Monday, 23 October 2017

Skin Care staples from The Ordinary, and why they have worked for me.

Skin Care Products and Serums From The Ordinary

 It's been almost a year since the first batch of these little pipette styled bottles arrived on my dressing table and revolutionised my skincare routine into something more of a pleasurable ritual rather than a basic chore; giving me results I didn't know could be possible when you consider the price. As much as I'd like to, I don't think I will ever be part of the Tata Harper's of the world (no hate) because it's way out of my price range - and that's just fine. Because what The Ordinary has done has given me a taster of things to come should I finally decide to dabble with the more complex formulas of its premier counterparts (this post isn't sponsored by the way).

Like I just said, I've been delving into the world of The Ordinary for nearly a year now, along with researching some of these long and hard to pronounce scientc-y names and what, if any, miracles I can expect (just don't ask me to pronounce them). Now considering there isn't a scientific bone in my body - not one - this has resulted in a better understanding of ingredients as a whole; and rather than concentrate so much on what's on the front, I'm now inclined to flip over the packaging to read its contents.

Apart from having the odd break or trying PR samples, it has often resulted in my skin missing them dearly! Some people have experienced great results when using The Ordinary and some haven't which is totally understandable (let's not be nasty). We all share a polarized view on skincare because it's so personal and all have different needs and expectations. I don't wish to look twenty years younger because that would be just plain daft! Just a better version of myself is all I want to achieve.

One assumes the reason why The Ordinary has worked for me is because my skin is happy with the combinations I use. Some spots were experienced at the beginning; but to be honest, I was also experiencing the first stages of the menopause (early I know); the hormonal dramas, no periods and also excessive body heat, so I put it down to that. However, purging isn't uncommon during the early stages of using active ingredients - especially if your skin is new to them. I've also been very patient when using these and wasn't expecting over-night miracles, although some were noticed the following morning. The passing process of two menstrual cycles to allow any skincare product to perform, regardless of brand, also isn't unheard of.

   Skincare has changed an awful lot since I were a teenager and is no longer the 3-step process practiced back then. Family life can eat up your finances like nobody's business, and before I reached the age of forty, few high-end products were seen on the dressing table - so you could say, my skin was a virgin to a lot of these ingredients or at these higher concentrations.

Today, I'm going to be sharing the ones that have worked for me and have continued to repurchase. Please remember, I'm not a skincare expert (far from it) and still have a lot to learn. But it seems the key to good skin care for the over forties has to include : Peptides, a form of Vitamin A (Retinol), Niacinamide and Vitamin C. Just for the record, I have combination skin.

Skin Care Products and Serums From The Ordinary | Sheer Gloss

Morning Serums

Yes. In an ideal world, everything I could possibly need packaged in one bottle would make life so much easier. But for someone on a budget, one would imagine that once the bells and whistles were added, the finished product would end up costing me an absolute fortune to buy. This is why I love  the freedom of Brandon's no-frills approach, and can create my own custom made routine on a budget. 

These three together have become holy grail status. I use these quite a lot. If I don't, it feels as though my skin is screaming at me demanding "where the hell are those peptides?"  The overall appearance in my skin has improved a lot since using this as it looks much more hydrated, even toned and the texture is looking smoother too.

Argireline (Acetyl Hexapeptide-8) works a little like a muscle relaxer, which is why some people call it botox in a bottle, although it really isn't. The results are subtle and really isn't that bad when you consider the price. I use this watery substance first after cleansing, focusing mainly on the forehead and around the eyes (works particularly well around the eye area). 

 Niacinamide works to aid the appearance of congestion and blemishes. It's also known to be a great anti-ageing ingredient that helps to improve dullness, fine lines, open pores and uneven skin tone. The added Zinc helps to balance sebum activity which has been great for my t-zone. I've been using this along with its peptide side-kick and Agireline, and cannot deny the overall appearance has improved. I also found the Niacinamide to be absolutely brilliant for tackling any spots or any of those red marks that tend to appear out of nowhere. I find these are usually gone anything between 24hrs to 2-3 days after using this. 

The only thing I have to watch with the Niacinamide is that it can be a little temperamental when used underneath certain moisturisers, causing the dreaded pilling (when the formula starts to ball up).

Buffet is a multi-peptide cocktail which also contains hyaluronic acid. All three have become my little army that tackles the battles that comes with ageing. 

 Caffeine is used quite a lot in eye creams because it works by constricting blood vessels under the eye to reduce that 'puffiness'  along with dark circles. Additional studies have shown that Caffeine can also help reduce cellulite (there's a new one for you!) although I think I'd need a formula the size of a wine bottle to sort that one out, haha!

This eye formula uses a high concentration of 5%. Plus, you're getting 30ml of this which is going to last you months! I generally use this in the mornings before applying my usual eye cream. I really wasn't sure about this to be begin with because of the puffy eye claims. My puffiness is not sleep related and is due to age. I have what is now known as 'Tear Troughs'  where the skin looks as though it's lost firmness and sinks along the orbital bone and to be honest, only fillers will get rid of those. At first, I didn't see much improvement until I stopped using this. Then I realised my eyes actually looked more puffy without it. So I began using it again, and realised it does take the edge off a bit.

Skin Care Products and Serums From The Ordinary

Skin Care Products and Serums From The Ordinary

Evenings - Treatments and extras applied alternate evenings or every 2-3 days, 

 Introducing an acid was the first step that helped to get things moving and made me see a real change in how my skin felt and looked. I use to use the Pixi Glow Tonic before switching to this cheaper alternative.

