My Relationship with The Ordinary || Deciem

In the past few months, I’ve really been working towards finding my perfect skincare routine. When it comes to skincare, it’s a big trial and error until you discover what products match your skin and what works.

* This is going to be a super lengthy post on skincare, so be prepared!

One of the worst things I hate about skincare is how long it takes to see results. I have combination-oily, acne-prone skin and for me, my acne may appear due to hormones (time of month and all that), the day after a night of junk food, a few weeks after or even due to stress. I can never figure out what my acne may have come from or how long it’s been waiting to appear and grow on my face like a volcano. (Currently, I’ve got Mt. Vesuvius on my forehead and it’s not having it with me.)

A few months ago, I tried to do a sample challenge where I spent the whole month using samples that I had accumulated but my skin immediately reacted and started to freak out, prompting me to stop what I was doing and go back to my old skincare routine.

The Ordinary products being tested throughout the month

Since then, I have picked up some Deciem products from their ‘Ordinary’ line and have been testing them out for the past month trying to figure out what everything does and slowly figure out what’s been working for my skin.

Deciem started back in 2013, and since then have expanded to many countries in the world. They branch off into 10 different brands and have a wide range of products that go from skincare products to hair care. Currently, I’ve been testing out products from their ‘Ordinary’ line for the past month as my nighttime routine.

The Ordinary is a skincare brand that is super affordable and is aesthetically appealing (minimal packaging and all). Their price range is from $4.90 to $17.80 CAD and the products either come in glass bottles with droppers or come in a plastic tube. All the ingredients are completely listed, so you know every single thing that is being put on your skin.

When it comes to their products, you have to apply them in an order that goes from low viscosity to high viscosity, but oils at the end. Some products shouldn’t be mixed together (ex. Vitamin C and Niacinamide) and some products should only be used at night or a few times a week. (You can read about The Ordinary’s Regimen Guide here.)

The Ordinary Products (L-R): Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

The products that I’ve been using this past month are listed in order by how I use them:

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%

1. Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% ($6.50 CAD,

This is the latest product that I picked up from the brand, I’ve been using it about 2-3 times a week at night as the first step in my nighttime routine. It works to exfoliate the skin and there is also a stronger formulation of this in 10%. Since, it’s something new I’m introducing to my skincare, I thought I would start off with the mild formulation and increase to the stronger one if need be. The scent is a bit fruity and acidic, but definitely not a deciding factor for me since it absorbs into the skin super fast and the scent goes away. I usually use about 4 droplets of this and pat it into my skin.

With the introduction of this, I find that my skin has little bumps growing on the skin, which is most likely it purging, which is a great sign as it means the inside layers of my skin are getting cleaned out. But a little irritating at the beginning stages until they fade away.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

2. Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% ($5.90 CAD,

I was recently instructed to use this before my Alpha Arbutin instead of after, which I had been doing for 2 weeks until I visited the Deciem store. This works as a high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula, and I can say that my breakouts have definitely decreased. In the images below, you’ll see that I’ve clearly gotten more breakouts since the first photo, but thanks to a visit from my monthly friend, that’ll happen to you.

This doesn’t smell like anything but its consistency is a bit thick, so I tend to use 3-4 quick squirts (drops don’t even work for this) every night and just pat it into my skin.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

3. Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA ($8.90 CAD,

To be honest, I still have no idea what this does. All I know is that the hyaluronic acid has been keeping my face moisturized and plump looking (thanks to the lady at Caudalie who complimented how plump it looked). On the website, it states that the Alpha Arbutin will reduce the look of spots and hyper-pigmentation. While, this may be true, I’ve been using the GlamGlow Flashmud as an overnight mask about twice a week and have noticed a difference in my skin. (But, we’ll get more in depth with this in my next post)

My acne scars have been lightening up, but as all things with skincare, it takes time and honestly, I’m so done with waiting.

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

4. 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil ($9.90 CAD,

This is something I don’t use every single night. I usually use it when my skin feels especially dry. Since, it is an oil, I tend to use only 2-3 drops varying on my mood and how dry my skin feels. Thanks to Arden Rose (the video here specifically), I decided to try out Rose Hip oil in hopes that it would help get rid of my acne scars.

This pretty much just smells like oil to me. The dropper doesn’t fully hold all the product within it, so definitely be careful or you’ll be spilling oil everywhere you go.

5. Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% ($7.90 CAD,

This is the only product that I have completely taken out of my nighttime routine. I used it for about two weeks and completely stopped because it started making my skin feel super itchy. It smells like sea salt, and I had no issue with applying it. But within the first 5 minutes after application, it would start making my skin itch like crazy and I’d have trouble falling asleep.

