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If you’re a regular reader of our RY Ontrend blog, you’re definitely aware of The Ordinary, a brand comprised of clinically-formulated products that all retail at $25 and under. Often housed in scientific glass bottles with pipettes, if we had no idea about the price point, these products would scream expensive. Plus, when you put them on your face, you’re sure to echo that same sentiment–products from The Ordinary have been proven to have fantastic results, with only one or two active ingredients that really help to tackle your skincare concerns.
We’ve talked about our sell-outs a little in the past, but now’s the time to give you a fully comprehensive rundown of five highly coveted products. They all contain commonly raved-about ingredients that are present in a ton of skincare products, but often we read these names and blindly accept that they’ll work (definitely guilty as charged!). Here’s what each key ingredient in five of our bestselling products from The Ordinary can do for your skin!
About Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic Acid, often referred to as HA, is a key ingredient if you want your skin to lock in moisture. It’s not moisturising itself, but rather can hold up to 6 litres of water in just one molecule. Crazy, right?! Seeing as one of the main concerns dry or mature skins have is trapping moisture, this product is ideal if you want to increase water retention, and as a result, prevent against the physical signs of ageing or combat dryness.
Another ingredient present in this formulation is Vitamin B5. This ultra-hydrating antioxidant helps to draw moisture from the air and impart on the skin, keeping it fully nourished and retaining water with ease.
Who should use it: Those with dry, dehydrated or ageing skin.
When to use: AM + PM following cleansing, daily.
Conflicts: None, although we recommend using at an alternate time of day to any retinol-based products.
About Retinol + Retinoids: Just like niacinamide, retinoids have a multitude of absolutely jaw-dropping benefits. Not only are they excellent for treating acne or breakouts, retinoids and retinols also help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation spots and more. To top it all off, these products smooth roughened skin and aid cell turnover, working as a chemical exfoliant. This ingredient has definitely earned miracle status!
Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A, which explains the antioxidant effects they have. By speeding up the cell-renewal process, retinoids help to prevent against build-up in the pores, meaning acne bacteria has less of a chance of ‘breeding’. Plus, retinoids inhibit the breakdown of collagen, keeping your skin plump and elastic for longer. They’ll also work slowly to build lost collagen back up–this wondrous result saw retinol dubbed the only ingredient in the world that’ll actually reverse the physical signs of ageing.
Who should use it: Anyone with acne, ageing or pigmentation concerns.
When to use: PM only, following cleansing and serums. Begin by using twice a week, and then as tolerance increases, work your way up to once every second night, then every night.
Conflicts: Retinoids and retinols shouldn’t be used in conjunction with Vitamin C-based products, nor should they be mixed with AHAs or benzoyl peroxide. Make sure you apply a high-SPF sunscreen every morning to prevent against heightened sun sensitivity. Retinols and retinoids are not suitable for women during pregnancy.
About Niacinamide + Zinc: Niacinamide is a derivative of niacin, or Vitamin B3 as it’s more commonly known. Just as it’s essential for your body, niacinamide is a must-have ingredient to keep skin concerns in check. The main benefits are for those with acne or breakout prone skin, as well as anyone who’s concerned about hyperpigmentation or ageing signs. It’s clearly a multi-beneficial ingredient–after all, what other product can you think of that does all that?! It works to boost your skin’s immunity, meaning that infections (aka pimples) are reduced and skin is calmed. Niacinamide also helps to increase collagen production, meaning that any wrinkles or fine lines will be filled and smoothed out, leaving your complexion looking younger. What a bonus! Hyperpigmentation concerns are expertly treated using niacinamide, as it inhibits melanin production, thus stopping dark spots in their tracks.
You may have also noticed another ingredient in this formulation–yep, we’re talking about the Zinc 1% tacked on right at the end! If your body is low in zinc, you’ll probably experience acne or breakouts in some form. Zinc helps to ferry Vitamin A, an important ingredient for hormone balance, through the skin cell barrier. It’s a pretty necessary one if you’re looking to say goodbye to pimples once and for all!
Who should use it: Anyone who is concerned about breakouts, acne, discolouration or ageing signs.
When to use: AM and/or PM following cleansing, daily. Adjust this structure around any acids in your routine–alternate niacinamide and acidic products, e.g. glycolic acid, daily and nightly.
Conflicts: Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) based products–alternate morning and night to avoid irritation. Niacinamide may turn into niacin, which can cause skin to flush, if mixed with Vitamin C or AHAs/BHAs. Give yourself at least 30 minutes in between using niacinamide and AHAs/BHAs, and preferably use a product (e.g. a moisturiser) as a barrier.
About “Buffet”: Formulated with a bunch of active ingredients that provide a range of results, (just as a buffet does!) this unique product from The Ordinary includes Matrixyl and SYN-AKE, as well as a mixture of peptides and amino acids. Matrixyl, also available on its own from The Ordinary, comes in a number of forms, two of which are included in this cocktail of a product–Matrixyl 3000 and Matrixyl Synthe’6. Before you get lost in the big words and numbers, here’s the lowdown. Both derivations of this ingredient stimulate collagen production, meaning your skin will be slowly re-filled with the stuff that keeps it looking young. Matrixyl is also excellent at repairing the skin, thus helping to combat the effects of environmental damage and free radicals.
SYN-AKE is the other notable ingredient that helps to make up the “Buffet.” You may have heard of it before, but if you’re totally unaware, well, don’t be scared–but it’s snake venom. We hear your gasps and totally agree! What’s snake venom doing in a skincare product? Well, SYN-AKE is actually a synthetically manufactured ingredient that replicates the anti-ageing benefits of snake venom, so never fear–you won’t need to reach for the tourniquet just yet! In all seriousness, SYN-AKE also works to re-instil collagen and give skin new elasticity. Overall, the “Buffet” is ideal if you want to really tackle ageing signs head-on.
Who should use it: Those who are seriously looking to fend off physical signs of ageing.
When to use: AM + PM following cleansing, every day.
Shop The Ordinary here
I'm a journalism grad and avid makeup fan with an unhealthy addiction to buying nude lipsticks, no matter how similar they all may seem. I love chatting to anyone who will listen about my new favourite products, skincare dos and don'ts and practically any other beauty-related topic under the sun. That doesn't mean I'm frivolous with my recommendations, though--you can count on me to give you the nitty gritty on all your wishlist products. In my spare time, you'll find me binge-watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls or at brunch with a large iced coffee in my hand.
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