A Skincare Routine under $100 from The Ordinary

Many Americans spend an average of $500 dollars or more on skincare within three months (Statista, 2021). And while many specialized skincare products range around $20, The Ordinary is actually a high-quality skincare line that presents efficacious ingredients a`t an extremely reasonable price. Likewise, we have composed a skincare routine from The Ordinary that is under $100. This routine includes your daytime needs, your nighttime needs, and it even includes targeted actives. Within this routine, there are no ingredients that render each other ineffective or create irritation when used together. 

Many people recommend washing your face in the morning even though it is not mandatory. People believe that sweat and dirt build up too much at night. So, washing your face in the morning could be good way to start with a clean slate.

Your AM Routine

Squalane cleanser -$19.90




This is the squalane cleanser from the Ordinary. When you squeeze the bottle, a creamy emulsion presents itself. As your rub the cream on your face, it warms up, and the cream turns into a cleansing oil.


Glycolic acid 7% toning solution - $8.70



This glycolic acid solution helps to exfoliate and brighten the skin. It also poses many potential benefits for those who have acne, wrinkles, or pigmentation from the sun, scratches, or pimples.

Glycolic acid is very efficacious because it deeply penetrates and addresses the lower layers of the skin. Glycolic acid comes from sugar cane, and this specific solution has a Ph of around 3.6. This toner balance the skin, and it enables other products within your routine to penetrate deeper.

While the Ordinary states the recommended use as once a day, proper usage of this product ultimately depends on each person‘s skin. You can patch testing to determine what works well for your skin. For example, some people like Cassandra who have a long-standing history with acne scars can indeed tolerate using glycolic acid twice a day. At the same time, some people’s skin cannot tolerate glycolic acid upon their first use. Some people’s skin may have to build a tolerance. 

Furthermore, your tolerance for glycolic acid also depends on what else you use. For example, because glycolic acid mildly exfoliates and retinoids also increase cellular turnover, you may want to avoid using this toner with a retinoid at night.

Niacinamide & Zinc (Spot treat) -$26.19

As mentioned before, The Ordinary gives potent actives at inexpensive prices. This niacinamide and zinc solution help to combat sebum ( aka the oil and grease on your skin). If you’re acne-prone, it can also reduce the appearance of pores. Furthermore, Niacinamide is a B3 vitamin so it is nourishing. As for the texture of this product, it has a nice slip, and it works for controlling oill underneath makeup. However, if you have dry skin,  I wouldn’t recommend the frequent use of this product given that dry skin already underproduces oil. However, it may prove itself useful as a spot treatment on pimples or blackheads.This is also a very resilient product so you can wear this in the sun without worrying about degradation. You can also use it alongside other actives because it has a low likelihood of making other actives ineffective. 

The Ordinary Buffet -$14.80 

We love this one because basically, it’s a potluck of peptides and amino acids. Amino acids form peptide bonds. Peptide bonds get folded into proteins, and proteins like collagen and elastin keep our skin firm. If you have issues with wrinkles, fine lines, scarring, or PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation), peptides can give your skin the building blocks it needs to correctly build protein and collagen. However, science has not proven that the topical application of peptides is effacacious so that’s why we wouldn’t recommend spending fifty dollars on a peptide serum. Overall though, this product brightens the skin. It feels good, very soothing, hydrating, and it helps fight wrinkles and diminish scars. 

SPF 30 + Antioxidants -$9.70

It’s hard to find mineral sunscreens that sit upon the skin nicely, don’t flashback, and do not degrade under the sun easily. Because of the sun’s power, a resilient sunscreen is very important. The sun can be dangerous because of the UVA and UB rays it shines onto our skin. This process can cause reactive oxygen species. ROS of free radicals degrade the skin, but luckily, the antioxidants within this sunscreen fight free radicals. The antioxidants and SPF work in tandem to strengthen and shield your skin. This SPF can also act as a moisturizer. Because it forms an occlusive barrier, it can prevent water from evaporating off of your skin. This sunscreen might be compatible with your makeup, and  if you feel the need, you can also add a moisturizer before this step. But please note that the Ordinary buffet is already very hydrating.

Your PM Routine

Squalane Cleanser -   $19.90

Even though this cleanser removes excess oil and  light makeup, it does not remove hard makeup. If your face is glammed out, this is definitely not going to remove all your makeup. This is a good cleanser for the price, and plus, it has a squalane base that doesn’t leave the skin stripped. Although using an astringent is tempting, especially if you have oily skin, astringents can damage your skin barrier and likewise cause the skin to produce even more oil. 

Granactive Retinoid -  $9.80


Retinoids are fantastic for acne, and they have been used for rosacea or KP. Retinol-derived products are amazing, but they work best at a pH that mimicks our skin. Our skin hangs around a five on the Ph scale, and likewise, retinol-based products work best at a pH of around 5. When you avoid products like makeup and even the glycolic acid toner, you get the most out of a retinol product. The glycolic toner brings your skin’s Ph down to a low acidic pH. If you were to use glycolic acid along with this retinoid, it wouldn’t be horrible, but itcould cancel out the retinoid or cause irritation.

Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA  -$8.90


So, if you want to skip the retinoid, you could use this. Vitamin C brightens the skin, and it can help improve some of the day’s damage on the skin. This product has the potential to sink into the skin and stimulate collagen, but just like the retinoid,  it can become irritating or ineffective upon using it with other ingredients.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (Small) - $5.80

Because this product has a blend of different nutrients, amino acids, and hydrating hyaluronic acids, this is a great winter product. Although it’s very moisturizing,  it doesn’t feel make your skin feel like it’s being slathered. It just hydrates,  balances, and gives the skin nutrients. If you have dry skin, you might need a little bit more hydration than this, and If you have oily skin, you might want something more mattifying.

Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (Large) -$7.70

AHA BHA Peeling Solution -$7.70 


Depending on your tolerance, you can use these once a week or every other week. It’s potent so follow the manufacturer’s directions. It has both AHA and BHA which go into the skin and help to loosen up oil and keratinocytes. So, when you the product off, your skin looks glowing, soft, smooth and radiant. It can really help with acne, but if you have dry skin, we would suggest using a hydrator and neutralizer after this.

Salicylic Acid & Charcoal Face Mask - $12.00


This is great for acne-prone skin, but it’s also good for oily skin and for those that need a little bit of exfoliation. Salicylic acid is a BHA, and it’s oil soluble. This also has kaolin clay which can soak up oil, dirt, and debris. Even if you don’t have acne but need a bit of surface exfoliation, this is great. This is geared towards oily skin, and we wouldn’t totally recommend it for dry skin. However, people who have dry skin might be able to target certain areas of their face with it.  

Overall, this is a good and budget-friendly skincare routine that promotes cellular repair, brightness, protects the skin, and prevents future damage.

For a video explanation of this routine, seehere.