The Ordinary Routine for anti agin and pigmentation . A detailed daily am and pm routine showing how best to alternate The Ordinary Vit C, Retinol, direct acids and peptides.

The Ordinary skincare for pigmentation and ageing – My weekly routine

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I’ve been asked a few times what my The Ordinary skincare routine is. And well it’s complicated as you’ll see from below. Probably a bit to complicated for most but I like having a bit of a crazy routine.. My main concerns are treating and delaying the first signs of aging and pigmentation. I have sensitive combination skin with the dry areas getting especially dry if not managed.

Not all of the products I use are from The Ordinary but I’ll list them anyway. Because The Ordinary have so many strong active products you need to be careful with how you use them, what products you use with them and when you use them. So I use a lot of them on alternate days as you’ll see below.

So without further ado here we go!



Am – Vitamin C routine

Cleanse: I use the squalane cleanser to remove my overnight mask.

Tone: I spritz Holos pre and probitoc spray (helps to balance the skin’s pH and keeps it happy) followed by patting on Cosrx Snail Mucin Essence ( prepares and hydrates the skin – read more )

Treat: Marine Hyaluronics all over the face (This is slightly lighter hyaluronic serum and soaks in super quickly) for hydration.  Alpha Arbutin on the cheeks for pigmentation. Azelaic Acid on the chin and nose to help with redness. Then I’ll potter off to do something like get dressed to give them time to soak in.

Eyes: Caffeine & ECG, I’ll apply a bit extra and use my eye massager as my eyes are always supper puffy in the morning.

Antioxidant: Ethylated Ascorbic Acid – A strong Vit C product but doesn’t cause some of the irritation that other strong Vit C products do. It takes a few minutes to soak in so I spend a bit of time massaging my face with my jade roller.

Protect: SPF moisteriser. I haven’t tried The Ordinary SPF yet as I have a lot of different spf moisterisers that I’m working through. I had one I used to love but unfortunately it’s not cruelty free so I had to give it up.

If I’m applying makeup I’ll wait as long as possible before applying so the products have soaked in as much possible.

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PM – Acid Exfoliation

Monday is for masking! So I’ll use the AHA 30% & BHA 2% Peeling solution. An amazing acid peel mask it is very strong and you need to be very careful with it. I have a video about how to use it here and a detailed post here

Cleanse: I use the Squalane cleanser to remove my make up with my cleanse off mit. Then I’ll do another cleanse using the squalane again or another hydrating gentle cleanser with my clairisonic. This is my usually pm cleansing routine, I switch up the second cleanser with NIOD sanskirt Sanponis every few days.

Apply the mask for 10 minutes

Tone: To bring the skin’s pH back up I’ve been using Versed Hydrating coconut cleansing milk followed by a spray of Holos pre and probiotic spray. Then Cosrx snail mucin essence

Treat: As the mask is so strong I want to only using hydrating and nourishing products and not over the load the skin. I use the marine hyaluronics followed by a thick application of  The Ordinarys 100% cold pressed Virgin  Marula Oil. This super hydrating and full of antioxidants. I don’t use it on the eye area and use caffeine ecg. I am looking  for a new eye cream (the never ending quest!) for the am and pm. One I have my eye on is Deciems (The Ordinarys parent company) other brand Hylamide. Been hearing great reports about their SubQ eyes

Moisterise: I’ll apply a thin layer of The Inkey Hemp or Tumeric moisteriser as they’re both good at keeping the skin calm.

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AM: Peptide Routine

Cleanse: I use the Versed Hydrating coconut cleansing milk for a quick refresh of the skin.

Tone: Same as yesterday.

Treat: Buffet + Copper Peptides (I love this product!) all over. Marine Hyaluronics all over. They both are very thin watery like serums so they soak into the skin quickly. Followed by Niacinamide all over (including neck and chest) Then I target treat areas. Argireline on areas to prevent dynamic wrinkles (so my forehead, around my eyes, mouth). Alpha Arbutin on my cheeks for pigmentation and azelaic acid on my nose and chin to treat redness and congestion.

Eyes are the same.

Antioxidant: Bybi Beauty blueberry oil – oh I love it!

SPF: Whatever I’m using.


PM: Retinol Routine

Cleanse: Normal double cleanse but I’ll use the NIOD sanskrit Sanponis which I’ll leave on for a few minutes as a mini mask. This helps to remove excess sebum.

Tone: the usual routine.

Treat: I’ll apply a thin layer of retinol (at the moment I’m alterating between The Ordinary 5% Retinol and Drunk Elephant’s A-Passioni Retinol)  and wait for it soak in for 30 minutes before applying any other products. Followed by Argrirline, Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide as the morning.

Eyes: The Inkey List Retinol eye cream

Moisterise: either The Inkeys Hemp or Tumeric moisteriser as I’m trying to finish them.

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AM – The same Vit c routine as Monday AM

PM – Peptide routine (Same as Tuesday AM and I use a derma roller )

Cleanse: Normal double cleanse

Tone: Same as always

Treat: Before applying my serums I’ll use my dermaroller which helps the products absorb better into my skin.

