The Complete Guide To The Ordinary Exfoliating Products

by Gio
guide to the ordinary exfoliating products

Stop exfoliating your skin so much. I repeat, stop exfoliating your skin so much.

I’m serious. In the past few months, I’ve lost count of how many of you asked for my help because your skin was all dry and irritated.

When I asked what you were using, it almost always turned out 2 or 3 exfoliants had found its way into your skincare routines. Like, WTF?

Look, I get it. You want ALL the benefits of ALL the ingredients. But that doesn’t give you flawless skin. It gives you a bad case of peeling, dryness and irritation.

This. Has. To. Stop. Now.

Skincare isn’t about using all the ingredients. It’s about figuring out what your skin needs so you can chose the ingredients that work best for you.

That’s even more important when it comes to exfoliation. All exfoliants remove dead cells from your skin, making it smoother and brighter and fading away fine lines and dark spots. But each one has its own characteristics that makes it more suitable for this or that skin type.

That’s why The Ordinary has 6 exfoliating products: there’s one for everyone. (And no, you can’t get all of them because they’re cheap).

To help you make the right choice for your skin, and get all the benefits of exfoliation without the side effects, I’ve put together this quick guide to all The Ordinary exfoliating products:

Confused about The Ordinary? Click on the image below to subscribe to my newsletter and get “The Ordinary Products Guide” Cheatsheet:

the ordinary glycolic acid toning solution

Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (£6.75)

What it is: Glycolic acid is the smallest member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) family. Its small size allows it to penetrate skin deeply. This makes it more effective but also more irritating.

What it does: like all chemical exfoliants, it dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together so they can slough off. It also hydrates skin and, at 10% and higher concentrations, boosts the production of collagen (the protein that keeps skin firm).

Who should use it: dry and sun damaged skin.

When to use it: in the PM, after cleansing.

Side effects: glycolic acid can sting and irritate skin. If you’re new to it, start using it a couple of times a week and build up frequency gradually.

Full Review: My Thoughts On The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Available at: Asos and Beauty Bay

Related: The Complete Guide To Glycolic Acid

the ordinary salicylic acid 2 solution

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (£4.20)

What it is: the only member of the Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) family used in skincare. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble so it can penetrate deep inside the pores.

What it does: it removes dead cells both from the surface of the skin and the inside of the pores, getting rid of whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce redness and irritations.

Who should use it: oily and acne-prone skin types and anyone battling with pimples or blackheads.

When to use it: in the AM and PM after cleansing.

Side effects: it’s rare but it can cause allergies in some people (if you’re allergic to aspirin, don’t use this).

Full review: My Thoughts On The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

Available at: Beauty Bay and Feel Unique

Related: Why Salicylic Acid Is Key To Spot-Free Skin

the ordinary lactic acid 10 + ha 2 01

Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% (£5.50) & Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% (£5.80)

What it is: a member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) family. It’s bigger than glycolic acid so it can’t penetrate skin as well.

What it does: it dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together so they can slough off and hydrates skin.

Who should use it: sensitive skin that can’t tolerate glycolic acid.

When to use it: in the PM, after cleansing.

Side effects: lactic acid is one of the gentlest exfoliating acids. But if you have sensitive skin, don’t use it more than once or twice a week. Also, start with Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% and upgrade to the higher version later on.

Full review: My Thoughts On The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

Available at: Beauty Bay and Feel Unique

Related: Glycolic Acid Vs Lactic Acid: Which One Should You Choose?

the ordinary mandelic acid 10 + HA

Mandelic Acid 10% + HA (£5.75)

What it is: a member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid Family. It’s twice the size of glycolic acid so it penetrates skin very slowly. That makes it less effective than GA but a lot less irritating too.

What it does: it unglues dead skin cells so they can slough off. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight acne.

Who should use it: sensitive, acne-prone skin.

When to use it: in the PM, after cleansing.

Side effects: can cause irritation if used too often.

Full review: coming soon!

Available at: Beauty Bay

the ordinary aha 30 bha 2 peeling solution

AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30)

What it is: a peeling solution with 30% Alpha Hydroxy Acids (Glycolic/Lactic/Tartaric/Citric) and 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid).

