Beauty Product Review: Deciem’s The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide Serums

Update 11/5/2019: So as many in the beauty community may know, the problematic owner of Deciem was pushed out and passed away in early 2019. In light of this, I’ve relaxed my decision not to support the company, though I have not returned to using any of the products I’ve reviewed previously.

Update: Since writing this review, I have decided I no longer wish to support Deciem or any of its brands. See here to see what products I like instead.

Deciem is a company that has been on my beauty radar for a while. When I was dealing with the personal implications of my heavily-Asian-product-based skin care routine, I thought perhaps their Hylamide HA Booster could take the place of some of the products that had to traverse the Pacific. Of course, I am a slatherer of product, so the price point was still just over what I could justify when I could get more product for less from Japan. I do use their Booster C25 as my daily shot of vitamin C and couldn’t be happier. I’ll probably review it in the future, but it keeps slipping my mind because it’s become a bit of a given in my morning routine.

Then, they introduced a new line: The Ordinary. The Ordinary is a line of products with simple ingredients formulated to be inexpensive, yet effective. In interviews, their founder Brandon Truaxe has said that they keep the prices low through the formulations and that the business model is sustainable at those prices. Serums are generally about $6-15 for a 1-oz. bottle and feature single or dual-ingredient formulas targeted to a consumer to know what they want and are willing to do the research to choose the right formulation.

Well, good. After being generally dissatisfied with my Curology experience, I decided to start looking around at their formulas to see if I could roughly match what was helping me in my Curology medication. Of course, I was most interested in their upcoming Azelaic Acid suspension, but they haven’t released it yet and Deciem tends to like to keep consumers in suspense about release dates. In fact, I ended up having a bottle of their other brand’s hydrating mist thrown into an order I’d made a day earlier because they released it suddenly and I couldn’t plan to place the order one day later to add the mist. It would be nice to get a rough idea of when something plans to release, like a month or even a season. But that’s besides the point.

The point is that the first two products I purchased from The Ordinary were the 2% Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5 serum and the 10% Niacinamide and Zinc PCA serum. I’ve used the HA serum for over a month and added the Niacinamide serum about two weeks ago. And I have to say, I’m impressed.

The HA serum is no-frills and not terribly exciting, but it does hydrate my skin. It has totally replaced my Hada Labo lotion and I find that my lingering comedonal bumps on my forehead seem to be clearing up as well. The formula is a runny gel consistency and dries down to a slightly sticky finish at first, but this disappears as soon as I put another moisturizer on top of it. I use it every night, but I’ve thought about using it in the morning as well as soon as another product runs out. My test of any hyaluronic product is my one deep-ish forehead line and this seems to keep it plumped and softened.

The Niacinamide serum is a whole ‘nother beast. I made a foolish choice and used a poor cleanser for a few weeks this September, culminating in a gigantic spot on my right temple. It not only took a few weeks to clear but it left an angry red spot that seemed like it intended to stick around for a while. I decided to add the Niacinamide serum about a week or so after it became obvious this big red spot was attempting to make me decide on Jupiter as a Halloween costume. I mix the HA serum with the Niacinamide serum in a 1:1 ratio each time I apply (3 drops of each serum in the palm of my hand, swiped together and applied) at night. Their textures are almost identical so they mix easily. Please note that I mix the dose I’m applying nightly. Don’t mix and store skincare because you might disrupt the preservative system.

I swear, within 3 days the redness started to fade. I don’t think I’ve actually been this amazed by a non-active product ever. So color me impressed. Honestly, I wish I’d thought to take before-and-after pictures, but I really didn’t expect results like this and seriously why else would I take a photo of such a massive face eruption?

So there you have it. I heartily enjoy what I’ve seen from Deciem’s The Ordinary. I’ve purchased one more serum to try, their “Buffet” serum, which I hope will replace the plain HA serum. And I definitely plan to review more of Deciem’s products in the future.

NB: I purchased all products myself and was not provided any incentive to review them.