A Q&A with The Ordinary founder Brandon Truaxe

Cosmetic skincare brand, The Ordinary, took the industry by surprise when they launched a range of effective clinical treatments that prides itself on integrity – from resisting unnecessary packaging and glorified marketing jargon to their honest ingredient list and affordable price points (most products in the range are less than £10). The Ordinary certainly disrupted the status quo. We spoke to the man behind the pioneering skincare line, Brandon Trauax, to find out more about the brand and the active ingredients behind their bestselling products, plus we asked Brandon to share suggested skincare routines for a number of skin types so you can select the best regime for you.

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What was the inspiration behind The Ordinary, and how are the products such a great price point?

The inspiration really simply was that it had to be done. We created The Ordinary because brands, big and small, continue to disguise commodity for ingenuity through creative use of packaging, communication and pricing. No one in the world of vitamins can charge $300 for a tin of vitamin A tablets because that industry comes with more transparency but you can easily find virtually the same formulations ranging from $5 to $500+ in the world of beauty.

We have applied our standard margin across all the products in The Ordinary and, in fact, our average margin in The Ordinary is higher than, say, some NIOD products. For example, very high purity Niacinamide costs under $10 per KG and so the cost of all materials in Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% is under $1 (£0.5). Most of the cost actually goes into compounding, testing (inbound and outbound) and retail costs/margins. We haven't cut any margin % and The Ordinary is a sustainable model.


Which three The Ordinary products should everyone have in their beauty stash?

One of the very unique aspects of The Ordinary is the highly-focused nature of each product that allows you to customise a regimen that specifically suits your skin needs and your preferences. In this respect, I wouldn't say that there is any product that everyone must have but these three would likely suit most skin types really well and improve skin quality for most: 'Buffet', Advanced Retinoid 2% and 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.

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‘Retinol’ is a big buzz-word in the beauty industry right now – what are the benefits of using it and how often should they be used?

Retinol in pure form is quite strong and requires enduring a 4 to 8 week period of irritation and peeling before seeing good results, but the results are dramatic. Our Retinol 1% achieves this effect. However, it will in nearly all cases cause significant irritation and peeling in the first few weeks. Our Advanced Retinoid 2% uses a modern form of retinoid called GRANACTIVE Retinoid that offers nearly identical results without virtually any peeling or irritation. The benefits of both retinoids are better skin texture and tone, as well as a visible reduction in all forms of imperfections such as fine lines.

Which products do you recommend to help with persistent acne?

In the AM: Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
In the PM: Retinol 1%, knowing that the skin will peel and go through purging in the first 4-8 weeks. It can be diluted with other creams at the start phase to reduce irritation.

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We’re so excited about your upcoming foundation launch; tell us about the new formula and its key benefits?

Both formulations use modern esters to avoid the build-up of pigments and create a natural look. The pigments are treated for high saturation and both formats (Serum and Coverage Foundations) offer a mineral-only sunscreen base of SPF 15 that uses no nanoparticles and yet does not interfere with the texture or colour of the formulas.

With the move into colour products, what’s next on the cards for The Ordinary?

Everything you can imagine (and probably more). Cleansers, masques and other complexion-focused colour lines are all coming.

Brandon's picks: skincare routines for all skin types

For Dry / Dehydrated Skin

AM: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (£5.90), Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (£4.90)
PM: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (£5.90), 100% Plant-Derived Squalane + B5 (£5.50), Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (£4.90)
Twice per week: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30)

The Ordinary is available at Fenwick of Bond Street, Canterbury, Kingston, Newcastle, Tunbridge Wells

For Oily / Blemish-prone Skin

AM: Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (£3.90), Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (£5) and the Natural Moisturising Factors (£4.90) if the skin becomes too dry. Note: the High-Adherence Silicone Primer (£3.90) can be a very good morning hydrator for oily skin.
PM: Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (3.90), Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% (£5.50)
Twice per week: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30)

The Ordinary is available at Fenwick of Bond StreetCanterburyKingstonNewcastleTunbridge Wells

For Sensitive Skin

AM: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (5.90), Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (4.90)
PM: 100% Plant-Derived Squalane (£5.50), Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (£4.90)

The Ordinary is available at Fenwick of Bond StreetCanterburyKingstonNewcastleTunbridge Wells

For Dull / Ageing Skin 

AM: 'Buffet' (£12.70), Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (£4.90)
PM: Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (£6.80), 'Buffet' (£12.70), Advanced Retinoid 2% (£8) and then 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil (£9) is optional if your skin needs extra hydration
Twice per week: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30)

The Ordinary is available at Fenwick of Bond StreetCanterburyKingstonNewcastleTunbridge Wells

For Skin with Pigmentation 

AM: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA (£7), Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (£5), Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F (£14.90)
PM: Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (£6.80), Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA (£7), Advanced Retinoid 2% (£8)
Twice per week: AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution (£6.30)

The Ordinary is available at Fenwick of Bond StreetCanterburyKingstonNewcastleTunbridge Wells

By Grace Gargini