How To Create A Skincare Routine With The Ordinary Products

Anyone who knows anything about the beauty world will have heard of The Ordinary. Taking all the fluff out of skin care and focusing on the science, the results are supposed to be out of this world, and the fact that it costs so little is enough to get us all talking about it.

We were a little skeptical, how can something be so good, yet so cheap? In true detective style, we thought we would try some products out for a week and consult an expert – want to know what we found out?

The Ordinary Retinol 1% $7 available here

1. The Retinol Solution

I bought this solution because it’s supposedly good for keeping the skin looking young and fresh. If you use it, make sure you also use a good SPF, because retinol serums make your skin more sensitive to sun damage and you’ll need to protect it well. I used it a bit too much when I first got it. The next day in the office, however, I noticed that my skin was peeling off. My skin was basically shedding, and shedding a lot, so I stopped using it daily. The shedding convinced me it was actually working, though.

What the expert says: At around $7, this solution is a genius. It contains retinoids for the reduction of signs of aging. It’s less irritating than pure retinol and should be used if you’re concerned about fine lines and wrinkles. With any Retinol product, it does irritate the skin, so it is normal to experience dry skin and basically “skin shedding”. But this just means your skin is adjusting to the product.

After a month, you will see that new skin coming out. However, because of the high potency of the product, you should slowly start introducing into your skincare routine, rather than just diving into it. Instead, I would recommend when first starting with Retinol products to only use them once a week. Do not use them every day and only in the evening. Once your skin is used to it, you can slowly build up the usage to three times a week but it’s not to be mixed with any acid exfoliants. Buy it here.


The Peeling Solution $8.50 available here.

2. The AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

After my skin reacted to the retinol serum, I was a bit reluctant to try The Peeling Solution, for obvious reasons. It’s supposed to exfoliate the skin for a more brighter, evened skin tone. I actually love this, but I use it very carefully, and I see my skin glowing after a few uses.

What the expert says: This $8 solution basically acts like a chemical peel, which can be quite intense. I would not recommend putting into your skin routine unless you’re used to using quite invasive treatments. But just slowly work it in for best results, and use it no more than twice a week. AHA exfoliates the skin’s top layer of skin for a brighter appearance, while BHA exfoliates the skin, so this is supposedly perfect if you want a fresher complexion.

It’s quite a similar to peel that you would get with a technician, so if you want to start with this I would recommend starting with The Lactic Acid instead, which will be a much gentler concentration. But only use once-twice a week max! In terms of application, the best way to apply it is straight after cleansing and toning. Buy it here.

 Lactic Acid $8 available here.

3. Lactic Acid 

The Lactic Acid solution is only $8 and supposedly much gentler, and probably a better way to work your way up to more intense peels. It tingles a little when you use it but by the next day, you should see a reduction in spots or uneven skin tone without any irritation or redness. Managing editor Beth loves this one because she has sensitive skin and has never had any chemical peels or treatments done to her skin before, so it’s perfect if you’re new to the treatment.

What the expert says: Lactic Acid exfoliates the skin in a more gentle way. Making it perfect for sensitive skin, just don’t apply it to peeling or otherwise damaged skin. This formula contains pepper berry also, which reduces inflammation and sensitivity. Use it twice a week at first, dab it on areas of your skin you would usually exfoliate after cleansing, and within a month of usage, your skin should be resurfaced. As always, make sure you improve your sun care routine while using this as it increases sun sensitivity. Buy it here.

The Argireline Solution $8 available here.

4. The Argireline Solution

I bought this one because I’m concerned about some lines on my face that have appeared. Particularly one stubborn frown line. I had no idea this was like botox in a bottle so when I applied it I was really surprised. I do see a difference although it’s subtle and not really dramatic.

What the expert says: Oh this solution is so good, it’s like mini botox in a bottle. Argireline is great for use around the eyes and the forehead and with repeated use twice a week, you really will see a difference. Everyone goes crazy for this lightweight serum because it works so well! And it won’t irritate your skin, it’s nice and gentle and lightweight. Buy it here.


The Foundation $8 available here.

5. The Foundation

So obviously because they were so cheap, I bought the foundation too! In fact, I even bought two, The Serum Foundation and The Coverage Foundation. They are good for the amount you pay for them. For me personally, I prefer my high-end foundation. The serum foundation is a bit too light, and the coverage foundation is too thick. 

What the expert says: They have a really good range of color. The Serum Foundation is really good because it’s really lightweight and will give you that natural glow. I have used them to do makeup in shoots. The Coverage Foundation is a little bit heavier, but there is no rule in makeup so if you find them difficult to use, you can even mix them together for the perfect balance between the two. It’s a really nice formulation and for the price, it really is amazing. Buy it here.

In the end, I think it’s really important that when it comes to your skin, to do all the necessary research. Especially when there’s not a lot of education surrounding The Ordinary, but now that I know how to use them correctly I think I will have a better experience with it. 

Photographed on the 7th September 2017 by Career Girl Daily at The Dorsett Hotel Shepherds Bush.  


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  • I use prescription-strength retinoic acid (Trentinoin) which is the more concentrated version of retinol. Once my skin settled down from the dryness, it was pure magic. It’s the only thing that helped with my cystic acne! It definitely has a phase-in period though.

    • I didn’t know much about all these acids before, but I’m definitely building a skincare routine now. Did your skin peel too when you first used it?

      • I feel like the term peel isn’t quite accurate (and sounds kind of frightening), I would say that my skin got pretty flaky at first. It really wasn’t that bad, it didn’t hurt, and my skin adjusted quickly. I did end up adjusting my makeup to be more dry-skin friendly to compensate, and it all worked out because I felt more comfortable going without full coverage foundation for the first time in years anyways.

  • peonies passionfruit

    This post has come at the perfect time for me as I am new to using The ordinary products and I am enjoying and loving using them so far.

    Eme x

  • Looking to try several products from this brand, starting with the Caffeine Solution 5%. I’m used to good skincare products being expensive so I can see why we’d be skeptical about the price. Let’s hope the quality increases and the price stays the same. x

  • marlee dawson

    Hi there, I’m finding it difficult to nail down the right The Ordinary regime for my skin. The main issue i want to treat is uneven skin tone and acne scars. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!
    Thanks, Marlee.