What it does: it dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together, making skin brighter and smoother. It also unclogs pores and fights acne.

Who should use it: anyone that needs the big guns to fight wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

When to use it: In the PM after cleansing. The Ordinary says not to use more than twice a week but I wouldn’t use it more than twice a month. This stuff is strong!

Side effects: can seriously peel, irritate and dry out the skin. If you have sensitive skin, don’t go anywhere near this. If you don’t and want to use it, don’t use other exfoliants or retinoids for a couple of days before and after the peel.

Available at: Beauty Bay and Feel Unique

Related: AHAs VS BHA: Which One Should You Choose?


What’s your fave exfoliant from The Ordinary? Share your pick in the comments below.



Barbara July 5, 2018 - 9:12 am

Great information and guide a small always Gio! Thanks for putting this togetherness.

Gio July 5, 2018 - 6:25 pm

Barbara, thank you! Glad you find it useful.

Afi November 20, 2019 - 6:57 pm

Hi Gio. Thanks so much for this informative article.

So… I have dry to normal skin (a few blackheads now and again but nothing major and not my main problem at the moment)… My major problem right now is hyperpigmentation around my mouth, my chin and the corner of my lips. My skin texture around my chin also appears much tougher these days. Not sure what’s caused it. Could you please advise what exfoliator I should use?

Gio December 20, 2019 - 7:55 am

Afi, try glycolic acid.

Teresa July 6, 2018 - 5:21 pm

Gio, how about the Azelaic Acid?

Gio July 21, 2018 - 10:00 pm

Teresa, azelaic acid has exfoliating properties but they’re secondary to its other benefits. I wouldn’t consider it as an exfoliation option unless you need to use it anyway for acne/hyperpigmentation.

Tammie July 23, 2018 - 9:30 pm

Hi, thanks for this amazing website! Your reviews are super thorough, but it’s still a lot for someone who doesn’t know too much about all these products! Could you advise me on what acids and serums to use?

I am 26 y/o, I Have combination skin with a very oily t-zone and drier cheeks. This is my skin care regime: In the morning I usually just use Nivea miscellar water and then I use La Roche Posay mattifying fluid (doesn’t help that much for my t-zone) but I haven’t found anything better. I already bought some new stuff from Eucerin’s new Dermopurifying skin care line.

At night I use miscellar water, a Neutrogena toner, hyaluronic acid serum and then Cetaphil. For occasional break-outs I use La roche posay AI and Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion.

I also ‘ suffer ‘ from really large pores on my nose with a lot of blackheads. My chin also has blackheads.

What would you recommend? Only salicylic acid? Or combined with something else?

Thanks a bunch!

Gio July 28, 2018 - 6:26 pm

Tammie, thank you so much for your kind words and support. Means a lot!

Definitely use salicylic acid straight away every night after cleansing. If you have blackheads, pimples or any kind of acne, that’s the first thing to add to your skincare routine.

Have you tried The Ordinary Niacinamide + Zinc instead than La Roche Posay Mattifying Fluid? That can help, too.

The rest of your routine is fine. For the moment, I’d only add salicylic acid and switch to TO niacinamide. If your skin responds well, you may think of incorporating a retinol serum later on too.

Timea July 23, 2018 - 11:01 pm

Hi Gio! This is very useful, thank you! I was wondering if these exfoliants can be alternated somehow. So for example using the lactic acid as a weekly exfoliator and the salicylic acid as well also once a week (together would be put 2x a week) and the glycolic acid toner sometimes in between. I have combination skin and I am using the lactic acid on a weekly basis and sometimes the glycolic acid toner in between. But I have black heads/white heads and acne prone skin and I would like to incorporate the salicylic acid as well. What do you recommend? PS: your blog is amazing!!! My mumber one advisor skincare wise

Gio July 28, 2018 - 6:23 pm

Timea, thank you so much for your support. I really appreciate it.

I understand you want the benefits of all the exfoliants but choosing the one that fits your skin’s needs is the better option. I see so many people go over the top with exfoliation because they think they miss out if they stick to only one exfoliant.

