Last month, I turned forty. Of course, because the Internet knows everything, it’s no surprise that my Facebook 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 I’ve been looking around at skin care solutions that might help me out a little. So, when Liz suggested I try the skincare from The Ordinary for our Damn You, Facebook 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

What is The Ordinary?

The Ordinary’s focus is 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 alone 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 from any of their 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.

(FYI: China requires beauty brands to do this, so if your favorite concealer is sold in China, it’s been tested on animals. Just a heads up.)

So, all that’s great. But what really sold me is the efficacy of the products at a truly great price.

A 30ml bottle of The Ordinary coverage foundation is just $6.90. The mid-range brand I’d been using (not drugstore, but not Chanel either) is 40ml for $42. That’s a ridiculous savings.

Related: A simple skincare regimen for busy moms. You can do this!

The Ordinary skincare collection: Great products at an affordable price

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 had an irregularly cut border on the lid, which sliced my finger pretty badly when I opened it the first time.

I’m choosing to look at it as a freak accident, but be careful out there, folks.

The results

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

I purchased a 30ml bottle of their eye cream, Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, for $6.70 (about 10% of the cost of my regular eye cream). 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.

In the morning, if I had to put my makeup on right away afterward, you could sometimes see the boundary line of where this serum had been applied under my foundation.

The goal of the serum is to reduce the appearance of eye counter pigmentation (i.e, dark circles) and puffiness, so after three weeks of use, take a look at my before and after shots and see for yourself what you think.

Related: A quick, natural skincare routine for tweens and teens from an expert who knows her stuff

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, and one smiling, just 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.

The one catch…

Here’s one problem though: their products are really hard to shop for on The Ordinary site.

Personally, I’d like to see them arranged by type: makeup, eye creams, lotions, face masks. Instead, their categories are things like Retinoids (which, BTW, any pregnant or breastfeeding woman should avoid), Direct Acids, Antioxidants, More Molecules, and so on.

That means you either need to know what you’re looking for, be a total cosmetic science expert, or you need to be willing to spend some time browsing some long descriptions to figure out what you want to get.

My cheat was to skip down to the directions in each product description, to get a quick idea of what it’s used for.

The Ordinary skincare collection: Honest approach to skin care

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.

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

I’ll be ordering their makeup next to try, and will probably add some more moisturizing oils and their Lactic Acid 10% + HA peeling facial oil ($6.79). And that’s something I’d probably never buy from one of the big, fancy brands because the cost would simply be too prohibitive.

NOTE: The Ordinary is also available at our affiliate Amazon, but the prices are about double what’s listed at their own site. So probably 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.

More reviews from our Damn You, Facebook Ads series, in which we buy + try the items that are probably flooding your own Facebook feeds, too:

Bombas socks
Glossier Balm 

THINX period underwear
Like a Glove Smart Leggings
The True & Co. Second Skin bra
Stitchfix: A brutally honest she said/she said review
Function of Beauty shampoo and conditioner
Inkbox Semi-Permanent Tattoos
Movie Pass: Is it a good value for families?
Do Etee reusable food wraps really work?

Seeing any products you’d like us to try out for you? Let us know!

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