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The Ordinary, The Affordable Skin Saviour

By now, anyone that has an interest in skincare and beauty products should have heard of the brand The Ordinary. For those that haven't heard of The Ordinary, then you need to read on as this brand has the potential to change the way you view the beauty industry and the way you apply skincare.

The Ordinary is a sub brand of the Canadian based brand Deciem, which calls itself the Abnormal Beauty Company. The Ordinary's mission is to make skincare simple and affordable to everyone. How they do this is by focusing on the key ingredients that makes certain products work, and strip out any superfluous elements that serve no real purpose apart from enhancing the appearance, smell, texture or colour. The packaging for The Ordinary is simple and somewhat clinical with its popper applicators, the chemical components and names written on the bottles It can be difficult to decipher what each bottle does, as the products are usually named after chemical compounds. However, it's worth working out what each of the raw ingredients does, because it's a fantastic concept, and one which actually works, something that hoards of women and men have embraced with open arms. Prices start from £5 - which is a bargain compared with skincare brands like Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant, Murad, REN, and Clinique (to name a few). Their product range includes retinols, acids, antioxidants, hydrators, oils, molecules, and coverage - basically all you need for your skin routine.

I first heard of the brand over a year ago, and quickly decided to try something from their range, as they were constantly selling out. ASOS stocks the brand, but only sells limited products, and quickly runs out of stock - a theme I have noticed with many websites that stock the brand, including the Ordinary's own website.

The first thing I tried was their Hyaluronic Acid which cost around £6. This is the ingredient you'll find in the majority of moisturisers, serums and even makeup which contains any hydrating element. While acid sounds scary, it doesn't burn. It helps to increase skin moisture, firmness, texture and has anti-ageing benefits, with studies showing improvement in all those areas after continued use for 2 months. The hyaluronic acid molecule can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water! This means that it helps your skin to absorb moisture, improves your skin's barrier, and supports healing for issues like inflammation and soothes your skin. My experience with this product has been really good. I've been using it on and off for over a year and have noticed my skin feeling more hydrated. I have dry sensitive skin, and have found this to be gentle and doesn't cause any aggravation. It's good to use if you have any redness or flare ups, and helps to calm your skin down.

After my first Ordinary experience, I was hooked, and needed to try out their other products. Deciem have an online store, and three standalone stores in London. It took me a little while, but I finally got my arse down to the Covent Garden shop a few weeks ago. Of course there was a line (we waited about 15 mins), as well as a security guard at the door - it did seem a little much for a bargain beauty shop, and if the prices weren't so attractive, I wouldn't have bothered. When inside, I did a quick scan of the shop, and picked up all the bits I had my eye on (after doing some research on and paid while there was no queue at the tills. The store itself is quite small and can get cramped, they have staff on hand to help explain the product which is displayed on shelves. But i'd advise reading up on the products on the website, so you don't have to waste your time in the store. Warning, they may not have everything you want, as products sell out really quickly. I managed to get seven items; six from the Ordinary, and one from sister brand Hylamide (more on this later!).

I bought both of their primers - the High-Adherence Silicone Primer £3.90 and the High-Spreadability Fluid Primer £5.50. The silicone primer goes on super smooth, and is a brilliant base for make up. With the silicone, it has a mattifying quality which helps to remove any shine you may have and reduce the appearance of large pores. It blurs your imperfections, and when used with makeup (you can also wear without makeup), it creates a airbrushed effect. A bonus is that it is also hydrating which can counteract the drying quality of some face makeup products. The fluid primer is super lightweight, and helps your make up blend more seamlessly. You can wear it alone, or under make up, and helps create a hydrated dewy look. I find that it works really well with my dry skin, and keep make up smooth without looking patchy.

On to the hydrating products - I bought the Natural Moisturising Factors +HA £4.90 and the 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil £9.00. The Natural Moisturising Factor works to keep the outer layer of skin protected and hydrated and contains amino acids, fatty acids and hyaluronic acid and other compounds which are found naturally in skin. The best thing is that its non greasy, and is a really simple moisturiser. If you have any deep concerns with super dry skin, this could be too light for you, but for under 5 quid, its well worth a try. The Virgin Marula Oil, can be used daily for your skin or your hair. This oil claims to offer antioxidants, hydration, and can restore radiance to your skin. I have found that this helps to calm down any redness and sensitivity in your skin. I have been using this as the last step in my evening routine, and put 2-3 drops just before going to bed. I've noticed the next day that my skin looks brighter and more awake.

I'd heard a lot about Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% £5.00 and its benefits for blemishes. During hormonal times, I can get the odd flare up, and am always on the look out for a miracle product that can help get rid of any pesky spots. Niacinamide is a strong serum that targets blemishes and minimises pores. It helps to regulate sebum production - if you have over active sebaceous glands it can cause pores to block up and in turn result in spots. Niacinamide and Zinc are two of the most effective ingredients that can help with blemish prone skin and clearing complexions. If you have areas you want to target, apply the serum to these areas, or you can also use it all over your face. It's best used under any moisturiser. I've found that if it put the serum on the odd spot, the next day it is less visible and the redness and inflammation is reduced. It dries out the spots, and nourishes your skin without leaving signs of scarring. Because of the drying quality, I would use the Hyaluronic Acid afterwards to keep my skin hydrated.

Another product which has a massive following is "Buffet". This 13 quid multi peptide serum is an anti ageing saviour and contains a mix of advanced anti ageing technologies like Matrixyl 3000 and Hyaluronic Acid. The Matrixyl 300 stimulates collagen producing cells in your skin, which is what helps with elasticity and replacing dead skin cells, all helping the anti ageing process. Hyaluronic also helps collagen synthesis as well as retaining skin moisture. Buffet is applied the the morning or evening after cleansing. I've found this works really well with my sensitive skin, and has helped to hydrate, soothe and soft. For the price, its definitely one of the cheapest anti ageing products on the market, and definitely worth a try.

I also bought a product from the Hylamide brand, which is slightly more expensive that The Ordinary, the packaging less minimal and the product names easier to decipher. I bought the Booster Sensitive Fix £16, a serum targeted for skin sensitivity, helping to reduce signs of irritation and redness. This sounds perfect for all my skin issues. I have been using this before applying a moisturiser and make up and has so far been quite good. It's helped to even out a few red patches and calm down any itchy irritations. This is obviously not going to cure sensitivity, but is a good fix if your skin needs some instant soothing.

If you've been toying with the idea of trying The Ordinary, and wondering if the products can be any good when their prices are so low, you should definitely take the plunge. Start off with some simple hydration products which are often have lower price tags. The Ordinary range is so extensive, and includes retinols, vitamin C, acids and molecules. Go on their website and spend some time reading up on the science behind the products, you'll be sure to find something for your skin type and for your skin problem.


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