Skincare

The Ordinary Serums + Oils Cheat Sheet: How to Select the Best Product for Your Skin Type (Part 1- Retinol & Vit C)

The Ordinary is a brand that is synonymous with affordable beauty. They have an extensive range of serums, facial oils and SPF/ serum-based foundation. Talk about innovative skincare. Best of all, all their products cost less than $18! If you are new to the brand or keen to try out new products here is a their products’ cheat sheet.

Note: For a quick search use Cltr+F and your keyword.

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Retinoids

1. Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane (Moderate Strength, No Irritation)

What is it: A next-generation retinoid with squalane. Helps reduce signs of ageing without irritations (i.e.: redness/ peeling/ sensitivity). Contains plant-based squalane which helps hydrate the skin.

Great for: Cell turnover, fine lines/ wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin tone, helps unclog pores, stimulates collagen production, hydration.

Time to use: Night Routine. Use after water serums but before oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using retinoids even though you are using the product at night, because your skin will be prone to photo-sensitivity during the duration of retinoid usage.

Note: For all forms of retinoids, do not use when pregnant/ breastfeeding. For those with acne-prone skin, retinoids may result in a purging-period. The Granactive Retinoid technology cannot be compared directly with retinol itself in terms of concentration because they contain a different retinoid molecule. If you are a seasoned retinol user, it is advised to choose products within the Retinol profile.

Ratings*: 8.5/ 10 ⭐️ (30 reviews)


2. Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane (High Strength, No to Low Irritation)

What is it: More potent formula than the 2% version. Also, a next-generation retinoid with squalane. Helps reduce signs of ageing without irritations (i.e.: redness/ peeling/ sensitivity). Contains plant-based squalane which helps hydrate the skin.

Great for: Cell turnover, fine lines/ wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin tone, helps unclog pores, stimulates collagen production, hydration.

Time to use: Night Routine. Use after water serums but before oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using retinoids even though you are using the product at night, because your skin will be prone to photo-sensitivity during the duration of retinoid usage.

Note: For all forms of retinoids, do not use when pregnant/ breastfeeding. For those with acne-prone skin, retinoids may result in a purging-period. The Granactive Retinoid technology cannot be compared directly with retinol itself in terms of concentration because they contain a different retinoid molecule. If you are a seasoned retinol user, it is advised to choose products within the Retinol profile.

Ratings*: 7.8/ 10 ⭐️ (45 reviews)


3. Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion/ Advanced Retinoid 2% (Moderate Strength, No Irritation)

What is it: A creamy yellowish liquid next-generation retinoid formula. It has a slightly thicker emulsion consistency as compared to the Granactive Retinoid with squalane formulas. Helps reduce signs of ageing without irritations (i.e: redness/ peeling/ sensitivity).

Great for: Cell turnover, fine lines/ wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin tone, helps unclog pores, stimulates collagen production.

Time to use: Night Routine. Use after water serums but before oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using retinoids even though you are using the product at night, because your skin will be prone to photo-sensitivity during the duration of retinoid usage.

Note: For all forms of retinoids, do not use when pregnant/ breastfeeding. For those with acne-prone skin, retinoids may result in a purging-period. The Granactive Retinoid technology cannot be compared directly with retinol itself in terms of concentration because they contain a different retinoid molecule. If you are a seasoned retinol user, it is advised to choose products within the Retinol profile.

Ratings*: 8.7/ 10 ⭐️ (49 reviews)


4. Retinol 0.2% in Squalane (Low Strength, Moderate Irritation)

What is it: A water-free formula with 0.2% pure retinol and squalane which aids hydration. Helps reduce signs of ageing with moderate irritation (i.e.: redness/ peeling/ sensitivity).

Great for: Cell turnover, fine lines/ wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin tone, helps unclog pores, stimulates collagen production.

Time to use: Night Routine. Use after water serums but before oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using retinoids even though you are using the product at night, because your skin will be prone to photo-sensitivity during the duration of retinoid usage.

Note: For all forms of retinols, do not use when pregnant/ breastfeeding. For those with acne-prone skin, retinoids may result in a purging-period. Peeling may be more pronounced around eyes and mouth area in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance.