Salicylic acid is what your skin needs the most. Use that 3/4 times a week. Once the blackheads are gone, you can switch up to lactic acid, if you prefer that.

li July 26, 2018 - 4:23 pm

Your blog is so much informative! Bravo, bravo to help me understand the science behind skincare. Much appreciate.
I’m a one year(every day) user of The ordinary and sunsreen Thinksport spf30(less white cast for my black skin no breakouts).
AM: Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% and Natural Moisturizing, PM: Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
And waou, no more crazy breakout and byebye oily+patchy dry skin and smooth skin, less scars. I can’t tell how beautifull skin I have now.
At 40 years, I want to change this routine and add retinol, I have started this july to use everynight the small dose Retinol 0.5% in Squalane without issue in combinaison with Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
My 1st question is which one between Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane or Retinol 1% in Squalane will you recommande for longterm use.
My 2nd is what do you think of this routine? and I’m open to any suggestions
AM before sunscreen: Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%(instead of the Niacinamide) and Natural Moisturizing, I’ve read Azelaic is a better lightener for black skin and help whith acne prone too. Salicylic Acid never did a thing even at my worst years.
PM: one nigth per week retinol and Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 and the others Toning Solution and Hyaluronic.

Gio July 28, 2018 - 5:52 pm

Li, my pleasure and thank you for your support. So glad my blog is helping you take better care of your skin.

I think your new routine is fab. If your skin can take it, you can try using retinol two or three nights as these products are quite gentle.

Re retinol, it’s more about getting your skin used to it. So, I’d use Granactive Retinoid 2% for a months, then upgrade to Gractive Retinoid 5% in Squalene for a few more months and then move onto Retinol 1% in Squalene. 1% is already huge so you can stop there until you’re ready (if you so wish) to go prescription.

Gabrielle Smedberg August 1, 2018 - 2:09 pm

Hi Gio! Good job on having one of the most read-worthy blogs out there! I have just found my way to your blog and I must say that I am very impressed(and addicted). For years I have been into natural skincare and have tried to stay away from every harmful ingredient on the list. Sadly it’s a jungle out there, it’s so hard to know what info to trust and therefore i wish I knew about you sooner. I truly trust your judgement.

One skincare line I want to try is The Ordinary but since I have never been in contact with that kind of products it feels risky to just try things out on my own. My skin is quite sensitive and prone to dryness(our climate here in sweden doesn’t help). Whiteheads are constantly on my chin and underneath my eyes(which flaunt dark cirkles and small premaure wrinkles- I am only 19 how does that even happen!?) And pimples pop up on chin, nose and forehead when A: I wash too much B: I wash too little C: I use too heavy products D: I use too light products. So if you could give som advice I would really appreciate it.
Here is my skincare routine and within brackets are the products I want to add or change to.

i+m – FREESTYLE – Sensitive cleansing milk
inci: aqua, aloe barbadensis leaf extract*, helianthus annuus seed oil*, simmondsia chinensis seed oil*, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate citrate, glycerin*, prunus amygdalus dulcis oil*, xanthan gum, glyceryl caprylate, sodium laevulinate, sodium anisate, vanilla planifolia fruit extract*, sodium phytate, tocopherol, alcohol(<0,1%)
Toner- Rose water, Apple-cider vinegar, Aloe vera gel, Glycerin
vichy Idéal Soleil Anti-Sand Milk SPF 30
(The Ordinary ascorbyl glucoside solution 12%)
Aloe Vera gel (The ordinary Natural moisturizing factors+ HA)
broccoli-seed oil, Raspberry-seed oil (The Ordinary ”B” oil)
(The Ordinary mineral UV filters SPF 30 with antioxidants- replacing the Vichy SPF)

i+m – FREESTYLE – Sensitive cleansing milk
(The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in squalane). /Alternating (The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% solution)
Rosehip oil+ carrot seed oil
Aloevera gel+sheabutter

Do you have a verdict?

