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How To Layer The Ordinary

The Complete Beginner´s Guide to How To Layer The Ordinary Products

  1. Water-Based Solutions
  2. Anhydrous
  3. Oil
  4. Emulsion *
  5. Suspension *

How To Layer Ordinary Skincare Products

If you´re reading this page, you have probably just heard about The Ordinary, ordered lots of products and now wondering what to do with them!

Well, I am pleased to tell you that you are not alone! I did it, and thousands of #deciemaddicts in The Ordinary & Deciem Chat Room Facebook Group have done it too. When I first started using The Ordinary, I really needed help which is why I created The Ordinary & Deciem Chat Room Facebook Group and a page like this, so I hope this helps you. Download the How to Layer The Ordinary PDF.

The Simple Way To Layering The Ordinary Skincare

The simple way to layer your skincare products is generally the thinnest/clearest to the thickest/opaque. But remember, you DO NOT have to use all these layers. You may just cleanse and apply Multi-Peptide Serum and a Moisturizer. They are layered in this order so they can penetrate the skin.

How to Layer The Ordinary – Layering Guide from The Ordinary

This is the how-to-layer guide from The Ordinary. The Ordinary recommends no more than 3 serums in a routine. Whilst there are many steps here, they are not saying you have to do them all. You may just cleanse – water-based serum – cream – SPF. If you layer too many products, you may experience “pilling”, where you will have lots of bits coming off your face once you apply your SPF or makeup, and it is not a nice feeling.

How to layer The Ordinary Products
Photo from The Ordinary

How To Layer The Ordinary Skincare Products

Here´s a quick chart with most of The Ordinary products listed by their solutions. You would add them in the order from left to right, water-based – anhydrous/oil – emulsion – suspension, although there are a few exceptions. So make sure you continue to read the rest of the page!

How To Layer The Ordinary – Easy PDF Guide To Layering Skincare

There are more products, but they are masques or haircare, which do not apply to the chart.

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The Ordinary Solutions

The Ordinary Water-Based Products = 1

Apply water-based products directly after cleansing. If using acids, this would go first. If using numerous water-based solutions, you can apply the one that targets your main skin concern first.

The Ordinary Anhydrous Products = 2

These should be applied after water solutions (if used) and before oils/creams.

The Ordinary Oils = 3

Oils should be applied after water solutions but before creams/emulsions. Some people use these as the very last step. Deciem recommends oils before heavy creams like Natural Moisturising Factors. See which way works for you. You can always mix a couple of drops of oil into the Natural Moisturizing Factors.

The Ordinary Emulsions = 4

This is where you need to do a bit of free thinking. Emulsions/Creams are supposed to be the last step, but there are some exclusions, as you can see below

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides
Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan (GEL)
Mineral UV Filters SPF 15 with Antioxidants
Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (after water solution, before oil/creams)
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% (after water solutions, before oils/creams)
High-Adherence Silicone Primer (last step before makeup)

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The Ordinary Suspensions = 5

Originally it was recommended to use these before NMF moisturizers, and then it was recommended to use them after. Then it was mentioned to use as you wish.

The Ordinary Powders

How to layer The Ordinary products skincare tips

  • Firstly, do not stress. Relax, learn and enjoy pampering yourself.
  • You can now build your very own personalized The Ordinary Skincare Routine.
  • Always start with cleansed skin. If using acids, these would be applied directly after cleansing.
  • 2/3 drops of each serum is all you need. If you feel you need more, use more.
  • A pea-sized amount of creams for the face and neck. If you feel you need more, use more.
  • Massage or pat until each product is absorbed before applying the next.
  • The Ordinary says to use no more than 3 serums in one routine.
  • If using multiple water-based products, use the one for the skin concern you wish to target the most.
  • If a product has too many conflicts (e.g. Buffet + Copper Peptides), you could find it challenging to use alongside your other products. Think before buying. Make sure you check The Ordinary products you can and cannot mix.
  • Don’t buy too many products of the same solution or category, and stick to the same routine for a good few weeks for the best results.
  • I know from experience that when you first hear about The Ordinary, you will fill your basket up because the products look so cheap. But please, don’t waste your money. You will end up with lots of products that conflict and not enough time to use them all.
  • Always check conflicts and when the product should be used, ie. AM/PM. If you have products that conflict, use them in alternate routines.

