My first experience with The Ordinary skincare left me feeling wanting. I guess I had a lot of high hopes for it, due to the affordability and the strength of the company behind it, and also due to the raves it’s been getting all over the world.
One of the products that I know many people love and which I was urged to try was The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2%. I bought this way back when I did my The Ordinary haul, because I was curious about adding a retinol product into my skincare routine, and this was affordable. I also bought The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, because I had very good results from the Pai Bioregenerate Rosehip Oil, and this was more affordable, so I wanted to see if it would be a good replacement.
I’d put both of these into my routine over quite a long period, which you’ll understand why below, and I think I’ve finally reached a conclusion.
If you want the short answer, I’m going to be that party pooper, throwing cold water all over everyone, and telling you that I’m afraid that whatever I’ve tried from The Ordinary so far just doesn’t work for me. If you want to read about how I worked it out, then read on.
It isn’t to say of course, that I dislike the brand. I’ve nothing against them. I just haven’t found anything to work, which isn’t to say of course, that it won’t work for you.
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% – US$14.90 | £8 for 30ml
I was most excited about this one. In recent years, we’ve been bombarded with repeated advice to use retinoids or retinol products, to keep aging at bay. Retinol helps skin boost collagen production, thereby keeping it firm, helps reduce wrinkles and lines, helps cell turnover so you have a more even skintone and helps with acne. It truly is supposed to be everything you need to fight skin aging.
Most products that contain retinol tend to be on the higher price scale. The Ordinary claims to turn it all on its head by offering their Advanced Retinoid 2% serum for just US$14.90 or £8 for 30ml. Now, if that doesn’t tempt you, I don’t know what will!
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% is supposed to contain next-generation retinoid active technologies which they say have been shown to achieve better reduction in signs of ageing than retinol and without irritation. However, they also say that these cannot be compared to a pure retinol, of which they also offer under the same brand, in a 1% Retinol concentration. That is fairly high, by any standard.
The ingredient they use in this formula is Solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, and is encapsulated for time released delivery into the skin. Personally speaking, I don’t know enough about retinols to form a view about the use of the ingredients. I am no chemist either. I could learn it up, and I eventually will, but as of now, I’m speaking purely as a consumer, suckered in by the low price and the promise of renewed, refined skin. So, all I can tell you is based purely on my experience using this product.
And my experience has been awful. I gave it 2 chances. There wasn’t much more I could take than that, if I’m to be honest.
The product is a slightly milky creamy lotion that comes in a dropper style packaging in a dark brown bottle. So far so good. I use 1-2 drops at night only and during my trial period, because I wanted to see just how effective it was, I only used this product under moisturiser.
For me, I found that after about 2-3 days using this serum, I’d start experiencing a breakout. My skin became bumpy, my skintone appeared uneven, and I started developing spots and the odd cystic acne. The first time, I wasn’t sure if it was this serum. I stopped after about a week, set it aside, and set out treating my skin to get it back to normal.
A month or so later, I decided to have another go. This time, I persevered for about 2 weeks, before I gave up. I experienced the same problems – bumpy, spotty skin and more cystic acne that was incredibly painful. It wouldn’t go away at all during the time I was stubbornly using this serum, thinking “To hell with this, everyone says this serum is the bees knees, why is it the bee’s butt for me?!” But no, it just didn’t work out. In the end, I stopped it, and interestingly about 3 days later, with gentle ministrations, I found my spots subsiding and eventually going away, and my skin is slowly returning to normal. I’m still treating it, but I’m not going back for a third attempt. Sorry mate, this just isn’t working out. No glow, no plumped up skin, no nothing, just skin worse than when I started. I might have railed at the Sunday Riley Luna oil, which is supposed to have retinol-like benefits, for its colour, but it delivers results that are impressive for me.
