buildable coverage and “real skin” finish.

At $13, it easily competes with the premium foundations seven times its price in my vanity, and at $13 I can afford to mix and match it as my skin tone changes with the seasons. This is a cheap and cheerful must-try.

The Ordinary, Retinol 0.5% in Squalane

The Ordinary, 0.5% Retinol in Squalane, ($12)
Image credit: The Ordinary

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane ($12) got a few mentions when I asked the POPSUGAR Australia team for their night serum recommendations back in March.

The water-free formula balances powerful pure retinol — a clinically backed anti-ageing ingredient — with squalane.

Squalane is a protective and very stable skin-identical oil. What does skin-identical mean? Its structural composition is the same as squalene, the oil found in the skin of humans and animals. This oil decreases as we age. Because squalene is unstable — and because harvesting it for use in skincare would be unethical (for a long time it was harvested from sharks for use in skincare) — beauty brands opt for plant-derived squalane.

Jojoba oil is then added to the mix, an antioxidant-rich oil that closely matches sebum found in the skin. The use of these skin-identical oils means The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane is suitable for those with oily skin types, and less likely to cause irritation in sensitive and dry skin types. 

The Ordinary, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Serum, ($11)

The Ordinary, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($11) is the perfect choice for sensitive, acne-prone skin types. That’s because employs two anti-inflammatory ingredients, niacinamide and zinc, to address oil production and acne.

Zinc is an underrated topical typically associated with mineral sunscreens. However, it has many other applications in skincare. Zinc is an effective anti-inflammatory, with antimicrobial properties. This means it can decrease the inflammation caused by acne, and minimise existing inflammation (one of the most convincing studies on the effectiveness of topical zinc in dermatology can be found in a blind, randomised clinical trial of babies’ nappies).

Niacinamide is well established as an anti-inflammatory, sebum regulating powerhouse. It also effectively inhibits melanin production, which can assist in the prevention of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Using this as a daily serum, consider a salicylic acid-based night treatment. This brings me to my next recommendation.

The Ordinary, Salicylic Acid 2% Solution or The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution

The Ordinary, Salicylic Acid 2% Solution ($10) and Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution ($11)
Image credit: The Ordinary

Salicylic acid (or beta-hydroxy acid) is the only oil-soluble acid, which means it can penetrate a clogged pore or an inflamed pimple with ease. It also exfoliates the surface layer as well as any of its AHA counterparts, addressing surface texture and pigmentation.

To the devastation of hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution ($10) was discontinued in 2019. In January this year, it was finally re-released, with some tweaks made to the formula.

For those with dry but acne-prone skin, The Ordinary released an oil-based version of the salicylic acid. Their Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution ($11) is suspended in squalane oil, to counteract the dryness associated with salicylic acid use. 

With either product, make sure you’re slathering yourself with SPF50+ in the morning. 

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