For an ordinary brand, The Ordinary sure likes to confuse people.
Take their Vitamin C products, for example. They have 5 and a 6th on the way! How the heck are you supposed to pick the right one for you?!
Choose the wrong one and you may end up with a bad case of stinging, an acne flareup or a gritty texture you don’t want to put anywhere near your skin.
I’m not exaggerating. Each of The Ordinary Vitamin C serums/creams is a good product… for the right skin type. That’s why they have so many. They know one size never fits all in skincare and have created as many options as possible to serve everyone.
If you don’t know which one will get on better with your skin, don’t fret. I’ve put together this quick guide to The Ordinary Vitamin C products to take the guesswork out of picking the right one for your needs:
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What The Heck Is Vitamin C And Why Should You Use it?
Vitamin C is an anti aging superstar. It has several superpowers:
- It fights the free radicals that cause premature wrinkles
- It boosts collagen, the protein that keeps skin firm
- It brightens skin and fades dark spots
- It boosts sun protection (it does this better when paired with Vitamin E and ferulic acid)
The catch? There’s not just one form of Vitamin C. There are a gazillion (I’ve written a post on the most popular here).
L-Ascorbic Acid, the pure form of Vitamin C, is by far the most powerful and the most effective. It’s also the most irritating. It can cause stinging and burning. If you have sensitive skin, don’t go anywhere near it.
Its derivatives, like Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate and Ascorbyl Glucoside, are gentler and better tolerated even by sensitive skin. But, they’re less powerful. They work. You just won’t be getting the full potency of Vitamin C. But for some skin types, they’re the better choice.
Now that you know why you need to add a Vitamin C product to your skincare routine, let’s figure out which one is best for your needs, shall we?
The Ordinary Vitamin C Supension 23% + HA Spheres 2% (£4.90)
What form of Vitamin C does it use?: L-Ascorbic Acid, the pure form of Vitamin C. It’s the most effective but the most unstable. To keep it stable, The Ordinary hasn’t used any water in this serum.
What’s the texture like?: gritty. It feels like sandpaper. It’s NOT pleasant to use. The only way I can use it is by mixing it with a separate hyaluronic acid serum. That dissolves the gritty particles so they don’t scratch your skin (no, the hyaluronic acid in this serum isn’t enough for that – but it’ll hydrate your skin).
Are there any side effects?: It’s the most powerful Vitamin C serum from The Ordinary but also the most irritating. If you have sensitive skin, go with one of the derivatives below.
When do you use it?: at night.
Who is it best for?: Vitamin C veterans who want dramatic and fast results and hate silicones
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% In Silicone (£5.80)
What form of Vitamin C does it use?: pure Vitamin C, L-Ascorbic Acid. It gives dramatic results but is very unstable. The Ordinary fixed that by removing water from the formula.
What’s the texture like?: silky smooth. Vitamin C powder is suspended in the formula like in the original Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA 2% but the addition of silicones makes the texture smooth rather than gritty.
Are there any side effects?: pure Vitamin C can be irritating and sting.
When do you use it?: at night.
Who is it best for?: Vitamin C veterans who want dramatic and fast results but can’t stand gritty textures.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% ($8.90)
What form of Vitamin C does it use?: Ascorbyl Glucoside, a water soluble derivative of Vitamin C. It’s more stable than pure Vitamin C but less effective. Its forte is brightening skin but it fights wrinkles too. It’s so popular because it works well in water, allowing for an elegant, smooth texture that’s a pleasant to use.
What’s the texture like?: A light serum. Out of all The Ordinary Vitamin C products, this one has the best texture. It absorbs quickly, too.
Are there any side effects?: if you have super sensitive skin that doesn’t tolerate Vitamin C at all, it may irritate it.
When do you use it?: morning and evening, after cleansing.
Who is it best for?: everyone, even sensitive skin, can use it. But, because it absorbs so quickly into your skin, it’s ideal for oily skin.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% In Vitamin F (£14.90)
What form of Vitamin C Does It Use?: Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate. It’s an oil soluble derivative that penetrates skin faster than all other forms of Vitamin C. It’s especially good at brightening skin. I’ve written an entire post about the benefits of Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate here.
What’s the texture like? It’s a lightweight oil. It doesn’t feel greasy on the skin. It’s runny so be careful when you apply it!
Are there any side effects?: Vitamin F isn’t really a vitamin. F stands for fatty acids, a group of ingredients that’s super moisturising. That’s great for dry skin. But for oily skin? They can clog pores and cause breakouts.
When do you use it?: morning and/or evening.
Who is it best for? Dry and dehydrated skin types that want to moisturise skin and fight wrinkles at the same time.
The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% (£7.80)
What form of Vitamin C does it use?: Magnesium Ascorbyl Phopshate, a water-soluble derivative. It’s less effective than pure Vitamin C but more stable. It’s one of the most studied derivates of Vitamin C so there’s quite a lot of research confirming it works. It’s particularly good at brightening skin.
What’s the texture like?: A light cream.
Are there any side effects?: it’s one of the gentlest forms of Vitamin C but if you have super sensitive skin, it may still irritate it.
When do you use it?: morning and evening after water-based serums.
Who is it best for?: sensitive skin and Vitamin C newbies.
|Vit C 23%||Vit C 30%||AG 12%||AT 20%||MAP 10%|
|Texture||Heavy &gritty||Heavy & smooth||Light serum||Light oil||Light cream|
|Best for||Vit C pros||Vit C pros who want |
a smoother texture
|All skin types, |
|Dry and mature |
|All skin types,|
SHOP THE POST
VITAMIN C TIPS
- High doses of Vitamin C can sting and irritate skin. Start with a derivative three or four times a week and increase frequency gradually.
- If your Vitamin C is turning brown, toss it. It doesn’t work anymore.
- Vitamin C is even more powerful when used with Vitamin E and ferulic acid. Sadly, no The Ordinary product uses this combo. Supplement with a separate antioxidant serum.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right The Ordinary Vitamin C product for your needs depends on your skin type, the type of Vitamin C it can tolerate and what texture it prefers. If you’re a Vitamin C veteran, you can upgrade to pure Vitamin C. Everyone else, stick to a derivative for the time being. Pick the one with the better texture for your skin type and you’ll make it a happy bunny.
I hope this guide helped you understand which The Ordinary Vitamin C product is the right fit for you. Let me know in the comments below which one you picked!
The Ordinary Vitamin C Supension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Ingredients: Ascorbic Acid, Squalane, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Coconut Alkanes, Ethylene/Propylene/Styrene Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glucomannan, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Butylene/Ethylene/Styrene Copolymer, Acrylates/Ethylhexyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Trihydroxystearin, BHT.
The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 30% In Silicone Ingredients: Dimethicone, Ascorbic Acid, Polysilicone-11, PEG-10 Dimethicone.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Coco Caprylate/Caprate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Dodecane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyglycerol-3 Diisostearate, Polyglycerol-3 Polyricinoleate, Glycerin, Hexamethyldisiloxane, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Tocopherol, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F Ingredients: Coconut Alkanes, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ethyl Linoleate, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit Extract, Squalane
The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10% Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Coco Caprylate/Caprate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Dodecane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyglycerol-3 Diisostearate, Polyglycerol-3 Polyricinoleate, Glycerin, Hexamethyldisiloxane, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Tocopherol, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.