The Ordinary is taking the world of skincare by storm... we're reviewing their bestselling products!

It’s about to get really NERDY here on Hey Pretty – but don’t worry, it’s all about skincare! You’ve probably heard about skincare’s latest mover and shaker… and we’ve got the goods on ’em. Today, it’s all about The Ordinary!

The Ordinary Group PR image


The Ordinary offers «clinical formulations with integrity», as stated on their website. This means they formulate potent and clinically proven ingredients such as vitamins or retinoids without adding unnecessary stuff and perfume. Also, they don’t invest in expensive advertising campaigns. Which means the products are




Meaning their prices range between 6 and 20 Euros.

The brand The Ordinary is part of the Canadian company DECIEM, which also runs other brands such as Niod, Hylamide and Chemistry Brand (which make one of the best, but also most expensive hand creams, I’ve ever bought). All of these brands stand out due to their potent active substances.

It’s not surprising that they see themselves as «The Abnormal Beauty Company», is it?

«The Ordinary is an evolving collection of treatments offering familiar, effective clinical technologies positioned to raise pricing and communication integrity in skincare.» 

Reliability and credibility are The Ordinary’s top priorities. Their goal is to make «effective and familiar technologies» at honourable prices.

The range contains 27 serums, oils and moisturizers (all in liquid form), which can be combined with each other.

And to be honest, that’s the big challenge for us consumers: The Ordinary requires a bit of homework. It’s necessary for each customer to take a good look at their skincare and to gather a lot of information to create their own ideal routine.

The Ordinary’s regimen guide offers a chart with all of the products, their effects and also the best ways to combine the products. Extremely simplified: you should use water based formulas before using oil based ones. And it’s not recommended to use more than three serums at once.

Sounds pretty serious, doesn’t it?

Short silliness break!

Hope you enjoyed this break, because it’s getting even more serious now. All of DECIEM’s products (including The Ordinary) are free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, animal based components and other yucky ingredients and are never tested on animals (which is why the brand isn’t available in China). They also promise to answer all questions concerning their products immediately, straight from the lab.

Since I live in Switzerland, I’m always afraid of unexpected shipping and custom fees. That’s why I ordered my The Ordinary stuff at ASOS.


The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% (a gentle exfoliant), 30ml EUR 7,50

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% (image by Hey Pretty)

This liquid exfoliant contains extracts of Tasmanian pepper, which is known for it’s anti inflammatory qualities and it also reduces sensitiveness (which can be caused through peeling products). Nevertheless, lactic acid is a very potent ingredient, which can be a bit harsh on very sensitive or damaged skin. But the effect is truly impressive!

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% (Anti Aging solution), 30ml for EUR 10,50

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% (image by Hey Pretty)

One of the bestellers is The Ordinary’s Advanced Retinoid. This potent retinoid serum created a sensation in the beauty industry: it’s very effective and spectacularly affordable. It combines two forms of next-generation retinoid actives in a combined concentration of 2% by weight. The two actives are: Solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, a highly-advanced form of retinoid that offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of ageing than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid. And a sustained-delivery form of pure retinol in a protective capsule system which supports both the delivery and the effect of Solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate.

Make-up Artist and YouTuber Wayne Goss reviewed the Advanced Retinoid 2% on his channel. He not only raves about the effect, but also doens’t hold back with his opinion on other brands selling retinol products for a multitude of The Ordinary’s price.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% (powerful anti oxidants in form of ascorbic acid), 30ml for EUR 6,50

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% (image by Hey Pretty)

You’ve already heard about the thing with vitamin C (I’m sure you remember the Clinique post). Because vitamin C isn’t very stable, The Ordinary doesn’t use water or silicone in it’s formula, but lots of hyaluronic acid. Applied in the evening, the suspension smoothens and brightens the skin. It’s very powerful and can feel a bit tingly.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (ultra pure, vegan hydration boost), 30ml for EUR 8

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (image by Hey Pretty)

Phew, finally an ingredient I recognize! Hyaluronic acid is our best friend when it comes to hydrating the skin: This formula uses three different forms of hyaluronic acid with different molecular weights to plump and intensively hydrate the skin. A few drops applied before your moisturizer (in the mornings and evenings) and you’re good to go!

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Serum (fights discolouration), 30ml for EUR 9

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA (image by Hey Pretty)

I’m not even trying to explain how this serum works: I only know that it’s supposed to be extremely efficient in fighting visible discoloration (which I have plenty of, thanks to a childhood spent on the beach in Southern California…). I religiously use it every evening and apply my sunscreen (SPF 50) every morning. I’m excited to see the results!


Or rather: why The Ordinary isn’t ordinary at all. The brand is completely straightforward and pared down in a way I haven’t ever seen before in all my years of beauty writing, and it and doesn’t hide behind crazy marketing claims. This doesn’t make it particularly sexy, but really credible.

Truly incredible are of course the prices, which allow the purchase of an entire skincare regimen for under 50 euros. Of course, you need to inform yourself beforehand, but the reward are affordable products which are extremely effective.

Here is an article from The Telegraph…and when I was in London last month, I learned that there will soon be a The Ordinary Shop! Look out, all the other brands!

And with this seriously scientific skincare nerd-out, I wish you all a happy Tuesday and a great week!

The Ordinary skincare is available on their website, as well as via ASOS.*

The Ordinary skincare (image by Hey Pretty)

*Update: DECIEM opened a store at Old Spitalfield Market (Lamb Street) in London and is also available at Boots and Selfridges!

**Second Update, April 2017: The Ordinary just announced their own make-up line! The Ordinary Colours should come in two different formulations (light and medium coverage) and 21 shades… as well as SPF 25. Stay tuned!

The Ordinary Colours: Foundation Range with 21 shades announced in April 2017!


  1. Hi Steffi, I just discovered your blog and like it a lot! I’ve never been to Switzerland but i’d love to someday.
    I also tried the vitamin c cream, but it was too burny on my skin. But I love the BUFFET serum and my skin handles that one really well. Hi from Arizona and keep up the good work.

    • Hi there! Thanks for the kind words (and Switzerland is gorgeous, you really should come!). The Buffet Serum sounds great, too, and since the Vitamin C really does tingle on the skin, I did some research and found that a couple of beauty bloggers recommended applying it to wet skin… and it really does help! Now, I apply a rose mist on my clean face, then immediately follow up with the Vitamin C and it doesn’t tingle or burn AT ALL anymore. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Mileta! I just got back from Vienna, where they told me that The Ordinary would be opening up a new store soon… they’re expanding like crazy, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Switzerland was on their list, too! Here’s hoping the current drama about founder Brandon Truaxe (who has been forceably removed as CEO!) dies down soon, and they get back to their business of creating great skincare:-) I’ll keep you posted here as soon as I find out anything! Smiles from Zurich and have a great day!


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