Ratings*: 9.5/ 10 ⭐️ (10 reviews)


5. Retinol 0.5% in Squalane (Moderate Strength, High Irritation)

What is it: A water-free formula with 0.5% pure retinol and squalane which aids hydration. Helps reduce signs of ageing with high irritation (i.e.: redness/ peeling/ sensitivity).

Great for: Cell turnover, fine lines/ wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin tone, helps unclog pores, stimulates collagen production.

Time to use: Night Routine. Use after water serums but before oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using retinoids even though you are using the product at night, because your skin will be prone to photo-sensitivity during the duration of retinoid usage.

Note: For all forms of retinols, do not use when pregnant/ breastfeeding. For those with acne-prone skin, retinoids may result in a purging-period. Peeling may be more pronounced around eyes and mouth area in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance. If you are new to retinol, it is advisable to start from the lowest concentration of retinol and work your way up in order to build skin tolerance. It will be just as effective minus all the unnecessary irritations.

Ratings*: 9.5/ 10 ⭐️ (4 reviews)


6. Retinol 1% in Squalane (High Strength, Very High Irritation)

What is it: A water-free formula with pure 1% of retinol and squalane which aids hydration. Helps reduce signs of ageing with very high irritation (i.e.: redness/ peeling/ sensitivity).

Great for: Cell turnover, fine lines/ wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin tone, helps unclog pores, stimulates collagen production.

Time to use: Night Routine. Use after water serums but before oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using retinoids even though you are using the product at night, because your skin will be prone to photo-sensitivity during the duration of retinoid usage.

Note: For all forms of retinols, do not use when pregnant/ breastfeeding. For those with acne-prone skin, retinoids may result in a purging-period. Peeling may be more pronounced around eyes and mouth area in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance. If you are new to retinol, it is advisable to start from the lowest concentration of retinol and work your way up in order to build skin tolerance. It will be just as effective minus all the unnecessary irritations.

Ratings*: 8.4/ 10 ⭐️ (17 reviews)


7. Retinol 1% (High Strength, Very High Irritation)

What is it: A water-free Stable Emulsion of 1% pure Retinol with silicone. Helps reduce signs of ageing with very high irritation (i.e.: redness/ peeling/ sensitivity).

Great for: Cell turnover, fine lines/ wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, evens out skin tone, helps unclog pores, stimulates collagen production.

Time to use: Night Routine. Use after water serums but before oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using retinoids even though you are using the product at night, because your skin will be prone to photo-sensitivity during the duration of retinoid usage.

Note: For all forms of retinols, do not use when pregnant/ breastfeeding. For those with acne-prone skin, retinoids may result in a purging-period. Peeling may be more pronounced around eyes and mouth area in the early stages of treatment while skin builds tolerance. If you are new to retinol, it is advisable to start from the lowest concentration of retinol and work your way up in order to build skin tolerance. It will be just as effective minus all the unnecessary irritations.

Ratings*: 8.5/ 10 ⭐️ (20 reviews)


Retinol Regimen Guide**

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Vitamin C

1. Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone

What is it: A water-free silicone based heavy serum with 30% Pure L-Ascorbic Acid (an effective antioxidant). Other forms of Vit C serum in the marker that contains water as the primary ingredient tends to be unstable and oxidises over time. An indicator of this is the colour change (yellowish to dark orange). Some brands mask oxidisation with colouring.

Great for: Reversing multiple signs of skin ageing (i.e.: fades dark spots, anti-inflammatory, boost collagen) while brightening the skin.

Time to use: Day/Night Routine. A tingling sensation can be expected after application. If the sensation is too strong, it is advised to dilute this in serum/ cream.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using Vit C it actually helps boosts your sun protection. If you do not use sunscreen while using Vit C, it is like reversing and re-doing the signs of ageing. It’s good to start using vitamin C when you start seeing the signs any time after 18 years old.

Note:  Do not use with Niacinamide or EUK. This product may not be suitable with those with sensitive skin.

