Powerful skincare without breaking the bank? Yes please.
So about, well, a little over a month ago now, I got to the point in my beloved Hydraluron that I really needed to man handle the tube to get anything out. Which is the point that I start looking into repurchasing because obviously I can't live without it. But, ugh, Hydraluron is like $35 and I am but a humble freelancer who can't dish out that much on one product. And as the hype on The Ordinary skincare was reaching an all time high, I decided to take my ~$35 elsewhere and try several new things.
I'm not usually one for hauls. I don't usually write/film them myself and I don't really consume them. Something about hauls really makes my skin crawl but I feel pretty okay with this one because everything is just SO reasonably priced. Like you can't get a decent pair of jeans for what I spent on The Ordinary. Unfortunately their hyaluronic acid product was out of stock when I placed my order, so I couldn't directly replace my hydraluron. But, I did pick up a few little good-un's without my wallet crying.
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - $5.90
Niacinamide is one of those ingredients I've heard a lot about but never really took the time to actually look into. According to the one and only Paula Begoun, niacinamide has "the ability to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness, and a weakened skin surface." Basically it checks off all the boxes that I want in an anti-acne and anti-aging skincare product.
I've been using this one in the mornings because it basically doesn't play nice with almost all of the rest of the products I picked up. Mixing niacinamide with exfoliating acids, vitamin C, and retinoids is a big no-no in general but even more so if you have sensitive skin. The formula is definitely one you need to pat on because rubbing it in seems to make it sit on top of the skin funny and is no me gusta under makeup. Patted in though? Perfect. I've yet to see any dramatic changes in my skin on this one but, you know, with skincare time will always tell.
Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% - $6.79
For something a little more hard core, I picked up the lactic acid 10%. This is apparently a dupe for, or is at least as good as the eye wateringly expensive Sunday Riley Good Genes ($158!!!).
Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that works far better on my skin than BHAs. I was a bit torn on if I should pick up the slightly less potent 5% version but I'm glad I went for the 10%. Luckily all my AHA-ing the last few years has built up my tolerance to a point that this product doesn't freak out my skin. In fact, my skin always looks pretty amazing the day after I use this.
Because it is such a strong acid, I really only use it twice a week at night. It's just enough to keep my skin looking fresh without going overboard and exfoliating all my skin off.
Advanced Retinoid 2% - $9.80
Well back before you could buy OTC retinol products my dermatologist had me on a retinol prescription at I think only 1%. It was to help my skin cell turn-over and hopefully kick my persistent whitehead problem in the ass. Unfortunately back then the product was way too harsh and made my skin peel like I was some kind of molting lizard. It was incredibly unpleasant and I eventually stopped using it because I'd rather have acne than skin that was too painful to even touch.
The Ordinary's retinoid, on the other hand is 2% and I've yet to experience any skin irritation or peeling. I think I read somewhere (solid information right here) that it's because the molecules are actually too big to get in your skin and do anything. But, using this every other night or so has made my skin positively glowing so I'm all about it regardless. If you want to read about it on The Ordinary website, you can, they get into all the scientific business for why this is less irritating and better-working than other retinol products.
Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% - $5.80
Okay, get ready for my one very meh review. I've been interested in picking up a vitamin C product for a while because it's supposed to be a kick ass anti-aging product. But, this one, ugh, I don't know. It's water and silicone free which is supposed to help with making it more stable and work better for your skin. I get that. But it's also a wild grainy and oily texture that I cannot get behind. The site goes through this whole explanation of why this product is the way it is, but I'm really not even using it because of the texture issue. They recommend giving it "a few seconds to feel absorbed" but literally no matter how little I've used it never feels absorbed. If you have any recommendations for a vitamin C product that actually works and doesn't cost an arm and a leg, let me know!
Update: This just in! The always wonderful Tamara had a little nugget to share for making the vitamin C serum easier to work with. "I found that if I use the Vitamin C fresh out of the shower with slightly damp skin it absorbs better and the grainy texture goes away."
High-Spreadability Fluid Primer - $7.90
Last thing isn't skincare but it is great. The Ordinary currently have two primers, the high-spreadability fluid primer, and the high-adherence silicone primer. My aim was to pick up the latter but it was out of stock (something that seems to happen a lot with The Ordinary) so no dice on that. Instead I picked up the sister fluid primer product. This primer is literally a liquid, you put it on your face eye dropper style like all the other products.
I like how this primer makes my skin feel and it makes my makeup look really flawless. My one little bug with this one is that the scent is pretty chemical-y and kind of unpleasant. But, after literally a few seconds it's gone. This is more of one of those blurring primers, and it's also a surprisingly dewy texture. Not so much that your face looks like an oil slick, but it gives a little more life, you know what I mean? I'm enjoying this one for now, but I'm not going to lie, as soon as that high-adherence primer is back in stock, that baby is mine.
Have you ever tried The Ordinary skincare?