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The Cheap Skincare Brand That Saved My Skin


The Cheap Skincare Brand That Saved My Skin

Caitlin Rance



Among the many things that have caused me restless night, stress lines on my forehead, and the good ole’ cry, my skin—admittedly something I’m aware to many may seem silly—has caused me some of my worst times. If you haven’t struggled with acne—and I mean the painful, attrociously red and hard to hide acne—then this may be hard to relate to, but that’s okay. In fact, I'm sure there will still be some gems in here if you’re interested.

I don’t think there’s anyone really who has never had a pimple. Like, that has to be impossible, right? I remember the first time I experienced what would become one of many intrusions upon my once soft, smooth and clear baby face. It all started after I got my period. Something so many women and girls around me collectively spoke about, that I at the time couldnt wait to get myself. I remember peering down at my underwear when I saw the first few red dots that had finally cemented my status as a 'woman.' There’s a lot to unpack there, but moving further along, that moment kickstarted my hormonal acne. The painful, under the skin, red, cystic acne that slowly but surely began to riddle itself across my jaw, around my mouth, and even take up the most popular spot on the map—right between the good ole’ brows.

Before I get into the products that recently saved my skin, I want to just make a few disclaimers:

If you’re suffering from cystic/hormonal acne like I did, or even continuous breakouts, you probably should see a dermatologist. My acne required prescription medication which was luckily covered by insurance, and the only time I had to take any oral medication was when i found out a few years back i actually had an internal infection that was causing my breakouts. The rest were topical products I was able to pick up at my local drugstore.

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Around April, I began to get some breakouts that caused me to feel a little nervous, because I couldn’t pinpoint where they were coming from, nor  really stop it, regardless of what I used. I began to scour the internet searching for answers. I cut out dairy, I washed my bedding more than twice a week,  I cut out sugar..basically, I got obsessive

I heard lots about The Ordinary in passing, but never really explored the brand as my skin has always been the type that responds specifically to prescription products only. The Ordinary is a brand under Deceim, compromised of many products. Their main product line consists of mostly serums—though they do in fact sell other products like skincare, and hair care—which target different things like: brightness, acne, scarring, smoothness, tightening—you name it, they got it. The thing I like most about this brand is the pricing. You won't find a product that's really out of range, so I know that I'll be able to continually repurchase my favorite products without that pinching guilt feeling of buyers remorse. Another thing I like about this brand is the lack of ingredients. The Ordinary only puts the ingredients you'll see on the direct label (about 1-4 ingredients at most), so you know you're getting high quality, direct product. 

I’m sure I’m not the only one when I say this (though it sure does feel like it sometimes), but any time I see a cult beauty product or skincare product continually raved about, I feel so sad knowing I most likely can’t use it. What I seem to find about most skincare products is that they really aren't targeted, nor truly work for people with acne. Rather, they target skin that experiences the occasional mild breakout or two. Because of this, not only have I constantly felt trapped by acne I can't fully control, but my skin just also happens to be insanely sensitive. If my skin doesn't like something, I'll be reminded of it for at least a good month. Skin sensitivity makes it extremely hard to be willing to try anything new, but I think I took the risk with this brand because so many of the products didn't contain oil (something that constantly breaks me out), and they were pretty cheap. If anything, to many that would probably seem like two off reasons to take that risk, but I did it and it paid off!

Here's my current lineup and a little info about each product I use:


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There's always a lot of buzz about toners, and if it makes sense to have one in your skincare routine. I've read arguments which make you feel crazy for not having one, and others that make the extra step seem silly. I used to use a Neutrogena toner when I was younger, but never saw any obvious benefits, so I stopped using it (mostly due to laziness). This toner popped out to me due to the high-rated reviews on the website. The price, and also the word "Glycolic Acid" helped a bit too. I used to get glycolic acid peels when I was working on my skin texture, and found it to be the one thing I could never find on the skincare market. Although I could find products that contained a little bit of glycolic acid, there was never a product that was focused solely on it. This toner has cemented itself as a staple in my nighttime routine, and I've 100% see more clarity and brightness on my skin. Here's some info on the product from The Ordinary's website: Glycolic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. This 7% toning solution offers mild exfoliation for improved skin radiance and visible clarity. The formula also improves the appearance of skin texture with continued use.

This toner retails at: $8.70 USD

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If you're looking for a product to keep your skin in ultimate check, I'd go for this serum. My skin is oily, so I'm really prone to breakouts. Because of that, I love to use this serum daily AND nightly.  This was the one product I really kept my eyes out for, because I knew salycilic as an all over face treatment would be too harsh, but with oily skin, I knew I needed something that would help to prevent any buildup or breakouts.This is where Niacinamide  + Zinc come into the picture! I do a couple drops all over my face, focusing more around my chin area and any other acne prone spots on my face. I don't notice any harshness with this serum (as in no redness or burning), and I think this has definitely been one of the key products to help not only reduce the oil my skin produces, but also reduce the breakouts. Here's some info from The Ordinary's website: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.

This serum retails at: $5.90 USD

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I'm sure you're pretty familiar with Salycilic Acid, but just in case you're not, here's a little background from The Ordinary's website: Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. This 2% treatment solution helps exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with continued use. I've used a lot of products that contain salicylic acid, but they never seemed to work the way this product has for me. I think what makes this product so potent and efficient is the fact that it's just salicylic acid. I would highly recommend this as a spot treatment if you're looking for something to quell a breakout or two. This 100% comes into handy right before I go on my period too.

This serum retails at: $5.30 USD

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With breakouts, come acne scarring. This serum has really helped to brighten, refine and moisturize my skin. If you're suffering from some an uneven skintone, I would highly recommend this, and I would highly recommend using a jade roller when applying it. Here's a lil info from The Ordinary's website: Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant that brightens the skin tone and reduces signs of aging. Alpha Arbutin is a highly-purified biosynthetic active ingredient that reduces the look of dark spots and uneven skin tone.

This serum retails at: $10.00 USD


If you're suffering with some skin problems, or are just looking to try out some new products, I would highly recommend checking out The Ordinary. I know some of their cult products tend to sell out quickly, so if you can't find it on their website, other websites like Beauty Bay stock them. Let me know if you like skincare posts like this and I'll be sure to make some more!