Beauty & Fashion

The Ordinary Is Anything But

July 18, 2019

The Ordinary Is Anything But

First Impression

I was first introduced to The Ordinary skincare by an esthetician friend who said she had “just the thing” for my puffy eyes. She recommended The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution and I gladly took her advice considering the fact that undereye puffiness is my Achille’s heel. I rushed home to order it online but hesitated when I saw the price. “Only $10??? How could it possibly work?” For $10 I was willing to give it a shot and was excited when Amazon delivered it two days later. The next morning, I gently applied a few drops under my eyes and waited. A few minutes later I saw a noticeable difference. It did indeed minimize my under-eye puffiness however, it also left the skin under my eyes extremely dry. I wrote The Ordinary off as another gimmicky skincare line.

Second Chances

About one year later I walked into Sephora looking to buy Drunk Elephant’s Luxury Virgin Marula Oil (a product I had already used and liked) which costs $72 for 1 fl oz. I started chatting with one of the saleswomen and asked for other recommendations. I was shocked to hear her response. “You should really consider going online to buy The Ordinary’s 100% Cold Pressed Marula Oil. It’s less than $20,” she said. Oh, hear we go again. “$20? really?? Why so cheap? Is it one-time-use?” I asked. “Nope. I found no difference at all” she replied. It’s important to note that Sephora was not stocking The Ordinary products at the time.

I left the store not completely convinced but definitely intrigued. I went home to see what other customers were saying. The customer ratings for Drunk Elephant’s Marula Oil were excellent.

The customer ratings for The Ordinary’s Marula were equally as excellent

One notable difference is that Drunk Elephant Marula Oil description reads “Luxury Facial Oil” and costs 7 times as much. Could the “luxury” be in the ingredients? Nope. From what I can tell the ingredients are the same. Does merely calling a product “luxury” and putting it in a pretty bottle make it worth 7 times as much? I think not, but then why and how is The Ordinary so darn cheap?

Drunk Elephant Marula Oil

One notable difference is that Drunk Elephant Marula Oil description reads “Luxury Facial Oil” and costs 7 times as much. Could the “luxury” be in the ingredients? Nope. From what I can tell the ingredients are the same. Does merely calling a product “luxury” and putting it in a pretty bottle make it worth 7 times as much? I think not, but then why and how is The Ordinary so darn cheap?

Mission Impossible Made Possible

I started to read up on The Ordinary, the parent company Deciem and their founder Brandon Truaxe. The more I read the more I fell in love with their brand mission. Yes this former beauty Marketing Manager, fell in love with The Ordinary brand mission before trying any of their core products. In summary Deciem’s brand mission is to provide transparency in the beauty industry. In their words,

“In the category of functional beauty, integrity is rare. Commonplace technologies are referred to as groundbreaking and insensible pricing strategies that confuse the audience, disguising commodity technologies as advanced. The Ordinary exists to communicate with integrity and bring to market effective, more familiar technologies at honorable prices. “

Conceptually The Ordinary mission was powerful, but how could their products live up? How could they afford to keep their prices so low? I learned that The Ordinary founder Brandon Truaxe was formerly a computer engineer for a skincare company. There he learned of the ridiculous markup in skincare. He then founded Deciem where he began developing the raw materials in-house. By cutting out the middle man he could then offer tried and true formulation in their purest most isolated/stable form for a fraction of what other brands were charging.

Must-Have Product List

At Ordinary I learned product ingredients, their formulation, why they work, why they are affordable and why they are more effective than their competitors. To see what I mean click on this link, then scroll to the bottom to read their “General Vitamin C Guidance”. Don’t come back to this post until you’ve read the entire thing. Did you read it? PURE GENIUS right? If this doesn’t make you a believer, I’m not sure what will.

All my research got me super stoked to try their products and luckily their ridiculously reasonable price points meant I could afford to try it all! My initial Amazon order included the following products:

My Product Review


  • In my opinion The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Marula Oil wears much lighter and absorbs faster than Drunk Elephant’s Luxury Marula Oil. Moisturizing with oil when you have slightly oily skin (which I do) feels wrong especially during those humid summer months. But, it’s now July, I continue to wear it every day and have not experienced any breakouts. In fact, The Ordinary’s 100% Cold Pressed Marula Oil seems to have saved my skin from the dullness that comes with pool chlorine water, saltwater, and too much sun.
100% Cold Pressed Marula Oil by The Ordinary
100% Cold Pressed Marula Oil
  • The 100% Plant-Derived Squalane hydrator feels a lot like the 100% Cold Pressed Marula oil, but it is oil-free and non-comedogenic. It’s a really great substitute if you tend to have oily skin.
  • The Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 which I use under my favorite under-eye cream for extra hydration. For those who don’t know, Hyaluronic acid is a moisture-binding ingredient that our body makes naturally. It can hold 1,000 times its weight in water making it a great moisturizer.

Acid Exfoliants

  • The Peeling Solution which I use twice a week for a chemical exfoliation leaves my skin is smoother and texture more even. I apply a small amount to my face avoiding my eyes and lips and let it sit for only 10 minutes. I most definitely feel a slight tingling which lets me know it’s working. After washing the Peeling Solution off thoroughly, I immediately apply the Marula Oil. If you have sensitive skin, this is not the product for you.
Peeling Solution by The Ordinary. Dark red solution
AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
  • If you have sensitive skin, you should choose a direct acid that is less potent. Lactic Acid 10% + HA and Lactic Acid 5% +HA are great mild exfoliant alternatives. Remember that acids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun so avoid using them if you know you’re going to be spending time outdoors.

Vitamin C

  • Their Vitamin C Suspension is a dream. I apply it at night, once or twice a week. As a result, my skin looked brighter and clearer. This is a potent antioxidant and should not be combined with and acid.
  • If you are looking for a more milder potency, Deciem recommends the Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% which is a derivative of vitamin C.

I just recently tried the Squalane Cleanser and I’m a huge fan. This cleanser manages to remove all my makeup (even television makeup) without stripping my skin of essential oils. It feels a bit like Cetaphil but with a slight lather. My only regret was not buying the larger tube.

The Ordinary line of skincare products
The Ordinary Skincare

I continue to explore the extensive line of products that The Ordinary has to offer and promise to report back with more “must-haves”! If you’ve learned anything from this skincare rant be sure to check out my Flawless Foundation Application blog post and video.