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As one of the biggest “it” beauty brands right now, The Ordinary doesn’t make ordinary products. The Ordinary’s offerings contain simple, science-backed formulations that speak for themselves.

We took a deep dive into this unique brand to discover its best-loved products. Here’s what you need to know about The Ordinary, as well as our picks for the brand’s 20 best products.

The Ordinary combines research with no-frills packaging, high active ingredient concentrations, and low price points — so it certainly stands out from other beauty brands. The Ordinary’s product lineup includes skin care, hair care, full body products, and makeup that focuses on simple, science-backed ingredients.

The brand’s products are free of fillers, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, formaldehyde (a gas used in household products like plywood and glue), and mercury (a harmful ingredient linked to tremors, depression, and memory issues), plus they don’t test on animals. There’s also a 365-day return policy if you try out a product and it doesn’t work for you.

People looking for products with simpler, data-driven ingredients lists may appreciate the offerings from The Ordinary.

However, because many of its skin care products are one-ingredient serums or boosters, it’s important to understand how and when to use these products — and on what skin types — so you can make an informed decision about which ones to purchase. For this reason, this brand may be geared more toward skin care savvy shoppers.

In choosing our top picks from The Ordinary, we evaluated the brand’s best-selling products with the most positive user reviews and editorial distinction and recognition from leading beauty magazines.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $5
  • $$ = $5–$15
  • $$$ = over $15

Best cleanser

Squalane Cleanser

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: squalane (a molecule that can help skin feel more hydrated, vibrant, and healthier)

This no-soap cleanser removes makeup and dirt without irritating or stripping your skin, reviewers say. While it goes on like a balm or a thick moisturizer, it becomes an oil-like serum as you rub it on your face, meaning it won’t leave your skin feeling dry after you rinse it off.

Its main active ingredient is squalane, a super hydrating additive that when applied topically, can fight skin damage and boost collagen production.

Best toner

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: all skin types, except sensitive skin
  • Key ingredients: glycolic acid, amino acids, aloe vera

This product uses alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) in the form of glycolic acid, an ingredient that breaks down bonds between the outer and next layer of the skin, providing smoother and more even skin. Glycolic acid is the smallest AHA, meaning it penetrates the skin easily and allows you to see its smoothing effects faster than other AHAs.

Using active ingredients glycolic acid and aloe vera, the toner gently exfoliates the skin to improve texture and brightness. Most reviewers love how it works to clear up acne and bumpiness. However, some mention that it actually made their skin break out, so it’s always good to do a patch test before applying it all over your face.

Best primer

High-Adherence Silicone Primer

  • Price: $
  • Best for: all skin types, except oily skin
  • Key ingredients: adaptive silicones

This primer is beloved for its blurring effect, specifically because of its ability to mask large pores and imperfections, setting the stage for flawless makeup application. Many reviewers rave about the texture of this product, but they stress that it’s important to let it dry completely before putting makeup over it so the primer doesn’t pill or flake off.

Other reviewers say it made their oily skin even oilier, so it may not be good for those with that skin type.

Best moisturizer

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: oily or acne-prone skin
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid and amino acids

This moisturizer uses ingredients naturally found in your skin (like hyaluronic acid) to boost hydration and surface smoothness. While this product can be used on all skin types, it’s best for oily or acne-prone skin because it’s a lighter moisturizer. You’ll reap the moisturizing benefits without stripping your skin, and the formula itself won’t make your skin appear even more oily.

Some reviewers say they use a heavier night cream or boost the product with a hyaluronic acid serum in the daytime to provide extra hydration.

Best mask

Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: oily or acne-prone skin
  • Key ingredients: salicylic acid, charcoal, clay, squalane

This 10-minute mask effectively works to clear up acne when used once or twice a week — a small commitment for some big benefits. Reviewers say they noticed reduced pore size and fewer blemishes after using this mask.

As a bonus, a little product goes a long way, meaning that you don’t have to use much to get the desired skin-smoothing effects.

Best chemical exfoliator

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all skin types, except sensitive skin
  • Key ingredients: AHAs, salicylic acid, hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5

This exfoliant is the most popular product from The Ordinary — it had an 85,000-person waiting list in 2020 after it went viral on TikTok and Kim Kardashian mentioned it was part of her beauty routine.

