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My Ordinary Skin Care Routine

My smile is beaming, my skin is gleaming – and that is not just lyrics to an Ariana Grande song. My skin really has been gleaming of late. While I was never troubled with extreme cases of acne during my teenage years, I do have combination to oily skin which is quite prone to the occasional breakout and blemish even to this day. Furthermore I have slightly larger pores on my nose and cheeks and was convinced I needed the most dynamic, over the top skin care routine to fully tackle my skin problems until the start of this year when I switched to solely using products by DECIEM The Ordinary.
I have said it quite a few times on my blog already but I will say it again: your twenties is the ideal time to begin forming a skin care routine. A prevention is better than a cure and caring for your skin now is a guaranteed way to keep you looking healthy, refreshed, hydrated and younger for longer. Develop a skin care routine you can work into your schedule, it does not have to take any longer than ten to fifteen minutes, but really commit to it and you will begin to notice changes and benefits within days. What I truly adore about The Ordinary brand is they have no extra bells and whistles: they offer superior ingredients at an extremely affordable price point making it accessible and achievable for everyone to have glowing skin. With superior ingredients and easy accessibility comes contraindications – please review all products on their regimen guide before using them as some do not ‘combine’ well with others. Below I will take you through my entire skin care routine on a weekly basis and show you how often I use a product and their combination.

These products work extremely well for my skin which is why I am recommending them to you. Some of these products may not work the same for you based on a number of different factors. For a more customised skin care routine tailored to your skin type feel free to ask any of the sales associates in a store near you (depending on local restrictions with your area) or chat with an online ambassador. This is not a sponsored post.

This blog post and shop widget use affiliate links.
The items featured in this blog were purchased with my own money.
Read the disclaimer about affiliate links and PR Gifting here.

SQUALANE CLEANSER

Squalene (with an ‘E‘) is produced naturally by the body, but like everything decreases as we age. Peak production is in our mid teens and by our twenties leading into our thirties it declines and can contribute to dry skin. Squalene is naturally an oil but to extend the shelf life in cosmetics it is processed with a particular molecule to become ‘squalane’ and can have a balm-like consistency.

Benefits: Boosting the hydration level can help your skin appear more vibrant and healthier. Loaded with antioxidants which help fight skin damage and free radicals, which can both lead to accelerating the ageing process. Regular use can boost collagen production resulting in firmer skin. Squalane also has anti-tumour properties which can protect the skin from carcinogens.

Usage: Take a small amount on the tip of your fingers and rub together for 10-20 seconds to allow the heat to change the product from a balm to an oil consistency and apply to a dry face. Massage into your skin for at least 20 seconds to really allow the product time to break down dirt and make up and absorb into the skin – which is where it is needed to begin seeing the benefits. Rinse off with water and pat dry your face.

Regimen Step: First.
Time Of Use: Suitable for AM and PM.
Conflicts: None.

CAFFEINE SOLUTION 5% + EGCG

We never seem to learn with this one – we make the same mistakes times and time again. Late nights getting to bed and missing out on some much needed and valued shut eye because we had to watch the next episode of our favourite TV show, or spending those five extra minutes on a late night phone call with our best friend or we had one too many cocktails last night. When I know I missed out on some much needed sleep there is two things I do: step one place a teaspoon in the freezer for 3 minutes and apply it to the contours of eye and step two reach for my Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG.

Benefits: This formula contains an extremely high 5% concentration of caffeine, supplemented with EGCG from green tea leaves which, when used in combination, can help reduce the appearance of puffiness and dark circles in the eye contour.

Usage: Take one drop on your ring finger and begin dabbing the product across the eye contour area (directly below the eye right up and into the brow bone.) Use very light pressure and a dabbing motion as oppose to dragging the product as this can cause fine lines to become more prominent.

Regimen Step: Second.
Time Of Use: Suitable for AM and PM.
Conflicts: None.

BUFFET

I began using this product almost three years ago, when I first moved to Toronto. I purchased an Ordinary ‘starter kit’ and this was one of the products – which I thoroughly enjoyed and strangely never purchased again until I was reminded of it by a friend. It was only then, around mid to late January of this year, I began working it back into my skin care routine and it is now my second step in both the AM and PM. I have received so many compliments on my skin since then and truly believe that Buffet has had a huge impact.

