Ya’ll I’m kinda chill, okay well that’s not exactly true, but I am with stuff I buy. I don’t really participate in boycotts and before this I’ve only contacted a company once to complain and guess what the whole big company changed that stupid thing. Maybe they were going to change it anyway but I’m counting it for the win. I also wrote about the product that did me dirty this time in the past in this post so I feel like I owe it to you to also tell you about the update. I was using Neostrada 10% glycolic acid cream for about 20 years but now I have a better recommendation and products from the same line have been great for my skin. Plus now I can buy 4 products for less than the cost of that one and it contains more active ingredients.
What spurred the change
I have been using that Neostrada product since 1999 and I loved it, still do. A dermatologist recommended to me to help with acne as a teen and it worked wonderfully. Of course the price crept up over 20 years but it was also nice to support a Canadian company. Plus since they were one of the few that listed the percentage on the bottle you knew you were getting what you paid for. I went into re-purchase it again and the brand had gone through another makeover, I’d been through one other with them in the past. Now my favorite was $52 up from $42. I considered waiting for a sale but my skin needed it! When I got it home I was uber pissed when I realized that 25% price increase came with a 40% reduction in product!
That was pretty much it I was pissed and I even left a comment on the companies facebook page. Along with a lot of angry others but I digress. I was already vaguely aware of an viable alternative from the beauty community on youtube so I decided to give it a try. My skin also showed some room for improvement since I was getting more breakouts lately and as I got older it might be time for some changes. In the summer my sunscreen seemed to really unsettle the whole operation so sometimes I was skipping the SPF 100.
This still is a great routine but now I have something better and cheaper!
Cleanser: Basic gentle soap often on re-usable cloths
Toner: Basic drugstore astringent on re-usable cotton puffs
Day cream: Neutrogena Rapid repair Retinol serum (sill might keep this around for potential skin freak-outs.
Night: Neostrada 10% glycolic acid cream
All totaled that’s about $105 and 2 active ingredients
A pretty new player in the skincare world the ordinary boasts plain packaging and no real advertising to keep prices low. It’s a company that makes quality ingredients available at shockingly affordable prices! Some of their products are sold at other places like Sephora but in general there is a lot more available online and after $25 they offer free shipping in Canada at least. But… it’s not all sunshine though most of the products have one or two ingredients in them so you might want a lot of bottles. Sometimes those bottles might have that ingredient in them but not other delivery ingredients that minimize irritation. For that reason some people won’t find it a great fit. However then parent company Deciem has a few other lines that are still really affordable and might be more up your alley. Plus it can be a lot to figure out what will work for you and what order to put it on in. If you’re a skin care freak though it might also be your Mecca!
For me I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted and had just the replacement product worked for me I would have been thrilled but I figured well we’re here right? I recommend checking out this youtube video and the associated spreadsheet yes you read that right! If you know a certain ingredient works well for you or you want to test out one particular ingredient specifically this might be just the thing for you. I ended up choosing some of their best regarded products which have done wonders for me so read on for a deeper dive into those products at least. You might also want to hit up this post on the science of skincare before you head on over to the ordinary’s website here.
Cleanser: Still the same basic soap
Toner: Glycolic acid toning solution 7%
Day cream: ‘the buffet’ peptide serum
Night cream: 1% Retinol in Squalene alternating with 10% Lactic acid with Hyluronic acid
Total cost: $38 for 5+ active ingredients and now I’m getting my favorite ingredient in two places
Why it rocks
Virtually all of the products from the ordinary list the amount of each active ingredient on the product or online. That means by law you are getting what you pay for and they’re Canadian too! My skin before I made the change was pretty good but not perfect and I’d been thinking for a while it was time to up my anti-aging game, 40 is coming awfully fast when I look at that forehead! Since making the switch about 2 months ago my skin has improved pretty dramatically actually. Real talk here the week before my period I usually get at least 3 hormonal breakouts on my chin which are not made better by those few chin hairs I’m constantly pulling out. Other than that I can expect about 3-5 face demons a month which really isn’t too bad. The thing with me is I’m not a ‘healer’ so instead of clearing up in a day or two it’s usually a week to 10 days for me. That and my forehead lines and ‘the 11’s’ were really growing in confidence on the top of my face and ain’t nobody got time for that!
