I tried using the "Ordinary" skincare products and here's what I feel!

You’ve spotted it all over Instagram. You’ve admired its endless array of cute dropper bottles and minimalist, expensive-looking packaging. You’ve read about the crazy waitlists, 25,000 people deep. You’ve heard the swirling rumors about the drama behind the scenes. And you’ve definitely seen the too-good-to-be-true prices. We’re talking about The Ordinary, the Canada-born skin-care line that concocts research-based.

First up, we talk consistency — because even though the products are named simply enough for their star ingredients, it can feel like you need a deep knowledge of chemistry to understand what’s inside. (Is Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% a gel? Cream? Liquid?) And the next mystery to unravel: scent. Because the brand doesn’t use any added fragrance (and they’re vegan and cruelty-free, too), the raw ingredients in these potent products can carry some pretty unexpected notes. Some formulations are bacon-y, others fishy; some smell faintly of tea leaves or peaches, while others have no scent at all.

THE ORDINARY Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Derms love toners because they can help serums better absorb. This one, which carries a faint yet pleasant smell of peaches, leaves an equally mild tingling sensation after application, thanks to the glycolic acid inside. The vegan solution is also oil-, silicone- and alcohol-free. 

THE ORDINARY Matrixyl 10% + HA

Use this transparent gel under moisturizer to add a shot of hydration, compliments of hyaluronic acid. Also inside: plenty of peptides, designed to help address fine lines. A little goes a long way, and any more than a few drops can leave skin feeling tacky, so ration your applications accordingly. 

THE ORDINARY Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution

Stable vitamin C is notoriously tough to formulate in skin-care products, which is why a vitamin C derivative may give you more bang for your buck. This oil-serum hybrid uses just that to help brighten skin, and it’s housed in an amber bottle to help ward off oxidation. But what we love most is that it left our skin with a dewy — not shiny — finish, despite its oil base. 

THE ORDINARY AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling


This blood-red liquid will make a perfect twofer for those staying home and handing out candy this Halloween: It taps a cocktail of alpha- (glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric) and beta-hydroxy acids (salicylic acid), along with antioxidants, to smooth skin in just ten minutes… and makes you look like Kim Kardashian after a vampire facial. Pro tip: Don’t apply over zits — it burned like hell when we smoothed it over a few blemishes. That aside, the solution left our skin impossibly soft in just 10 minutes.