The Ordinary’s 8 Best Anti-Aging Products

If you’ve been on the internet within the past year, chances are you’ve read about The Ordinary or have seen photos of its minimalistic products (picture what face serums would look like if Apple made them). The Canadian skincare brand has everything from facial peels to zinc serums at super affordable prices — which is why it’s amassed a cult-like following.

Because the brand has so much to offer, it’s hard to figure out what to start with, especially when anti-aging is on your mind. There’s a ton of competing information out there when it comes to skincare, which is why I usually opt for reviews from Reddit and advice from dermatologists.

There are no skincare fanatics out there quite like those on beauty subreddits. They’ve tested out every product imaginable, and give raw advice and reviews like a best friend. When it comes to what works and what doesn’t, Reddit doesn’t hold back. Here’s what they have to say about some of The Ordinary’s anti-aging offerings.

Best to achieve glowing, dewy skin: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

“LOVED this product. It made my skin noticeably brighter and caused me no irritation. That being said, I had issues with pilling when using this with other products, so I didn’t RP.”

Shop now: $6; sephora.com

Best to combat dark spots: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

“I’ve had a great response to Alpha Arbutin from the Ordinary. I really notice a difference that I hadn’t achieved with retinol or vitamin C, which are commonly used. Something to keep in mind if you try the common solutions and don’t see the results you’re after.”

“The alpha arbutin works on my dark spots. I noticed they fade faster than my usual routine. I also use niacinamide for my whole face to target oiliness. The AA, I patch it only on my dark spots. But you have to combine it with regular exfoliation and sunscreen.”

Shop now: $9; sephora.com 

Best to brighten and hydrate skin: 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil 

“Can confirm, the rosehip oil is awesome, and I have the most sensitive, complicated, allergic, and comedogenic skin… It keeps hydration and brightens like nothing else.”

Shop now: $10; sephora.com 

Best to combat puffy eyes: Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

“At the moment I have a cold that morphed into a sinus infection (the JOY!). I’m even puffier than usual. Normally I would patch test, but what with not feeling well and looking like a freaking basset hound I thought screw this sh*t and put it on. It bloody works! You can see the difference almost immediately (this coming from me is a high praise :)”

Shop now: $7; sephora.com

Best for fine lines and wrinkles: Granactive Retinoid* 2% Emulsion

“It eliminated most of the fine lines on my forehead (I’m 28, combo skin, prone to breakouts). Makes my skin very smooth too! I started on the 1 percent in squalane in December but I think that made me break out so I switched back.

It did take me a couple of months to really see the difference though, but I read somewhere retinoids take at least min six to eight weeks to reach their top effect (the anti-aging part at least, don’t know about the acne prevention)… But I’m really happy now!“

Shop now: $10; sephora.com

Best vitamin C serum: Vitamin C Suspension 23%

“I currently [use] the Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%, it’s only been two days and my skin when I wake up is so glowy and well-hydrated. I’ve been letting it sit at night for about 30 mins before adding my Ponds Hydrating Cream.”

Shop now: $6; sephora.com

Best for evening skin texture: Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% 

“I’ve been raving about this stuff on this sub for a while now (and being consistently downvoted for some reason). It really is a game changer. I can’t use it every day because my skin is very thin and sensitive but on the days I do use it it gives me porcelain skin.”

Shop now: $8; sephora.com 

Best exfoliant to combat dullness: Mandelic Acid 10% + HA 

“I have sensitive combination skin and other acids have not worked for me in the past. This one is very gentle and started showing effects within a week.”

Shop now: $7; sephora.com

INSTYLE article

Everything You Need to Know About the Pigments in Your Clean Makeup Products

The key is to get traditional color payoff, without traditional formulations.

It’s become quite clear in recent years that more and more consumers want the option of purchasing makeup products that have been formulated without potentially harmful ingredients — and retailers are listening up.

