The Ordinary Skincare Routine Guide

Looking to give The Ordinary a try, but you’re still unsure what products to buy? Then, you’re in the right place. Today, I’ll help you create your own The Ordinary skincare routine that will work flawlessly for your skin.

As you probably already know, The Ordinary is one of the most talked-about skincare brands right now. And it’s clear why. 

The Ordinary offers a variety of powerful products with minimal-ingredient formulas and affordable prices. What more could a skincare lover want, right? 

But even though some products have fantastic ingredients, you still need to create your own personalized skincare routine to get the most out of each product.

Your beauty routine is as unique as you are – so it’s important to tailor it according to your needs and skin type.

Let’s start from the top. Here’s everything you should know in order to create the best The Ordinary skincare routine for yourself.

Key Takeaways

In a hurry? here are the key points for a The Ordinary skincare routine:

  • The Ordinary’s brand portfolio is filled with rich formulations and healthy ingredients. So whether, you have sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, or oily skin, you can put together an effective The Ordinary skin routine. 
  • The best The Ordinary products for most skin types are Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Solution, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum and Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG.
  • Your skincare routine should be unique and personalized, just like you are. Find the best products for your skin type and discover a regimen that will help you get the most out of each ingredient. 

How to Layer The Ordinary Products?

As I’ve already talked about in my prior posts, there’s a well-known rule of thumb for applying products to ensure you get the most out of each product. 


Generally, you apply them by consistency, which means from thinnest to thickest. This ensures that the inner layers are sealed in by the outer.

Applying The Ordinary products is no exception. But the brand’s portfolio includes a variety of oils, serums, chemical peeling solutions, and cream-based products. So, it’s completely normal to feel a bit unsure about how to layer the products and maximize their effectiveness.

First of all, it’s important to note that The Ordinary has two main categories: leave-on and rinse-out products. Since the rinse-out products don’t require any layering, I’m going to refer only to their leave-in solutions in this section (which make the majority of their products anyway). 

Just for your reference, the rinse-out products are the Squalane Cleanser, Salicylic Acid Masque, and the AHA BHA Peeling Solution. 

So how do you layer The Ordinary products properly? Luckily for us, the brand has issued its own recommendation and guide for layering products. Here’s the order in which you should apply The Ordinary products. 

  • Water-based serums
  • Anhydrous solutions
  • Oil-based products
  • Emulsion (gel-like moisturizers)
  • Suspension-based formulas

Now that you have a better idea of the order of application let’s talk more about The Ordinary products. Once you understand their formulations better, you’ll be able to create your skincare routine.

The Best The Ordinary Products & How to Use Them

1. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is the skincare powerhouse and this formulation has plenty of it. A high 10% concentration of niacinamide is supported by 1% zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, which makes this The Ordinary product one of the most popular skincare solutions on the market.

Niacinamide is particularly beneficial for skin blemishes. It can reduce hyperpigmentation, brighten out the skin tone, and smooth out skin texture. It also helps keep the skin hydrated, balances sebum production, and is great for acne-prone skin.

Here’s everything you should know about it before implementing it into your routine.

  • Who is it for – Almost everyone can benefit from this potent serum, but if you want to address those signs of congestion, enlarged pores, or excess oil, this one is a must-have;
  • How it works – Niacinamide helps reduce shine and visible pores, while zinc is responsible for further controlling the oil activity in your skin;
  • How to use it – Apply a few drops morning and evening before putting on your moisturizer. It’s not recommended to use it simultaneously with vitamin C, so try to apply them at separate times.

2. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

Another skincare hero is The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. With a 2% concentration of hyaluronic acid, this water-based serum is a fantastic hydrating solution. HA draws in up to 1,000 times its weight in water, making it one of the most sought-after skincare ingredients. 

Not only does this formulation have HA, but it also uses a stand-out technology that makes this product so impressive. It has low, medium, and high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid that enables it to penetrate deeper into the skin and provide intense hydration

So how should you use it and how? Here are the details.

  • Who is it for – Since this serum is extremely hydrating, it’s recommended for dry-skinned folks out there or those with flaky skin. However, we all need hydration, no matter the skin type, so if you want to embrace the power of this serum, you should definitely go for it!;
  • How it works – The three forms of HA help achieve effective multi-depth hydration and plump the skin. As an added benefit, vitamin B5 also has natural moisturizing factors and helps regenerate the skin;
  • How to use it – It’s relatively simple to use; you just apply a few drops in the morning and in the evening before proceeding with heavier products.

3. Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Another great product to use in your routine is the Caffeine Solution serum. This product contains high-solubility caffeine to reduce under-eye puffiness and dark circles visibly. 

This lightweight formula is also supplemented with a highly-purified compound from green tea called EGCG. These two combined together are a dynamic duo that can help refresh your skin complexion

  • Who is it for – This is a great solution for those that want to get rid of under-eye circles once and for all;
  • How it works – The topical use of caffeine helps reduce the appearance of eye contour pigmentation and puffiness. With the support of EGCG, this serum is a great brightening solution;
  • How to use it – It’s recommended to use it twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Just a tiny amount of the serum will do the trick, so take a few drops and massage it under your eyes.

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The Ordinary Buffet is one of the most popular products of this brand. It’s an anti-aging serum that targets multiple signs of skin aging and improves overall skin condition. 

