I Swear by This Super-Affordable Skincare Line—And I've Gotten All My Friends Hooked, Too

The Ordinary is working wonders on our skin.

I Recommend The Ordinary's Crazy Affordable Skincare Line to All Who Are Listening—And My Friends Are Thanking Me for It

You know when you learn a new word or hear about a new store, and suddenly you can't stop seeing it everywhere? That's exactly how my relationship with The Ordinary began. Its name popped up again and again in my many skincare Facebook groups, and it was praised as a miracle line with products that only cost a few bucks a pop. I remained skeptical—could the serums and treatments truly be effective and powerful, given their tiny price tag? I decided to keep an open mind (inspired by a tiny budget and a willingness to play guinea pig with my skin), and I paid a visit to Sephora.com to purchase a shelf's worth of The Ordinary products.

Since I deal with dryness, acne, and corresponding acne scars, I tailored my picks to these issues. One of The Ordinary's major selling points is its straightforward marketing, which allows its products to remain cheap. While the system might be confusing at first—for example, the uninitiated might be confused about what to do with a Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA serum, or the difference between Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion and Granactive Retinoid 2% in SqualeneThe Ordinary offers a handy guide on its website, complete with example skincare routines, to make sure you're getting the right products for your concerns.

To start, I bought the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum for my acne, the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution for a once-a-week exfoliation treatment, the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion for anti-aging and sun damage prevention, and the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution for an everyday exfoliant. To my surprise, they've each become staples in my routine, and I haven't gone a day without using at least one The Ordinary product in nearly a year. While it's incredibly important to find the products and the routine that work best for your unique skin, I can confirm that The Ordinary products are good. And for once, my favorite skincare products aren't costing me a significant chunk of my paycheck, which is a win all on its own.

My friends know me as the go-to skincare guru in our group, and as such, I'm always ready with new product recs for just about any concern or issue they're having. When a friend came to me with concerns of dullness and old acne scars, I sent her a link to the Glycolic Acid Toning Solution—and she came back a few weeks later with (literally!) glowing reviews. "Thank you for your amazing skincare recs! My skin hasn't been clearer in my entire life," she gushed. Another was concerned about her current acne, so I sent her to the Niacinamide + Zinc serum. She reported back that her skin texture had improved after only a few days. And my mom, who has chronically dry skin especially in the winter months, swears by The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 serum to keep her skin smooth, plump, and hydrated even on the coldest days.

As for me: Though I've loved everything I've purchased from the brand, I truly can't imagine my life without the Glycolic Acid Toning Solution. Since adding it to my routine a couple of months ago, stubborn old acne marks have faded, my skin's redness has toned down, and my frequent hormonal breakouts are no longer. For the first time in my life, I'm stepping out of my house without wearing makeup—and not only am I looking good, I'm feeling more confident than I ever have before. I'm gonna get emotional here for a sec, but I really never thought I'd get to that point, and I have The Ordinary to thank. And the fact that I can stock up on each of my favorite products for a few dollars each? It's the cherry on the sundae. At the end of the day, what you're getting with The Ordinary is effective, clinical-quality, honest ingredients, without paying extra for fancy packaging and marketing schemes.

To buy: From $4, sephora.com

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