The idiot’s guide to layering The Ordinary
You’ve just received all your products and you’re super excited to start your new skincare routine but you have no idea how to layer The Ordinary. Well, you’re not alone and I really hope this page makes it a little easier to understand.
- Please remember you can ask Deciem for a personalized routine.
- 2/3 drops is all you need. If you feel you need more, use more.
- A pea size of the creams for face and neck. If you feel you need more, use more.
- Massage or pat until each product is absorbed before applying the next.
- Deciem says no more than 3 serums in one routine.
- Water-based products – which one first? Use the one for the skin concern you most wish to target.
The Ordinary Solutions – How To Layer The Ordinary
How To Layer The Ordinary
There are 5 different types of solutions (bases) and Deciem recommends layering them in this order in order to allow the products to penetrate the skin. Please note that there are some exceptions to the rule! You could number all your products or write the solution on the bottle or box.
The Ordinary Products By Solutions
Water-Based Products = 1
- AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution* (masque)
- Alpha Arbutin
- Amino Acids
- Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
- Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
- Argireline Solution 10%
- Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%
- Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
- Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
- Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
- Lactic Acid 5% + HA
- Lactic Acid 10% + HA
- Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
- Marine Hyaluronics
- Matrixyl 10% + HA
- Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
- Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
Anhydrous Solutions = 2
Add number 2 to all these products if you have them. These should be applied after water solutions (if using) and before oils/creams.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid 5% * use alone
- Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
- EUK 134 0.1%
- Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution
- Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane
- Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane
- Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%
- Retinoid 5% in Squalane
- Retinol 0.5% in Squalane
- Retinol 1% in Squalane
- High-Spreadability Fluid Primer (last step before makeup)
Oil-Based Products = 3
Oils should be applied after water solutions but before creams/emulsions. Some people leave this as their very last step. Deciem recommends oils before heavy creams like Natural Moisturising Factors. See what works for you.
- Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
- “B” Oil
- Borage Seed Oil
- Moroccan Argan Oil
- Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
- Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil
- Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil
- Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil
- 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
- 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane
Emulsions = 4
This is where it gets a little more confusing and you need to do a bit of free-thinking. Emulsions/Creams are supposed to be the last step but this doesn’t really work except for the Natural Moisturising Factors and the Sun Creams.
- Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
- 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)
Suspensions = 5
These products cause a bit of confusion with good reason. Deciem recommended to use these before a cream like Natural Moisturising Factors but now they recommend to use after (if using).
- Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
- Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
- Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
Mix these with the suggested products.
The Ordinary Regimen Examples
In bold you can see numbers (as above) 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, 1+2+3+4. You might just do 2+3 or 1+3+4, 1+1 or 1+2.
The Ordinary Skincare Routines
Below are just a couple of examples, but you can find lots more The Ordinary skincare routines including rosacea, signs of ageing and lots of personalized routines here.
|Morning: Alpha Arbutin, Niacinamide & Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (1 + 1 + 3)|
|Evening: Alpha Arbutin, Azelaic Acid (1 + 4)|
|Note: Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution can be applied in the PM before Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% for added support.|
|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.|
So hopefully you’re a little clearer on how to layer The Ordinary and the different solutions. Now to the really confusing part, the conflicts. The products you should and shouldn´t use in the same routine.
It’s really important that you regularly look at The Ordinary Regimen Guide on the official website because it’s often updated with new information. I have created this page listing all The Ordinary Product Conflicts in a chart or a new page The Ordinary Products You Can & Cannot Mix which you may find easier.
Keep The Ordinary Simple
If a product has too many conflicts, for example, Buffet + Copper Peptides, then you could make life really difficult for yourself by trying to figure out a regimen on your own, especially if you have already bought lots of products. Ask Deciem for a regimen, so you can be sure the products can be used together. 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 right up because the products look so cheap. But seriously, don’t waste money. You will end with lots of products that conflict and not enough time to use them all.
- Rosacea Regimen
- Pigmentation Regimen
- General Signs of Ageing Regimen
- Dehydration Regimen
- Look of Blemishes & Congestion
- Textural Irregularities Regimen
- Oily Skin Regimen
- Sensitive Skin Routine
- Personalized routines in the Facebook Group, NIOD & Hylamide routines
Why Start Using The Ordinary Slowly?
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 we recommend introducing one product at a time.
Patch Testing The Ordinary
Deciem recommends patch testing in case of an allergic reaction. In reality, the majority of people will not bother patch testing, 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.