Just like the name suggests, Buffet contains a large combination of multiple skincare ingredients, which is not so typical for a product from this brand. Most of The Ordinary products have single-ingredient formulas, but this one offers a variety of potent ingredients.

  • Who is it for – Anyone that wants to target visible signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines can benefit from Buffet. It’s suitable for all skin types, and practically anyone can use it to improve their skin health;
  • How it works – It contains all the good stuff: multi-peptide complex, matrixyl, probiotics, amino acids, and hyaluronic acid. All these mixed together target multiple signs of aging at once, making the skin more youth-looking and fresh;
  • How to use it – Apply it to the skin in the AM and in the PM by pressing it into the skin, rather than wiping it over. Avoid using it with retinol, niacinamide and vitamin C in the same beauty regimen to prevent these from compromising the performance of the peptides.

Related: The Ordinary Buffet serum review

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5. The Ordinary 100% Plant-derived Squalane

Another The Ordinary product worth trying out is definitely the 100% plant-derived Squalane oil. If you’re not familiar with squalane, it’s a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that is found naturally in the skin and is extremely hydrating. 

Squalane is a fantastic hydrator with moisture retention properties. This formula can help prevent ongoing loss of hydration and make the skin feel replenished and smooth. Interestingly enough, it can also be used for hair to help with heat protection and breakage.

  • Who is it for – This product is suitable for all skin types and can alternatively be used for improving hair health and preventing further damage;
  • How it works – This oil contains 100% pure plant-derived Squalane that visibly smooths dry skin and can instantly make it hydrated. In the long run, it’s beneficial for preventing moisture loss;
  • How to use it – Apply a few drops of The Ordinary Squalane to your face and preferably use it after water-based products.

The Ordinary Skincare Routine for Oily, Acne-Prone Skin

When you’re a skincare newbie, you want to keep things as simple as possible. That’s why The Ordinary is so remarkable! It’s an affordable, minimalistic brand with clean and simple ingredients that will help you improve your skin health.


But to get the most out of your products, you should create a unique step-by-step routine with products that suit your skin the most. 

One of the major concerns that most of us have is balancing oil activity and acne breakouts. Been there, done that! So how should an effective routine look like for oily skin

Here’s an example of The Ordinary beauty regimen for oily, acne-prone skin (combination skin too).

Morning routine:

Evening routine:

Weekly routine:

The Ordinary is known for its powerful exfoliating solutions such as AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution, but try not to overdo it. Chemical exfoliation is not recommended more than 3 times a week*, and it’s an absolute must to use sun protection after using it (at night). Those with sensitive skin should try patch testing first.

Another product to use on a weekly basis is No products found.. It will help remove dead skin cells and clean your skin thoroughly. 

The Ordinary Skincare Routine for Dry Skin

Dry skin often feels tight and itchy after cleansing, so it’s important to moisturize it and give it some much-needed hydration. 

If you put together a proper skincare routine, your dry skin will feel dewier and more refreshed. The Ordinary offers a ton of hydrating products that will help attract moisture to your skin and improve its overall health.

Here’s an example of The Ordinary regimen for dry skin.

Morning routine:

Evening routine:

Weekly routine:

*When it comes to exfoliation, you shouldn’t overdo it, especially if you have sensitive skin. Use exfoliating serums once or twice a week to avoid irritation. Alternatively, replace direct acids such as Lactic Acid 5% + HA with Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane if your skin can tolerate retinoids. 

The Ordinary Skincare Routine for Aging Skin

Aging is a natural process that depends on many different factors, from health habits to skincare products. The Ordinary has a lot of powerful anti-aging serums and oils that can help fight premature aging and reduce the appearance of lines.

Here’s an example of The Ordinary regimen for aging skin.

Morning routine:

Evening routine:

Weekly routine:

*It’s recommended to use this exfoliation product once or twice a week, so use it on separate days during the week. 

Alternatively, consider using No products found. if you have sensitive skin or AHA 30% + BHA% Peeling Solution turns out to be too strong for your skin.

The Ordinary Skincare Routine for Hyperpigmentation

Whether it’s sun-related or a result of acne scars, hyperpigmentation is one of the most annoying skincare issues. Luckily, you can treat those dark circles and blemishes with effective skincare solutions.

If you need help putting together a good skincare routine for hyperpigmentation, here’s my suggestion for The Ordinary products.

Morning routine: 

Evening routine:

Weekly routine:

Exfoliation should be a part of your weekly skincare routine for hyperpigmentation AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution  is an excellent choice. Use it once or twice a week in the evening, and make sure you use sun protection throughout the day when using this product. 

Final Thoughts

The Ordinary has a wide choice of multi-functional products that you can quickly implement into your current skin routine and make an entirely The Ordinary-powered regimen. 

Depending on your skin type or concern, you can find plenty of rich formulas and science-backed products in The Ordinary’s portfolio.

Remember that sometimes less is more. Some products might work phenomenally for someone else but could turn out to be ineffective for your skin. And that’s OK!

When it comes to creating your own skincare routine, the trick is to be patient and explore. Your beauty regimen is as unique as your skin – so don’t rush it. Instead, find the products that work the best for you and learn to layer them to get the most out of each ingredient. 

I hope these examples of The Ordinary beauty routines helped set you on the right path. Now go out there and give your skin a treat!

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