Why are The Ordinary products pilling?

When you have applied your serums, moisturizer and SPF, you might touch your skin and feel “bits”. This is called “pilling” or “balling”. It´s not your skin, it´s the product. Read more about The Ordinary pilling and how to prevent it.

The Ordinary Regimen Examples

Firstly, please don´t think you need to use 15 layers of skincare as seen on Instagram and Tik Tok. Less is more!

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You can see numbers (as above) in bold, which hopefully will help you understand how to layer The Ordinary. Remember, thinnest / clearest to heaviest / opaque. This is the order, but it doesn’t mean you have to always use all 4 of them. You might do 2+3 or 1+1 or 1+2.

The Ordinary Skincare Routines – How To Build Your Skincare Routine

Below are some examples of skincare routines. You can find lots more routines here. The Ordinary routines include rosacea, signs of ageing and lots of personalised routines.

Signs of Ageing Skincare Routine
Morning: Squalane Cleanser,  Multi-Peptide Serum + HA (1), Natural Moisturising Factors (4), SPF
Evening: Squalane Cleanser, Multi-Peptide Serum (1), Retinoid
Dehydration Routine
Morning: Hyaluronic Acid & Natural Moisturizing Factors  (1 + 4)
Evening: Hyaluronic Acid,  Plant-Derived Squalane (1 + 3)
Note: Alternatively, Marula Oil or Moroccan Argan Oil can be used instead of Plant-Derived Squalane in the PM.

How To Layer The Ordinary by The Ordinary

Video by The Ordinary – how to layer

The Ordinary Conflicts – products you should not use in the same routine

Hopefully, you are a bit clearer on how to layer The Ordinary and all the different solutions. Now to the really confusing part, the conflicts. The Ordinary products you should not use in the same routine. There is also a NIOD conflicts chart too.

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Keep The Ordinary Simple

The Ordinary recommends only using ONE of the following in any routine.

  • Direct Acids
  • Pure/Direct Vitamin C
  • Retinol/Retinoids
  • Peptides/Copper Peptides (non-copper peptides can be used with Retinol/Retinoid)

Why start slowly with The Ordinary?

If you use 3 products all at once for the first time and your skin has a reaction, how will you know which product caused it? That’s why it´s important to introduce one product at a time.

Patch Testing The Ordinary

The Ordinary recommends patch-testing all products before use. In reality, the majority of people will not patch test, but you have been warned! If you decide not to patch test, at least introduce one product at a time. Read how to patch-test The Ordinary here.

How To Use The Ordinary Step-by-Step

Hopefully, this page has helped answer all your questions about how to use The Ordinary step by step with regard to layering, conflicts and routines. Make sure you use the search box at the top of this website and look through the menus for more information.

The Ordinary Skincare Routines

The Ordinary Guides

How To Layer The Ordinary

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The Ordinary Product Conflicts

Products You Can & Cannot Mix

The Ordinary Skincare Regimens

Come & join the Deciem Chat Room Facebook Group

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Side Build Your Own Skin Care Regimen

Top 10 Ordinary Best Selling

The Ordinary Bestsellers

Rosacea Regimen – products to help redness

Rosacea Routine


Pigmenation Routine

Signs of Ageing Regimen

Signs of Ageing Regimen

The Ordinary Product You can & Cannot Mix

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to NIOD

NIOD Guide

How to Layer The Ordinary

Nicola Kilner’s Regimen

Confused? Ask Deciem for FREE Personalised regimen

Ask Deciem For A Regimen

Dull skin? Try this brightening routine

The Ordinary Brightening Routine

Signs of Congestion

signs of congestion routine

Simple Skincare Routine

The Ordinary Simplistic Regimen

The Dehydration Regimen

The Ordinary Hydration Routine

The Ordinary For Men

The Ordinary For Men