THE ORDINARY | affordable skincare – Part 2

Hello Lovelies,

Just like Sithru, things have been hectic! But it didn’t stop us spending money! Please pop over to Sithru’s post on The Ordinary skincare and what she thinks about them. She also has a handy explanation of who they are and their ethos.

We love skincare but it gets a bit difficult – especially when getting access to retinoids and its variations/derivations. I nearly bought Avene Ysthel+ Emulsion in desperation but baulked at its $60+ (NZD) price tag. I had been watching what beauty bloggers/posters had been saying about The Ordinary online for months and when a good friend of mine gifted me the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% (*phew*) I was hooked. Overall, I really like the brand and the products I have tried. You get so much ‘bang for your buck’ with their products and it has totally streamlined by skincare process (when I am not too lazy to do it…).

In this post I will share what I think of the Vit C suspension I mentioned before, the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%, and the Retinol 1%.

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

Okay so we all know that Vitamin C does wonders for the skin, it brightens, helps with slight scarring from previous outbreaks, helps with stimulating collagen and isn’t photosensitizing like acids. Doesn’t it just sound amazing? Being in New Zealand, we have super harsh sunshine and I wanted something else other than slapping on inches of sunscreen and hoping any blemishes didn’t get worse.
I first started dabbling with Vit C by buying Vit C serums in little dropper bottles – but they weren’t stabilized and oxidised very quickly. It became a daily battle to guess when the serum had turned and was useless. They were costing me $25 NZD plus shipping to New Zealand. Then I moved onto Rotho Japan Merano CC Medicinal Stains Intensive Measures Essence  – yeah see, now that’s a long name! That was great but acted like a dry oil on the skin and was hard to find unless I ordered off Amazon (again around $25 NZD plus shipping). Then I discovered there were different types of Vit C and Ferulic Acid…it all got too expensive and dumped in the ‘too hard basket’ (yes I am lazy).

Enter my good friend, she gave me her The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% because she said it had felt like her face was on fire when she used it and wondered if it would work better for me. That’s the one of the advantages of The Ordinary range, they are cheap enough that it doesn’t work it doesn’t hurt the wallet. I had read that some people found it too strong and other’s loved it. So, if you buy this, please patch-test! It is also gritty and smells weird – but the grittiness goes away when you rub it in and the smell – well I don’t wear it during the day so I got used to it quickly.

It’s also not like most other Vit C serums – I slap it on at night after cleansing my face. I know you can use Vit C to help with sun damage during the day, but I let my sunscreen do the heavy lifting with that. There are also other formulations with Vit C that The Ordinary has, so it is easy to pick and choose what works best.

So the verdict with using this serum? I love it. It didn’t feel like it was burning my face off! Yay! But as with most skincare – it’s “your mileage may vary”. It didn’t feel like it was burning because I think my skin is thicker than my friends (since I am desi and she has a delicate english rose complexion). It visibly reduced blemishes I got from using a new face-wash (yes my skin is that sensitive). To the point where Mr Picon was, “your face looks better, that stuff on your cheek is gone”. I started using retinoids (more on that later) and only now the serum tingles on my skin. When I get little breakouts from being stressed at work or eating badly (so all the time), I smother this all over my face at night and they are all nearly gone the next morning. I’ve been using this for more than three months now and it is definitely a staple. I was so impressed, I started adding their other products and plan on buying more.

tl;dr? Love it but expect it to be different from other serums you have tried

Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

So why did I get an acid that sounds like a flower? Well for the first time, I thought I could have *gasp* have fun with my skincare! Because of The Ordinary’s price-point, I wanted to try products that had never met my cost-benefit analysis (*cough* *budget* cough*). I don’t have rosacea but I am wary of hyper-pigmentation so I thought I would give it a go.

Azelaic Acid is normally prescribed for rosacea sufferers since it is so good for reducing inflammation. It also apparently helps with keeping your pores unclogged (and so helps with preventing acne) and fading any hyper-pigmentation you already have. Apparently you can have side-effects like irritation, so patch-test first.

The Ordinary formula is smooth and not overly heavy. It doesn’t really smell of anything, unless you bring it right up to your nose – then it smells rather organic and like a plant (funny that). It spreads very nicely and covers a large amount of skin – you only need a little bit for your face. It leaves the skin soft to the touch and a little hydrated. When my skin is angry and irritated, I smear this all over my face at night (are you sensing a pattern here?) and the next morning, my face is a happy camper. I’ve been using it off and on for the last 3 months and it definitely helps with breakouts. I can’t see that it has reduced my hyper-pigmentation though – I might have to use it more religiously for that.

tl;dr? Strongly like – does it’s job and is nice to have. Reduced inflammation but haven’t seen it reduce any hyper-pigmentation.

Retinol 1% (Emulsion)

So I had tried to incorporate acids in my skincare routine for ages (and therefore a heavy duty sunscreen – that saga needs to be another post though). Let me put this here before I go further – if you use these, you need a heavy duty sunscreen. There is no point using these products and giving yourself more and possibly severe damage.

I have tried so many variations of AHAs, BHAs, and then wanted to move into retinoids/retinols. I didn’t want to go to an aesthetician because I was a poor PhD student and our budget just didn’t allow for that. I also used to smoke – yeah gross I know – and started to see the effects of smoking on my skin. So I decided to try the Retinol 1% – just to start off small and see if it worked. If it worked, I told myself I would then buy the Advanced Retinoid 2%.

So yeah, I am buying the 2% next. The Retinol 1% definitely worked on me! For years, I had been buying different over the counter products, dreaming about my face flaking off and revealing a beautiful me underneath…well it definitely flaked off (wasn’t beautiful though dammit) ! I am/was so happy! I applied it liberally at night and waited – two days later it started flaking. After, my skin felt tighter (not uncomfortably so) and a little bit more bouncy. You are supposed to use retinols/retinoids consistently for at least a couple of months before you see a difference. Consistently can vary for different people – I definitely could not use this every day or every other day – once a week is perfect for me. So again, patch-test and work out what is best for your skin. After being so happy with the flaking (I would clean off my flakes at night with a face cloth and warm water), I read that Advanced Retinoid 2% was gentler with flaking. I can imagine that those of you with more delicate skin than mine might find the Retinol 1% too harsh. The tagline on the packaging for the Advanced Retinoid 2% is also ‘A stable emulsion of next-generation forms of retinoid‘ – so yeah, I am totally trying that next.

tl;dr? Strongly like – lots of flaking and did its job wonderfully. Trying the Advanced Retinoid 2% next. (Wear sunscreen always).

So there you go – these products were totally worth it for me and I am excited to try more of their line! As long as you are aware of each products advantages and disadvantages, I feel like The Ordinary‘s skincare is perfect, for its price-point and range. As with Sithru, I am looking forward to blogging more about skincare and also fragrances in the coming months! A lot of my money has been given to Byredo and I’ve even expanded to some perfume oils here and there.

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