If you're not familiar with Deciem's The Ordinary line of skincare products, you should be. Founded by Brandon Truaxe in 2013, this Canadian company has been revolutionizing the way we think about our skin and what we put on our faces.
While other higher-priced brands have similar products, their prices are greatly inflated. By forgoing fancy packaging and expensive preservatives, The Ordinary has found a way to bring high-quality skincare to consumers for less. The truth is that The Ordinary provides the opportunity to use high-end ingredients to all women, and not just those that can afford higher priced items. The packaging is ordinary, but the ingredients inside – they're anything but.
After using these products for almost three years, it's time to dive right into a review of a not so ordinary company.
I have been loving these products since I started using them almost three years ago, and in all that time my infatuation with them hasn't dwindled a bit. Here are a few of my favorite things about the company and their skincare line.
Single Ingredient Products
The Ordinary serums are single ingredient formulations, meaning there are no pore-clogging fillers, allergens, or preservatives. You always know exactly what you're putting on your face. Skincare products usually have a list of hard to pronounce ingredients, but you won't find that with these products. You get exactly what's listed on the bottle – no more, no less. If you need more than one ingredient to deal with your skincare concerns, simply layer the products.
No Frills Packaging
In this day and age, sustainability is a forefront issue. Excess packaging drives costs up and eventually winds up in a landfill. The Ordinary has opted to forgo the fancy packaging in an effort to bring the product to the consumer at a low price point. Using these products saves your face as well as the environment.
No Fragrances or Scents
How many times have you tried a product with an overwhelming scent or fragrance? First your eyes water, and then your nose starts to run. The Ordinary left fragrances and scents out of their products to keep their products inexpensive, and to cater to those with sensitive skin or allergies.
Jars of product are unsanitary at best. After you dip your fingers into them once, they're already contaminated. Fortunately, The Ordinary doesn't have any jars to harbor bacteria. Instead, their products come in glass dropper bottles, ensuring that every drop is as sanitary as the first.
The people at The Ordinary went through the effort to create a skincare guide for consumers. They've outlined products for different skin conditions along with both a morning and evening routine. If you're not sure how to begin, taking a look at the guide on their website is a great place to start.
Their products are incredibly inexpensive. By forgoing any fancy packaging, fillers, or fragrance they've been able to keep their products at a very low price point. They also don't take part in any big marketing campaigns for the same reason. And when we say cheap, we aren't kidding. You can buy most of their products for less than $10. Many companies charge 10 or more times that amount for similar products. The best part is these products actually work – and they do it without breaking your bank account.
As with any other product, you have to weigh the good with the bad. When it comes to The Ordinary, there are some things that you might consider to be liabilities. Some of them are things other people would consider assets and include:
Lack of Fancy Packaging
For a lot of people, this is a plus. However, if you're all about fancy jars and bottles that you can display on your vanity, these products might not be what you're looking for. That being said, lining up the glass dropper bottles on your vanity might make you feel like a chemist.
As mentioned earlier, products from The Ordinary do not contain any added fragrances or scents. As a result, some of the products don't smell the best, and some have a bit of a nasty sulfur-type odor. If you like scented products, you won't like these. The scent isn't horrible, but it's definitely not what I'd call rosy by any means.
Limited Layering of Ingredients
If you have more than one skin condition (dry skin and wrinkles, dry skin and acne, etc.) you're going to want to layer the products to get the results you want. However, The Ordinary warns that layering more than three ingredients could overload your skin. As with layering any other serums, layering more than three at a time can result in the product 'pilling' or rolling off your face, so that's not much of a concern as you likely wouldn't try to layer more than three anyway.
The Ordinary's website can seem overwhelming at first. All products are listed by their ingredient name (retinoids, niacinamide, oils, vitamins, etc), and the product pages look like something out of a scientific website. However, a little bit of research into the products, and viewing a few quick YouTube videos can help take some of the guesswork out of it. And, as mentioned earlier, they have a handy skincare guide to help you determine which products you need, along with both nighttime and daytime skincare routines.
The Ordinary has a bit of an ugly side, much like any brand. Writing a review on them wouldn't be complete without revealing the not so pleasant side of the company. Without further ado, let's dive into it.
The Estee Lauder Factor
In 2017, Estee Lauder partnered with Deciem, The Ordinary's parent company. While some might think it's great that such a big name took notice of such a small company, it comes at a cost. Although prices are still the same as they were at the time of the partnership, it's only a matter of time until they hike the costs to match the other cosmetic brands in their investment portfolio. Eventually, they'll levy heavy marketing campaigns and so-called innovative packaging, which will, in turn, raise their prices.
The Sad Demise of The Founder
In 2018, founder Brandon Truaxe started exhibiting some unusual behavior making some question his sanity. Between uploading videos of his tirades to Instagram, telling people all Deciem stores would be closed due to criminal activity within the company, and asking his Twitter followers to call airport security regarding his lost luggage, people wondered if he was okay or if it was all just an unusual approach to marketing. Sometime during the whole debacle, Estee Lauder filed an injunction and ousted him from his own company.
On January 21st of 2019, 40-year old Brandon jumped to his death from the balcony of his Toronto apartment. After having been big news for almost six years, his death only received a three-minute blurb on the news. It should have sparked a conversation about mental health and stability, but instead, it felt more like his mark on the company was erased with no fanfare.
While his death is not the fault of Estee Lauder by any means, instead of removing him from the company he founded, they probably should have gotten him the help he needed. If they had, he'd probably still be alive today. That being said, when you let a big corporation invest in your company, you have to be prepared for them to start calling the shots. I just wish they'd handled it all differently.
No matter how you slice it, The Ordinary is an extraordinary brand. Their products work and produce results without costing a fortune. From the lack of fillers and fragrance to the minimal packaging and inexpensive prices, there's no other company that offers everything that they do at a price point that everyone can afford. You don't need to save up a fortune for luxurious products when you can buy the active ingredients without breaking the bank.
The Ordinary touts themselves as The Abnormal Beauty Company, and they truly are anything but ordinary. Give them a try. You won't be disappointed, and you might just find your new favorite products for a fraction of the price you'd pay anywhere else.