The Ordinary: Hydrators and Oils

The Ordinary: Hydrators and Oils

My The Ordinary series is back with a closer look at the hydrators and oils on offer. If you are interested in my overall impressions of the brand, retinoids and vitamins or direct acids, just click away. Since my last post, Estee Lauder has invested in Deciem – the parent company of The Ordinary -, but I’m just going to focus on the products and leave that development aside.

The Ordinary offers three oils: rose hip, marula and argan. I’m not a big oil user: the two I feel really work for me are Vintner’s Daughter and Kypris Beauty Elixir I and even with the much-hyped VD it took me a while to find my way (I mix three drops into my serum or moisturiser and that’s perfect). If you ARE an oil user, however, I don’t see why you wouldn’t like these. They are all 100% oils, cold-pressed and unrefined to keep all the benefits and come in a dark bottle for sun-protection. The web site is a bit confusing on this, but according to the product names, rose hip and argan oils are also organic.

If you use argan, marula or rose hip oil already, but are looking for a cheaper alternative, all three are very much worth a try. If you are new to oils, I’d first pick one that matches your skin concerns the best. Rose hip* is known as the anti-aging oil, as it contains (among other things) vitamin A. It works nicely on top of The Ordinary 2% retinoid and many people love it. My own favourite is the marula oil with its antioxidants and radiance-giving properties. It’s also the lightest and fastest-absorbing of the three. When I use it at night, I wake up to supple, hydrated and well-balanced skin. Argan seems to me the most basic, but a good option if you want an allrounder that you can also use on hair and body.

For those who like the idea of oils, but for some reason don’t get along with them in reality, squalene might be the answer. 100% Plant-Derived Squalene looks and feels like transparent, lightweight, scentless oil, but is actually a highly emollient hydrocarbon. If you have dry skin, this can come in really handy. I’m thinking of it as the oil equivalent of hyaluronic acid: you can add a layer of this when you struggle with lack of oil (as opposed to lack of water, where hyaluronic acid would help) and it should bring instant relief. For me, it’s a bit too much, but my skin is also not dry.

The Ordinary obviously does a hyaluronic acid product as well, called Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. I don’t own it, as I have several others that are similar. If you don’t have anything in this category in your arsenal, I recommend you get something quick. There isn’t anything as effective against dehydration and most people suffer from it to some degree. I have no qualms recommending The Ordinary as a starting point: the formula looks very decent, several people I trust love it and the price point is of course very reasonable. There is another somewhat similar product in The Ordinary line-up: Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. This one I feel less confident recommending without trying, as it’s a more innovative concept. If you’ve tried it, do chime in in the comments.

For some reason, The Ordinary also includes their two primers in this category – probably because these can also be used as light moisturisers. I personally wouldn’t recommend that, as they are not enough for most people and at least I personally don’t love silicone-heavy moisturisers. I’m also not the best person to assess primers, as I don’t use them often and haven’t used these two much either. The High-Adherence Silicone Primer with its mattifying and blurring properties isn’t something I gravitate towards, especially as it feels very silicone-y to me. If your skin is more oily and pores are your main concern, you might feel totally different, however.

High-Spreadability Fluid Primer is more my jam, although I cannot say it’s something I use often. What I would say, though, is that if you have expensive foundations that you want to make last as long as possible, this can be helpful. The primer really does make your skin extremely smooth and the foundation goes on and spreads so easily that you only need a tiny amount. It could potentially help some of your more temperamental foundations work better, too.

Have you used anything here? Any favourites or complete fails?

*I do own it and have used it quite a bit, but couldn’t find the bottle for the photo.


Add yours
  1. 1

    I am on my second tube of Natura Moisturizing Factors+HA. The texture is my biggest concern on it – sometimes it feels like soured milk, it is kind of porridge-y and not always as easily spreadable as usual moisturizers. There is no scent at all. But it does it’s job well. And you only need a little. The result after applying it is a tiny bit matte which is good as I am always in a hurry in the mornings and I can put foundation straigh on. I use it with Ordinary hyaluronic serum, tho not daily durig the summer as as it is now always needed. I am very happy how the products work w
    Especially considering the price point which is virtually non existent (my toothpaste costs more that the serum and moisturizer put together).

    • 2

      Thank you for this! There seems to be a consensus forming🙂 And I absolutely agree that one should take the price point into account. Sure, there might be some products that perform somewhat better than The Ordinary, but they may also be 20 times the price and I’m not even kidding. It’s liberating that you can get proper skincare for this price. It’s like IKEA for skincare.

  2. 3

    I am halfway through my first tube tube of Natural Moisturizing Factors+HA and it does what it says on the box. There is no smell and while the texture is porridge-y, it absorbs well. It is a good product if you need a basic moisturizer that gets the job done. If it was dinner it would be meat and potatoes – filling and reliable, but not very exciting.
    A plus from me for the packaging – which may not be an issue for everyone, but definitely worth noting for those who want to fit an elaborate routine into a plastic bag during security check :D. It is light and compact, but sturdy enough to safely travel with.

    • 4

      Thank you for lettng me (and others) know. I think this is ultimately my problem with The Ordinary: most of it does get the job done really quite well, but if you are a fickle person like me, it gets boring at some point. I’m also generally on the hunt for something a little more complex and luxurious. But that’s not the fault of the brand, that’s just me being obsessed by pretty shiny things. If I were 20 years younger, I’d adore it. I agree on the packacing as well: I would ideally prefer pumps, but the bottles look good and are great for the price.

  3. 5

    I am on my at least 10th bottle of hyaluronic acid 2%+B5, and to say I love it would be an understatement. My skin has been quite problematic in the past – combination yet sensitive, plus I break out quite easily and get dry spots when the weather gets colder. Hyaluronic acid has helped me so much in balancing all this. Skin is calm, pores are lighter, and I feel like I don’t get oily as easily at the end of the day. I’ve also got the moisturising factors cream and I agree with others – the texture is not great, but it does the job and I also love it’s packaging, very convenient for travelling with hand luggage only. Still want to try marula and rose hip oils. Squalane hasn’t done it for me this far, but I got it in the spring and I really don’t feel like using oils in the summer, will see about it again in the winter.

    • 6

      Oh, seriously? 10 bottles is pretty impressive, although I do realise that most people don’t jump between products the way I do. I’m a big fan of hyaluronic acid, but it’s mostly enough in my case if I get it from my essence, serum or cream, I don’t necessarily need a dedicated product. I always have it, though (currently Pestle & Mortar and Hada Labo) and recommend it to everyone. So glad it has helped you with your skin and thanks so much for commentng. Apologues for late reply, I’m in the middle of Ida-Virumaa forest with shaky network connection.

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