A Beginner’s Guide to The Ordinary

Welcome to our beginner’s guide to The Ordinary. If you’re new to skincare or simply curious about us, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll let you know a little bit more about us, and why we do what we do before introducing you to some great products if you just don’t know where to start.

What is The Ordinary?

At The Ordinary, our mission is to democratize skincare. We want to formulate quality and efficacious products, with integrity. We are a team of skincare experts and enthusiasts who seek to lead the way in beauty with our very own lab to produce skincare products that are clinically tested, vegan, and cruelty-free.

Our commitment to transparency means that we provide you with straightforward, science-based information about our products and their active ingredients. We provide no-frills formulations that target your skin concerns at honest prices.

With our ingredient-focused products, The Ordinary can help you build a skincare regimen customized to your specific needs. Whether you’re looking to target fine lines and wrinkles, searching for solutions for congested skin, or just an everyday simple routine, we’ve got you covered.

Building a Regimen for Signs of Aging

Fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of skin firmness are natural signs of aging that may appear as we get older. Here’s a simple 3-step age-supporting regimen using some of our most-loved products:

AM & PM Step 1: Prep
Start your regimen with a gentle cleanse to remove dirt, makeup, and any impurities on the skin. We recommend our Squalane Cleanser, a moisturizing all-in-one cleanser that uses squalane — a molecule that mimics our skin’s natural oils — to remove oil and makeup. It’s good for all skin types, won’t clog your pores, and is gentle and soap-free.

AM Step 2: Treat
Once your skin is cleansed, we can follow up with your treat products. In the morning and evening apply our Multi-Peptide + HA Serum. Formerly known as “Buffet”, this multi-function serum combines four well-suited peptide technologies, skin-friendly amino acids, and multiple hyaluronic acid complexes to target signs of aging. The water-based Multi-Peptide + HA Serum improves skin’s smoothness, skin elasticity and firmness while improving the look of crow’s feet.

PM Step 2: Treat
In the evening, after you’ve applied Multi-Peptide + HA Serum, you can follow this with Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (or Retinol 0.2% in Squalane for our fellow Canadians). A retinoid serum will help to improve the appearance of fine and wrinkles that can arise from a loss of collagen and elastin, while evening the appearance of skin texture and tone.

AM & PM Step 3: Seal
Lastly, complete your skincare routine by sealing in those skincare benefits with a moisturizer such as Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA which helps to support your skin's hydration barrier. Our Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is good for all skin types. It works through a collection of ingredients that appear naturally in your skin, like amino and fatty acids, triglycerides, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and more.

Building a Regimen for Signs of Congestion

Skin becomes congested when there is a buildup of dead skin cells, sweat, impurities or sebum in our pores. When our pores are congested they can appear visibly larger, develop pimples and blackheads, and appear irritated. We can target these concerns with ingredients focused on exfoliating while also supporting our skin barrier. Try this 3-step regimen below:

AM & PM Step 1: Prep
Just like with the previous regimen, we want to start with a cleanser such as our balm-to-oil Squalane Cleanser. If you double-cleanse, you may want to follow with a second cleanser such as the Glucoside Foaming Cleanser -- A gentle, foaming cleanser that effectively cleanses the skin whilst maintaining the skin’s moisture barrier.

AM Step 2: Treat
After cleansing, follow with a targeted serum such as Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% which can be used in the morning and evening. This formula is suitable for blemish-prone skin, and contains a high concentration of niacinamide to help you achieve smoother and more hydrated skin.

Weekly Step 2: Treat
Once a week in the PM, you can apply our Salicylic Acid 2% Masque to exfoliate after cleansing. This masque is infused with charcoal and clay to combat dull tone and improve texture leaving skin clean and refreshed. The salicylic acid in this formula targets pore congestion and helps to remove dead skin cells and excess oil, which promotes soft, smooth skin.

After the Salicylic Acid 2% Masque you can apply the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% before the next step.

AM & PM Step 3: Seal
After cleansing and applying any serums, seal your skin with a moisturizer. Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is our original hydrator, but if you’re looking for something a little more lightweight you can try our Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan. Our gel moisturizer is suitable for all skin types, but because of its lightweight texture, it is especially suited for oily and combination skin.

Building an Everyday Regimen

If you truly don’t know where to start, don’t fret. This regimen is for you. This regimen is ideal if you’re simply looking to start a simple regimen to keep your skin happy, healthy-looking and hydrated.

AM & PM Step 1: Prep
Once again we’ll start with the basics. Cleanse your skin with the Squalane Cleanser or our new Glycolipid Cream Cleanser which uses plant-derived cleansing agents to cleanse the skin without stripping, and supports the skin barrier to maintain hydration.

AM & PM Step 2: Treat
Next, we enter the treat phase with Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. It is a hydrating serum that also targets the appearance of wrinkles and textural irregularities. Plus, it uses pro-vitamin B5 to enhance hydration at the outer layers, resulting in smoother, plumper skin.

For added hydration in the evening, follow this with our 100% Plant-Derived Squalane. Squalane is an exceptional hydrator found naturally in the skin, and this formula uses 100% plant-derived squalane derived from fermentation using sugar cane. It’s non-comedogenic making it suitable for all skin types, including oily skin.

AM & PM Step 3: Seal
Last, we’ll seal in our skin benefits with Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. For even more hydration, try our Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides which is our most nourishing moisturizer with four times more moisturizing emollients, and two times more humectants than the original Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.

With all of our regimens, we always recommend applying sun protection in the morning. Especially when using any exfoliating or resurfacing products such as Retinoids and Acids to ensure your skin is fully protected.

Patch-Testing and How to Incorporate New Products

Before introducing any new skincare products into your regimen, including The Ordinary, patch testing is always recommended. Patch testing can be a way to help ensure that your skin is compatible with the new products before fully incorporating them into your routine. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to perform a patch test.

Patch-testing is not fool-proof, and you can still experience a reaction, but there are some additional steps to try and ensure you have the best chance for success with your new products.

  1. Start gradually: So you bought a new set of products. You’re excited (we are too!) but the key is to go slow. Incorporate one new product at a time into your regimen. This approach allows you to monitor how your skin responds to each addition, and if there’s something it doesn’t like you can better identify which product it may be.

  2. Frequency: We’ve got a theme going on here - go slow. With new products, your skin has to adjust. Incorporating a new product every other day and building up daily or twice daily use will allow your skin to become accustomed to it.

  3. Adjust as Needed: We could give you all the tips in the world, but only you know your skin best. If you feel discomfort or like something just isn’t working, it’s okay to take a break or to stop altogether.

Ready to Build Your Skincare Regimen with The Ordinary?

To learn more, review our Regimen Basics or create your own regimen with our Regimen Builder. Browse our Best Sellers to discover some of the most-loved products from The Ordinary.