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Skin Pros Reveal Top Picks from The Ordinary

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

Add these highly affordable products to your The Ordinary skin-care routine.

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Shopping for skin-care products is not a simple task. Everyone has distinct skin concerns (i.e. blemishes, rosacea, under-eye bags) and, in addition, most products have a long list of unfamiliar ingredients. Even if you know your skin type, you might not have any idea which key ingredients to purchase. That’s where The Ordinary skin-care routine comes in. The skin-care brand has a dedicated following because of its simplified, single-ingredient, clinically potent formulations and incredibly low price points (the majority of products average $10 or less — a mystery in the skin-care world).

“The most concealed secret of the skin-care industry is the high markup on products, [but] The Ordinary eliminates all of that,” explains skin expert and medical esthetician Cassandra Bankson. “I appreciate the brand’s affordability and commitment to science; it’s free of fragrance and is transparent in its marketing,” notes Dr. Muneeb Shah, D.O. chief dermatology resident at Campbell University in North Carolina.

This simplified, transparent approach makes it easier to personalize a regimen for yourself since you can select the precise ingredients you need. “I love that you can choose single-ingredient formulas and combine them to create a routine, or incorporate them with your other products,” explains Bankson. One trending TikTok Botox hack involves combining The Ordinary Argireline Solution 10% with its Matrixyl 10% HA. Just be aware that you must be diligent about contraindications (i.e. how to layer certain ingredients and whether or not they are safe to use together), which the brand highlights in product descriptions and in the regimen guide. (More: Exactly How Long It Takes for Skin-Care Ingredients to Work, According to Dermatologists)

The Ordinary Skin-Care Routine: Top Products to Purchase

Finest The Ordinary Skin-Care Product for Acne: Salicylic Acid 2% Anhydrous Solution

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In an economy that is so unforeseeable, this budget-friendly yet efficient approach resonates with so many individuals (and wallets),” states Bankson. And while many of the brand’s products have a notoriously good reputation, there are a few champions that Dr. Shah and Bankson suggest because they personally utilize them. Lucky for you, the professionals outlined their top The Ordinary skin-care routine choices below and arranged each by skin concern.

If you struggle with congested pores, acne, or breakouts Dr. Shah points to this highly potent acid solution to add to your The Ordinary skin-care routine. It directly targets excess oil production that can lead to breakouts. The standout ingredient, salicylic acid, works to “exfoliate, improve dark spots, and penetrate deep into pores to enhance acne,” he states. What makes this product distinct is that it’s anhydrous (indicating it contains no water), so it’s more potent. But, in this case, more potent doesn’t mean harsher. “Many salicylic acid formulations are drying but this [one] has a squalene oil base,” says Dr. Shah. In other words: it exfoliates pores while simultaneously hydrating — not an easy combination to accomplish. (More: The Exact Order to Apply Your Skin-Care Products)

Price at time of publish: $7

Finest The Ordinary Skin-Care Product for Under-Eyes: Caffeine 5% ECGC Depuffing Eye Serum

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This The Ordinary skin-care product is a fantastic way to revitalize the undereye area, attests Dr. Shah. “This product contains caffeine, which is an antioxidant and vasoconstrictor that enhances the appearance of prominent vessels and puffiness under the eye,” he describes. It also includes EGCG, which is derived from green tea (also a powerful antioxidant). Pro tip: You can use it all over your face, as Bankson does. “If you are someone who [has occasional puffiness, like on] nights that you eat too much sodium or sleep [face down], this is for you,” says Bankson.

Price at time of publish: $8

Finest The Ordinary Skin-Care Product for Acne and Rosacea: Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

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If you struggle with any significant redness like post-acne dark spots or rosacea, both skin pros recommend this suspension serum for your The Ordinary skin-care routine.

This 10 percent azelaic acid (an acid that naturally occurs and is derived from grains) is uncomplicated and efficient. “Azelaic acid is one of the rare ingredients that combat acne and is also safe during pregnancy,” remarks Dr. Shah. It’s “a formula similar to a primer” that you can utilize as a lightweight moisturizer beneath cosmetics, as stated by Bankson. “I haven’t been able to find anything [less expensive] — even prescribed azelaic frequently costs more than this one,” asserts Bankson.

