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The Ordinary: Haul & Initial Impressions

This is actually my second haul with The Ordinary.

Initially, I ordered a few products a little over a year ago. This is when issues with their CEO, Brandon Trauxe, initially spilled out for public display. I used the products I had, kept opinions myself & waited to see how the social media breakdowns around Trauxe would unfold.

I judge products based on the brand, I have boycotted many brands in the past, I include brand history & controversies in my cosmetics reviews because I believe it matters.

I look into company transparency, ethical production practices & association with any racist or prejudice behavior. Obviously, I do not purchase products from brands like Jeffree Star Cosmetics or anything Lorenzo Delpani touches because blatant discrimination has taken place. I do not buy products from L’Oreal that profited from WWII genocides without compensating surviving families. Tarte Cosmetics does not earn profit from me either because they posted a racist meme, blamed an intern & later released an abysmal shade range for a hyped new foundation.

I understand why consumers do not want to purchase from The Ordinary anymore, there are many great lists of replacement dupes for The Ordinary cosmetics that I will have listed here & here.

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However, The Ordinary has not crossed my personal line in the sand. Yet, at least.

Trauxe’s actions are from one individual of an entire company. I am disgusted by some of his social media activities, such as complaining about a homeless person in front of their NYC storefront. Trauxe publicly fired business partners & instigated arguments with customers on Instagram, but these actions are self-destructive rather than malicious towards others.

There are still good things associated with The Ordinary as well. Deciem is cruelty-free & sustainably source many of their ingredients. Cruelty-free is becoming more common in the Western cosmetic industry, but sustainability is an issue I hold close to my heart & it is much more difficult to find a company in any industry that is sustainable & free / direct trade.

After this elongated disclaimer, I decided to haul from The Ordinary again. This time I wanted to document my experience.

The Products

I received these products in April, I spent over a month introducing a single product into my routine over the course of a few days to a week. I am not acne-prone, but my skin tends to react quickly if it has a problem with a product. Some of these products I have been testing for close to two months, others I have only been using for a week or two.

Just for reference, I have dry & dehydrated skin. I am a 27-year-old female that lives in a Mediterranean climate.

Chemical Exfoliants

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Value: €8.70 / 240ml

Claims: Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. This 7% toning solution offers mild exfoliation for improved skin radiance and visible clarity. This formula contains a studied Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to help reduce irritation associated with acid use.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F

Value: €17.70 / 30ml

Claims: Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is an oil-soluble derivative of Vitamin C that can be used in higher concentrations without drawbacks. It is one of the most stable derivatives of Vitamin C but, being a derivative, its potency will not be directly comparable to pure L-Ascorbic Acid. It is provided in this oil-format formula in combination with Vitamin F, also known as essential fatty acids.

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Value: €7.20 / 30ml

Claims: This combined 29% AHA/BHA solution offers deeper exfoliation to help fight visible blemishes and for improved skin radiance.This formula is further supported with a crosspolymer form of hyaluronic acid for comfort, Vitamin B5 to assist healing and black carrot as an antioxidant.  

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

Value: €9.80 / 30ml

Claims: A 2% concentration of Granactive Retinoid which is a complex of solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR). HPR is a highly-advanced form of retinoid which is, in fact, a non-prescription ester of all-trans direct retinoic acid that offers a multi-fold better effect against signs of ageing than retinol, retinyl palmitate and nearly all other forms of non-prescription retinoid.

Initial Impression:

I love the Retinoid 2% Emulsion, this is a repurchase for me. I find it to be hydrating & non-irritating in this form, I never experienced skin flaking as I have with other retinol products.

The Glycolic Toner reminds me of a stronger version of the Pixi Glow Tonic, it definitely tingles my skin though I like it so far. I have only used the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Mask twice so far because this is potent. I have liked this as well & subsequent skincare products absorb seamlessly into my skin, but I find it more drying than other chemical exfoliating masks like Balea Enzyme Peel or Caudalie Glycolic Peel.

I have always had a hard time with Vitamin C products from The Ordinary, they just do not work for me. I like this one suspended in Vitamin F a lot better than others from The Ordinary, but I still find the consistency of this serum difficult to layer in my skincare routine.


Matrixyl 10% + HA

Value: €11.50 / 30ml

Claims: This formula contains two generations of Matrixyl, Matrixyl 3000 and Matrixyl Synthe’6, at a combined concentration of 10% by weight in a specialized Hyaluronic Acid delivery system. The peptide in Matrixyl 3000 is palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 and the peptide in Matrixyl Synthe’6 is palmitoyl tripeptide-38.