Someone I spoke to told me that some people have reported that The Ordinary Retinoid works better for oily skin and the Sunday Riley Luna for dry skin. Might this be it? I have drier skin and Luna works very well (I’m just not sold on their marketing). This one, my skin just didn’t like :(
I tried looking up reviews online to see if anyone else experienced the same, but it seems I’m on my own. I did notice that some people mentioned that their skin underwent a “purge” which I take to mean they broke out. While I understand that this seems to be acceptable for some, it isn’t acceptable to me. I don’t believe in “skin purging” but if you do, I have nothing against that. It’s just what I believe. Should I give it another go? Honestly, I can’t be bothered because really, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! :P
IN A NUTSHELL
The Ordinary Advanced Retinoid 2% did not work for me, as I found myself breaking out after using it. I don’t believe that skin will purge, but if you do and it works out for you eventually, then well and good. I’ll personally get something else instead.
PROS: Very affordable, Dark bottle packaging protects its contents, Not scented
CONS: Broke me out quite badly, Did not see any benefits using this serum at all
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who might want to try an affordable retinol product
PRICE: US$14.90 | £8 for 30ml
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil – US$16.90 | £9 for 30ml
The other product I was interested to try was The Ordinary Rose Hip Seed Oil. I love the Pai Bioregenerate Rosehip Oil because it seriously turns my skin around when I need help. It smoothens, hydrates and calms and it lasts ages, and I’ve just repurchased another bottle!
The reason is simple. I found that The Ordinary Rose Hip Seed oil was just too ordinary for me :P
I’m no stranger to using rosehip oil, having used it off and on through the years, but I’d never found any that I loved till the Pai one. The difference between this and the Pai Bioregenerate Rosehip Oil is that the one from Pai is a blend. This one is just 100% rose hip seed oil.
Personally, my skin works better with blended oils than pure oils. This is true of almost all oils I’ve tried to date. I know people experienced marvellous results from argan oil or jojoba oil or rosehip oil. Me, it takes a blend for me to notice any difference, or to enjoy using it. I guess that’s what makes us all different.
While I don’t think The Ordinary Rose Hip Seed Oil to be bad in any way, I didn’t notice much benefits from using it. I have used it on its own or mixed into a moisturiser. The texture is a little thick, and there is that signature scent of rose hip oil. The thing is that rose hip oil, for all it’s properties in purportedly being a natural form of Vitamin A or retinol, can actually clog pores and break you out. So, I’d advise caution when using it, and to start small. 1-2 drops on damp skin, massaged in under moisturiser, or mixed into moisturiser. It helps keep your skin hydrated especially in drier climes.
I’m going to be controversial and say that locally, you can just pop into our pharmacies or organic shops and pick up any rosehip oil from the shelf (which may even cost less than this one) and that pretty much serves the same purpose. I personally saw no benefits from this, although it didn’t affect my skin in any way. It was just there. So, I’m going back to Pai – yes it’s expensive, but it works a treat for my skin and that’s really what I want in my skincare – that it works for me.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is a pure rosehip oil, that you can use on its own, or under a moisturiser or even mixed into your moisturiser for added moisture and benefits to your skin. Rosehip oil contains fatty acids and vitamins that are good for your skin and has even been touted to be useful in an anti-aging skincare routine, rather like that of a natural retinol. I personally derived no benefits from it, unfortunately. It didn’t break me out, but it didn’t make my skin look any better either.
PROS: Very affordable, Only very little product is needed
CONS: Oil can feel heavy and oily, Takes a while to sink into skin (applying on damp skin helps), Did not do anything for my skin
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who wants an affordable rosehip facial oil
PRICE: US$16.90 | £9 for 30ml
For anyone interested, here is the ingredient list for both the products I’ve featured here.
Note: Left should read Rosa Canina Seed Oil. The ingredient list on right is for the Advanced Retinoid 2% serum.
Have you tried either product here? Care to share your experience?
In the main, I know the Advanced Retinoid 2% is coming off as a huge winner in most people’s skincare. I’m almost sad that it breaks me out because it would have been such a great and affordable addition to my skincare routine. Tell me if you like it? I’m not even sure I want to try any other products from The Ordinary :P