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The Ordinary Review: Buffet, Advanced Retinoid 2%, Hyaluronic Acid, Caffeine Solution 5%, 100% Plant-Derived Squalene

The Ordinary

The Ordinary products I tried:

  • “Buffet” (30 ml) $14.80
  • Advanced Retinoid 2% (30 ml) $9.80
  • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (30 ml) $6.80
  • Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG (30 ml) $6.70
  • 100% Plant-Derived Squalene (30 ml) $7.90

The Ordinary

It’s been two months since I started using these five products from The Ordinary. The two things that really stand out about them are the affordability and how they balanced my skin. I’ve been using The Ordinary products regularly for the past 2 months and I have been free of irritation and acne. There have also been very few instances of over-active sebum production on my T-zone.

“Buffet” (30 ml) $14.80

The Ordinary Buffet serum

Claims to:
Target multiple signs of aging.

How to Use:
I use this after cleansing and toning, morning and night. I take about a dime-sized amount and dab it on my forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and neck. Then, I lightly pat all over my face to distribute the product evenly until everything is absorbed.

Consistency & Application:
It’s a clear, gel-like substance with no obvious scent. At the most I would say it smells mildly fresh, like aloe vera goo. It spreads very easily and doesn’t pill when combined with other products in my routine (essences, oils, creams).

Performance:
I can’t say that this erased my fine lines after two months, but it has stabilized my skin and improved my overall hydration levels throughout the day. It’s one of those quiet, diligent little workers that you only miss when it’s gone. I love that it is fragrance-free and gentle. This is a definite repurchase. I just wish it came in a larger size. The 30 ml bottle only lasted me two months with twice-a-day usage.

Key ingredients:
Lactococcus Ferment Lysate (enhances skin growth and skin barrier function)
Syn-Ake peptide complex (derived from a peptid found in snake venom, which is like a very mild botox for your face)
Matrixyl 3000 (makes skin produce more collagen, which helps firm skin)

Advanced Retinoid 2% (30 ml) $9.80

The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%

Claims to:
Combat signs of aging with none of the irritation characteristic of other retinoids.

How to Use:
Nighttime only. I alternate this with my AHA T.L.C. Framboos™ Glycolic Night Serum from Drunk Elephant and apply it after BHA acid right after cleansing. I wait 15 minutes to give it time to work on its own, then continue with the rest of my routine. Make sure to use sunscreen the next morning.

Consistency & Application:
This treatment is a runny, yellow-ish white liquid that absorbs quickly and dries down to a semi-matte finish. The smell may be a little off-putting…It kind of smells like food to me. Some kind of carb that is starchy and slightly fatty (???). Not very offensive though, and quickly goes away after application.

Performance:
My face is noticeably brighter and smoother the morning after I use this treatment. I’ve never gotten any irritation and I believe it’s one of the reasons I’ve been basically acne and redness free for this past month. Retinoids are a true game changer when used over a long period of time, like a year, but initial effects are visible after a month or so of application. I’ll be sticking to this one for the long term!

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (30 ml) $6.80

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2%

Claims to:
Use three forms of hyaluronic acid with varying molecular weights, as well as an HA crosspolymer, to offer multi-depth hydration and visible plumping without drawing water out of the skin solely to improve temporary surface hydration. Includes Vitamin B5, which also enhances surface hydration.

How to Use:
I apply this in the morning right before the second-to-last step of my skincare routine, which is moisturizer. I take a dime-sized amount and dab it on my forehead, nose, chin, cheeks, and both sides of my neck. Then, I pat it evenly across my entire face. I like using the Hyaluronic Acid 2% in the morning, because it sits well under makeup and doesn’t leave my face shiny like the Squalene.

Consistency & Application:
A slightly runny, gel-like consistency, somewhere between aloe vera gel and water. Clear, no noticeable odor. After patting it around my face for a few seconds, it gets a little sticky, much like the Hada Labo Hyaluronic Lotion. This goes away after I smooth moisturizer on top to seal everything in. The Hada Labo is more runny than the Hyaluronic 2%, like slightly viscous water. I enjoy using it as a toner because of that.

Performance:
The Hyaluronic 2% + B5 serum provided light hydration that lasts through the day. The weather is getting warmer, and I find I can forgo my face oil and apply the Hyaluronic 2% directly after other water-based serums, then putting a moisturizer over it. My face still feels plump and hydrated for the entire day until I take off my makeup and wash up in the evening. Recently I’ve noticed that the pesky little smile line on the right side of my mouth is softening.

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG (30 ml) $6.70

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5%

Claims to:
Reduce appearance of dark circles and puffiness around the eyes.

How to Use:
AM and PM. I take one dab of the solution on my ring finger, touch my two ring fingers together to distribute the product evenly between the two fingers, and tap lightly around my eyes until product absorbs. I follow with an eye cream for extra hydration before bed, sometimes in the daytime as well.

Consistency & Application:
Pale golden yellow liquid with no distinctive smell. Slightly more runny than “Buffet.” Spreads and absorbs easily, and sits well under eye cream and makeup.

Performance:
Dark circles have always been a problem for me. They might be genetic? My have shadows under my eyes no matter how much I sleep or how much water I drink. At this point, I’ve accepted them for what they are and just invest in really good concealer. I’ve noticed that this Caffeine & EGCG solution has helped with puffiness around my eyes, especially if I get a good night’s sleep.

100% Plant-Derived Squalene (30 ml) $7.90

The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalene

Claims to:
Hydrate skin and can prevent ongoing loss of hydration causes rough skin. Also can be applied to hair to increase heat protection, add shine, and reduce breakage potential.

How to Use:
I like to use this in the PM, since it gives my face a bit of a shine. I smooth 1/4 – 1/3 of a dropper-full on my face and neck, right after my water-based serums and apply face oil and moisturizer after. If I exfoliated my lips, I would dab a little over them, then apply a lip balm. Always results in smooth, soft puckers! 😉

Consistency & Application:
Clear liquid with no obvious scent. It spreads easily over my skin. The consistency is slightly oily and gives my face an obvious shine. After I apply moisturizer over it the effect is lessened, but still there.

Performance:
This feels more hydrating and nourishing than the Hyaluronic Acid from The Ordinary, but due to the shine and the oiliness I like to use it only at night and/or when it’s dryer and colder out. Using it on hot summer days will probably make my skin feel a little “stuffy.” It definitely keeps my face and lips soft and supple, retaining moisture overnight.

 

I recently reordered the “Buffet” serum from The Ordinary, which lasted through 2x daily usage for two months. I also ordered the Matrixyl 10% + HA to see if it has any effects on a pesky smile line, which I’ve recently noticed around my mouth.

What The Ordinary products do you want to try?

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