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This post will be sharing how to layer The Ordinary products to maximize their effectiveness.
If there’s one thing we all appreciate about The Ordinary Skincare, it is affordability and accessibility. For less than $50, you can get an entire skincare routine that will improve your skin significantly. But unfortunately, with that price range, the products come with their downsides. They’re mostly not cosmetically elegant. This means we have to deal with issues such as inflammations, irritations and sensitivities and most common, piling if the products are not well layered.
Piling occurs when skincare products are not properly absorbed into the skin. Instead, they form tiny particles which you can feel and touch on your face. It’s generally an unpleasant skincare experience.
Now, fortunately for me, I’m probably one of the minorities that has had zero to no negative experiences with The Ordinary Skincare products. This, I can attribute to years of layering and mastering the 10 Step Korean Skincare. So when I finally introduced the products to my routine, I Immediately knew how to manoeuvre its shortcomings. Plus I also have a solid hydration routine so that helped as well.
With that knowledge, I’m gonna share the best way to layer The Ordinary products to prevent piling. To get started, it is important to categorize The Ordinary products into two so you have a broad idea of what we’re dealing with;
- Rinse-out products
- Leave-on products
The rinse out products includes the Squalane Cleanser, Salicylic Acid Masque and the AHA BHA Peeling Solution. These three products need to be rinsed out and as such don’t require layering. On the other hand, the leave-on products which will be discussed in detail shortly, require layering to prevent piling and maximize their effectiveness.
Here’s How To Layer The Ordinary Products Step by Step
The Ordinary leave-on products, which make up the majority of the brand’s portfolio come in various formulations. The major ones include and should be layered in the following manner;
- Water- based Serum
- Anhydrous Solution
A good understanding of these formulations will help you layer your products correctly to aid absorption and prevent piling. Now, let’s get down into each formulation to understand the best way to layer them.
Water – based Serum
- Hydrators – Amino Acids, Marine Hyaluronics, Hyaluronic Acid.
- Direct Acids – Glycolic Toning Solution, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid.
- Molecules – Alpha Arbutin, Caffeine Solution, Niacinamide.
- Peptides – Argireline Solution, Matrixyl, Buffet, Buffet + Copper,
- Vitamin C – Ascorbyl Glucoside
When it comes to water-based serums, a rule of thumb is to layer products from thinnest to thickest. Some products like the Amino Acids and the Marine Hyaluronics have very watery consistencies and such should be layered first before Hyaluronic Acid. Speaking of which, Hyaluronic Acid is one of the products that cause the biggest issues for a lot of people. This is because they tend to start their routines on dry skin. Hyaluronic Acid should always be used on damp skin and sealed with a moisturizer. Otherwise, it will dry out your skin.
General Tips for Water- based Serums
- Start your routine on damp skin. This helps all the water-based serums absorb completely into your skin.
- Layer products from thinnest to thickest. Assess all your products to find out which have watery or thicker consistencies.
- Layer products with Hyaluronic Acid first. This includes Hyaluronic Acid, Alpha Arbutin, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid and Matrixyl.
- Mist your face in between layers to aid quick abosorption and leave your skin feeling soft and supple. Using Toner Mists in between layers has been a gamechanger for me and here are some Korean Skincare recommendations:
After layering your water-based serums, next are the powders. The Ordinary currently has two powders; the L’Ascorbic Acid Powder and the Niacinamide Powder. Both can be mixed with water-based serums or your moisturizer. If you’ll be mixing either of the Powders with Hyaluronic Acid, make sure you mix it first before applying the combination on damp skin. Yes, if the powders are not properly mixed, they won’t absorb and will easily cause piling.
- Direct Acid: Azelaic Acid Suspension
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C 23% Suspension, Vitamin C 30% Suspension in Silicone
Similar to powders are Suspensions which have a bad rep and are usually the main culprit of piling after Hyaluronic Acid, Personally, I’ve never had any issues with piling from suspensions because similar to powders, they go on very smoothly on damp skin. They literally just melt immediately on application. But a lot of people have found a way around it by using it after their moisturizer which is also fine. But try using any of the suspensions on damp skin and compare which works better for you.
- Antioxidants: EUK 134, Resveratrol + Ferulic, Pycnogenol.
- Retinoids: Granactive Retinoid 2% & 5% in Squalane, Retinol 0.2%, 0.5% & 1%.
- Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid + Alpha Arbutin.
Next are the anhydrous solutions. These are products that are water-free typically to preserve their shelf life and prevent them from oxidizing too quickly. If you find anhydrous products too oily or greasy, you might just be using too much. One full dropper is usually enough for your entire face.
- Retinoids: Granactive Retinoid 2%
- Hydrators: Natural Moisturizing Factors
The best way to understand emulsions is to think about them as lotions. They are usually lightweight hydrating/moisturizing products that easily absorbs into your skin. In my opinion, they are the best formulations after water-based serums. It is no wonder that the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion is a fan favourite.
Hydrators & Oils: B Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Morrocan Argan Oil, Rose Hip Seed Oil, Chia Seed Oil, Marula Oil, Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil.
Oils are usually the last step of your nighttime skincare routine for a reason. (Sunscreen should be the last step of your morning routine.) This is because oils form an occlusive layer over your skin after application. This means that nothing else can be absorbed into your skin after oils. It literally just seals in all your serums and prevents your skin from drying out in the process. Some people don’t enjoy feeling oily or greasy so they prefer to layer their moisturizers over oils. This is also fine. As long as all your products are properly absorbed.
I hope you have found this post on how to layer The Ordinary products helpful. Once you have mastered layering a few times, you’ll get a hang of it and it will come easily to you.
If you’re feeling completely intimidated and overwhelmed by The Ordinary skincare I recommend taking Extraordinary Skin With The Ordinary. The Ordinary speed training created by my scientist friend Cheryl Woodman. Cheryl’s helped hundreds of ladies see real-life results, first hand. Click here to find out more about the course and see their reviews