If you don’t know about The Ordinary, you should. It is a brand from DECIEM — a company that has a lot of skincare brands under its umbrella, all of which focus on “functional beauty.” Their website claims that they offer “clinical formulations with integrity” — i.e., they offer a wide variety of incredible skincare products that work, and are affordable. And all of their products are paraben and sulfate free, and are never tested on animals.
A visit to to The Ordinary’s website can be a bit overwhelming. They have everything from acids to peptides to retinoids to… hair care? When starting from scratch, it’s a bit difficult to know what your skin needs and what will work best for you, but I can tell you that there 2 products you should definitely buy right now: the Lactic Acid 5% + HA and the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5.
Let’s start with the Lactic Acid. Lactic Acid is a gentle exfoliator… that’s right, it’s a serum that goes underneath moisturizer, and it exfoliates!! I have super sensitive skin, and it’s really hard to find gentle exfoliators that don’t cause irritation — well ding, ding, ding! I’ve found one! It’s so gentle but effective, it has helped reduce my acne, it’s lightened some of my fine lines and wrinkles. And the biggest thing I’ve noticed, is that it has made my dark hyperpigmentation spots from old acne DISAPPEAR. I’m not kidding. They’re gone.
Sephora sells a 10% version of this formula, but I’ve found the 5% to work wonders, and it’s a bit more gentle. This stuff will make your skin very, very sensitive to UV rays, so ONLY apply at night, and be sure to use sunscreen every single day. I also only apply every other night, because I like to alternate this with my retinol. When I used both together, my skin got quite irritated, but using this every other night has completely transformed my skin.
The HA in the Lactic Acid stands for Hyaluronic Acid. While there is a bit of hyaluronic acid in the lactic acid formula, let’s move on the second must-have product from The Ordinary: The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. Hyaluronic acid is a magical ingredient, in that it can hold 1,000 times it’s weight in water! That’s right, we’re talking about an extreme moisturizer, over here. Hyaluronic acid traps moisture and puts it into the skin, making your skin look plump and hydrated and youthful and amazing.
A few warnings about this product, though, if you have extremely dry skin like I do. If you are in a dry climate, hyaluronic acid may actually dry out your skin. I’m from Colorado, and used this product on a recent visit back home. I couldn’t figure out why the more I used it, the more my skin would dry out, and my face eventually turned into a dry, flaky, hot mess. What I didn’t realize was that hyaluronic acid pulls moisture from wherever it can. If there is no moisture in the air (Colorado truly has the driest air on the planet), it will pull moisture OUT of your skin!! Which is why, even in New York, where there is actually some moisture in the air, I always apply moisturizer on top of the acid, to lock it into my skin. And I don’t use it every day — especially not on days that are super dry (it’s counter intuitive, I know!) But when my skin needs an immediate moisture boost, or is just feeling a bit dull, the hyaluronic acid turns things around right away!
So if you’re looking to dive into The Ordinary, start with these two products. If you order them from the website, you might have to wait a while for them to arrive (potentially months?), but these are both available on Amazon. Happy exfoliating and hydrating!