One question I get a lot is about the order in which to use skincare products. I have covered this in my How To Build A Skincare Routine post. Another related question I get is how to use The Ordinary Skincare products, which is what we will be discussing in this post.
The Ordinary Skincare Regimen Guide.
The Ordinary has so many products at the moment. They will most likely launch new products in the future, so there’s no way I can go through every single The Ordinary product and explain how to use it.
What I can do is tell you what my skin concerns are, which products I use, and how I use them. I can also give a general guideline on how to layer products, and which products cannot be used at the same time.
Here are a few general guidelines.
- If you are layering multiple serums, start with the lightest one and work your way up to the heaviest. E.g: for my night routine, after cleansing and toning, I apply salicylic acid, give it a few minutes to sink in, then apply Vitamin C 23% Suspension.
- Apply water based products before oil-based ones. For instance, I apply my Alpha Arbutin 2% or Advanced Retinoid before applying my RoseHip Seed Oil.
Here are a few things to note.
- Some studies state that it may not be advisable to use Niacinamide and Vitamin C at the same time. There are conflicting views on this, but to be on the safe side, if you have both serums, I would suggest using one in the morning and using the other ay night.
- It is not advisable to use different types of retinol/retinoid products at the same time. Most retinoids/retinols state on the pack that they’re not to be used in conjunction with other retinoid products.
- SPF is important all the time, but absolutely necessary when you’re using AHAs (glycolic/lactic acid) BHAs (salicylic acid) and retinoids (including retinols and retinoic acid). These products make your skin more susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun, so you really shouldn’t skip sunscreen when using this. Even if you have a deeper complexion and you don’t get sunburned, the sun’s rays can still damage and darken your skin. The sun’s rays also cause excessive darkening of acne scars on darker skin tones. So suncare really should be a priority for all skintones.
- Retinoids can cause breakouts in acne prone skin in the first few weeks of use, and they can be really drying too. I have gotten the best results by always layering a good hydrator (e.g. Rose Hip Seed Oil) over retinoid. But if you have acne-prone skin, approach this particular product with caution.
- I have also seen The Ordinary mention on their Instagram that Vitamin C should not be used at the same time as retinoids and peeling acids (AHAs and BHAs). They suggest using one in the morning and the other at night.
If you read the instructions and descriptions, you should be fine. With time, you should be able to figure out what works and what doesn’t. They also have a regimen guide on their website, and their customer service is always ready to answer whatever specific questions you might have about how to use products. They even respond to DMs on their Instagram, and they respond to tweets on their Twitter.
The Ordinary Skincare Regimen Guide for Acne- Prone Skin.
I have acne prone skin, but I haven’t had a bad breakout in years. Which means, while my products and regimen are targeted to clear the skin, I don’t really have anything here for active breakouts or serious acne. I get the occasional pimple here and there, but for the most part, my face is clear, and I am more focused on preventing breakouts and dealing with the hyper pigmentation they leave behind.
Here are The Ordinary products I use and the order in which I use them:
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution – this is a toner. I use it at night right after washing my face, before I apply anything else. During the day, I use a hydrating toner.
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% – Salicylic Acid is great for clearing out your pores. This specific one is supposed to be used as a spot treatment, so I put it on any newly emerging spots and I also put it on my nose and chin, the two areas where I have some texture caused by clogged pores. So far I am seeing some improvements, but my comedones are not completely gone. I wish this were a little bit more effective though. I feel like it takes a verrryyyy long time to see any noticeable results. I use this morning and night.
PS: While there is no dedicated acne treatment product from The Ordinary, the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% seems to be the best option if you’re looking to calm blemished skin and reduce breakouts. I haven’t tried this myself but I thought it would be useful to include it in this post.
The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2%: I usually follow with Alpha Arbutin in the morning. This is supposed to inhibit the production melanin in the skin. This way, it helps lighten dark spots, helps prevents new spots from darkening, and just generally improves the appearance of hyperpigmentation in the skin. This absorbs completely after a few minutes, and it barely feels like you have anything on, and it doesn’t interfere with the way my sunscreen/primer/makeup applies.
The Ordinary Vitamin C 23% Suspension + HA Spheres: I initially bought the Vitamin C Suspension to wear under my sunscreen during the day, because using Vitamin C like that can prevent sun damage, but on the website it claims to be best used at night. So, I use the Alpha Arbutin during the day instead, and I use the Vitamin C Suspension at night. Vitamin C is supposed to renew and brighten the skin while protecting it against environmental damage. This Suspension claims to be oil-free, but it definitely feels oily. Very weird. However, on the rare occasions that I use it during the day and follow with my suncreen and primer and powder, the oiliness disappears, and at night, I don’t mind a richer, oilier, heavier cream, so ultimately the oiliness doesn’t bother me. I like it, it is dirt cheap, and so far I have noticed an improvement in my skin.
PS: Did you know the Vitamin C Suspension 23% can be used as a face mask? check out my full review on it to find out how.
PPS: The Ordinary recommends Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate as the best Vitamin C option if you are looking to brighten your skin, so if you have acne scarring, you might want to consider that one. I haven’t tried it myself but I thought it would be useful to include it in this post. They also recommend the Azelaic Acid 10% if you’re looking to brighten and even out your skin tone.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%: The Retinoid 2% is supposed to fight signs of aging. I love how easily this absorbs into the skin. I have no signs of aging so I can’t say I have seen drastic results with this, and it initally broke me out, but ever since I started layering the RoseHip Seed Oil above it, the breakouts have stopped.
I alternate between using the Vitamin C Suspension and the Retinoid 2% as my daily night serum. I try to use the Retinoid 2-3 times a week, using the Vitamin C Suspension the rest of the time.
Rose Hip Seed Oil: according to Deciem this is supposed to reduce the signs of photo aging. But I did a little research and I discovered that this oil has anti-acne properties as well! And since I started using it I have noticed a reduction in the emergence of new pimples. And my face always feels so great when I wake up. I love it! You can read a full review here.
The Ordinary AHA 30% BHA2% Peeling Solution: This is probably my favourite skincare purchase of the year. It is a wash-off mask, and it gives instant results. These results include brighter, clearer skin, visibly faded acne scars and lots more. This is a little intense so I only use it once a week, at night time. When I use this I just clean my face, apply it, wash it off and then follow with rose hip seed oil. That’s my night routine for that day done. I notice that my skin tingles when I try to layer serums the day I do this mask, so I think that might be a bit much, and I try to keep it minimal.
So far, I really love the results I am seeing with this regimen, and I think I have found the perfect balance of products. I might purchase the ECGC Caffeine thingy for my eyes, but other than that, I think this is working out just fine for me.
Which The Ordinary products have you added to your skincare routine?
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