Ratings*: 6.8/ 10 ⭐️ (39 reviews)


2. Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

What is it: A water-free silicone based heavy serum with 23% Pure L-Ascorbic Acid (an effective antioxidant) with HASphere 2% (hydrating). Other forms of Vit C serum in the marker that contains water as the primary ingredient tends to be unstable and oxidises over time. An indicator of this is the colour change (yellowish to dark orange). Some brands mask oxidisation with colouring.

Great for: Reversing multiple signs of skin ageing (i.e.: fades dark spots, anti-inflammatory, boost collagen) while brightening the skin. The dehydrated HA spheres help with time release hydration.

Time to use: Day/Night Routine. A tingling sensation can be expected after application. The HA spheres may feel slightly gritty on the skin.  If the feels uncomfortable, it is advised to dilute this in serum/ cream.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using Vit C it actually helps boosts your sun protection. If you do not use sunscreen while using Vit C, it is like reversing and re-doing the signs of ageing. It’s good to start using vitamin C when you start seeing the signs any time after 18 years old.

Note:  Do not use with Niacinamide or EUK. This product may not be suitable with those with sensitive skin.

Ratings*: 7.6/ 10 ⭐️ (63 reviews)


3. 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder

Coming Soon


4. Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%

What is it: A water-based, silicone-free brightening light serum with stabilised Vitamin C Derivative. In its pure form, Vitamin C is unstable in water. However, Ascorbyl Glucoside is much more stable in water but it is less potent than direct L-Ascorbic Acid.

Great for: Reversing multiple signs of skin ageing (i.e.: fades dark spots, anti-inflammatory, boost collagen) while brightening the skin.

Time to use: Day/Night Routine. Use as a serum, after toner and prior to oils/ creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using Vit C it actually helps boosts your sun protection. If you do not use sunscreen while using Vit C, it is like reversing and re-doing the signs of ageing. It’s good to start using vitamin C when you start seeing the signs any time after 18 years old.

Note: Do not use with Niacinamide or EUK. This product may be suitable for sensitive skin. May leave a sticky film texture on skin.

Ratings*: 8.4/ 10 ⭐️ (24 reviews)


5. Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

What is it: A light oil brightening serum with stabilised Vitamin C Derivative. Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is an oil-soluble derivative of Vitamin C that can be used in higher concentrations without drawbacks. Being a Vit C derivative, its potency will not be directly comparable to pure L-Ascorbic Acid. This formula also contains Vitamin F, which is also known as essential fatty acids.

Great for: Reversing multiple signs of skin ageing (i.e.: fades dark spots, anti-inflammatory, boost collagen) while brightening the skin.

Time to use: Day/Night Routine. Use after water serums but before creams.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using Vit C it actually helps boosts your sun protection. If you do not use sunscreen while using Vit C, it is like reversing and re-doing the signs of ageing. It’s good to start using vitamin C when you start seeing the signs any time after 18 years old.

Note: Do not use with Niacinamide or EUK. This product may be suitable for sensitive skin.

Ratings*: 8.3/ 10 ⭐️ (12 reviews)


6. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%

What is it: A water-based light cream derivative of Vitamin C. Being a Vit C derivative, its potency will not be directly comparable to pure L-Ascorbic Acid.

Great for: Reversing multiple signs of skin ageing (i.e.: fades dark spots, anti-inflammatory, boost collagen) while brightening the skin.

Time to use: Day/Night Routine. Use after water-based serums.

Tip: Always use a min. SPF 30 during the day when using Vit C it actually helps boosts your sun protection. If you do not use sunscreen while using Vit C, it is like reversing and re-doing the signs of ageing. It’s good to start using vitamin C when you start seeing the signs any time after 18 years old.

Note: Do not use with Niacinamide or EUK. This product may be suitable for sensitive skin. However, users with acne-prone skin have reported purging.

Ratings*: 7.6/ 10 ⭐️ (16 reviews)


Here’s a quick guide to The Ordinary’s Vitamin C product usage (as extracted from their website):

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*Ratings have been extracted from DECEIM’s website as of 6th February 2018.

Vitamin C Regimen Guide

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Nu Signature

 

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