Beauty: We put The Ordinary skincare to the test

Cambridge MUA and beauty therapist Kelly Mackay, founder of Beauty Bar UK, tells us why skincare brand The Ordinary is anything but

A few months ago, my skin started looking tired, dehydrated and low on glow. I’ve always taken good care of my skin, but had dropped the ball and spent too much money on makeup. So I decided to switch things up a bit.

I was looking for products that would hydrate and generally improve the appearance of my skin. After some research, I came across The Ordinary, billed as combining affordable prices with high performance.

Wearing its science-led formulas on its no-frills packaging - most of the products are named after their active ingredients - prices range from £4.80 to £13 and reviews are really positive: I couldn't find a bad one.

I’ve been using the following trio of best-sellers for several months now and here’s what I’ve found. . .

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary HA2 + B5 (43429186)
The Ordinary HA2 + B5 (43429186)

Hyaluronic acid is the MVP in skincare products at present - the beauty industry is marketing this ingredient like crazy. Naturally present in the human body, hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture. Think of it like a sponge, which draws in moisture and leaves your skin plump and hydrated. Using this product you will definitely notice a difference in your skin's appearance within three weeks.

Skin type: Suitable for all skin types, including oily. Dry and dehydrated will feel most benefit

How to use: I use it AM and PM on my skin after applying Buffet - see below - though you can apply it directly to slightly damp clean skin. I drop a pea-size amount into my palm and apply to my face, pressing it into the skin, and let it absorb before adding moisturiser.

Product feel: It has a serum feel. A little goes a long way with this one

Results: My skin looked hydrated, plumper and fuller

Cost: £5.90 for 60ml, which lasts approximately six weeks


The Ordinary Buffet (43429182)
The Ordinary Buffet (43429182)

Buffet has an amazing mixture of ingredients, promising to hydrate and firm, reduce appearance of fine lines, lighten dark spots and generally improve the overall appearance of the skin - which it honestly does. The key actives are hyaluronic acid, which hydrates and creates a plump feel; Matrixyl 3000, to firm and plump the skin's elastin and boost its natural production of collagen; and last but not least Syn-Ake, which slows the formation of lines and restores your elasticity. A great all-in-one anti ageing product, Buffet is a brilliant way to begin your The Ordinary journey.

Skin type: Again it’s suitable for all skin types

How to use: I use it AM and PM on clean dry skin, dropping a couple of pea-size amounts into my palm, applying to my face and gently rubbing in.

Product feel: A lightweight water-based serum which is easily absorbed

Results: My skin looked smoother, lines were finer and my skin looked less tired. If used consistently you will see results in three weeks. I’m now on my third bottle!

Cost: £12.70 for 60ml, which lasts approximately six weeks

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

The Ordinary Red Peel (43429179)
The Ordinary Red Peel (43429179)

Hailed by many as the Holy Grail of peels, this product sells out fast. Easily identified by its red colour and glass dropper bottle, you’ve probably seen it all over Instagram. I’d say AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is absolutely the best product on the market for dealing with acne, pigmentation and fine lines. It has instant physical results, improving radiance and texture by resurfacing the skin: the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) exfoliates the top surface of the skin, brightening appearance, while the BHA (beta hydroxy acid) goes a little deeper and helps with blocked pores. It also contains Tasmanian pepper berry which will help reduce irritation.

The formula contains a high concentration of acids, so the usage instructions for this product must be respected. I’d recommend using it a maximum of twice a week and incorporating it slow and steady into your skincare routine. The Ordinary recommends alternative acids from the range if you have sensitive skin.

Skin type: Dry, dehydrated, combination and oily. Dry and dehydrated will feel most benefit

How to use: Clean face and wait for skin to dry. Apply evenly across the face and neck using fingertips, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for no more than 10 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. Avoid the eye contour and contact with eyes both during application and rinse off. Do not use on wet skin or apply to broken skin. Use once or twice a week.

Product feel: It will tingle on the skin. Use only at night. Ensure you use a SPF during the day, as your skin will be much more sensitive to direct sun

Results: Skin is softer to touch, glowy and smoother

Cost: £5.90 for 60ml, which lasts approximately six weeks

For more information about Beauty Bar UK or to ask Kelly for tailored skincare advice, visit or DM her via social media

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