Gio August 5, 2018 - 10:07 am

Hi Gabrielle, thank you so much for your kind words. Glad you’re enjoying my blog. Natural skincare can be a minefield indeed. It doesn’t help that a lot of oils and butters can clog pores and give you pimples and blackheads. Taking a few out of your skincare routine would help.

I would recommend swapping to the new products indeed”

Sensitive cleansing milk
The ordinary salicylic acid solution (instead than toner)
The Ordinary ascorbic glucoside
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors

Sensitive milk cleanser
The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% In squalene 2 or 3 times a week
Hyaluronic acid serum (optional)
Rosehip oil

Don’t try this new routine at once. Introduce one new product into your skincare routine at a time and see how your skin reacts to it before adding the next one. That way, if something doesn’t agree with your skin, you’ll immediately know who the culprit is.

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve removed most of the oils. Again, I think it’s some of the oils and butters you’re using that are giving you so much acne. Try avoiding them for a while and reintroducing them gradually overtime so you’ll know which oils your skin can tolerate and which ones don’t agree with your skin type. Just because it’s natural, it doesn’t mean your skin likes it.

Scarlett September 25, 2018 - 12:40 pm

Your website is amazing! I’ve read all of your articles about The Ordinary and I’ve been using it to construct a skin routine.

I have stubborn under the surface spots on my chin (hormonal I’m guessing), my skin is otherwise clear and combination. I’m desperate to clear up my chin. This is my routine at the moment…

Cleanse (Origins Checks and Balances)
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Natural Moisturising Factors + HA

Cleanse (Origins Checks and Balances)
Salicylic Acid 2% (on congested area only)
Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Natural Moisturising Factors + HA

Then 2 nights a week, I do cleanse, Retinol 0.2% in Squaline followed by Natural Moisturising Factors + HA. I’m also doing the AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling solution but only every 3 weeks or so.

It’s only been a few weeks, so it’s hard to say about results so far as I think I’m well and truly in the “purging” stage. The Salicylic acid is DEFINITELY drying my spots effectively, and my skin looks really nice after sleeping with the Retinol on. Other than that it’s too soon to say.

I’ve got the Mandelic Acid 10% + HA and the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 because these were advised to me by someone working for DICEM. I’ll wait a few more weeks to see the full impact of my current routine, but how would you advise I incorporate these when I eventually do? I don’t want to over-exfoliate my skin with the Mandelic acid, but I’m conscious I should be using an AHA frequently to try and help move those stubborn closed codemones?

Any advice for me or thoughts about my routine? Too many products maybe?!

Thank you so much <3

Gio September 29, 2018 - 8:49 pm

Scarlett, I think your skincare routine is spot on as it is. I know it takes a while to see results but I’m sure this new routine will make a positive difference.

Both salicylic acid and mandelic acid are good for acne-prone skin but you don’t need both. You don’t need an AHA to help stubborn closed comedones. You need an exfoliating acids and both of these two can do the job. You can one for one month and the other for another month and see which one your skin likes best. But do you not absolutely need both.

Scarlett October 1, 2018 - 10:44 am

Thank you!! Super helpful as always x

Gio October 5, 2018 - 7:54 pm

Scarlett, my pleasure!

ash October 31, 2018 - 3:07 pm

hiya! i’ve not been into skincare too long but your blog has been super useful in trying to fix my routine. i have very hormonal acne prone skin with whiteheads on my forehead and chin. unfortunately i also get small dry flaky patches between my eyebrows and on my cheeks so i’m trying to find the perfect balance of products. would you recommend an AHA or salicylic acid? can you tone alongside these products?

my current routine is
AM: water + the body shop seaweed toner & moisturiser

PM: clarins pure melt oil cleansing gel + garnier micellar cleansing gel
occasionally a physical exfoliant + drugstore cleanser with salicylic acid (these are what i’m looking to replace)
seaweed toner again

i also really want to try using an oil if you can recommend one! sorry for the long message and thank you so much for this

Gio November 1, 2018 - 3:57 pm

Ash, in this case, I’d go with salicylic acid. AHAs don’t get into the pores so they may help your cheeks but not your acne. SA exfoliates both skin and pores so can help with both.