Sephora, for example offers a green seal for products that are made without over 50 controversial ingredients, while Credo Beauty only sells brands, both skincare and cosmetic, that deem themselves as clean. But long before these makeup products can reach shelves, it’s up to founders to figure out how to give consumers vibrant color payoff, all without the use of ingredients like carbon black or petroleum found in many traditional formulas.

“Color cosmetics are arguably the hardest products we create for this very reason,” Lindsay Dahl, senior vice president of social mission at Beautycounter shares with InStyle.”We are constantly working with our team to try different colorants, source new raw materials, all the while considering safety and sourcing issues that may arise.”

Yet, both Beautycounter and Róen Beauty have nailed how to make makeup products that are clean, and offer the color payoff consumers crave by using ingredients like mica and zinc stearate, which are both considered to be low risk when it comes to toxicity, according to the Environmental Working Group.

Here, an interview with Dahl and Beautycounter chief artistic officer Christy Coleman, as well as Róen Beauty CEO Tiffany Thurston Scott to answer all your questions about sourcing clean pigments.

Why Is It Important for Brands to Source Clean Pigments?

“The higher the pigment, the higher chance there is for heavy metal contamination, so it’s really important to go beyond just the Never List [Beautycounter’s list of over 1,800 potentially harmful ingredients that they do not use],” says Dahl. “We believe screening makeup for heavy metals is a practice that every beauty brand should be doing, but is not widely practiced, even among the ‘clean’ beauty industry. We screen each colorant for 23 health and environmental endpoints, in addition to testing raw materials and finished goods for heavy metals.”

As for Scott, it’s personal.

When she was in her early 20s, she shares that she became “obsessed” with understanding where her food came from in order to know exactly what she was putting into her body. This is why it became so important for her to source clean ingredients for her line.

“It was a natural transition for me to focus not only on what I was putting in my body but what I was putting on my body,” she says. “This led me to look into ingredients in my cosmetic and skincare products which was an eye-opener as to the toxic chemicals that are so prevalent.”

Is It Difficult to Find Clean Pigments That Offer Traditional Color Payoff?

Leaders from both brands admit that it was a challenge. However, after working with the right chemists, they were able to find ingredients that offered the best of both worlds.

“All of our products spend at least a year in development, which is why we have a small curated selection of products,” Scott says of Róen. “It’s important to me that we don’t launch anything that I’m not completely proud of and know is clean and high performing.”

Are There Certain Colors That Are Harder to Source Than Others?

According to Coleman, blues, greens, some rich browns, as well as certain glitters can pose a challenge.

“[They] have historically been harder to formulate safely given the high levels of heavy metals,” she explains. “In terms of mica, which gives a shimmery effect, particle size plays an important role. I have found it challenging sourcing a finer particle size which gives more of a subtle sheen, as opposed to larger particle sizes that produce a more glitter effect.”

Does Going Clean Come at a Steep Cost?

The long and short answer is yes, however, Scott believes that a clean bill of health is always worth the investment.

“[Health and glamour] can coexist and complement each other,” she says. “I think that as the clean beauty industry grows and evolves, the ingredients will become increasingly more economical as the demand continues to heighten.”

Dahl also notes that it’s not just about the money.

“We have audited 100% of our mica supply chain — a safe ingredient commonly used in makeup — that has human rights and labor concerns, like child labor,” she shares. “Taking on this important sourcing work comes at a cost, but we care about making sure people are protected all along our supply chain.”

The brand also uses some of their products to give back to areas that have been affected by labor exploitation. For example, ten percent of each purchase from the Golden Hour All-In-One Palette goes towards communities impacted by mica mining in India.

How Can You Ensure Ingredients Are Sourced Ethically?

It truly comes down to founders doing their homework, says Scott, who makes sure that the labs and suppliers she works with prioritize protecting the environment. But she’s transparent about the fact she, and the industry as a whole, can still do a better job.

“Our suppliers adhere to strict ethical guidelines in terms of sourcing materials to how the products are manufactured,” she explains. “For instance, our labs are part of the Responsible Mica Initiative that ensures our mica ethically sourced. We can always improve in this area and will always strive to continually improve wherever we can.”

INSTYLE article