Tag: skin

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.

THE ORDINARY | affordable skincare – Part 1

Hello everyone, I am back after a while 🙂 … Sorry for going AWOL but I had to do quite a bit of travelling during last few months. Anyway, now that I am back, let’s talk about some affordable skincare…

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I recently bought a few skin care items from The Ordinary line. I have been using them for a little over three weeks now and think I have formed my opinion about them :).


First a little about this abnormal brand:

The brand ‘The Ordinary’ is a part of DECEIM – the abnormal beauty company, a team that is versed in materials chemistry and biochemistry. While the group hosts high-end (I mean high priced and specifically formulated) skincare brands such as Hylamid and NIOD, The Ordinary was formed to present high-quality skincare at an affordable price. the philosophy of the company is to ‘disallow commodity being disguised as ingenuity’. Founders of The Ordinary claim that in the beauty sphere, commonplace technologies and formulations are presented as innovative and advance; the price markups, hence, are insensible. The objective of The Ordinary line is to present high quality, clinical grade skincare formulations with integrity.

Unlike other skincare lines, The Ordinary gives you the liberty to make up your own skincare regime. the products are meant to be used as ‘ingredients’ that you put together to create your preferred concoction, based on your skin type, problems and preference.

You can find the review of Vitamin C suspension in Part 2

Here’s what I got;

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 

This is a vegan hydrator that can attract water up to 1000 times its weight. According to DECEIM, even though many skincare products offer Hyaluronic acid (HA), they cannot penetrate the skin in naturally. Instead, they sit on the skin and attract from the skin and give an illusion of plumpness. So when you wash off the product, the skin screams for more to keep hydrated. In this version, there are multiple forms of HA used to ensure skin hydration in different layers, not just the surface. Vitamin B5 aids the surface hydration. Probably, for this reason, the first time I used HA I did not see a visible plumpness as I saw when using the Loreal Hydraboost gel. But with continuous use for over a week, I started noticing that my skin looks more hydrated. Because of my travelling schedules, I could not use HA every day over the last three weeks, but that did not take away the hydration it had already delivered to my skin.  I use HA 2% + B5, both in the AM and PM.

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) in this product is meant to reduce the appearance of blemishes and congestion. I have oily/combination skin and this has helped to reduce the oiliness to a healthy level (does not make my face look completely matte) without making my dry spots dry. The brand claims, and I agree, that this does not help acne. However, it has reduced the dullness of my face noticeably. This is included only in my morning routine.

Note: The company warns against using Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% in conjunction with Vitamin C suspensions. Please visit The Ordinary website for more details.

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

This is meant to reduce the dark circles and puffiness under eyes. The EGCG (I won’t even try pronouncing the longer name of this…) is a derivative from green tea leaves. both the ingredients are highly effective in reducing puffiness around the undereye region. This solution again (among many other eye creams) has failed me in reducing my undereye dark circles. However, as the company claims, this may be due to the born and fat structure of my eyes (I’ve been told that this is genetic, by a doctor in my family too) which cannot be treated with skincare solutions. But the solution definitely reduces puffiness around the eye. I use this in the morning and night.

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Glycolic acid is an exfoliant that offers mild but direct exfoliation to the skin. This product demands careful usage not only because it is an acid (a mild one) but also has an AHA that increases the sun-sensitivity of the skin (no joke!). I use this only at night as instructed and completely forgot about the sun protection warning. I always wear sun protection (a daily SPF of 15) but with this product, it is not sufficient. Even though my skin did not get sunburnt badly, I definitely sensed the increased sensitivity while in the direct sun. so, if you use this, always wear higher SPF and use an umbrella or a hat to keep the direct sun away from your skin, even up to a week after you stopped using this product.

However, this product is wonderful and I love using it every night. My skin feels so much softer and cleaner since I started using this.

These are the products I tried from The Ordinary line. I fell in love with this brand so much that I ordered some more items which are yet to arrive in the mail. Will do another review once I use them too. Look for the next part of this review either on Picon’s hoard or here.

Most importantly, please hang on for more posts in the future. I will try and get to back to normal blog routine once I settle down a bit with the travelling.. Until then.. have a lovely day!