The Ordinary | Product Review: Do the $6 Serums Live Up to the Hype?

Before I knew anything about The Ordinary, or their parent company Deciem, I had seen their products on Instagram. Similar to Glossier, their bottles give off that “cool girl” vibe that makes you want one right away before knowing anything about it (at least it did for me). After hearing someone mention the use of one of their products on the “Into the Gloss Top Shelf” segment, I decided to look up and learn about the brand and maybe put it on my ever growing high-end wish list of products.

First: Pricing

The first thing that completely surprised me is the price – I was SHOCKED to see how inexpensive they are. The line ranges from $6 – $15, which is pretty unbelievable. In fact, it seemed so unbelievable that I immediately grew suspicious. Could something that cheap actually work and be effective? So, I did what I always do – read as many reviews as possible. I read bloggers, Reddit forums, the beauty site Byrdie had profiled them, and the resounding answer from all these reviews seemed to be YES! These serums not only work, but are better than some of the luxurious brands that you need to sell your soul to afford. I’m not one for impulse buying (I like to research and make sure I am buying something I truly want), but I knew I needed these in my life STAT.

Second: Research, and more research

Now, the second part about this brand is that it isn’t for the beauty un-educated, at least not right away. I have been into skin care for about a year, and consider myself to know all the major lingo and ingredients (AHA, BHA, Glycolic Acid, etc.), but these products did require me to do a bit (aka A LOT) of homework to decipher what they all meant, what they were supposed to do for your skin, and finally, which ones I wanted to purchase. The names of each products are really just the ingredients (ex: Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%), so to figure out what the product was supposed to be doing for your skin, I had to do a lot of googling. But since I love skin care and learning more about ingredients, I actually found it pretty interesting and educational! After reading up on the ingredients, and learning about the different ones they offer, I ended up buying two: Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90) – to help with acne, and Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($6.80) – to help with moistureKeep reading below for my full review on each product!


When I first received these in the mail, I was impressed by the packaging. For being so cheaply priced, the bottles look and feel very luxurious. The come in a glass bottle with a little dropper, which is nice because I find it helps me control the amount of product that comes out more easily.


The first time I went to use this, I put about a nickle-sized amount on my hand and then made the mistake of rubbing my palms together with the intention of then spreading it over my face like I do with my moisturizer. The problem is, as soon as you rub this product into your skin, it immediately becomes tacky. Which means that after rubbing my hands together, there was nothing left to put on my face… oops. So with take two, I dropped some more on my hand, and then spread it over all areas of my face with my finger and then rubbed it in. The consistency of this is a fairly milky, and is a little thicker than I expected. As soon as I put it on my face, my skin becomes very tacky. I usually have to wait about ten minutes for my skin to be completely dry. I was using this in the morning, however after a couple weeks, I realized it was causing my moisturizer and foundation to kind of pill up underneath, which is a major bummer. So now, I have been mixing it in with my Hyaluronic Acid off and on at night. I honestly haven’t noticed a huge difference in my skin and once this bottle is finished I don’t see myself purchasing it again.

Hyaluronic Acid


This product is more watery than the Niacinamide and I am able to rub my palms together before spreading it over my face. It makes my skin a little tacky, but a lot less so than the Niacinamide. I have been using this product every night after a serum and then following up with a heavier nighttime moisturizer (right now I have been loving the It Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream). I also have been using it in the morning when I feel extra dry, although I find myself having the same problem that I described above with it cuasing me makeup to pill up a bit, which is frustrating.  However, I do think this product has been very successful in making my skin more hydrated and it does look a lot plumper in the morning. I do think after I run out I would re-purchase this product again. It is a great additional source of hydration in the winter, and is also light enough for my summer routine when my skin is more oily.

Overall, I feel like I have had a positive experience with The Ordinary products. Although I am disappointed that the Niacinamide isn’t as wonderful as a lot of the reviews described, for the price, I don’t mind. Everyone has different skin and you never know what is going to work. And I would rather take a chance on a product that is $6, than one that is $50. I do have my eye on a few more of their items, and if I purchase them, I will of course do a full review like I did here!


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