I personally don’t think a toner is necessary so if you want to make your routine shorter, ditch it. But if you love yours and want to keep using it, you can use it with salicylic acid.

But don’t go anywhere near oils. I know they’re very popular right now but what the people who promote never tell you is that they’re not suitable for acne prone skin.

Charlotte November 3, 2018 - 11:31 am

Hey, last year I had acne for a few months on my chreeks. But now i have hyperpigmentation. Pimples show up every now and them and I have an oily t-zone and blackheads on my nose and chin. Should i use Glycolic Acid 7% Toning or salicylic Acid 2%Solution. Can you give me some advice? Thank you <3

Gio November 23, 2018 - 10:19 am

Charlotte, salicylic acid. Whenever you have pimples or blackheads, salicylic acid is the way to go.

alyson December 7, 2018 - 5:47 pm

Hi Gio!

First I want to say thanks for creating such an informative site! Really helped me in learning more about the specifics of skincare. Question, I’m dealing with an apartment that is so dry from heater as well as dry NYC air and cold temps. My moisture barrier is definitely compromised and due to meds im always dehydrated (internally & topically). Is using a glycolic toner every other day okay or should i just stick with lactic acid serum. I have combination skin with hyperpigmentation issues and was told i could use both every other night together but i’m wondering if that’s too much exfoliation. Thanks!

Gio December 9, 2018 - 9:36 am

Alyson, thank you for comment and kind words. Means a lot. If your protective barrier is compromised, you shouldn’t exfoliate at all. Stick to hyaluronic acid serums and basic moisturisers with fatty acids and ceramides until your skin improves. Then, you can start exfoliating with lactic acid a couple of nights a week. For your hyperpigmentatin, try a serum or moisturiser with niacinamide. A spot treatment with azelaic acid can help too. They’re better way to deal with hyperpigmentation if your barrier is compromised.

Emily December 23, 2018 - 2:03 am

Hello! Your blog is so amazing. Switching to a natural skincare routine has been sush a learning experience for me and posts like this help so much. I would love to get your opinion on my routine! I currently have combination skin with mild breakouts that I am trying to get under control. I would love to get some stronger acne fighting / exfoliating / skin tone evening / anti aging products in the mix!

Cleanse with osea ocean cleansing mud
Osea sea minerals toner
The ordinary caffeine solution on eyes
The ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
Osea blemish balm moisturizer

Take makeup off with micellar water
Ocean cleansing mud
Hyaluronic Acid
Squalane + blemish balm

Gio January 12, 2019 - 5:29 pm

Hi Emily, start with adding a salicylic acid exfoliant to your skincare routine at night after cleansing. It’ll help you fight acne, even out your skin tone and exfoliate skin.

Sonitha December 30, 2018 - 7:23 pm

Dear Gio

I’m 50 years with combination brown skin (oily t-zone). My concern is that my chin area is more darker than the rest of my face. I have just started using The Ordinary salicyalic acid and would like to know what other Products from The Ordinary range could help with hyperpigmentation.

Gio January 24, 2019 - 8:15 pm

Sonitha, try azelaic acid. It’s the best suited for your skin type.

Marlene December 31, 2018 - 6:34 am

Very informative, thank you! However, I’m still a little confused, and I was hoping you could recommend what products to use. My current routine is, I admit, nothing. (Gasp!) I only wash my face with water in the morning. My skin is normal, a little on the dry side, on my cheeks, but I do have some pimples in my t-zone. I also have some flaking on my skin, and I think that might be dead skin, not necessarily dryness. I’m afraid salicylic acid will be a little harsh on my skin, I don’t know. I’ve ordered the hyularonic acid serum, but I don’t know what exfoliant to incorporate, or other TO products for that matter. I live in Norway and the winter can be harsh. I hope you can help, I’m sorry for bothering and thank you.

Gio January 24, 2019 - 8:13 pm

Marlene, try this skincare routine for combination skin:

Do give salicylic acid a try. You can start using two or three times a week so it won’t be too harsh for your skin.

