Product Review: The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

If you don’t know The Ordinary, click here for their website. I tried out their popular AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. Read on for a breakdown on the company and product since I’ve had time during lockdown to really pay attention to my skin.

Product review of The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
Le product in front of my come-back-to-life orchid.

The Ordinary aka Deciem – the company

The Ordinary is one of the brands under the umbrella company Deciem. I am going to focus on The Ordinary but the same values seem to carry through to all the brands.

I am in love with their brand and dedication to integrity. They focus on formulation integrity, communicating to the consumer and they also try to make their pricing realistic. I just really appreciate that.

Clinical formulations with integrity

The Ordinary website and their slogan on all their products

They focus on one or two targeting ingredients for each product rather than trying to pack everything into one. This makes it possible to really tailor your skincare regime to your own specific needs. If you’re more of a “one or two all-in-one products in the morning and evening”, then maybe not for you. Although one or two of their concentrated products to use once a week may entice you. The information on the packaging is really informative so you know how to use it, what to be careful of and the strength you are using.

The products are also completely free of any animal testing. This means they do not carry out any test on animals themselves or pay anyone to do it. They do not sell in mainland China because there the regulations require animal testing and you, as the company, can opt that authorities or third-parties carry out the testing. Deceim does not do this.

The ingredient list – formulation

Ingredient list: Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

This is a very concentrated hydroxy acid solution with the AHAs (purple) making up 30% and the BHAs (blue – salicylic acid) making up 2%. The combo gives a nice coverage of functional properties. You have the heavy weights, glycolic acid and lactic acid, that exfoliate the skin to improve the texture and reduce fine lines. The other acids support this but with less irritation. The salicylic acid focuses on the pores to help unclog any trapped sebum.

The pH is low (approximately 3.6) so you can get maximum effectiveness of the acids. I tried testing it myself but the red colour of the product made it difficult to see with pH strips. If you want to know more about how pH affects acids in skincare formulation, you can click here. The formulation includes some aloe to minimise irritation.

Price and availability in South Africa

So here’s the thing… its not in walk-in stores in South Africa. That I know of. If you know where then holla at your girl. I bought mine from Cult Beauty. The price will vary depending on the exchange rate at the time of purchase and also how many products you buy at once because there is a delivery fee of about R100. At the time of purchase The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution cost me about R105. This is not including delivery because I bought other products at the same time. Its really affordable for this kind of product. The delivery time was about 3 weeks.

My experience

I actually can’t describe how much I swoon at the clinical look of the packaging. From the clean informative writing to the dropper bottle style. What’s amazing is that there isn’t any confusion about what the active ingredients are and what they do. It says it right there on the label.

The liquid itself has a bit of a shock factor because its red in colour that I assume is from the black carrot and Tasmanian pepperberry. These are not ingredients I have fully researched but from my quick search they provide some antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This is helpful as the high concentration exfoliation formula can cause some irritation. It does kind of look like blood. A bit intimidating, but also helpful if you feel like pranking your boyfriend on a Sunday evening.

It smells a bit odd, not unpleasant just not what I would expect from a skincare product. I’d say a bit like sweet smelling root vegetables. Again, not unpleasant but maybe i’m just conditioned to expect French styled products that are heavily perfumed – thank goodness that’s changing! The texture is like a serum but not too sticky. My first use caused some immediate stinging sensations but that went away within 30 seconds. I built up the duration I left it on each time I used it, starting with 4 minutes. I can now use it for the recommended maximum of 10 minutes without much irritation.

The MOST IMPORTANT thing is to wash it off carefully. Use a micro-cloth perhaps. I didn’t do this on my second use and I stung my eyelid… not ideal. Avoid that, don’t make the same mistakes. Be better. The after-effects are just amazing. Smooth, soft skin with pores looking less visible than before. Makeup looks better and I swear I see a nice glow, but I always wonder if that’s in my head. I only experienced the mildest peeling on my nose 2-3 days later for the first couple of uses. It was like a very very light sunburn peel. Now I don’t see any skin flaking.

Its best to do this in the evening because then you can just put on some nice soothing moisturiser (and oil if that’s your thing) and wake up with a fresh new face. I’m using Hey Gorgeous Soothing Aloe at the moment which works really well as a soothing night cream. You can read my review on it here. I’m using the peeling solution once a week but if my skin is looking a little fragile and dramatic, I extend it to once every 2 weeks. We all have those days, especially emotionally during lockdown – I see you. Find what works for you. I would also recommend not suing other exfoliation (like scrubs) or actives on the same day or the next day.

Overall impression

Overall I love this product and the brand and will likely reorder it but its quite concentrated. There are other options in their line if you’d like a more gentle approach. I may try there glycolic toner or salicylic acid mask.

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