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  • Writer's picturetherapyinc

Why I'm not interested in The Ordinary...

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

What is the problem with minimal formulations (& mega marketing…) ? It does drastically cut down development & production costs, which is a large part of why their products are so cheap. For simpler water-based products essentially in a solution (like BHA’s) it’s probably fine, but with emulsions & unstable actives it’s questionable whether the product works – do the actives go into your skin, if there’s still a useful amount delivered by the time you open your bottle for 1st or the 50th time ? It’s a good way to reel you in & make ingredients accessible, even if they’re not formulated to necessarily work...

With the powders, there’s zero formulation, making them even more questionable, especially since most brands don’t test their products on skin. Certain ingredients require an optimum pH you’re unlikely to check on mixing yourself. Plus the issue of safety. The product might not be effective, but something like niacinamide is pH neutral so it won’t burn your face if it’s an over zealous concentration. However, an acid (e.g. L-ascorbic aka vitamin c), donate H+ ions & lower the pH – sometimes you might feel an increased tingle when a peel is removed during a treatment ? That’s the introduction of water in its removal. Another good reason to equalise your skin with a good cleanser & toner in preparation for your actives at home. And if that’s not important to you, & money is the driving factor, something like 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder is easily available in a different jar at 3p a gram vs The Ordinary’s coming in at 24.5p a gram.

There's a common marketing ploy in skincare to chase high percentages - the idea that low concentrations are useless, that honest skincare brands will tell you the percentages of all their active ingredients, & feel the need to ramp them to the top of the ingredients list to emphasise a product’s worth buying, are simply not true. Often this is purely to compensate for a suboptimal formulation, after all, when tested, the active is quite capable of degrading on manufacture & very popular brands have zero shelf life.

In addition to fragrance, colour, alcohol & cheap fillers (even in the ‘natural’ or organic labels – watch out for the milia with beeswax). Be mindful of the hype & price tag. Buy with brand integrity. You literally get what you pay for.

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