Marine Hyaluronics

Value: €6.80 / 30ml

Claims: The formula contains exopolysaccharides from skin-friendly marine bacteria, Hawaiian red algae, Glycoproteins from Antarctic marine sources, micro-filtered blue-green algae and several health-supporting amino acids.

100% Cold Pressed Marula Oil

Value: €9.90 / 30ml

Claims: It’s mostly composed of oleic acid and linoleic acid but also contains procyanidin, catechins and flavanoids. Marula oil offers antioxidants, hydrates the skin and is claimed to help restore a radiant tone.

Initial Impression:

I repurchased the Marula Oil after going through a bottle of it, likely the best facial oil I have ever tried. I am still trying to decipher how I feel about the 10% Matrixyl + HA & Marine Hyaluronics. Hydrating products like this will not have dramatics results like one might see with chemical exfoliation, plus I have only begun testing these two. The scent of the Marine Hyaluronics is off-putting so I am not sure if I would repurchase on this aspect alone.


10% Niacinamide + 1% Zinc

Value: €5.90 / 30ml

Claims: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.

Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%

Value: €7.20 / 30ml

Claims: Resveratrol is a natural phenol found in several plants and our pure source is 100% derived from Japanese Knotweed. Ferulic Acid is a high-potency phytochemical antioxidant found naturally in walls of plant cells.

EUK 134 0.1%

Value: €8.80 / 30ml

Claims: EUK 134 is a mimetic of superoxide dismutase and catalase, forming an exceptionally rare self-regenerating molecule that scavenges superoxide free radicals, eliminates hydrogen peroxide and converts reactive oxygen species into water and oxygen.

Initial Impression:

The product I am the most unsure about is the EUK 134, I have used this the least of all these products because I am not sure where to place it my routine. Users are not supposed to add this to any routine that includes chemical exfoliants because it will impede on the antioxidant benefits. However, I have used some form of chemical exfoliant morning & night on a daily basis for years. I am unsure if an antioxidant can be as beneficial to my skin as 20% Vitamin C, AHA, or retinol.

I have enjoyed the 10% Niacinamide & 3% Resveratrol so far. I have only introduced the Resveratrol to my routine recently so I cannot say if this is a miracle worker for my complexion, but no harm or pimples from it so far. The Niacinamide was the first product I tested from this haul, I have absolutely fallen for this product so I know I will repurchase this already.

Things I Did Not Repurchase

I mentioned this is my second haul, earlier going over some products I had repurchased. I think it is important to mention the products I tried & did not love from my initial purchase as well.

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

Value: €5.80 / 30ml

I loathed this product, it is a Vitamin C that is not suspended in water like a standard serum. This was gritty, drying & burning. It did not layer with any other skincare products. I only ever used this on my face once because I could not tolerate it. I tried using this on my hands, neck & chest; but it was too harsh for my skin & gritty consistency was uncomfortable to me.

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Value: €6.70 / 30ml

I found this product to be quite drying. I had wanted to use this in my morning routine, particularly under my eyes or all over if my face was puffy. However, I noticed skin flaking under my eyes after a few uses of this, an area where I never experience that. I discontinued use & tried it again two more times, but same result with every attempt.


Value: €14.80 / 30ml

This was a nice enough product, a watery consistency that absorbed into my skin. I did not notice any grand results as I went through this bottle & I did not miss this from my routine when it was gone, I decided the price tag was too much for an additional layer of lightweight moisture to my routine.



  1. I really love their ALA product, but I personally will not be purchasing any more products from them in the future as long as Brandon is still in control. The cyber-bullying he continues to instigate towards his followers on Instagram that call him out for the unprofessional things he does, has completely turned me off their brand. I can’t continue to support a brand that condones those actions. It really sucks too, because they have such amazing and affordable products!


  2. I am in the process of looking for more sustainable brands too! Jeffree Star will never see me buying his products. I do not like the guy at all and his makeup aesthetic isn’t for me either so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

    I had no idea about L’Oreal!! Need to look up into that.

    I’m with you about the Vit. C Suspension (most detested product ever for me) and the Buffet. I find the Buffet is weak on its own but works great with Alpha Arbutin as a booster. However, at its price point that’s “premium” compared to the others, it’s not really worth it.

    I actually won’t be buying from Deciem/The Ordinary anymore personally, and it’s a shame.


  3. Pingback: My Updated Skincare Routine – Autumn / Winter 2018 | A Little Driftless

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