Marlene April 27, 2019 - 9:03 pm

Thanks for replying! I decided to try both glycolic acid and salicylic acid – on different days of course, not together – as I think my skin can benefit from both. I’m not sure how to build up frequency, though. I’ve started twice a week and my skin seems to tolerate it fine. Should I move up frequency once a month, for example? And should the end goal be to exfoliate daily, or is that too much/not necessary? I haven’t been able to figure that out. I’m not sure if TO exfoliatoes are too harsh to use daily.

Gio June 4, 2019 - 7:34 pm
Anna Vo January 14, 2019 - 6:30 pm

Hi Gio, I have tiny, skin-coloured bumps all over my forehead, chin, nose and T-zone. I also have dry skin since Canada has harsh winter. Would using salicylic acid exfoliant and glycolic acid toner everyday help? Thank you.

Gio January 24, 2019 - 6:54 pm

Anna, that would be too much. Just use the glycolic acid toner and see if that helps.

Summaya March 29, 2019 - 11:50 am

I am 33 yrs old .. have normal to dry skin .. i use physiogel moisturiser and phusical sunscreen with spf 60.. my skin is dull amd there is light brown spot on sides of my cheeks .. is dis pigmentation..?? I also have dark circles. I wan to start proper skincare routine.. can u plz help me out in dis ..about which product to buy frm ordinaru produxts.. i bought ordinary vitamim c suspension23% + HA spheres and caffiene solution.. how to use these and what else should i add in my skincare plz.. advise me .. thanks in advance

Gio April 4, 2019 - 12:03 pm

Summaya, you can follow this routine for dry skin:

if you need more help with your skincare routine and would like me to create a skincare routine for you, you can book a consultation here:

georgea April 24, 2019 - 6:38 am

I’m just getting into the regiment, as it’s The Ordinary is easily availbel where I currently live (Canada). I’m sold on the reviews but I have a question on what happens if I stop using them (I’d be moving to south east asia where The Ordinary products would cost more there)? Would my skin breakout? I’m generally normal-comnbination, slight fine lines…not a lot of problems maybe just uneven skin tone. Thanks for your input!

Gio April 26, 2019 - 9:14 am

Georgea, it’s hard to predict, but if you’ve come up with a skincare routine that works for you, giving it up could make your skin worse. A way around this would be to look for alternative products with the same active ingredients in south East Asia.

Viktoria May 1, 2019 - 12:22 am

Hi Gio, I’m 22 years old and I have combined skin. My T zone and chin is rather oily and my cheek area just keeps switching between being dry or a bit oily. I’ve been suffering from bad acne since my early teenage years, it seems to improve a lot now, but sometimes I still have them on my cheeks, chin, neck and occassionally on my forehead. I suffer from white and blackheads on my nose and chin and I also have big pores overall and a bit of scarring from my cheek area down towards my jawline.
I’ve been using salicylic acid 2%, niacinamide 10% + zinc 1% combined with azelaic acid and I would use retinoil 1% twice a week.
My skin seems to improve a lot since Ive been using them (cca. 3 months), so I jumped on a high horse and purchased some more products from the ordinary (without doing a deeper research) that I “thought” would be good for my skin. I bought the buffet, hylauronic acid +B5 and the AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling solution. Little did I know that it’s not that easy to really combine them in a way that would benefit my skin the best and not cancelling or weakening each other’s effect and also I didn’t think through if I even need all these products. I would like to ask for your opinion on how should I use/combine them a little bit so they don’t go to complete waste if I already purchased them.
Sorry for the big rant, your blog is amazing, I just feel a little bit lost still so I could use a bit more help.
Thank you in advance!

Gio June 4, 2019 - 9:14 pm

Victoria, you can use hyaluronic acid before moisturizer every time you feel like your skin needs the extra hydration. You can use Buffet at night after retinol, but I don’t think it does much for skin. Return the peeling solution. It’s only for people who have been using acids for years and can tolerate high doses.

Syue May 7, 2019 - 4:20 pm

Hi Gio,

You just like my ‘Beauty Guru’ . I have combination skin just like you and what can i say whitehead all over my face. Lately i got pimples on my forehead and my skin looks dull. Whichproduct would you recommend to me?
Thank you for your help.

