A review of four products from The Ordinary by someone who was very late to the party

The Ordinary Buffet Niacinamide Salicylic Acid Caffeine Solution review

If there’s a hype surrounding some kind of skincare or make up, you can bet your bottom five pound note I will either be incredibly late to the party, or I’ll stay in my pjs and simply not show up at all. While I never skip my skincare routine and actually test out new things fairly regularly, my beauty choices are mostly a matter of chance and randomly selecting things in store, so it’s not really any wonder that two months ago I still hadn’t tried anything from The Ordinary.

The randomly selected part still rings true for my Deciem online order though, because except for one product, the rest was chosen on a whim – there were lots of promising descriptions, but there were also lots of scientific names, so in the end I just clicked a few times and went on my merry way. Since I figured I can’t be the only one who was all ‘err this doesn’t say moisturiser or cleanser or an instructional word’, today I thought I’d tell you a bit about how I got on with them.

A note on my skin: for just under a year I’ve been getting more spots and blemishes than I’ve had in a years. These tend to only get momentarily better when trying a new product which promises to fight them, before coming back to haunt me. The texture (particularly on my forehead) has been almost bumpy, and overall it’s been somehow managing to look both a bit oily and a bit dull. I’m also starting to see signs of ageing in the form of creases, lines and wrinkles, so it’s all fun and games over here.

My general experience with these has been overwhelmingly good. While I saw some improvements almost immediately, I did also find my skin purging a bit for the first week; by which I mean that spots plus the overall texture of my skin started getting better from 2-7 days use depending on which of these I’m talking about, but I did also gain a fair few new blemishes. It was in week 2 that I found myself really enjoying what I saw in the mirror, and I’ve been using them over a month now.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG review

Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Price and volume: £5.80 for 30ml
Directions for use: Massage a small amount onto the eye contour am and pm

I knew I wanted to try this for a while before placing the order because it’s not so much bags under my eyes as it is several suitcases, and actually waited to buy anything from TO until it came back into stock. It claims to ‘reduce appearance of eye contour pigmentation and of puffiness’ and to my complete and utter disbelief (because obviously I wasn’t actually expecting it to work) I could see a difference in the appearance of said suitcases immediately after application, and then a more general but very marked improvement after just 3 or 4 uses. Blew my actual mind, I can tell you that much.

A few weeks later one observation I would make is that it does make the skin around the eyes slightly dry/crepey (so if you already experience this perhaps Caffeine Solution won’t be the gal for you). Since noticing I’ve been making my eye cream usage quite generous and making sure I use Buffet (which I’ll get to later in the post) in that area – which is helping, but it’s certainly something I’ll keep an eye on, and I’ll update this post in due course if I have anything to add. Nevertheless, I’ll definitely repurchase for now because the effect on puffiness/colour is fantastic.

In other news, I’ve just seen while on the product page to get the link that caffeine can also help to reduce the appearance of cellulite, so do I start rubbing this into my butt cheeks too or what?

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

Price and volume: £4.20 for 30ml or £3.90 for 15ml (I got the 30ml – in for a penny, in for a £4.20)
Directions for use: Use in the am and pm. Apply a small dot directly on spots for visible improvement or apply a small amount over the face to maintain visible clarity with continued use.

This is my first experience of using an acid and I have to say, I’m getting on quite well with it. Dabbing a little of this on cleared my worst spots fairly quickly (even as new ones appeared over the first week) and has made easy work of smaller ones. It’s very, very satisfying to use this in the evening and then wake up to find the little blighters are so much improved. It’s not necessarily that they just disappear, but I find that when I’ve applied this the offending spot is no longer raised – it might still be red, but it’s not painful or trying to fight its way to the forefront of my face. This means it’s much easier to cover with make up, and it disappears for good a whole lot quicker. There’s just one spot that this has struggled to combat over the last month, so it may not  win all the blemish related fights…but then again, I probably didn’t help matters by picking at it.

I’ve not yet tried applying it all over the face and don’t feel any real need to, but again I’ll report back if I do.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% review

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Price and volume: £5 for 30ml
Directions for use: Apply to entire face morning and evening after before heavier creams

If the first two products are ones I’ve got on well with for certain sections of my face, the second two are ones I would credit with the transformation of the overall feel of my skin. I am now a huge fan of the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% – even if I’m still not entirely sure how to describe what it actually is. TO describe it as ‘high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula’, and it aims to reduce congestion and blemishes.

This honestly gave my skin a bit of an overhaul; the ‘bumpiness’ I’d been experiencing is gone, I don’t get nearly as much redness and in general I’ve noticed that things are looking visibly brighter with fewer blemishes. I found the texture of this a little odd at first for a reason I can’t put my finger on, but it isn’t greasy, absorbs quickly, and it seems to be doing a bloody good job. I’ll probably try to buy this again pretty soon to make sure I don’t run out because it’s a firm favourite for me now.

The Ordinary


Price and volume: £12.70 for 30ml
Directions for use: Apply to the entire face in the am and pm after cleaning

Confession: I bought this over a different product purely on the basis that the price would push me over the minimum spend for free delivery and oh my am I glad I did. This is essentially a serum to use pre-moisturiser which is intended to target the signs of ageing.

During the first week of use I actually wondered if I was using it correctly and perhaps shouldn’t be moisturising afterwards; I woke up after using Buffet then a night cream the previous evening looking a bit shiny. However, after a week I never noticed that again, and in fact my skin now feels a lot less oily but a lot more hydrated than before, and it hasn’t felt this soft in years. It absorbs very quickly and makes whatever moisturiser or cream you follow it with feel like it’s working better than ever. I really think this has provided such an injection of much-needed life and health into my skin, and if this is the improvement in under 2 months I’m really looking forward to seeing how it looks at 4, 6 and beyond. A happy accident and a new essential!

The Ordinary

So there we are, I guess I’m fully aboard The Ordinary hype train now. Plus, I love the packaging; I love the simple Scandi feel to it and it also makes me feel like a chemist which I enjoy. Have you tried anything from TO – and if so, what would you recommend me picking up with my next order?

The Ordinary Niacinamide Salicylic Acid Buffet Caffeine Solution review

The Ordinary Niacinamide Salicylic Acid Buffet Caffeine Solution review

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8 thoughts on “A review of four products from The Ordinary by someone who was very late to the party”

  1. I’ve been toying with buying these for so long but kept getting intimidated by the fancy names! This is such a good little roundup and I can’t wait to get my hands on them now as bumpy skin and eye bags are such a battle for me! Thanks for the tips!



  2. I’ve used a couple of products from The Ordinary and I recommend trying their Rosehip Oil and also the 30% AHA + 2% BHA Chemical Peel. The chemical peel is so affordable and does a great job with exfoliation.

    Next on my list to try is the Niacinamide, you’re the second person that has said something about it getting rid of bumpiness which is something I suffer with on my forehead. Great review! xx
    Coco Bella Blog


  3. I loved reading your thoughts on these! I recently purchased Niacinamide and Salisylic Acid and started using them at the same time. My skin got so bad after a few days of starting to use them, so I stopped and my skin has since gotten better, which makes me so sad as I really wanted them to work! It might have just been a coincidence, so I’m going to give them another go, but maybe introduce them separately. Wish me luck! xx

    Laura // Middle of Adventure


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