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The Ordinary range of skincare hit the cosmetics scene in 2016 and caused major disruption.
Based on the model of generic pharma, it sold products containing the same formulations as high-end brands, but, by cutting out expensive marketing and glossy packaging, for a fraction of the price (think of the cost of buying Nurofen as opposed to buying a supermarket brand of ibuprofen: same recipe, a tenth of the price).
The products Ordinary released were an instant hit: with high concentrations of active ingredients, they were seriously effective, utilising the most popular ingredients in skincare – vitamin C (for brightening skin and undoing sun damage), hyaluronic acid (for plumping up the skin and making you look 'fresher'), retinol (one of the few proven ingredients known to combat fine wrinkles) and AHAs and BHAs (great for exfoliating dead skin cells, leaving skin fresher) – with almost all the products in the line leaving change from £10.
Next came their first foray into make-up in 2017, when they launched two foundations. These adopted the same approach to the skincare range (no frills, excellent performance) to the same enthusiastic customer response (a 75,000 waiting list built up on the day of release).
The Ordinary Serum foundation in particular provides excellent mid-range coverage, SP15 sun protection, plenty of 'slip', and costs £5.50: it's a winning product.
Now, the concealer has launched – and it's great.
The Ordinary concealer is available in 36 shades. 21 of these correspond with the foundation shades. The colour range is pleasingly inclusive, so your chances of finding a colour match are high.
At £4.90, the Ordinary concealer is almost a no-brainer to add to your make-up cabinet, but although it's a budget buy, it's far from a 'cheap' product.
Coming in an 8ml nozzled tube, we liked that you could squeeze the product onto the back your hand to apply (applicator wands for concealers are hygienically gross). We used both a beauty blotter and our ring finger to tap it gently in – we found the latter more effective. It builds beautifully under the eyes to cover dark circles.
When used on uneven, red skin, it blended evenly into our foundation, covering redness effectively.
Our main quibble is that it is quite a 'dry' formula. While other concealers, like the Glossier Stretch Concealer, are packed with conditioning ingredients to moisturise as they cover, the Ordinary concealer offered no such care. If you prime your skin or use a rich moisturiser, you'll find it glosses on seamlessly, so it's an easy enough issue to rectify.
It's not 'cakey' though: we didn't find it dry down to a flaking finish, as most budget concealers do.
If you have redness around your nose, you'll find it covers it beautifully.
We wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the initial run sells out (great product, great price) so you may want to stock up.
Here our edit of the best Ordinary products available.
The Ordinary concealer
Provides good, buildable coverage on dark circles and spots, with minimal flaking.
The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation with SPF 15 30ml
This light, nourishing foundation slips on beautifully and provides mild coverage. Available in an inclusive colour range, too. A winner.
The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
A beauty editor put us onto this and it’s a wee marvel. We use this viscous red mask once a week (you’ll look briefly like a horror movie victim, but it’s worth it) as a powerful exfoliant. Wash off ten minutes later and your skin will be brighter and smoother, we promise.