The Ordinary: What Serum to Use, and When, Depending On Your Skin Concerns

Updated 09/08/19
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If you're a beauty buff (which we're kind of assuming you are), chances are you've heard of The Ordinary. Owned by umbrella company Deciem, The Ordinary is known and loved for its insanely cheap skincare products that are as efficacious as they are affordable. When the brand first launched, almost every product sold out instantly, and beauty aficionados have been infatuated ever since. 

Seeing as it's easy to go gangbusters on inexpensive skincare, it can be a little confusing when it comes to figuring out what to use and when. Not to mention determining which products are going to be the best pick for your skin concerns.

So unless you're a die-hard skincare guru (or a chemist), chances are you would appreciate a little guidance. That's where we come in. We've done the work, with a little help from the experts at The Ordinary, to map out seven skincare routines you can try to treat everything from chronic acne to pigmentation. So, without further ado, say hello to your custom-built skincare routine from The Ordinary (and it probably won't cost you more than $50). 

For Persistent, Chronic Acne

Ongoing acne differs from a pimple or two at that time of the month. This regime is for anyone who constantly battles blemishes, including whiteheads, blackheads, and deeper cysts. 

Morning: Step 1

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution $5
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Morning: Step 2

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% $6
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Evening: Step 1
The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane $7
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Some peeling and skin-purging will occur within the first four to eight weeks of this regimen.

Always use SPF during the day when using a retinol product. 

For Occasional Breakouts

If your skin is feeling congested, try this regime to clear up blemishes and rebalance the complexion. Alternatively, if you suffer minor but regular breakouts, this is a less intense approach compared to the acne regimen above. 

Morning: Step 1

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution $5
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Morning: Step 2

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% $6
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Evening: Step 1

Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% $8
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Twice a Week

Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% $7
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For Sensitive Skin

If you're constantly red and itchy or often flare up when trying new products, you need a gentle, hydrating routine that will calm you down, and these products below will help.

Morning: Step 1

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 $7
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Morning: Step 2

Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA $6
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Evening: Step 1

100% Plant-Derived Squalane
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane $8
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For Dryness and Dehydration

If you're dehydrated and your skin is lacking water, hyaluronic acid is ace for drawing water to the cells. If you're dry and lacking oil instead, bolster the below routine with a good quality face oil like Korres Wild Rose Advanced Brightening & Nourishing Face Oil ($54). 

Morning: Step 1

Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 $7
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Morning: Step 2

Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA $10
Shop

Evening: Step 1

100% Plant-Derived Squalane
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane $8
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Twice a Week

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% $7
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For Wrinkles

If lines and wrinkles are your major concern, this peptide and vitamin A packed regime will work wonders. An important note on the retinol: If you experience flaking or extreme redness, apply every second night while your skin adjusts. 

Morning: Step 1

Buffet
The Ordinary Buffet $15
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Morning: Step 2

Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA $6
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Evening: Step 1

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution $9
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Evening: Step 2

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion $10
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Evening: Step 3

100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil
The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil $7
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Twice a Week

Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% $7
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For Oiliness

When trying to control oily skin, the below will refine your skin's texture while keeping shine to a minimum—and all without starving you of moisture. 

Morning: Step 1

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% $6
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Morning: Step 2

Natural Moisturising Factors + HA
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA $6
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Evening: Step 1

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution $5
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For Pigmentation and Uneven Skin Tone

If you have dark spots, pigmentation, or an uneven skin tone due to pregnancy or sun exposure, your ultimate brightening formula is right here. 

Morning: Step 1

Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA $9
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Morning: Step 2

Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% $6
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Morning: Step 3

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F $18
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Evening: Step 1

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution $9
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Evening: Step 2

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion $10
Shop

Twice a Week

Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% $7
Shop

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