Under $10: Deciem The Ordinary Review

Serums, oils, concentrates. All different and individually powerful, but similarly all in some form of eye dropper packaging. Can a pea sized drop of liquid transform your skin fairy-godmother style into a glowy, clear baby face? With one product, 8-ball says unlikely. But with the right combination of products and knowledge it's possible.

The past month I set out to incorporate three new products into my routine, a dark circle combatant, an acne fighter, and a youth time capsule. I originally discovered Deciem's line, The Ordinary, while reading about their consistently waitlisted foundation, so it's no surprise that their line has been almost consistently sold out since their addition to Sephora online this past December. Needless to say, Sephora has been adding some awesome brands to their portfolio recently, so I was quick to jump on The Ordinary bandwagon and finally try out their economically-priced science-backed products. 

The Ordinary is an evolving collection of treatments offering familiar, effective clinical technologies positioned to raise pricing and communication integrity in skincare.
— The Ordinary Mission

I make an effort to invest in products whose brands I believe in, whether they're family-owned, sustainably sourced, or have some other special distinguishing factor. I love how The Ordinary works to educate users on the science and chemistry behind their products and delivers high quality ingredients at a fair price. While their product descriptions can seem daunting at first, almost like reading another language (and I consider myself a seasoned professional when it comes to skincare), you can clearly see that their goal is to educate you on the power of their products. After some extensive research through their range, I decided to try out the following products which I scooped up as soon as my Sephora app alerted me they were back in stock.

The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, $6.70 - The Dark Circle Combatant

If you're wondering, "What the heck is EGCG?" You are not alone. Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (say that three times fast), or EGCG, is essentially a purified extract of green tea leaves. This combined with highly concentrated caffeine claims to reduce looks of puffiness and dark circles. One more reason to become addicted to caffeine, am I right?

I've struggled with dark under eyes for as long as I can remember, a trait my family attributes to our Italian heritage, and could never find a solution that completely got rid of them. After using this product every night, I can see a reduced pigmentation under my eyes, but the darkness just isn't as prominent. Two warnings about this product though: 1) it will dry out your under eyes within 3 minutes. I highly recommend letting it dry into your skin and then applying an eye cream on top. And 2) this 100% will burn your eyes if it gets in them. Trust me, I learned the hard way. You don't need a lot so for application I recommend a half pea-sized drop under each eye, and then use a Q-tip to move the product around, allowing for greater control and lessening the risk of eye contamination. Overall, I'm happy with this product and will probably continue to use it in my nightly routine when I haven't used self-tanner, but will definitely always remember to top with moisturizer.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $5.90 - the acne fighter

Let me preface this review by saying, I already have an acne treatment serum that I am in love with and rebuy consistently, but I decided to try this out and see if it works the same or better. Since the majority of my acne is hormonal, I find that salicylic acid isn't always the best regulator for my skin type. Niacinamide is essentially Vitamin B3 and helps with the redness aspect of acne, while zinc digs into your pores and helps to clean out the impurities and built up sebum.

While this contains the same ingredients as Glossier Super Pure, it's unclear if the concentrations are the same since Glossier does not provide this information. My guess is Deciem's version is much more highly concentrated as it's not a water-gel hybrid like Glossier. After spot use on both whiteheads and blackheads, popped and un-popped, there was a clear diminishing effect. Inflammation immediately goes down within the hour and your blemish will be visibly smaller or gone within the next day. Disclaimer: I say this mainly about whiteheads and cystic acne. While this product will help to dry oily areas like your nose where many blackheads may arise, I would not say I woke up the next day with visibly smaller pores on my nose. This is a highly concentrated product, so it's job is to clean your pores out and in doing so, dry them up. My nose was flaky with remnants of dry skin after using this overnight. Unlike the Caffeine Solution, I don't recommend adding moisturizer on top of this to aid with hydration, let it work it's magic and just dry out your cystic acne over a period of time. Skincare Pro Tip: Any solution like this is meant to be used as a spot treatment directly on the affected area, not meant to be applied all over your face or to prevent future acne from occurring.

I really do think this an affordable dupe for Glossier Super Pure, and may work especially well for people with oily skin or cystic acne problems. However, I won't continue to put this on my nose blackheads, simply whiteheads. Conclusion: bring this baby out for the Mount Everests of zits, but not for everyday use.

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, $9.80 - The Youth Time Capsule

This is my favorite of the three. I've been wanting to test out a retinoid but they can get pretty pricey. This one rings in at $9.80, and has a smooth, milky texture. Retinoids aid in preventing signs of aging and I'm trying to keep my Florida/Louisiana skin looking wrinkle-free for as long as possible - not an easy feat when you've grown up stupidly slathering yourself in tanning oil. If you're still unfamiliar with what a retinoid really is, check out my previous Beauty Dictionary blog post describing the difference between retinols and retinoids.

I really like how this soaks into my skin quickly and adds a little hydration. I typically use an entire eye-dropper full per use, dropping product on my forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. I also like to rub some into my neck. I've been using it every night this past month, and my skin feels softer and more elastic. The real power of retinoids is in their continued use over years, and I plan on continuing to use this reasonably priced one until I'm introduced to anything I might like better.

In conclusion, I thought these three were great versatile starters and impressed me with getting to know and understand the chemistry of the brand. I just recently ordered vials of their 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil and EUK 134 0.1%, which I am excited to add to my collection. While you're able to order from Deciem online, you can get select The Ordinary products from Sephora online now (rack in those Beauty Insider points) and the brand is set to launch in stores this coming March. Also, be on the lookout January 19 as I will be giving away these three The Ordinary serums on my Instagram @foundationforward as a thank you for reading and growing with me since launch!

If you've used any of Deciem's products I'd love to hear your experience in the comments below!