The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% review

Remember when you had to sell a kidney to get your lactic acid fix (yes, I’m looking at you Sunday Riley Good Genes)?

Now you can get your hands on it for less than two Starbucks coffees. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% has put lactic acid firmly on the drugstore skincare map and everyone wants a piece of it.

I swear every few days someone asks me if they should add it to their skincare routine… even though they’re already using another exfoliant!

Trust me, ladies, when its comes to exfoliation, more is not the merrier. Picking the one acid that best suits your skin type is way better than using all the acids you can get your hands on.

So, who is The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% suitable for? Here’s the lowdown:

What’s In The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%?

LACTIC ACID TO EXFOLIATE SKIN

Lactic acid is the gentlest member of the AHAs family, a group of exfoliants that dissolves the “glue” that holds skin cells together so they can slow off and reveal the brighter, smoother, more even-toned skin underneath.

What makes lactic acid gentler than other members of the family, like glycolic acid, is its size. While glycolic is so small, it can easily penetrate the skin, lactic is bigger and stays on the surface, where it does the exfoliating job.

While it’s at it, it also acts as a humectant. In plain English, it attracts moisture from the air and dumps into your skin, infusing it with an extra dose of moisture that softens it and plumps it up.

This makes lactic acid a gentler option for anyone with sensitive or dehydrated skin.

Dry or sun-damaged skin? I’d stick to glycolic acid (it’s a little more effective at treating the signs of aging). But if you’re looking for a gentler option, this will do.

Oily skin? Don’t go anywhere near it. I don’t care what brands say, lactic acid CAN’T unclog pores. That’s a job for salicylic acid. Stray from it at your peril.

Related: AHAs VS BHA: Which One Is Right For Your Skin Type?

the ordinary lactic acid 10 + ha 2 02

HYALURONIC ACID TO HYDRATE SKIN

Hyaluronic acid has something in common with lactic acid: they’re both moisture magnets. But hyaluronic acid goes a step further in the hydration department: it attracts and binds to the skin up to 1000 times its weight in water!

This is what makes The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% so wonderful for dehydrated skin. It plumps up its hydration levels a few notches, making skin softer and plumper.

The best part? It works well both in high and low humidity conditions. 😉

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine

TASMANIA PEPPERBERRY EXTRACT TO SOOTHE SKIN

Lactic acid may be the gentlest AHAs out there but if your skin’s very sensitive, it may still throw a little tantrum.

To reduce the risk even more, The Ordinary has added Tasmania pepperberry to the mix. This plant contains polygodial, a substance that has anti-inflammatory properties. 

Plus, it doubles up as an antioxidant so it can help prevent winkles too.

Fun fact: Tasmania pepperberry is what gives The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% its peachy colour.


If you’re worrying about doing The Ordinary wrong, get your butt on this The Ordinary speed training (affiliate link). It’s by my scientist friend Cheryl Woodman and in it she’s teaching you how to use The Ordinary to get makeupless skin you love.

The Ordinary Skincare Routine - Where to start with The Ordinary skincare

Texture

It has a lightweight, slightly watery, slightly sticky texture that spreads easily on the skin.

Fragrance

It stinks. Ok, it’s not that bad and I’m glad The Ordinary didn’t put any fragrance here because that has no place in products for sensitive skin (it’s so irritating!). But the natural odour of the ingredient isn’t the best.

How To Use It

One or two nights a week, after cleansing.


Want to know what ingredients you really need to avoid in your skincare products (hint: they’re NOT what you think)? Sign up to the newsletter below to receive the “Skincare Ingredients To Avoid” cheatsheet:


Performance & Personal Opinion

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% doesn’t smell the best. But, I don’t mind too much because this stuff’s good.

I didn’t experience any irritation. Not even the slightest tingling. But then my skin’s pretty resistant. If yours is super sensitive, the milder 5% version of this formula would be better for you. If your skin can’t even take that, stick to a washcloth.

But I’m distressing. I’m Team Glycolic all the way (my skin can take it), but I’ve switched to lactic acid for this review and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Lactic acid makes my skin smoother and gives my complexion a subtle glow. I don’t have any discolourations, but if your acne is leaving dark marks behind, this can help lighten them too.

Instead, it did nothing for my blackheads, but I was expecting that (told you that’s a job for salicylic acid 😉 ).

Who Is This For?

Sensitive skin.

Who Is This NOT For?

  • Acne-prone skin (stick to salicylic acid)
  • Oily skin (stick to salicylic acid)
  • Dry skin (stick to glycolic acid)
  • Sun damaged skin (stick to glycolic acid)

Related: Glycolic Acid VS Lactic Acid: Which One Is Right For You?

Packaging

A see-through bottle with a dropper applicator. It’s sleek and practical.

the ordinary lactic acid 10 + ha 2 01

Does The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Live Up To Its Claims?

CLAIMTRUE?
This 10% formulation offers mild exfoliation and is supported with a purified Tasmanian pepperberry known to reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is often associated with exfoliationTrue.
Lactic Acid should not be used on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin.True.

Price & Availability

£5.80/$6.79 at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, Feel Unique, Look Fantastic and Sephora

Do You Need It?

If you have sensitive skin, this is one of the best exfoliants for you.

Dupes & Alternatives

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.