Our Basic But Not Basic Skincare Routine, Ft. The Ordinary
Don't let the name fool you; these products are far from ordinary…they're total game changers.
If we could, we’d be like those women whose beauty regimen is a splash of water on the face in the morning (like most dudes) and a little power before stepping out the house. Nothing else. In a perfect word, our skincare arsenal would be a Marie Kondo-esque, tightly edited range of multi-tasking products. In other words, it would be effortless, and very French. In reality though, our daily routine is pretty product-heavy, as we are constantly trying to treat acne and hyper pigmentation, fight premature-aging, exfoliate, things like that. Basically, what we’re saying is that our skincare routine is complicated, in more ways than one.
So yeah, those three-ingredient face washes just don’t work for us. At least not on their own – when we use the oil-cleansing method, we double cleanse to be safe. And we definitely need more than two products in the evening to keep our skin healthy and glowing.
Over the years, it’s been such a challenge to find products that actually do what they, and after we went vegan and decided to only buy cruelty-free products, that window got smaller and smaller. But we think we just landed on a gold mine. Actually we’re pretty sure. And it’s called The Ordinary.
Simplicity is transparency
By leaving behind unnecessary scent, elaborate packaging and fancy-sounding (but often unproven) ingredients, all that’s left are the things that actually matter – extremely effective ingredients and carefully constructed formulas that work. Just the idea of this skincare range is basically our philosophy on life.
We’re all about the parred-down packaging, the clinical level of active ingredients, and non-complicated formulas. Because the thing is, many brands use their slight clinical inclusions as selling points, which usually entices consumers to the point where they’re convinced said products will change their lives, when in reality, these products have seriously low levels of active ingredients, such as vitamin C, retinol, hyaluronic acid, etc. We don’t know about you, but we’ll take transparency and affordability over so-called “luxury” any day, whatever the fuck luxury even means. To us, this is how modern woman (and men) like their skincare, and we hope more brands will follow in The Ordinary’s footsteps.
Using these products give a sense of returning to the basics that just feels right. And don’t let the name fool you; these products are all highly-sophisticated, high-performance formulations with integrity. Just think: simple products that have mild, non-offensive scents that don’t linger or irritate and go to work almost immediately. In other words, perfect.
Onto the actual products, guys
What is it? A self-proclaimed “next generation” retinoid. Meaning, it’s super potent, yet surprisingly very gentle, and this is what we found to be the most amazing thing about this product — the fact that it’s so effective without being irritating. Like, at all. Because one of the two main active ingredients in this particular formula is Solubilized Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate, which is a non-prescription organic compound of direct retinoic acid, it actually achieves better visible aging results than Retinol 1%, a pure Retinol formula (which The Ordinary also offers) without the irritation. Or maybe the most impressive part about this product is it’s insanely fair price ($9.80). Can’t decide.
How we use it. We’ve been using prescription retin-A consistently since we we’re thirteen (mainly to help treat/control our stubborn acne), which is probably why people frequently come up to us thinking we’re still teenagers and are seemingly shocked when we tell them we’re 26. So to say the least, we know how retin-A works, and have become more than accustomed to the side-effects: the crazy tight, moisture-deprived skin, the peeling and flaking, oh, and of course, the temporary irritation and redness. Because of this, we typically only use retinoids 1-2 times a week, but since The Ordinary’s formula is so much kinder to the skin we’ve been using it a little more often. At night, after using toner, we go straight into applying the retinoid so that in can sink directly into the skin and get to work.
What is it? It’s exactly what it says it is, pure, unadulterated hyaluronic acid. That’s it. It’s super light on the skin, and smells like nothing. Because of the silky, serum-like formulation, the HA molecules are able to penetrate deep inside the skin, making its way through skin’s layers, and temporarily plumping you up while also moisturizing the top layer of skin. And of course, this HA serum is completely plant-derived.
The only other HA serum that we’ve tried and can compare this one to is Glossier’s Super Bounce ($28), which is much thinner than this one and also doesn’t seem to give that instant plumping effect as well as this one does. So that in mind, and considering that Glossier’s serum is about $21 more for only half the amount of product, The Ordinary clearly wins here. Oh, and judging based on how smooth our skin feels right after we apply, we would image that makeup would literally glide on and look completely flawless.
How we use it. In the morning during our treatment step of our skincare routine, we find it’s best to use humectants to really seal in the moisture right after toning, which is a really good prep for the more intense moisturization that’s bound to follow. We take a few drops and pat the HA onto our faces. This step especially comes in handy during the winter when a little something extra is not only comforting, but necessary. It has a light, non-sticky texture and doesn’t take to long to settle into the skin, which is great so that you can follow up with any other serums or oils. Our skin feels plump and thick afterwards.
What is it? A completely organic and natural facial oil to reduce signs of photo-aging and bring brightness back to your skin. Because it’s cold-pressed, it is in it’s purest and most effective form. The scent of this oil is a lot more pungent than the others, and no, it doesn’t smell like roses *sad face*.
How we use it. We’ve been using facial oils – alternating between a few favorites – on a daily basis for about three months now, and we have to say it’s one of the few things that consistently keeps our skin under control. Even though using oils to cleanse our skin (on their own) presented itself as, well, a disaster, applying a facial oil after deep cleansing and toning actually seems to balance out the sebum production in our skin. And they all surprising proved to do everything they say they will: restore a natural glow to your complexion while providing essential vitamins and hydration to the skin. And they leave your skin feeling soft like butter. Most days, we’ve been applying it after serums with nothing else on top, but it layers perfectly under moisturizer as well.
What is it? Unlike the rose hip, this oil has a very sweet smell, and is slightly thinner. Even though it’s a six-dollar oil, it feels so luxurious. Like seriously, seriously luxurious. Not because of beautiful packaging. Not because of the subliminal mind-trick that a higher price often warrants. Because of the pureness of an organic, cold-pressed oil.
How we use it. When we use this oil we make sure to also bring it down to our necks, shoulders and décolleté. Something about dousing the body in oils just makes us feel like queens. Because this oil is so pure you really only need a tiny amount. We find mixing a few drops into a handful of vitamin E oil is enough to moisturize these areas. And, oh my God, when you wake up your skin is so supple and baby soft, it’s ridiculous.
The Ordinary is proof that you can find great, cruelty-free, plant-based skincare products that work. Have you tried any of their products yet? Let us know in the comments section below.
**FTC: This post is not sponsored, nor were any products sent to us for review (even though that would be cool, too). We just genuinely love all of these products.**