The Ordinary Is The Best High-End Skin Care Dupe Around


When it comes to makeup, I’ll smear pretty much anything on my face, but skin care is a different beast. Affordable skin care always feels a little adventurous—like I’m playing Russian roulette by spreading a $15 cream all over my sensitive keratosis-ridden face. But I’m also an adult, and sometimes spending a month’s worth of grocery money on a moisturizer is not the responsible course of action.

All of which is to say, I couldn't help but be excited when I first stumbled upon The Ordinary Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, which I bought for just under $10 on a whim after I had run out of my $60 Clarins oil. The Ordinary packaging seemed expensive, and the concept of a cold pressed face oil was intriguing. I’m not always one for experimenting with skin care, but the oil was literally the cost of two cups of fancy coffee in New York, so why not try it?

Aside from being the most affordable cosmetic decision I’ve made in recent memory, the oil worked in both an immediate and long-term sense. It doesn’t smell flowery or overpowering, but rather more medicinal, which I always take as a good sign of the seriousness of a skin-care product. And while, initially, the oil seems kind of thick and goopy, it absorbed into my skin pretty quickly without leaving any residue.

I really didn’t notice any difference in my skin for the first week or two of use, but then it hit me pretty suddenly: my skin looked and felt amazing. It’s hydrated, less oily, my pores are smaller, and my dark spots are fading. I use it at night before going to bed and sometimes in the morning mixed with my foundation to combat winter dryness and peeling. It’s taken my skin back from the brink of cracked dry desert floors to the plump and vibrant complexion I had during the peak of summer; it felt like a real Christmas miracle.

I’m not sure exactly what the magic bullet of this oil is, but it doesn't hurt that this oil is cold pressed. The cold pressing process means that the oil retains more of its restorative and healing properties than when heat is involved.

The rest of The Ordinary’s products are crafted just as intelligently and affordably as its Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil. The Hyaluronic Acid retails at $7, the Advanced Retinoid retails at $10, and the Lactic Acids are just $7. The Ordinary isn’t the first brand to offer affordable skin care, but it is one of the first (and possibly only in my experience) to do so while still offering innovative products made with buzzy and cutting edge ingredients. 

The miraculously affordable, innovative, and effective nature of the Ordinary made me nervous that this was some short-term marketing ploy meant to draw me in and get me hooked, only to lure me toward products with a higher price point down the line. So I spoke to a representative at Deciem (the Ordinary’s parent company) to figure out how exactly they were pulling this off. 

Their spokesperson explained to me that the goal of the Ordinary is to bring familiar and often overpriced ingredients to the consumer at an honest and affordable price. The Ordinary’s sister brands like NIOD and Hylamide have much more advanced formulas, and therefore higher price points, but share research and development with all of the brands under the Deciem umbrella including the Ordinary. 

The Ordinary takes the basic research from its sister brands and uses simpler formulas and more generic ingredients to create products that are more wallet-friendly. I was also assured that this was a sustainable price model in the long term; the Ordinary’s profit margin is the same if not more than Deciem’s other brands.

The bottom line is that the Ordinary is serious skin care, but it’s also seriously affordable. It’s a good way to test out certain buzzy products and ingredients before you commit hundreds of dollars to products that might not work for your skin. 

Check out the rest of the Ordinary products here.