Confusing but worth it: A guide to The Ordinary

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

I’ve always been one to justify the price tags on skincare. From high-end brands like Tatcha to the infamous Charlotte Tilbury Magic skincare line, we place our trust in the often three-digit price tag because logic tells us that if its pricey, then surely it must do something, right?

So, when The Ordinary, a simply packaged and cheaply priced skincare line came crashing into the industry, I didn’t know whether to immediately write it off as a gimmick, or to give it a try. With most products averaging under £10, I decided to give it a chance. The problem was navigating through names like “Alpha Lipoic Acid 5%”, and trying to decipher exactly what that does.

To spare you the scientific investigation, I have compiled a handy guide to help you find the top products to try. I have found that they do what they say on the bottle and are worth every penny. And the best part – their products are paraben free, sulphate free and cruelty free! In highlighting the overpricing of other high-end brands, The Ordinary are sure to keep shaking up the beauty world with their continual release of budget friendly skincare.


(Image courtesy of Cult Beauty)

The Squalane cleanser was the first product from the line I decided to try. It’s a good place to start instead of piling on a load of acids and serums. Plus, you end up washing it off, so no harm done if you hate the formula.

The Squalane cleanser is great as a first step to a double cleanse and a great price point to match. As an expensive product to simply shift makeup, its worth the spend. It turns into an oily texture when worked into the hands for 40 seconds, and destroys make-up when gently massaged into the skin. After rinsing, the skin feels cleansed, soft and the Squalane cleanser doesn’t cause break-outs like other oil based cleansers.

Squalane Cleanser - £5.50 (50ml) -


(Image courtesy of Cult Beauty)

Whilst I’m usually the one preaching that toners are essentially smelly water, The Ordinary’s Glycolic Toning Solution is the exception in my book. Think Pixi Beauty’s Glow Tonic, but without the irritating fragrance and half the price.

It features 7% Glycolic Acid to brighten the look of dull skin, by gently exfoliating the dead flakes away, unveiling a new baby-soft layer. The addition of tasmanian pepperberry relieves possible irritation, as well as soothing aloe vera giving it that natural scent.

Use this beautiful product in the evening on cleansed skin and before your moisturiser. Remember to slather on your SPF the next morning, as chemical exfoliant can sensitise the skin, making it extra vulnerable to the sun’s rays.

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution - £6.80 (240ml) -

Acids and Serums:

(Image courtesy of Cult Beauty)

For those battling blemishes, the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum is a dream for decongesting and minimising pores. These two power-house ingredients fight bacteria, calms inflammation and repairs damaged skin.

This can be applied both AM and PM before thicker moisturisers.

Niacinamide 10% and Zinc 1% - £5 (30ml) –

Dry Skin recommendation:

(Image courtesy of The Ordinary)

The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum is a cult favourite, and you really can’t go wrong with this product. Hyaluronic acid attracts and locks in water molecules, to prevent the evaporation of moisture from skin, resulting in a deeper level of hydration within the skin. It holds up to a thousand times its weight in water, and its vegan.

It’s recommended to use this serum both morning and night, under your moisturiser to seal in hydration.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% and B5 - £5.90 (30ml) -


(Image courtesy of Cult Beauty)

As far as final step moisturisers go, The Ordinary are killing it with a wide variety of fuss free choices.

My top pick is the Natural Moisturising Factors + HA which is a non-greasy, oily skin-type friendly go-to. It has hyaluronic acid, so is great for using after the Niacinamide + Zinc serum, to ensure you’re not missing out on the extra hydration. This moisturiser can also work wonders on drier skin types too as after all, combatting dryness is about layering products that work together.

Packed with ingredients already present in the skin’s makeup such as amino and fatty acids, this isn’t one that will take time to get used to. It protects, hydrates and doesn’t break the student bank.

Natural Moisturising Factors + HA - £4.90 (30ml)

If you want to take your skincare product hunt one step further, you can also use the regimen guide on their website which aids you in putting together a routine that caters specifically to your skin type and the changes you wish to see in your skin!

If you try any products from The Ordinary that we have recommended, get in touch via @inquirekent on Instagram and let us know how you’re getting on!

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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