We’ve long been fans of the Ordinary’s budget-friendly, science-driven skin-care basics for smoothing, exfoliating, and brightening skin. Its products appear in several of our best-of beauty roundups, the Cut rightfully deemed the company “the Everlane of skin care” back in 2017, and our colleagues at the Strategist UK even put together a guide to the Ordinary’s best oils, serums, and solutions earlier this year. Already reasonably priced without the traditional markup, it’s rare to find its mostly-under-$10 offerings at a discount. But now through the end of November, you can take 23 percent off sitewide as part of the brand’s Slowvember sale. Below, you’ll find all our favorite, Strategist-tested products from the Ordinary — ranging from a TikTok-viral serum to a “magic” scalp exfoliator — many of which, might we add, would make excellent stocking stuffers (especially for notoriously hard-to-shop-for teen girls).
Our beauty columnist Rio Viera-Newton praises the Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum for combating the most “infuriating” of dark marks and says that in her skin’s worst phases of blotchiness, she can rely on the product to even out her skin tone in “the span of a week.” It’s also a “holy grail” for Michaela Bosch, a Brooklyn-based makeup artist who has worked on shoots for Interview, Dazed, and Numéro, particularly when it comes to combating breakouts. It “stops breakouts dead in their tracks,” she says.
Viera-Newton is also a fan of the Ordinary’s Mandelic Acid for fighting hyperpigmentation and exfoliating “dry, acne-prone skin.” Its formula incorporates glycerin and hyaluronic acid for extra hydration.
When our friends at the Strategist UK asked a group of experts for their pick of products to treat acne scars, the Ordinary’s Azelaic Acid Suspension was a top recommendation. Dr. Michele Farber of Schweiger Dermatology Group told them that azelaic acid works by “inhibiting the formation of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which in turn stops the mechanism that produces skin-darkening melanin.”
After discovering a K-beauty hack on a sub-Reddit that suggested using acid facial toners to exfoliate her dry scalp, Strategist contributor Isobel Lewis invested in the Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution. For Lewis, the results were “magic”: “My scalp feels fresh but not sore, and my wash routine remains the same,” she wrote.
As the Strategist UK writes in its guide to the best products from the Ordinary, “This is a product that you will no doubt have seen gracing your FYP and Instagram feeds over the last year.” Viera-Newton can see why; according to her, the product is nothing short of “phenomenal … I use it twice a week, and I absolutely adore what it does for my overall redness and hormonal acne,” she writes.
Strategist writer and avid moisturizer Tembe Denton-Hurst says this rose-hip oil helps her “maintain an even, bright complexion,” and her “skin is suspiciously glow-y at all times” whenever she uses it regularly.
“Squalane is a wonderful, highly effective emollient (meaning it locks in moisture) that helps hydrate and quench the skin while protecting it from free radicals,” writes Viera-Newton in her guide to the best face oils. According to one of Reddit’s favorite skin-care guides, it’s also fungal-acne safe.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.