This is a slightly stronger version than the Pixi Glow Tonic (Pixi has 5%), so I use this 2 -3 evenings a week after cleansing. This one contains Tasmanian Pepperberry which helps reduce irritation, and Aloe Vera and Ginseng Root for both visible radiance and soothing benefits. It works by gently de-buffing the top layers of the skin to give a brighter, new, even toned complexion. I found this also helps the performance of my other skincare products as it allows them to work much more effectively and improve hydration. The thing I have to remember is to wear an SPF during the day as it makes the skin much more UV sensitive.


Retinol (Vitamin A) is the powerhouse when it comes to skin care ingredients. It has been well documented amongst facialists and dermatologists to be the most effective anti-ageing ingredient there is due its ability to reverse the signs of ageing. As we age, the cell renewal process slows down, resulting in that loss of radiance, collagen and firmness we once had during the good ole days. Retinols (or Vitamin A, I should say) works by prompting surface skin cells to turn over and die quite rapidly; making room for new cell growth underneath. Sun protection is paramount when using any form of retinols as it increases the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Plus, you wouldn't want to be spending all that time repairing sun damaged skin for it to be wrecked again. SPF is your preventative and needs to be worn all year round.

The stronger one...

To be honest, I'm a bit scared of using prescription formulas (Retinoic Acid creams) as I worry they might be too strong for me and cause irritation. These are for the serious skincare users who suffer with deep lines caused by ageing, sun damage and smoking. These Retinoic acids get to work instantly, whereas retinols take a lot longer to work because they have to work with your body to convert it to retinoic acid. Despite these being the more potent formulation they're actually not that expensive to buy (and for god's sake, don't even think of buying these from the web) but can only be obtained through a consultation from a dermatologist, which indeed would cost me an arm and a leg.

Retinol is a less irritating derivative from Vitamin A. When I heard about this one at 2%, I thought I'd give it a try. This is one of the Ordinary's first releases but now have other formulas at lower strengths.

I use this every other night or on the nights when I'm not using vitamin c or, acids At first, I used it  a couple of times a week to allow my skin to adjust. My skin did flake a little at first but that soon subsided once my skin got used to it. This keeps my skin looking radiant, soft and smooth, and my fine lines looking visibly softened - especially the area where I have the elevenses (lines between the brows). Skin appears much more taut which has resulted in improvement in applying brow products. 

During the early days of the Ordinary there was only one Vitamin C formula available unlike the  varied strengths you see now. I may plan on switching this one to a newer, more water soluble version later. Just to see how they work.

Vitamin C works as an antioxidant to protect the skin from free-radicals. It tackles uneven skin tone, hyperpigmentation and other visible signs of ageing. This is a high concentration of Vitamin C and in its purest form as it contains L-Absorbic Acid powder (which causes that grittiness). It also comes with the added benefit of Hyaluronic Acid to provide added plumpness. This formula isn't water based, so it allows it to stay in it's stable form to deliver the high concentration and promote effectiveness. Unfortunately, this means it's unable to penetrate into the skin as quick as a normal cream can. So I do have to wait a little if I want to apply other products on top.

This gritty formula is just plain weird and won't be to everyone's cup of tea. But it does work if you can put up with the tingling! My skin looks so much brighter and more even toned whenever I use this - plus it feels a lot smoother too! For a while I couldn't use it because the tingling was quite intense which made it a little uncomfortable. But I persevered by using it once a week to allow my skin to adjust. I now realise, I could've added this to my other creams which would have resulted in a more comfortable application.

I use this a night time because the gritty texture would be impossible to use under makeup - but it does work! In the morning my skin looks well rested, smooth and more even toned. Another reason I use it in the evening is because I use Niacinamide during the day. If the two were applied together, it'll just end up counteracting each other.

Skin Care Products and Serums From The Ordinary

Squalene with an (e) is something that's naturally found in our bodies. This cruelty and fragrance-free formulation of Squalane with an (a) is derived from olives, and even though we see it as an oil, it's not technically as such; but it's something that the skin responds really well to because it recognises it; so it allows it to absorb far more effectively than any other oil. I'm really enjoying this formula because it's so lightweight and absorbs very quickly without leaving that typical oily residue that you can get with a lot of oils; and because of that, it's great for the t-zone or for those days when my skin feels a little dehydrated than normal before applying makeup resulting in a smoother application and lasting longer too. This is also great for applying on the hair too, although you only want to apply a very small amount as it can leave it looking greasy.

This is great for giving my skin a weekly kick-up the backside. A total game-changer! If you don't suffer with sensitive skin then you need this in your life. This bright red formula provides deeper exfoliation that shouldn't be left on the skin for more than 10 minutes. I always apply a nourishing moisturiser afterwards. My skin has never felt so smooth since using this but because of the retinoid and toner, to be honest, I only really need to use this once a week, if that.

Have you tried any products from The Ordinary? Which products do you enjoy using? Anyone else looking forward to the release of their Suncare range? 

Toni. xoxo 



  1. This post is literally so in depth! I must try The Ordinary products. Vitamin A is so good for the skin. I actually take a vitamin a supplement. I really want to try the tonic. Oh and the pilling you were talking about? It’s because one of those products contain silicone and the other one doesn’t. They don’t mix well together.


  2. Beautiful photos. I love the ordinary noticed the same thing with the caffeine solution. And I ended up going back to it.



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