Are The Ordinary Skincare Products Worth The Hype?

Finding a balance between affordable yet effective skincare can be a huge challenge. It seems these days that everything on the market is either inexpensive yet ineffective, or result-driven but totally unaffordable — and then The Ordinary came along and totally changed the game. 

As stated on their website, the Canadian skincare company brands itself as "clinical formulations with integrity." The clinical refers to the science behind their products, and the integrity is both in the quality of the ingredients and the honesty in their pricing. The Ordinary has challenged the standard conventions of the beauty industry and managed to find a conversation-starting balance between results and affordability, with no single product costing over $20 and an average price of $5 to $7 (via Glamour).

But how do they manage to stay so affordable? It's most likely due to the company's overall dedication to simplicity — from their packaging to the ingredients within (via Adore Beauty). 

The Ordinary is known for their results-driven ingredients

The Ordinary bases their products on active ingredients, or "actives." Quite simply, actives are the parts of the product that cause the intended effects of the product (via Self). "When I look on the back of a bottle and it says the active ingredient, that to me means the chemical or molecule in that product that is doing what the product says it's supposed to do," New York-based dermatologist Dr. John G. Zampella told Self. Some of the active ingredients in The Ordinary's products include niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, azelaic acid, and retinoid (via Byrdie).

But while there is transparency in the labeling, that can also be daunting. The Ordinary's products, which come in dropper bottles, read more like a science journal than a beauty magazine, with products like Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, and Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% (via Glamour). That being said, they make sure not to leave their consumers in the dark. If you simply turn the product around, you can find detailed descriptions of what the ingredients are, what you can expect as a result, and how to use the product.

Here's what skincare mogul Hyram thinks of the company

The general consensus of The Ordinary is very positive. From internet "influencers," to dermatologists, to skincare-obsessed regular folks, everyone can find something they like from the company — or in many cases, multiple somethings. "They offer smart products that rely on quality ingredients, such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, squalane, peptides, retinol, vitamin C, and more, all at lower prices compared to many other options," says dermatologist Dr. Hadley King (via Byrdie).

Skincare guru Hyram, who has made a career from reviewing skincare brands on platforms such as YouTube and TikTok, posted a video in 2019 entitled, The Truth About The Ordinary (via YouTube). He speaks about the good, the bad, and the ugly about individual products as well as the company as a whole — but his overall opinion is positive. "Overall," he says, "I love The Ordinary. I love the products that I've used so far, I love their perspective and the way that they set themselves apart in the industry, and I think they're going to see a lot of continued success within the future."

The consensus seems to be that The Ordinary is anything but. That said, in the end, skincare is incredibly personal and based on our own skin needs, so we suggest shelling out $10 on the brand and trying it yourself.