That especially got me thinking maybe it’s time to move from retinoid to retinol if my skin can tolerate it and find a way to make that SPF 100 a part of my everyday again, like stat! Since starting this routine I’ve been through three shark weeks with no hormonal breakouts and had a sum total of 3 other pimples and haven’t done a single solitary face mask, my bad I know. I think the lines have diminished slightly but that damage is done. In my research a lot of the products were said to leave a film on your skin but I lucked into a great day product that actually sits better under my makeup than my previous day serum. Keep in mind the number one thing you can do for your skin is to wear a high SPF every single day and prevent damage from being done in the first place. This is particularly important if you use acids or retinoids in your skin care routine as they make you WAY more photosensitive! Now let’s get into each product and why I love them!
My number one 20 year plus skincare must have is a powerful chemical exfoliant and that used to be the Neostrada product. It does wonders for keeping my skin clear plus it lightens dark scars from previous breakouts and makes you look younger! Getting those dead cells out of there faster prevents clogged pores and therefore breakouts and at least makes you look fresher. I am now getting this in two places instead of one. I used to use a cheap toner from the drugstore (yes the kind with alcohol) because I use so much of it on reusable crochet cotton pads and it did help dry my somewhat oily skin. Since the ordinary’s 7% glycolic acid toner is less than $9 CDN I’ve been using it morning and night. In the last two weeks I started using the excess on the pad on my back which has also gone a long way to clearing up those little red dots (aka bacne) getting to each section about once every 3 days. Seriously I just took an awkward picture and in two weeks It’s about 80% gone. Overshare or life-hack you decide? Anyway love this product and I don’t miss the drying alcohol!
The other place I’ve been getting an AHA is in my 10% Lactic acid night serum that I’ve been using every second night. It’s great and just as good as my old product it does leave a bit of a film so I’m not sure it would be great under makeup at least for oily skinned gals. Though it does feel like something dry skinned girls would welcome so… This one is wait for it LESS THAN $7! Holy crap = mind blown! These two products taken together are doing more for me than my old product ever was as evidenced by a 85%+ reduction in breakouts. I also suspect the plumping properties of the hyluronic acid in this one are making that forehead look less lined! It does take a while to build up a tolerance to 10% for this one so unless like me you’ve been using that strength for a while start with a 5% solution.
The other product I’ve been using in the evenings is a retinol solution. That has been in the form of 1% retinoid solution in squalene at less than 7$! This could be the other reason I’m looking more freshly ironed lately as retinols are often regarded as the most powerful anti-aging ingredient. I have had literally no issues with this even though it’s a greasy product and I think you should give it a try too. Now that I’ve incorporated a stronger version into my routine I’ll be sticking with this over the old Neutrogena serum. That product in particular was awesome for calming down any skin flare ups almost magically in the past. If my skin was haywire in the past or I felt like it had been through too much lately I’d always break this sucker out on repeat. I was using it off and on at the start and if it runs out and I feel like I need it I will repurchase it with out any hesitation.
The last product I picked out I didn’t think I would be replacing my previous one but this is better too. I ordered ‘the buffet’ which is a peptide solution because well free shipping cut offs and everyone agreed that it was a stand out in the line. There is emerging evidence that some peptides might have anti-aging properties so why not right? Well I like this more than my previous product for a few reasons. It layers better under makeup, it doesn’t contain any ingredients that increase the effects of the sun in the morning and like it’s predecessor it also seems to have primer like qualities. It also keeps oils at bay during the day and I’m down for that. I will be switching to this permanently for those reasons and it plays well with my SPF. At $15 dollars it is pricey compared to others in the line but that’s still less than half of the Neutogena serum.
So there you have it my new super cheap, super effective skin care routine. Will you be giving the ordinary a try? What’s your favorite low cost skincare product? Now that I’m done this it’s reward time which means off to the site to re-order because already I can’t live without it. Ps in no way sponsored!
Great post! I just started to use Ordinary and the caffeine eye serum is great! I will have to try the toner you recommended since it is almost time to replace mine.
I’ll keep that in mind. The toner is great and cheap although I do find I go through it pretty quick.