Price at time of publication: $25

The Best The Ordinary Product for Oily Skin: Niacinamide and Zinc

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This non-alcoholic serum is extremely lightweight but still highly effective. “Without causing excessive dryness, it helps to restore balance to the skin and is particularly beneficial for individuals dealing with excessive oil production,” remarks Bankson. This is all thanks to a duo of niacinamide (a variation of vitamin B3) and zinc. Bankson explains that niacinamide “works to assist the skin in regulating oil production and generating more ceramides, which constitute the external layer of our skin barrier.” It also aids in inhibiting the spread of pigmentation. “When combined with zinc salt, this ingredient helps maintain a matte finish without excessively drying the skin,” she adds. A useful tip: This product may clump when applied under makeup, so she suggests applying it only to areas where it is truly needed (such as your t-zone). (More: Why Ceramides Are a Standout in Skin Care)

Price at time of publication: $7

The Best The Ordinary Product for a Radiant Complexion: Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

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If your skin is appearing lackluster, this toning solution with 7 percent glycolic acid effortlessly eliminates dead skin cells with a few swipes of a cotton pad. It is so potent that it ranks as “one of the most powerful toners available on the market,” according to Bankson. Consequently, she advises incorporating it into your The Ordinary skin-care routine only once to three times a week. “Glycolic acid possesses a minuscule molecule size, permitting this product to deeply penetrate the skin,” she adds. The formula is also enriched with derivatives of tasmanian pepperberry, ginseng root, and aloe vera, all of which contribute to achieving a resplendent glow.

Price at time of publication: $10

The Best The Ordinary Product for Hydration: Pycnogenol 5%

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By appearances alone, you would not guess the immense antioxidant power concealed within this petite bottle. The primary ingredient is pycnogenol — a patented formulation that encompasses procyanidins, bioflavonoids (two varieties of polyphenols), and organic acids that work harmoniously to revive the skin.

“This serum enhancer keeps you radiant, rejuvenated, and better prepared to face the day; it operates by directly combating oxidants, so that your skin doesn’t have to sacrifice itself,” reveals Bankson. As it’s a natural botanical extract derived from pine bark, it emanates an exquisite aroma. Bankson compares the refreshing pine fragrance to her camping reminiscences. “It possesses one of the most evocative and soothing scents intrinsically, since the formulation is devoid of any added fragrances,” explains Bankson.

Price at time of publication: $10

Top The Ordinary Skin-Care Product for Dark Spots and Hyperpigmentation: L-Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

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“This bottle contains two of the finest anti-hyperpigmentation components in existence,” states Bankson. The pair in question: L-ascorbic acid and alpha arbutin. L-ascorbic acid is essentially a potent form of vitamin C that “can impede the skin from producing the pigment that frequently occurs after exposure to the sun, skin trauma, or blemishes,” she explains. On the other hand, alpha arbutin “is connected to the prescribed brightening product, hydroquinone.” Both are recognized for their ability to prevent uneven skin tone and irregular pigment formation. “They work directly by erecting a ‘barrier’ in the middle of the pathway that your skin cells utilize to generate melanin, the pigment that commonly appears on our faces,” explains Bankson. Bonus tip: Its effectiveness is enhanced when used in conjunction with, or applied underneath, a sunscreen, notes Bankson. (By the way, these are some of the finest vitamin C serums)

Price at time of publication: $11

Top The Ordinary Skin-Care Product for Exfoliation: AHA BHA Peeling Solution

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If your skin feels like it requires a general rejuvenation, give this deep red peel a try in your The Ordinary skin-care regimen. “It resembles a bloodbath,” affirms Bankson, but the outcomes speak for themselves. 30 percent AHA exfoliates the surface layer of the skin for a more radiant complexion, while 2 percent BHA provides a deeper exfoliation to aid in blemish control and enhance luminosity. “[Together] they can also assist with acne scar texturizing and overall brightness,” explains Bankson. It contains the highest concentrations of acid available without a prescription, according to Bankson. Other ingredients include Tasmanian pepperberry to alleviate irritation, hyaluronic acid for hydration, Vitamin B5 for healing support, and black carrot as an antioxidant. Due to its potent nature and potential for irritation, Bankson advises conducting a patch test and exercising caution.

Price at time of publication: $8

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