Buffet + Copper Peptides all over. Marine Hyaluronics all over. Followed by Niacinamide all over (including neck and chest) Target treat areas. Argirline on areas to prevent dynamic wrinkles . Alpha Arbutin on my cheeks for pigmentation and azelaic acid on my nose and chin to treat redness and congestion.

Moisterise: either The Inkeys Hemp or Tumeric moisteriser


AM: Peptide routine

Same morning routine as Tuesday

PM: Retinol routine

Cleanse: Double Cleanse as usual

Tone: To change things up I’ll use the Glycolic Toner after cleansing then a swipe of the Versed Hydrating coconut cleansing milk to rebalance the pH, a spray of Holos pre and probiotic spray, to make sure my skin’s pH is brought back to nearly neutral.

– The skin’s natural pH is slightly acidic, when you use glycolic acid you make the skin’s pH 3 and it needs to be brought up to 6 for optimum absorption of products.

Treat: The skin’s pH is important for the optimimum absorbtion of retinol which I apply next Again I’ll wait at least 30 minutes till I apply the next products. Marine Hyaluronics all over, Agrirline on the dynamic wrinkle areas,  alpha arbutin on the cheeks. Then Niacinamide  all over.

Moisturise: either The Inkeys Hemp or Tumeric moisteriser

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AM: Vitamin C routine as before.

PM: LED Light Treatment and antioxidants

Cleanse: Double cleanse as normal but using the NIOD cleanser for the second cleanse.

Treat: Using QuaserMd Pure Rayz I take about half an hour to treat my skin. The 4 different wavelengths of LED light stimulates collagen and elastin productions. I use this at least once a week sometimes twice as a top up treatment. I originally used it for 4/5 times a week for 6 weeks. It’s best used on just cleansed skin.

Tone: Normal routine.

Treat: Once a week I use the antioxidant Alpha Lipoic. A full breakdown of this amazing product is here. It takes awhile to soak in so I’ll spend a bit of time massaging my skin and then that’s it. A simple night routine for once.

– For some unknown reason The Ordinary have discontinued this product and sold out everywhere. The talk is that they will be release a diferent version.

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AM: Peptide routine as before

PM: Retinol routine as before.

Depending on my skin’s needs I’ll do a mask on the Saturday or Sunday. I’ll also use the Glycolic Acid Toner


AM: Vit C routine

– usually I’m very lazy on Sundays but will always put on my spf.

PM: Peptide routine

– Sometimes treat myself and do a at home facial. I’ll also use my derma roller and  an overnight mask

So there we go. Yes it’s a bit complicated but it’s mainly just alternating the vit c, peptide and retinol routines. Because the routine has a lot of actives I need to be careful with what is used together and in what order.

Do I follow this routine all time? No, but my skin always looks much better when I do. Plus I know I’m helping to delay the signs of aging on my skin. If you have any questions on how to put together a routine for The Ordinary for your skins needs. Drop me a comment below or send me an email.

Irish Beauty Blogger

ps some links may be affliates but the post is not affliate driven x


The Ordinary Routine for anti agin and pigmentation . A detailed daily am and pm routine showing how best to alternate The Ordinary Vit C, Retinol, direct acids and peptides.

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6 Responses

  1. Hello I read everything but I have some doubts . How many times can I use the ordinary glycolic acid toner . Can I use with buffet and retinol 5% or need to avoid that days with another toner. Hi have combination skin , 41 years old I want to start with the ordinary routine my skin need it. I read so many blogs different opinions and make me more confused I like or videos and you really understand about this. Can you help me with your opinion please I can send pictures to you.
    Kind regards

    1. Thanks so much for your comment.

      For the glycolic toner, if you are just starting to use it I recommend you alternate using it with the retinol and the buffet. After a few weeks, you can start using it before the retinol, using another toner inbetween to balacnce to the skin’s pH.

      So one evening you can use the glycolic and retinol and on another you can the buffet. Or could use the buffet in the and the glycolic and retinol in the pm.

      If you want I can put together a personalised routine for you?


  2. Hi – just started using The Ordinary and I’m mostly loving it. I just turned 50 and I’m not sure I have the best routine for the results I want. I’m wondering if you would take a look at what I’m using and let me know if you have any recommendations? I have normal to dry skin, and my overall goals are to combat ageing (with a healthy glow), reduce pigmentation (minor sunspots), reduce appearance of wrinkles (specifically above the upper lip) and reduce the appearance of under eye circles. Specific concerns/questions related to the routine are noted at the bottom.

