The Ordinary Review: Do These Cheap Cult-Status Products Actually Work?

If you haven’t heard the buzz about The Ordinary by British skincare brand Deciem, listen up! The Ordinary is a relatively new line of serums and oils with powerful, skin changing ingredients… but at less than drugstore prices. Most of the products range from $5-$10, with a couple of extra-powerful products at around $15. We recently came up with a great anti-aging skincare routine using three powerful products from The Ordinary that you can check out here.

Overall, The Ordinary’s website is in one word: scientific. The products are labeled as the ingredients they contain, rather than the effects they have on your skin. So if you’re anything like us, you might be confused and overwhelmed at what to buy. But your girls at WWFL are here and we’ll walk you through the products we reviewed, as well as some of the best sellers we have yet to try.


The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($6)

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Review

What it is:

According to The Ordinary, niacinamide (or Vitamin B3) reduces the appearance of blemishes and congestion. Its high concentration, supported by zinc, balances visible sebum activity. Basically, the niacinamide brightens and balances the skin, while the zinc aids in healing blemishes.

While this product is an aid for blemishes and clogged pores, it is most definitely NOT a cure-all for acne. So, make sure to use additional acne products if zits are your major concern.

When to Use It:

Morning and evening before heavier creams

Our Review:

This product is a clear, unscented, slightly runny gel, which I apply after washing my face at night. The Ordinary says that this product can be used during the day as well, but I found that it piled when I used it under my usual BB cream. So, if you don’t wear foundation or a BB, this should be fine to use during the day.

Right after applying, I notice that my skin feels super tight, dry and matte, which I assume is from the sebum-balancing effects that it promises. I HIGHLY recommend following with a cream or an oil to prevent your skin from drying out. I follow up with rosehip oil, which balances out the drying effects.

After using this for a few weeks, I noticed a significant improvement in my clogged pores and oil production. While my T-zone usually gets shiny during the day, it’s significantly more matte. I’d highly recommend this product to anyone with oily skin, clogged pores and/or post-acne marks.

Our Rating:


Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG ($7)

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG Review

What it is:

We all know and love our morning cup of caffeinated bliss we call coffee. Well this product provides that wonderful wake-up effect to your puffy eyes. This formula contains a high concentration of caffeine, as well as EGCG which comes from green tea leaves. Studies have shown that using caffeine and EGCG can help reduce under-eye puffiness and dark circles. However, Deciem notes that permanent hollowness or under-eye fat deposits can’t be helped with this product.

When to Use It:

Morning and evening on the eye contour

Our Review:

I have been suffering with bags under my eyes FOREVER, so I knew I needed to give this a try. While some of the puffiness I have is permanent from genetics, my under-eyes are always extra dark and inflated in the morning. After using this for a few weeks, I’ve noticed that my under-eye bags have seriously deflated.

Deciem recommends using this solution twice a day. I’ve been using it as the last step in my nighttime skin routine and before moisturizer in the morning. The solution is a thin clear liquid, and a little goes a long way- one drop per eye will do the trick. The product goes on smoothly, but I try to apply as little as possible in the morning. It can cause my concealer to cake if I use too much! If used daily, this really helps de-puff and makes me look more awake. This product is a steal at $7 and I’d highly recommend it for anyone who needs to de-puff!

Our Rating:


Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% ($6)

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% Review

What it is:

At 23%, this product contains one of the highest levels of Vitamin C on the beauty market. Vitamin C is a super-effective antioxidant, and when used topically in its pure form of L-Ascorbic Acid, it’s been shown to brighten skin and reverse signs of aging. Because this formula is water and silicone-free, the L-Ascorbic Acid is able to remain stable, which makes it more effective. The formula also contains tiny dry beads of Hyaluronic Acid to smooth the skin’s surface.

When to use it:

Either the morning or evening

Our Review:

While I’ve seen an overwhelming amount of positive reviews for this product, I am not impressed. I really did want to love it, but this formula is seriously flawed. First of all, this stuff BURNS, and this is coming from someone who absolutely does not have sensitive skin. The Deciem website says a “tingling” sensation during the first few uses is normal. But my experience was more like MY POOR FACE! It didn’t irritate it visually (no redness), but it hurt!

The consistency of this product is pretty odd. It’s like a light, but oily lotion with tiny powdery granules that sit on top of the skin. For this reason, there is probably no way this can be worn under makeup without pilling. So if you wear foundation or concealer during the day, I’d suggest using this only at night. I was planning on using this product during the day (I use the rosehip and niacinamide at night), so I haven’t found a way to make this work in my skincare routine.

If you want to give this product a try, I wouldn’t let my bad experience deter you. A lot of online reviewers rave about the brightening and anti-aging results they get from this. I would recommend The Ordinary’s Vitamin C Suspension if you plan on using it at night and do not have sensitive skin.

Our Rating:


Other Products to Try:

While, I can’t personally review the entire line, these are a few of The Ordinary’s best sellers that other beauty bloggers are raving about:

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% ($10)

This serum is a gentle anti-aging treatment that brightens the complexion, prevents wrinkles and improves the skin’s texture and tone.

The Ordinary Retinol 1% ($7)

The 1% pure Retinol formula can reduce the appearance of fine lines, photo-aging and general skin aging. Many also rave about Retinol as an effective acne treatment. If you have sensitive skin, Deciem recommends using their Advanced Retinoid 2% as it can be less irritating.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% ($6)

This serum contains chemical exfoliants that remove dead skin cells, which helps new skin grow. It helps to prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, smooth skin’s texture and reduce hyperpigmentation. The Ordinary offers a stronger version for less sensitive skin.

Check out our other favorites!