If you’ve been looking for a trusted The Ordinary review, you’ve come to the right place! Because I was wondering myself how good this stuff could be when it’s this cheap.

Last month, I turned forty. Because the Internet knows everything, it’s no surprise that my social media feed is full of skin care ads that seem to want me to look like I’m in my twenties again. Which, for the record, I do not want to be. But, my crow’s feet — and that mean-looking scowl-wrinkle between my eyes — are two features I wouldn’t mind improving just a bit.

Botox isn’t my thing, so when my editor Liz suggested I review the skincare products from The Ordinary for our Damn You, Social Media Ads series — in which we buy and try the items that are flooding our feeds –I was intrigued.

Related: 7 drugstore beauty products that are better than the expensive stuff

The Ordinary Skincare Products:We bought them and tried them (with before/after photos!) to see if something so affordable can be effective

This post contains affiliate links that help support our team at no additional cost to you. We paid for these products with our own money and our reviews include our 100% honest opinions. 

What is The Ordinary?

The Ordinary has a focus on integrity in beauty marketing. If their product is made using a familiar technology that’s been around for years, they’re not going to try to make you think it’s an earth-shattering innovation. (Which flies in the face of pretty much every beauty commercial you’ve ever seen, right?) Their goal is to be totally honest with you about their products and I find that pretty refreshing.

But how about the products?

While The Ordinary is not necessarily on the forefront of clean beauty like some other brands, they have banned the use of all parabens, sulphates, formaldehyde, mercury, and a handful of other harmful ingredients that you won’t find in their best-selling products. If you have a question about one of the ingredients, they’re willing to talk to you about it. I think that’s definitely a good start.

They also refuse to test their products on animals and won’t pay others to do so.

(Note: China requires beauty brands to do this, so if your favorite beauty product is sold in China, that particular formula may have been tested on animals — or a slightly different product or formula that’s only marketed in China. Sometimes You hear that “a company tests on animals,” but it’s a parent company, and not the actual brand you’re buying. I know, it’s complicated.)

But what really sold me is the efficacy of the products at a truly great price.

The Ordinary natural moisturizing factors: Hydration up the whazoo

The Ordinary moisturizer collection is just $13.50 to $22.50 for 100ml. Compare that with Clinique Moisturizing Lotion which is $34/100ml at Sephora — or higher end brands like Drunk Elephant Moisturizer at $98 for 100ml; ;or Tatcha’s The Dewy Skin Cream Plumping & Hydrating Moisturizer (which is lovely by the way), which is $72 for just 50ml! That’s a remarkable savings!

Related: Our honest review of Glossier Balm Dot Com

The labeling has a cool, pharmaceutical look to the design, but the low cost has to come from somewhere and I think it must be the packaging. The bottle I purchased did have an irregularly cut border on the lid, which sliced my finger when I opened it the first time.I’m choosing to look at it as a freak accident, but be careful out there, folks. (Also, they have improved the packaging since I first tried this.

The results

As for the products themselves, here’s my experience.

The Ordinary Skincare's caffeine + EGCG eye serum: Great price, great results

I purchased a 30ml bottle of their eye cream, The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG Eye Serum, which is $9.20 in 2024. (And still about 10% of the cost of my regular underage product.) The goal of the serum is to reduce the appearance of eye counter pigmentation (i.e, dark circles) and puffiness,

I regularly applied it both morning and night, from the inside corner of my under eye around and up to my crow’s feet. It has a thin, gel-like texture that I have to say, I preferred using at night. (If you apply makeup right over it, you might see the boundary line of the serum application.)

After three weeks of use, take a look at my before and after shots and see for yourself what you think.

Related: Yes, this celebrity-fave face peel is as good as they say it is. For a change.

The Ordinary skin care review: Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG before pictures

The Ordinary skin care review: Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG after pictures

I took these raw, unretouched photos make up-free — one with a neutral expression, one smiling, to show you my wrinkles in all their glory for the most accuracy. (See what I do for you!)

I definitely see a reduction in dark circles. Success! But the biggest difference for me is that the wrinkle under my eye when I smile is gone, which isn’t even a benefit that they promise.

One caveat:

Since its inception, The Ordinary has changed from clever names like their best-selling “The Buffet,” to name them with very plain, descriptive language — in this case, Multi-Peptide + HA Serum.. If you haven’t purchased from them for a while, you’ll have to look pretty carefully to be sure you’re getting the right product.

So, is it worth trying out? 

Um, obviously! You cannot beat the price of these beauty products. I mean, you’d pay more for a fast-food meal than this eye serum. If it doesn’t work for you, hey, you really haven’t lost a huge investment. Plus the bottles are recyclable, and even their tubes and pumps can be recycled in-store if there’s one near you.

I also love that many potentially harmful chemicals are not used here, and their transparency is refreshing.

The Ordinary: Power of Peptides Gift SetTry the gift sets if you don’t know what to get next!

Next, I’ll be ordering some more oxidant-packed Marula Oil for skin radiance and moisturizing ($11.40)  and their Lactic Acid 10% + HA peeling facial oil ($9.20). And those are cosmetics I’d probably never buy from one of the big, fancy brands because the cost would simply be too prohibitive.

NOTE: You can find products frion The Ordinary website, look for The Ordinary on Sephora or The Ordinary on Amazon. Just be aware the prices on Amazon can be a lot more what’s listed at their own site.

The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane direct from The Ordinary: $9.30/1oz
The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane at Amazon: $13.82/1oz

So it might not your best choice, even for Prime members. Standard shipping from The Ordinary is just $5 in the US, with free shipping on orders over $25. Plus you know the quality is guaranteed and the products are new.

See reviews from our Damn You, Social Media Ads series, in which we buy + try the items that are probably flooding your own social media feeds, too:

Glossier Balm 

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Color WOW Dream Coat anti-frizz treatment review
Green Ablutions bar shampoo review

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Inkbox Semi-Permanent Tattoos
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Seeing any products you’d like us to try out for you? Let us know!