It’s a multifunctional brightening formula that reduces the look of blemishes and improves the evenness of skin texture. But, due to the itchiness on my skin, I stopped using it no matter how good it may have made my skin look.

Moving onto my actual skin, I try my best to not edit out the actual blemishes on my face on Instagram (check out my feed here) but I do try to edit out the scars, because honestly, ain’t nobody gotta see what I used to have on my face. Now, if you follow me on Snapchat, then that’s the real deal. My everyday makeup is super minimal and well, I’m pretty savage, plus I eat a lot. (Feel free to follow ‘@hwonggg‘)

Now, actually onto my face. Here are some progress photos that I took starting in January when I first started using these products to present day (literally today, March 6th).

January 14, 2017
Feel free to disregard the fact that I didn’t plan how I was going to lay out these photos and that my face does not match up at all with the other half. Anyways, this is literally after I washed my face in the morning and have no make up on at all.

February 8, 2017
About 3 weeks later, I literally have my everyday makeup on, brows and mascara. At this point, I had stopped using the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% due to the irritation on my skin. There is nothing else on my face. You can clearly see that there are a lot of acne scars and a few fresh bumps of acne. Once again, I clearly didn’t plan how to present these photos, so please tolerate my crooked and not matched up two halves of my face.

March 6, 2017
About a month later, this is about 2 weeks after I started the use of Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%, I think I’ll pick up the Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% next time I’m home in a few weeks and return the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%. (Thank you Deciem for the great return policy!) I love how oily my skin already looks in the morning, but this is also literally brows and mascara on. There are some new spots (thank you monthly visit) and some older spots that are beginning to fade.

Here is about the point where I mention, I had a good month and a half where I made sure to drink at least 2L of water everyday and it showed great improvement in my skin along with how hydrated my skin looked and felt. About the second week of February to March 4th, I pretty much stopped drinking water, and maybe drank 500 mL of water at most each day due to laziness and the fact that I was on Reading Week and constantly out getting Starbucks. This definitely set my skin into a frenzy. So, I’m getting back into drinking 2L of water everyday.

All I can say is, I really regret complaining about my skin when I was in my teens because I only had acne on my forehead and my cheeks were clear. But now, the tables have tabled and while I have a clear forehead (occasional breakout), all the acne has moved down to my cheeks. But, it is what it is and we can only do our best in figuring out the perfect products.

Have you ever tried products from Deciem? What are your favourites?

20 thoughts on “My Relationship with The Ordinary || Deciem

  1. I know the struggle with the azelaic acid – I have to use it every other day and really be mindful of anything else I put on top because it itches. So far I’m seeing great results with the combination I’m using though so I don’t mind the extra bit of struggle with this product!


    1. Oh no! That’s unfortunate to hear, I hope it doesn’t deter you from trying any of their other products. Their employees are very knowledgeable and are always willing to provide recommendations 🙂


  2. The Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is on my hit list – glad to hear that it decrease your breakouts.
    I’ve heard people rave about the Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA but I don’t understand what it does either… I am leaning more toward the Vitamin C + HA to help with scarring and pigmentation. Weird about that Azelaic Acid Suspension – itchiness is not good.
    Thanks for the progress photos – they don’t lie!


  3. Hi ! Really informative post. I was wonder if you could help me with a little doubt. I wanted to purchase these products but for my bacne ( as you say the table have turned , my face acne is so much better and now its all on my back), do you think that they will work as well ?

    Thanks 😉


  4. Your articles are so well written with great information! The Ordinary company has truly changed my life! I was glad to hear that the little bumps on my chin and forehead are the purging process, I just didn’t know how long that phase continues. I have over bought products now and now have to alternate some products as to not mix them together. The vitamin C 23% suspension product just did not suit me. I use a Retinoid product at night, alternation it with Lactic Acid 10%, so I use vitamin C in the morning. There was NO way my makeup was going over that grainy mess on my face. I have ordered a new one to try so we shall see.
    My main question is how you use the glycolic acid toner. And, is it a strong product? I bought my son’s wives a bottle for Christmas, just to introduce them to chemical exfoliating.
    GREAT job, can’t wait to go back and read your other articles!


    1. Hi Joanna! I do use them one after another, I first apply the lactic acid followed by the alpha arbutin and then the rosehip seed oil. I’ve taken out the niacinamide and azelaic acid suspension as I found my skin to react to them. Usually in the morning, I’ll only use the alpha arbutin followed by sunscreen. Hope this helps! 🙂


  5. Thanks for your review. Just started looking at The Ordinary products and really excited to try them out. Also struggled for years with cystic acne but am finally bump free after cutting out milk from my diet. Can’t believe something so simple was the cause of it all, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already. Some people need to cut out all dairy but for me it was just a matter of losing the milk (I use coconut milk instead now, super yummy) Good luck! Xx


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