Benefits: Buffet is a multitasking water based serum that combines a comprehensive bundle of ingredients into one unique formula to cleverly target various signs of skin ageing and improve overall skin health. The name is a play on a buffet style restaurant offering multiple servings – quite like what this product is designed to do: firm and smooth skin texture, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, boost hydration, brighten dull skin and fade pigmentation.

Usage: Take three to four drops on the tips of your fingers and begin pressing the product into your skin rather than wiping for maximum absorption into the skin.

Regimen Step: Third.
Time Of Use: Suitable for AM and PM.
Conflicts: Vitamin C. Direct Acids. Niacinamide. Retinol.

NIACINAMIDE 10% + ZINC 1%

Niacinamide is suitable for all skin types. Ideal especially for oily skin as it has the ability to balance out the production of the skins natural oil (sebum) and has to be used twice a day (AM and PM) to really see the benefits. Niacinamide once had a reputation for ‘lightening’ the skin, however that has been slightly misconstrued as it is extremely effective at reducing hyperpigmentation, otherwise known as dark spots on the skin.

Benefits: Niacinamide supports the outer most layer of the skin, or the skin barrier, as it increases its resiliency and improves texture. It helps reduce inflammation, which may help ease redness caused by eczema, acne and other skin conditions. It can help balance the production of the skins natural oil and contributes to a reduction in pore size over time.

Usage: Take three drops and apply to the entire face focusing on problem areas where you do have redness or larger pores – for me that is the nose and cheek area.

Regimen Step: Fourth.
Time Of Use: Suitable for AM and PM.
Conflicts: Vitamin C.

RETINOL 0.5% IN SQUALANE

Retinol was my first time using an active ingredient in my skin care routine, it was also my first Ordinary product. Months later a skin specialist told me my skin was too young to be using any type of retinol treatment and recommended me to stop. However if I could single out just one skin care product in my entire routine that has made the biggest difference to my fine lines it would be this one. While I have been religiously doing every step in this blog post since January, I only introduced the Granactive Retinoid in June and the difference in my skin is phenomenal. Fine lines have been reduced significantly on my forehead and my smile lines (thanks chubby cheeks!) also appear more firm.

Benefits: This water-free solution has been formulated with what skin care specialists call ‘novel retinol’ to reduce the effects and signs of irritation regular retinol was known for. This unique formulation helps renew skin elasticity and plumpness while increasing skin hydration to provide a radiant and fresh appearance. This can also stimulate skin cell proliferation; restoring thickness to areas of skin that has become thinner over time.
**This is not a treatment for acne. Skin that is acne prone may experience a temporary increase in acne during the first few weeks of treatment with any skin care containing Retinoid.**

Usage: Take three drops and apply to the entire face focusing on problem areas where you do have signs of irritation, dryness, redness or dehydration.

Regimen Step: Fifth.
Time Of Use: PM only.
Conflicts: Do not use with other Retinoid treatments. This product can make the skin more susceptible to sun burn and additional steps in UV protection should be taken. When pregnant or breastfeeding it is recommended to avoid skin care products containing Retinoid.

100% ORGANIC COLD-PRESSED BORAGE SEED OIL

Borage oil is a little-known secret when it comes to skin care and keeping your skin healthy. This is a natural oil that not only restores moisture and smoothness to dry and damaged skin but can also provide relief to those who suffer from skin conditions that cause redness such as acne, eczema, atopic dermatitis and rosacea. It may be worth noting to some who are particularly sensitive to smell this product can be slightly overbearing, but in my personal experience after a few minutes you will notice the scent gradually fade away.

Benefits: Suitable for all skin types this product contains 100% borage seed oil that is sustainably-sourced, organic and cold pressed to offer a soothing and calming effect on the skin. This product is specifically designed to be suitable for sensitive, dry and/or irritated skin (but should not be used on broken skin) and targets redness, inflammation, dehydration and leaves your skin glowing without looking or feeling greasy.

Usage: Take three drops and apply to the entire face focusing on problem areas where you do have signs of irritation, dryness, redness or dehydration.

Regimen Step: Sixth.
Time Of Use: Suitable for AM and PM.
Conflicts: None.


