The Not So Ordinary “The Ordinary”

What’s in a name? I don’t like to think I’m too much of a sucker for the argot of beauty care and fashion. I struggle with the wilfully, affected singular of fashion’s “a” jean, “a” boot, but when it comes to scientific ingredients like niacinamide or retinoids I get over-excited, even though I’m pretty vague about what they do.

So, when I came across a lot of hype, noise and general knicker-wetting about “The Ordinary” range a few months ago, I was intrigued. This small, somewhat un-user-friendly skincare range by cult skincare pioneers Deciem, has been getting rave reviews, chiefly because of the quality of its active ingredients at extremely affordable prices.

In the interests of you, my dears, this selfless Mutton launched in and ordered  what I now realise was a fairly random selection of products which I have been using in my usual fairly random way. And here’s the rub “The Ordinary” is not aimed at we lazy gals who like to have someone tell us what we need. This is DIY beauty. In the right hands it is highly tailored to what your skin needs. In mine, it has all the science and skill of a 6 year old trying to make perfume by cramming rose petals and water in a jam jar.

There is a guide to what your skin needs on the website, but it includes an awful lot of stages for a woman who washes her face in the shower. And although I like to think of myself as skincare-savvy, I couldn’t make head or tail of it.

Based loosely on what I devined I ordered a roster of products though a combination of self-diagnosis and enthusiasm.

The Buffet £12.90

This is “The Ordinary’s” anti-ageing power serum. It’s stuffed full of the kind of things I had vaguely heard of: Peptides; Hyaluronic acids; all the Things. I can’t say people stopped me in the street, astonished at my radiant complexion, but I did get through the whole bottle.

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5  £5.90

I hear that Hyaluronic Acid is the bees knees when it comes to helping your skin attract and retain moisture but I found this serum too sticky to enjoy using – like wearing fly paper on my face.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%  £5

I don’t get break outs very often, but I do have pores you could plant potatoes in. This little bottle of lotion can’t close them up forever, but I clearly felt it did some good because I bought it for my break out prone friends

Advanced Retinoid 2%  £8

I have used Retinol from time to time (I have used EVERYTHING at some time) but this is a gentler form than I’ve been accustomed to. I really liked this lotion, partly because it was so light, milky and not at all sticky. I’ve been using it at night, after I’ve cleaned off my make up. Apparently, a hot tip is to use it in conjunction with the Niacinamide to turbo charge them both.

Caffeine Solution 5% + ECGC  £5.80

This is designed for around the eye. It is very, very light. I’m lazy about eye creams, but this is something I can use very easily both morning and evening, without disrupting my make up or waking up puffy. It’s also gentle, despite the name, so if you get it in your eye you won’t rush around shrieking and frightening the neighbours.

And the High Adherence Silicon Primer is good. It’s a little oily in the way many silicon based primers are (and their love for the stuff is one of the reasons I don’t love DECIEM products generally) but despite this I can’t fault its ability to stick your foundation to your shiny bits for a good few hours longer than many others I’ve tried. And it is only £3.90

There are so many products to try I almost don’t know where to start, but next on my list will be Matrixyl 10% +HA (£9.60) – it’s apparently like Botox on lines, but obviously without the deadly poison Botox bit.

There is the alarmingly named but chemically dynamite Vitamin C derivative, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F (£14.90), which claims to boost skin brightness and diminish discolourations and finally, because I like an acid formulation, Azelaic Acid Solution 10%  (£5.50) which brightens skin tone without causing irritation and peeling, something the more exfoliating acid serums do, at least temporarily.

I also want to try their light, serum foundation Colours by The Ordinary but I’m worried about buying yet another foundation in the wrong colour, especially when I’m wearing so much gradual facial tanning product. Many of the colours are, in any case, sold out, so unless you’re very pale or very dark, so I have plenty of time for the Olay Complete Everyday Sunshine (excellent product, by the way and only £4.89) to wear off.


Finally. I hear very good things of “The Ordinary”s basic moisturiser, Natural Moistusing Factors + HA  £4.90. It’s packed full of goodies and all for the price of a jar of Astral. Worth a try in my book.

The whole range is available at or Victoria Health. I haven’t bothered loading up pictures of them because they all look almost exactly the same: another slight niggle, as you have to really look hard to make sure you’re using the right thing at the right time.

But in summary, great active ingredients at adorable affordable prices for those who can be bothered to do their homework.

If you try them, do let me know how you get on.




4 Responses to “The Not So Ordinary “The Ordinary””

  1. Lynda Marion O'Neill

    I have some admiration for people who test out these products but I felt exhausted after reading about only a few. Though I love make up still (I am seventy) there are limits to the trouble I’d go to with skincare or make up. In the case of the latter, the more that goes on, the harder it is to get it off.

    I always enjoy your articles/comments etc, and photos of clothes.

    • Deborah Mills

      Thanks Lynda. I was curious because I wondered what the catch was with this range (with even dermatologists raving about the ingredients). I think I discovered it, since like you, I can’t really be bothered to design my own skincare regime!

  2. juliet brown

    I really enjoyed this post – found it way after you posted but what can I say, I take a fairly scenic route through life in general… Anyway, interesting as I had heard of this stuff and was curious – but also lazy so if someone can try it for me – all good. Yeah, I am a woman who washes her face in the shower too, some of those products sound more appealing than others and basically I dont have the stickability to keep doing something to EVENTUALLY see results (maybe)

  3. Holly

    Coming a little late to this party as usual but just fyi, you can email The Ordinary and they will get back to you (quickly!) with a regimen. I found the whole range a bit overwhelming to figure out myself, but once they figured it out for me it has been easy peasy to use (and my previous regimen was, er, extremely abbreviated). Deffo improvement in all the areas that needed addressing, even the stubborn congestion on my right cheek which has been there since my 20s.


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