Product Review: The Ordinary

the ordinary product range

Literally HUNDREDS of you asked me to walk through The Ordinary products that I picked up in Arnotts last week. So, before I get into the details of the products, I would like to clear up a few things:

  1. I am a qualified beauty and massage therapist specialising in facials and skincare. While there are many beauty experts out there, I can promise you that anything I say about these products is based on own knowledge and experience in anatomy and physiology.
  2. The products in The Ordinary range contain active ingredients including acids. That’s why I would highly recommend you seek the advice or consultation of a skin professional before trying any product. All it takes is the combination of two ingredients that are not meant to be mixed, or using too high concentration of an ingredient, to cause a bad reaction on the skin or worse.
  3. I will only ever give my opinion on a skincare product after trying it myself for at least 6-8 weeks. This gives the skin enough time to take benefit from the products and for the active ingredients to get to work. Having said that, I can only speak of my own experience with any product. What works for me, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will also work for you.
  4. I am just a regular human being and the end of the day. I am not getting paid for this.  Just like anyone reading this, I would be annoyed if I was recommended something and given false high expectations only to be left disappointed and/or broke!
  5. This post contains affiliate links which means that I can make a small commission if sales are made as a result of this post. It does not affect the price of the item for you at all!

So, now that we have gotten that part out of the way, I can focus on the burning question on everyone’s lips….

Do The Ordinary products actually work?

The simple answer is absolutely. They are indeed effective. They do exactly what they say they will do. And from my own experience of the products, they are better than most salon brands that I have tried.

If you want results, I believe these can be achieved using The Ordinary products provided you are following a skin care routine tailored for you (we don’t all have the same skin!). It’s also so important to understand what each product does, when it should be used and why this is the case.

Let’s talk about my skin

My skin is something that has really gotten me down, especially recently. If you have read my journey with endometriosis, you will know that I suffer with hormonal acne and my skin has started breaking out as a result of using the mini-pill. Without getting too technical, this increases the androgen levels present in the body which in turn produces excess sebum and ultimately can cause acne.

But that doesn’t mean my skin is oily, in fact it can actually be quite dehydrated. Many people find this quite hard to understand. If you have spots, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have oily skin, and should use products for combating oil. In my case, while I need to treat the oilier areas such as my chin, I also must not neglect the dehydrated areas on my forehead and cheeks and use appropriate products to treat these concerns differently.

So, what products from The Ordinary do I use? 
Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid – basically in simple terms that means that it acts like an exfoliator for the skin. It helps to unclog pores and reduce the amount of sebum (fancy word for oil!) that is produced.

I apply this both morning and night in problem areas and I have found it really dries up a spot when applied directly to it. It helps to soften blackheads and makes them easy to remove. On top of this, Salicylic Acid has antibacterial properties and can help reduce redness and improve inflammation.

I would recommend avoiding this product if your skin is thin and extremely dry, as this product will only enhance these concerns and it may cause irritation.

salicylic acid the ordinary

Niacinimide 10% + Zinc 2%

Another great product for the treatment of blemishes is Niacinimide + Zinc 2%. This is a Vitamin B3 solution that is specifically designed to target blemishes and reduce congestion.

Again, this product gently helps to control the amount of sebum that is secreted from the skin. It has soothing properties which therefore makes it suitable for those who suffer from rosacea and redness.

I use this product both morning and evening. As it is water based, it should be applied before any heavier oils and creams to maximise the benefit.

niacinamide the ordinary

100% Plant Derived Squalane

I absolutely adore this product. It is lightweight and also non-comedogenic (unlike many other facial oils). This means that it does not block pores and can be used by all skin types including blemish-prone skin. This is perfect for anyone who, like me, has a combination skin that needs hydration.

I tend to only use this product in the evening, or every second day when I might need some extra hydration. It has really made a noticeable difference to dehydrated areas, and when used at night I wake up with a soft, suppleness to my skin.

The only thing that I don’t like about this product is that it has a bit of a nothing smell, but if you get over that, the product itself works wonders.


AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) are both chemical exfoliators. While AHAs help to dissolving the dead skin cells on the surface of our skin to remove marks caused by acne, pigmentation and uneven texture, BHAs target blackheads and milia (those white bumps that are commonly found under the eyes and chin area).

This product from The Ordinary is quite strong. I apply this all over my face and down onto my neck area, avoiding the eyes. The first time I used it, the tingling sensation was a little strange, but you get used to it and it is normal to have this reaction.

I use it once per week in the evening time, as a mask and leave on for no longer than ten minutes. After just two uses, some small lumps of built up congestion that I could never seem to get rid of had completely disappeared! OBSESSED!

AHA and BHA the ordinary

Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

Azelaic acid, which is found in grains, has a brightening effect on the skin and improves the skin texture. It is an anti-inflammatory product that treats acne by preventing clogged pores and killing bacteria. Azelaic Acid is also commonly used as a treatment for rosacea and pigmentation. It is suitable for all skin types and is an effective antioxidant.

I apply this in the evening, avoiding contact with my eyes and mouth area. It has made such a difference to the tone of my skin and has also helped in removing some uneven texture around my chin area caused by blemishes. As an added plus, it leaves your skin feeling super soft! I really love this product.

Azelaic Acid The Ordinary

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant. This basically means that it sucks in moisture from the atmosphere and draws it into the skin (pretty cool, huh?). The Ordinary formula uses three forms of hyaluronic acid, each with different molecular structures meaning it can offer multi-depth hydration. B5 also helps improve surface hydration, so this product is packed with benefits for dehydrated skin.

I apply a few drops of this morning and night before applying any creams and it really improves the appearance of my skin, leaving it feeling balanced and radiant.

Hyaluronic Acid The Ordinary

Important information
  • You should not use more than one direct acid at one time. So, I alternate between using the Salicylic Acid and Azelaic Acid. Also, I tend to only use Hyaluronic Acid during the colder months. I find that the weather and heating changes play havoc with my skin, and this helps.
  • The most important thing to remember when you are using any acids is to wear SPF on your face every single day. I cannot reiterate this enough. These products contain ingredients that make your skin more sensitive to the sun, and will likely cause you to burn.
  • This review is based on my own experience with The Ordinary products. I will always recommend that you visit a skin specialist to advise you before trying any product. This will ensure that the course of treatment recommended is based on your specific skin concerns.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions about any of the products I have tried, please feel free to get in touch.

Annmarie x