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VITAMIN C SUSPENSION 23%

Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that brightens and evens the skin tone and reduces the appearance of signs of aging. The formula of this product is a suspension of very fine L-Ascorbic Acid to provide the most direct exposure of extremely high concentrations of Vitamin C. Due to the concentration levels it is important to note you will feel a very strong, yet tolerable tingling sensation for several minutes while the product absorbs into the skin – if this is too intense you can mix it with a face moisturizer; at least until your skin builds up a tolerance.

Benefits: Vitamin C is the holy grail in terms of skin care and I do have a full detailed rundown of all the amazing benefits it has to offer, which you can read here, but to keep this blog post as compact as possible I will highlight the reasons I love it so much: antioxidant properties protecting the skin cells from free radicals caused by UV exposure and environmental factors. It also reduces melanin production in the skin – which helps to lighten hyper-pigmentation and dark spots, even out skin tone and enhance radiance.

Usage: Take a small, equal amount of Vitamin C (*optional: and a hydrating moisturizer.) Rub into the skin until it feels fully absorbed – it is also worth noting this product can almost have a gritty feel to it until it is fully absorbed. I typically only use this product once or twice a week, on days I do not apply use Niacinamide in the evening.

Regimen Step: Seventh – in place of Niacinamide twice a week.
Time Of Use: PM only.
Conflicts: Niacinamide and EUK 134. Ideally do not combine with other Acids.



The products that follow are highly concentrated Acid’s that should only be used once a week. Ideally; pick one night a week that works for you (such as Thursday, in preparation of the weekend) that you can take additional skin care steps with acids as this offers an exfoliating effect on the skin. These products can be used in combination together for the most benefit and used after the first five steps listed above.

GLYCOLIC ACID 7%

This product is fully titled ‘Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution’ and when I originally started using this I assumed it was regular toner and used it every day after cleansing – do not make the same mistake as me. This is a direct, high concentrated pH 3.6 acid that is used to encourage skin exfoliation for visible clarity and improved skin radiance.

Benefits: Exfoliating acids can result in quick visible benefits; including dullness, uneven tone and texture irregularities. This product has been created to maximize effectiveness of the direct acid while reducing skin irritability.

Usage: Saturate a cotton pad and apply as the second step in your skin care routine after cleanser once a week.

Regimen Step: Second – once a week.
Time Of Use: PM.
Conflicts: Do not use on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin. This product can make the skin more susceptible to sun burn and additional steps in UV protection should be taken.

LACTIC ACID 5%

A mid lactic acid superficial peeling formula. This 5% formulation offers a mild exfoliation and is purified with ingredients that are known to soothe the skin and reduce the signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is usually associated with exfoliation.

Benefits: Lactic Acid exfoliates by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells on the outermost layer to reveal a more radiant complexion. Continuous use will show brightening of the skin (including hyper-pigmentation or dark spots) and can help to even and balance the skin tone while making you look firmer. It improves texture irregularities and fine lines.

Usage: Apply three drops to the face evenly.

Regimen Step: Eight – once a week.
Time Of Use: PM.
Conflicts: EUK 134 and Peptides. Do not combine with other strong acids. Do not use on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin. This product can make the skin more susceptible to sun burn and additional steps in UV protection should be taken.

SALICYLIC ACID 2% MASQUE

2% Salicylic Acid with Vegetable charcoal, Amazonian clays and Squalane is designed to target lacklustre tone and texture irregularities. Infused with charcoal and clay which aims to enhance the appearance of smoothness, leaving the skin looking and feeling refreshed.

Benefits: Salicylic Acid works by helping the skin to shed dead skin cells from the top layer and dissolve other types of debris that can clog the pores and cause acne while also decreasing redness and inflammation. It directly breaks down and dissolves the keratin plugs and regulate the skin cells. Continuous use will see improvement in texture irregularities and lacklustre tone.

Usage: Apply an even layer to the entire face, excluding the eye contour area, on clean and dry skin. Do not use on wet skin. Leave on for no more than ten minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water.

Regimen Step: Use as a masque once a week.
Time Of Use: PM.
Conflicts: EUK 134 and Peptides. Ideally do not combine with other Acids. Do not use on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin. This product can make the skin more susceptible to sun burn and additional steps in UV protection should be taken.

DECIEM The Ordinary is reigning supreme when it comes to skin care in my personal opinion. What makes these products so affordable is that the brand does not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on advertising – they truly let their incredible products speak for themselves. What is your current DECIEM skin care regimen and did I leave any of your favourite products out? Let me known in the comment section below.


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