The Ordinary: top 5 & reviews

The Ordinary has been taking the beauty, skincare world by storm over the past year or so and after reading many reviews about the products, I decided to place a big order and see what the fuss was about!  My first impressions are that the brand have incredibly good ingredients at such an affordable price.  Also – the packaging of the products are so perfect; I love the simplicity of the branding and the bottles with pipets, much more hygenic than sticking your fingers in tubs of cream daily!

I now have 5 of their products in my weekly skincare regime and so I wanted to write up some mini reviews of what I think of them so far.  I know navigating your way around them can be confusing because of their names but hopefully this will help some of you who are curious!

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (Advanced Retinoid 2%) (link)

Okay so this was the product that encouraged me to place the order for these products in the first place.  Don’t judge me, but it was because I read an article about how this bottle is the reason Kim K doesn’t have a single wrinkle… haha!  It was enough to make me want to try it as I’m nearing 30 and I’m keen to add some anti-aging products into my daily regime.

Retinoids are one of the best things you can use on your skin in terms of anti-aging; they have many benefits such as smoothing fine lines, improving skin texture and preventing creasing.  The Ordinary’s Granactive Retinoid is currently one of the cheapest retinoids on the market at only £8 (others available are super pricey) and so I couldn’t wait to try it.

It can be quite strong to use so I went for a low 2% to start (you can start lower at 0.2% if you have really sensitive skin) and I use it 3 times a week in the evening, after water based serums but before my heavier moisturiser.  I found the skin around my eyes quite dry in the first week so I skipped a couple of applications and now I think my skin is used to it.  I’ll keep you updated with how I get on with this but so far I love using it in my regime and my skin is looking clear and great!

Side note: My dad read the same article, did lots of research on the product and has now bought this as well! I’ll keep you updated on his progress with it too if you like?


Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (£5.90) (link)

I knew that I wanted to add a hyaluronic acid to my order as I’ve used them previously with great effects.  Hyaluronic acid is incredibly hydrating and that penetrates at a deeper level of the skin, so it doesn’t just sit on top and moisturise, but rather goes to the epidermis and moisturises from the inside out.

I’ve been using this all over my face and neck in the evening before my heavy moisturisers and it’s lovely.  My skin feels soft and plump and it hasn’t caused me to break out in spots either (something I’m always cautious about)!  Most other hyaluronic acids I’ve tried have been really pricey (aka Glossier Super Bounce £24 and Dermaquest’s B5 £64) so this is a great affordable way to introduce the ingredient into your regime at £5.90.   Side bar: this can be quite tacky after you’ve applied it but let it sink in for a while and you should be fine!

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30) (link)

This was the product I was most excited about trying after one of my besties raved about how great it was.  She called it the ‘blood mask’ and I can 100% see why, this looks like you’re smearing pure blood all over your face BUT it’s so worth it.  This face mask makes my skin soft, glowing and clear the day after I use it which feels like a real little miracle in a bottle.  It contains alpha (and beta) hydroxyl acids which work together to exfoliate the skin at a surface and deep level to help smooth, boost radiance and clear congestion.

Apply to clean, dry skin and leave on for only 10 minutes (definitely no longer!).  It tingles slightly upon application but this disappears after a minute or so which leaves you to sit and enjoy your blood-like appearance until it’s time to wash off with a flannel.

I really recommend this for all skin types, it’s great for acne prone skin too!


Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% (£5.80) (link)

Lactic acid is great for helping to reduce skin pigmentation, acne scarring and age spots and so I wanted a little bottle to add to my regime.  Now I’ve already found a miracle cream to help fade acne scarring (see my review here!) but I wanted to try this to see if it would help tackle some of the more deep set scarring in my cheeks.  Honestly, this hasn’t made too much of a difference but that’s as I haven’t been using it too regularly.  I’ll keep persisting with it and will let you know if anything changes.

Lactic acid is a high strength peeling formulation and should be used once a day in the evening, but it can be diluted with other products until your skin builds up tolerance.


Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (£4.90) (link)

This is a really great no fuss moisturiser that I’ve been using after I’ve applied all of the serums above!  It’s a surface hydration formula which means it helps to really hydrate the outer layer of skin (rather than going deep like hyaluronic acid).  It is thick and creamy with no fragrance but sinks in really nicely into the skin.  A great addition to your regime if you suffer from dry skin or if you’re on roaccutane!

I also want to mention that I’ve been using their Serum Foundation for the past month and it’s become my new holy grail go-to foundation.  I’m going to do a proper review of that on it’s own with before and after pictures of it on my skin soon so if you want to see that, stay tuned!

I purchased all of my bits from Cult Beauty and have linked them down below. Let me know if you end up trying any of them!

Have you tried anything from The Ordinary? Let me know!

Katie xxx


  1. March 21, 2018 / 11:10 pm

    They just started selling the Ordinary at Sephora and I was eyeing up a few products but I couldn’t figure out where to start. I definitely think I want the lactic acid because I do have some acne scarring I’d like to get rid of, but I also want to try something that it more make-up related!

    Lovely post! x


  2. Kirsty
    March 22, 2018 / 10:12 am

    I recently started using their salicylic acid 2% on my nose to target persistent blackheads and sebaceous filaments, and the 100% squalane all over my face. I struggle with a combination of dry flaky skin and ridiculous levels of oil production. It’s only been a few days but my skin seems to be balancing itself out and I’m thrilled!

    I’m also mixing a couple of drops of the squalane with my hand cream, it’s really helping to calm down my eczema.

    I also grabbed the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, but I’ve yet to try it beyond a patch test. I’m looking forward to looking like I’m wearing the blood of my enemies tbh

  3. katie
    March 23, 2018 / 12:35 am

    I’ve got the moisturizer and haven’t really used it yet only tested it till I’m done my others. From what I tested i love it, I can’t wait to try others from them !!!

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