While at-home peels aren’t for everyone, particularly those with sensitive skin or cystic acne, this one helps clear congested pores, smooth surface texture, and brighten the skin.

Reviewers say it leaves skin feeling slightly dry temporarily, but doesn’t cause peeling or irritation.

Best redness reducer

Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: azelaic acid

This cream brightens skin and reduces redness with azelaic acid, a type of yeast that lives on the skin and can treat rosacea and acne. While some reviewers say they don’t like the formulation’s thick texture or pilling consistency, it’s supposed to be used at night — and not under makeup — since it’s a direct acid product.

Don’t let the word “acid” scare you: Over-the-counter (OTC) acids, or chemical exfoliants, simply help get rid of dead skin cells and are weaker than treatments you would receive from a dermatologist or aesthetician.

Best for mature skin


  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: peptides, amino acids, hyaluronic acid

This serum is targeted for mature skin because it improves texture and reduces imperfections using peptides. However, according to the brand, it can take up to 4 months of use to start seeing results, so consistency is key with this product.

Reviewers say that their skin looked clearer and brighter as a result. It’s important to note that since this product contains peptides (amino acids that when absorbed into the skin, can improve the skin’s moisture barrier, help clear breakouts, and more), it shouldn’t be used with direct acids or ascorbic acids, like the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% on our list.

Best acne-fighter

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: acne-prone skin
  • Key ingredients: niacinamide (vitamin B3)

Using a 10 percent concentration of niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3 that can help your skin build a stronger moisture barrier and minimize redness, blotchiness, and pore size), this blemish-fighting cream soothes trouble spots and evens skin texture.

Reviewers like how easily the product absorbs into the skin and the way it helps eliminate blackheads. Note that because niacinamide can affect the strength of vitamin C, it’s important not to use vitamin C products in the same routine.

Best face oil

100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: rosehip seed oil

This rose hip seed oil lets your skin reap the benefits of the ingredient’s skin-smoothing nutrients, including linoleic acid (which helps strengthen the skin barrier to keep moisture in) and pro-vitamin A.

While people with oily skin may be reluctant to use oil on their skin, reviewers say that this product provides moisture and improves texture for all skin types and that it doesn’t cause breakouts.

Best skin care regimen

The No Brainer Set

  • Price: $$$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: varies for each product in the set

This three-product set includes The Ordinary’s Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, and Buffet. It’s the brand’s best-selling skin regimen, since the included products target dark spots and aim to improve skin texture.

It supports all skin types and provides an overall glow with consistent use. Reviewers suggest using this set as a nighttime routine because of the pilling nature of the Buffet cream.

Best eye serum

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: caffeine, epigallocatechin gallatyl glucoside (EGCG)

This eye serum de-puffs and brightens with two ingredients: caffeine and EGCG derived from green tea leaves, which are known for their anti-inflammatory effect on the skin.

The water-based formula is lightweight enough for the delicate area around the eyes and creates a smooth base for concealer.

Best dry skin treatment

Marine Hyaluronics

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: dry or sensitive skin
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid, algae extract

Made with a lightweight form of a hyaluronic acid, this popular serum allows your skin to attract and hold water without the creamier texture of a traditional hyaluronic acid.

Reviewers say that this airier formulation provided necessary moisture without irritating sensitive skin. It’s a great addition to your skin care routine when you need an added boost of moisture, especially in the winter.

Best SPF

Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, Tasmanian pepperberry

Formulated with both zinc oxide and titanium oxide, this sunscreen works to reflect damaging ultraviolet rays and neutralize free radicals. The added ingredient of flavanones-rich Tasmanian pepperberry is meant to calm the skin, keeping redness and irritation at bay.

Reviewers say that the downside of this product is that it leaves a white cast — like many other zinc-based SPFs — which can be an issue for darker skin types.

Best full body cleanser

Sulphate 4% Cleanser for Body and Hair

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all skin and hair types
  • Key ingredients: sulphates (SLES-2)

This all-in-one product helps simplify your shower routine without compromising on quality ingredients. The idea behind this cleanser is that it can lift dirt, oil, and impurities without stripping hair color — and the skin barrier — because it’s made with mild sulphate SLES-2.

While some reviewers comment on a lack of lather (they were expecting soapier bubbles), others remark on how refreshed their skin and hair felt after use.

