First Impressions| The Ordinary Skincare Part 1: Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, "Buffet", and the High-Adherence Silicone Primer

The Ordinary has been a huge buzz in the beauty community since its launch in September of 2016 by Deciem. My enthusiasm has been revived after a long hiatus from makeup and skincare. Imagine my surprise when my non-makeup obsessed friend mentioned the brand to me! Have I been living under a rock?

While this Toronto based brand's overall image is fuss-free, I find that the more knowledgeable skincare enthusiasts will appreciate buying products based on active ingredients rather than fluff (marketing, packaging, luxury appeal, need I list more?) For beginners- fear not as there is an extensive online guide for your specific skin concerns.

Imagine my glee when I found that I could pick from a variety of Vitamin C derivatives, retinoids, acids, serums, and oils!

My first haul consisted of the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, the 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, "Buffet", and the High-Adherence Silicone Primer. I picked what I could from as most of the range was out of stock.

The packaging is no-nonsense and their price point markets itself. $5-$15 bucks for a skincare product made me suspicious, especially when I'm used to shelling out hundreds for skincare (Hello, Luna face oil!) I found it almost impossible that these products could contain such time proven ingredients for such a low price range. There are certainly hits and misses as with any skincare range, but I strongly believe that the common person could experiment with several products and find their best routine. The brand suggests using no more than 3 products for either your morning or night routine.

The most effective Vitamin C product, their L-Ascorbic acid suspension, is a mixed bag for reviewers. A lot of people disliked the gritty texture and experienced a mild to painful stinging sensation. Since I have been using Paula's Choice 25% Vitamin C Spot Treatment for several months, I found the sensitivity to be bearable for twice a week usage.

This product feels more like a gritty lotion than a thick spot treatment. I usually dispense half a dime sized amount for the entire face and neck and spread the product on the skin first, letting it sit for 10 seconds before rubbing it in. There is no discernible scent. I usually let it sit for five minutes and then go in with the "Buffet" to calm the tingling down. For those who are new to Vitamin C, please choose a different derivative so that you can build your tolerance! There are several versions in this range.

I've been using this Vit C for 3 weeks and can tell that there's marked difference for my existing acne scars and it has helped new scars from cystic acne to appear lighter. I make sure to use my products with Niacinamide in the morning and use my Vit C at night to prevent product interaction/cancellation. Again, there is controversy on whether vitamin C and niacinamide interaction happens on the skin to warrant cancelling out each others' effect.

I would repurchase this product for its effectiveness, both in cost and formulation. I found that it has made a significant difference as compared to the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum, the HABA Fair Lady essense, the Paula's Choice Super C15 Super Booster, and the PC Spot Treatment.

The next step, the "Buffet", can be used day or night. I usually use it at night to boost the delivery of peptides to my skin, but it layers well under makeup. It has a chemical scent that is only obvious if you sniff the dropper.

I haven't noticed any difference in my skin from using this, but its formulation would be great for those with dehydrated, dry, and mature skin. I don't think it *feels* moisturizing by itself, but it does help to plump up my fine lines overnight.

I would repurchase this if I see tangible results in skin firmness after I finish the bottle.

I also have a lot of love for the cold pressed rose hip seed oil. I had used one from Mario Badesscu with minimal results. This oil is thick and orange and smells faintly like fish. I've used Tarte's Maracuja Oil before and have gotten used to the earthy scent, but newbies will really recoil from The Ordinary's rose hip seed oil.

I use this oil as a last step in my routine before I jump in bed. It helps to seal in all of my products and forms a protective barrier while I sleep. It's very good for both mature and oily skin and I focus the majority of it under the eyes and on my laugh lines.

I would repurchase this in the winter for sealing in my essences and serums.

Finally, I purchased their high-adherence primer on a whim. It's very liquid-like and you can see it compared to my other foundation primers here. I didn't find it very special or effective in minimizing skin texture. It also wasn't especially good at prolonging the wear of my foundations. I've since re-homed it to my brother, who wants to minimize the appearance of his pores without looking like he's wearing base product. 

You can see it compared below to the MUFE Smoothing Primer, MUFE Matte Primer, and Smashbox original primer, starting from the far left. It's very easy to spread like the Smashbox primer, but gains a tackiness that's similar to the MUFE mattifying primer when masssaged into the skin.

Here you can see the primers spread out thick. If you're trying to save on primers, I think it's an affordable option. At the same time...Nivea shave balm could do you more justice in terms of prolonging longevity and wear?

Overall, I've had a pleasant experience with the brand and hope to try more products in the near future. I'll be reviewing the majority of the line before giving an opinion on which products were effective and warrants repurchase.
xo Be

Coming up, I'll be reviewing the following products after trialing at least 6 weeks of use:

Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%- This is a supposed dupe for Sunday Riley's Good Genes. I've heard mixed reviews about this product being too effective, not effective enough, or not a close dupe for Good Genes. Overall, I'd like to use it to chemically exfoliate my skin twice per week.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution- This would be a stronger version of Drunk Elephant's TLC Sukari Babyfacial. I am no stranger to stronger percentages of AHA, but this will be a once a week mask treatment to resurface the skin and treat acne scarring. I have currently been using a 12% AHA lotion once per week and a separate light dosage AHA/BHA toner from Neutrogena in the morning.

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution- Salicylic acid works well as a spot treatment for my congested forehead and chin acne. I would like to encourage better cell turnover and prevent bacteria from spreading on active breakouts.

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil- I am hoping that this will be a more simplified and affordable version of the Moroccanoil Treatment for my hair.

100% Plant-Derived Squalane- I am hoping that this will be a cheaper alternative to HABA's squalane options. Squalane is supposed to be the closest in composition to our natural oils and should absorb the fastest. I purchased this to use as a lightweight summer moisturizer to "seal" in the rest of my nighttime routine.

Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA- I've heard that Asian skin benefits the most from this ingredient. It's supposed to lighten hyper-pigmentation and "bleach" the skin with prolonged usage. While I certainly don't care for fairer skin, I would love to keep hyper-pigmentation and sun spots at bay.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%- I have had great results with this ingredient in my Cerave AM lotion, and I've heard that it does great things for acne prone skin. While my acne is from hormonal issues, I would love to tighten my pores and reduce the oiliness of my t-zone, which has been exacerbated within the past year.

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