    Here’s my current routine (all products The Ordinary unless specified):
    Rinse w/water (no cleanser in the am – should I change this?)
    Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
    CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
    Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

    PM M/W/F/Sun
    Squalane Cleanser
    Matrixyl 10% + HA
    Amino Acid B5
    Granactive Retinoid
    Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
    CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
    Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

    PM T/Th/Sat
    Squalane Cleanser
    Glycolic Acid
    Amino Acid B5
    Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
    CeraVe Eye Repair Cream
    Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

    Although I’ve seen a definite improvement in the appearance of my skin, I’m having very minor breakouts here and there since I started using the products. I’m wondering if it’s because I need to incorporate some type of mask? I don’t have any Vitamin C in my current regimen but was thinking about adding The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F to my AM routine. Lastly, I think I’d like to incorporate a oil but I’m not sure which one to include or where it should go.

    If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Deeanna,

      Thank your comment. It looks like you have a great routine going here. The breakouts you are having could be due to the increased turn over skincells from using the retinoid. It takes at least three months for your skin to go through a lifecycle. So keep up the routine and if you are still having breakouts then you can look at taking out a product and seeing how your skin is.

      I am a BIG fan of the 30% AHA and 2% BHA Peeling Solution, so would definetly recommend adding that to the routine. I have a detailed post on how to use it here This will also help with the breakouts. Use it once a week followed by the amino acids, an oil if you choose to use and the Natural Moisturizing Factors moisturiser.

      A Vitamin C is always a great addition to your routine especialy in the am as it’s antioxidant properties help support your spf. Even though The Ordinary has a lot of Vitamin C options but the only one that has worked for me is Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution The Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F is also good.

      For an oil, I love the rose hip seed oil its very moisterising but doesn’t block the pores. Plus it’s anti ageing. You can use it a few times a week or add a few drops the the NMF. It can be used in the am or pm. But I prefer using it in the pm. If you are using it in the pm it’s best to use it before or after the NMF, its a personal preferance.

      Then finally, I would recommend in the morning using the gylcolic acid toner a few times a week, make sure you use SPF. If you feel your skin is used to the gylcolic and retinoid, you can use the two of them in the same pm routine. Use the amino acids in between the two or better yet a hydrating toner or Spritz to balance the skins pH. Hylamide have a great one Sub Q mist which you could use in the am as your first step.

      I think thats it. Please let me know how you get on and if you have any questions.


  3. Hi, This is very helpful. I wonder if you could help me build my routine with the products I currently have and use.

    I also am tackling hyperpigmentation and first signs of aging (I’m 43 with some fine lines). I live in a hot, tropical country with 365 days of sun. I try and stay out of the sun and wear sunscreen everyday. I don’t like to put anything into my morning routine which causes sun sensitivity and only want to do those in the evening.

    My current routine using The Ordinary and Inkey list products:

    am: cleanser, The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F and sunscreen
    pm 1: cleanser, alpha arbutin, niacinimide, moisturizer
    once a week (want to build to 2-3 times a week): cleanser, Inkey list retinol, retinol eye cream, moisturizer
    once a week (on a different day): cleanser, Pixie glow tonic, moisturizer

    I also have the following products but don’t know where to fit them into my routine.
    The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA
    Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

    I’m not sure how to layer (without too many products) to get the most out of my routine.

    I’d be so grateful if you could help me to build an effective routine. Thank you!

    1. Hi Liz,

      Thank so much for your comment!

      Looks like you have a good routine going already but I know it can be confusing where to add things in.

      For your AM you can add in the alpha arbutin after cleansing then the Hyaluronic Acid (HA) before or after the Vid C, try both ways and go with whatever feels best.

      For your regular PM you can add in the HA before or after the Niacinamide, you can also add in the pixie glow tonic and the buffet but don’t use them straight after each other.

      So a suggested routine is
      Double cleanse
      Pixi Glow Tonic.
      Alpha Arbutin

      If that feels like to much you can take out the HA.
      The pixie toner is a pretty gentle acid toner but if you use the buffet straight away,it won’t cause a reaction or irritation in your skin, but the acid could interfere with peptides in the buffet and stop them from working. So its best to layer a few other products in between.

      You could also add in a mist/spritz or essence to rebalance the pH of the skin after the acid toner. The Ordinary doesn’t do one unfortunately but Deciems other brand Hylamide has a great one called SubQ Mist, which is so calming on the skin!

      For your retinol routine, the inky list retinol is super gentle so I would start increasing it’s usage. You can also use the Pixi glow tonic in the same routine as the retinol if your skin is used it. Again if you can rebalance the skins with a spritz after using the glow tonic, the retinol will work better. Glycolic acid lowers your skins pH and for retinol to be best absorbed your skin needs to be a higher pH. Using the spritz in-between will balance your skins pH.

      So your pm retinol routine could look like this

      Double Cleanse
      Glow tonic
      Spritz to rebalance
      alpha arbutin
      HA (If you feel your skin needs extra moisture)

      Ideally you would get to the point that one night you do the buffet routine and the next night you do the retinol.

      Then for the lactic acid. Its best not to use this with the buffet or retinol, you could use it once or twice a week in the pm. so it could look like

      Double Cleanse
      Lactic Acid
      Alpha Arbutin
      HA (If you feel your skin needs extra moisture)

      Let me know how you get on with this!


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