Gio June 4, 2019 - 6:42 pm

Syue, try salicylic acid. It’ll change your life!

Joan June 2, 2019 - 3:44 am

Hi. I have acne prone skin, like the typical whiteheads, blackheads and occasionally 2 or 3 pimples. My skin is also a bit textured. What exfolian should I use?

Gio June 4, 2019 - 6:28 pm

Joan, salicylic acid.

Tabi October 2, 2019 - 11:47 am

I love it, thanks. Can I use AHA 30% + BHA 2% PEELING SOLUTION and other exfoliant? or with that is enough?

Gio October 5, 2019 - 7:13 pm

Tabi, if you already use the peeling solution, you do NOT need any other exfoliant. Overexfoliation is the worst thing you can do to your skin.

Nisha January 6, 2020 - 6:52 am

Tabi – aha bhi is way too strong

Zhanet January 11, 2020 - 10:51 am

Hi Gio! Your guide is so helpful and informative! <3
I am 28. I have just just recently started building a proper skincare routine and have never used chemical exfoliants before. I would really like to try The Ordinary's products but I am not perfectly certain what would be the best fit. Previously my skin was combination to oily, specially in the T-zone, but now in winter and me using too many drying products, I think, has made it combination to dry. Never had issues with acne or bad break outs. My pores on my cheeks and nose are a bit more prominent though and I also have fine blackheads on my nose, cheeks, and chin. Would really like to renew my skin and clear those up. So I have decided to give chemcal exfoliation a try. 🙂
In my PM routine, to fight the dryness I have now started using (just from 3 days):
CeRave Hydrating Cleanser
Rose water
CeRave Moisturizing Lotion
Around my eyes I ocassionally use a combination of briar and jojoba natural oil. ( Don't know if that's a good enough idea. I am 28 and realize I need to start taking care of my undereye area better. I have heard the CeraVe Eye Repair cream is pretty good, but I cannot say I have puffy eyes or dark circles, so I don't want to overdo it. What do you think?)

Having in mind my rant above, could you please advise what would be the best exfoliant from The Ordinary products available and what would be the best frequency I should use it with?

Thank you so much for your time and assistance in advance! <3

Gio January 16, 2020 - 4:50 pm

Zhanet, you need salicylic acid, but unfortunately it’s out of stock till March. You can try The Inkey List or Paula’s Choice BHA or use mandelic acid from The Ordinary until salicylic acid becomes available again.

Twinkle March 27, 2020 - 3:53 pm

I love your page! ♥️
I am an 24 year old female. I have a very basic skin care, cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen (neutrogena) . I have combination skin.
But I want to tackle with my skin issues, which are :
1.Frequent breakouts.
2.Blackhead on nose
3.Dark pimple spots
4.Uneven skin tone
5.Dehydrated skin (sometimes)
6.Dull Skin.
7.Smiling lines
Could you suggest me some basic but effective products of The Odinary and a routine please.

Gio April 4, 2020 - 8:05 am

Twinkle, I’d love to help you create the best skincare routine for your needs, but this is a paid service. You can book your consultation here:

Catherine Verna May 7, 2020 - 3:05 am

Gio, my forehead is reddish and the skin looks tough. I have tried hyuralonic acid for 6 months but it did not do much. Any ideas

paige July 7, 2020 - 2:49 pm

Hi Gio! I am so glad I found your blog. I love the straight up answers/recommendations you give and how you lay it out in an easy way to read. Thank you! I am 35, fair skin, red hair and freckles. My skin is very dry and flakey. I never have oily skin even before my skincare routine.I wear sunscreen every day, use DHC cleansing oil, Cereve Moisturizing Cleanser, Cereve Moisturizer, and have been using Glossier AHA/BHA, The Ordinary hyaluronic acid 2% and B5. The issue I have is redness and sensitivity. I have mild rosacea according to my dermatologist. What exfoliator do you recommend?

Gio July 14, 2020 - 10:51 am

Paige, I would try 5% Lactic Acid no more than twice a week.

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