Best scalp oil

100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Key ingredients: cold-pressed virgin marula oil

Called a “lifesaver” by reviewers with dry hair, this antioxidant-rich oil is quick to sell out. Marula oil — which is derived from the fruit kernels of marula trees — can tame frizz, repair dried-out locks and provide shine.

Since it can also be used on skin to help even skin tone, it’s another popular two-for-one offering from The Ordinary.

Best scalp treatment

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA for Scalp

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Key ingredients: hyaluronic acid

This hyaluronic acid scalp treatment supports the function of the skin barrier on the scalp and provides hydration to keep hair at optimal health and free from flakes.

Reviewers say this serum works wonders to keep their hair dandruff-free and helps combat excess oil. However, some mention that the milky consistency of the product can make it messy to use until you get the hang of it.

Best conditioner

Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all hair types
  • Key ingredients: behentrimonium chloride

This conditioner is formulated with behentrimonium chloride, an ingredient known for smoothing hair. With an almost 5-star rating on Sephora, customers rave about how shiny and soft their hair is after using this conditioner, whether their hair is fine, thick, or curly.

Many reviews note that the formula is light and easy to rinse out, providing hair with moisture without weighing it down.

Best foundation

Serum Foundation

  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: glycerin, tocopherol (antioxidant), coconut alkanes

The Ordinary’s lightweight foundation is formulated with glycerin, a natural moisturizer found in skin, and coconut alkanes, which work as an emollient to create a smooth, cake-free finish over the skin. It’s available in 36 skin tones. It’s a good option for those looking for moderate coverage without the feel (or look) of heavy makeup.

Reviewers comment on the quality of this foundation for the price point, though some note that they wish more shades were available.

Best concealer


  • Price: $$
  • Best for: all skin types
  • Key ingredients: dimethicone, tocopherol (antioxidant)

This high-coverage concealer works to cover blemishes and imperfections without clumping or caking on the skin. Made with dimethicone, a silicone emollient that forms a barrier over the skin to keep the surface looking super smooth, it also blends well so you don’t look like you’re wearing a lot of face makeup.

Reviewers say this product works well as an under-eye concealer as well as for contouring. Some did remark that the formula was a bit too drying for their skin, however.

You can find products from The Ordinary online through the brand’s website, Ulta, Sephora, SkinStore, and Amazon.

The Ordinary products have been reviewed favorably by top women’s magazines and lifestyle websites, as well as dermatologists. Most of the products on the brand’s website have 4- or 5-star customer reviews from shoppers.

The Ordinary’s parent company, Deciem, is currently not rated by the Better Business Bureau.

Are The Ordinary products actually effective?

Yes, according to positive customer reviews and research data about the various ingredients used in their products, The Ordinary’s offerings can be effective.

However, everyone’s skin is different and various factors can cause skin to react positively or negatively to any product. If you’re unsure if a product is right for you, consult a dermatologist before using.

What’s the most popular The Ordinary product?

The AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution is the most popular product from The Ordinary.

Which is better: The Ordinary or INKEY List?

Both of these brands offer full transparency about their ingredients and don’t use fragrances or essential oils in their formulations. They’re also more budget-friendly than higher-end product lines.

However, INKEY List features more traditional skin care products like moisturizers, cleansers, and spot treatment, while The Ordinary offers more one-ingredient boosters and simple serums.

Both brands offer skin care and haircare items, but only The Ordinary offers makeup products. Which brand is better really depends on the types of products you’re wanting to use.

Now that you know more about The Ordinary, you can decide if these products might be a good fit for you. The products are not only affordable, but their ingredients are backed by science, which can’t be said for many of the beauty products on the market today.

However, if you’re unsure if any of the ingredients in these products will work well for your skin, talk with a dermatologist before starting a new regimen. That way, you can better understand your skin needs.

Natasha Burton is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Livestrong, Woman’s Day, and many other lifestyle publications. She’s the author of What’s My Type?: 100+ Quizzes to Help You Find Yourself ― and Your Match!, 101 Quizzes for Couples, 101 Quizzes for BFFs, 101 Quizzes for Brides and Grooms, and the co-author of “The Little Black Book of Big Red Flags.” When she’s not writing, she’s fully immersed in #momlife with her toddler and preschooler.