Korean Skincare Products

When Canadian company Deciem launched skincare brand The Ordinary in 2016, their effective products at unbeatable prices commanded the attention of the beauty industry. But it hasn’t been smooth-sailing for the company lately.

From insulting his customers to posting racist rants on The Ordinary’s Instagram page, Deciem’s erratic, megalomaniacal founder Brandon Truaxe has been behaving a lil cuckoo. He went as far as announcing that The Ordinary would be shut down via an Instagram post.

While the company is slated to resume operations next week and Truaxe has been replaced as CEO, we still can’t shake the feeling of a possible closure, and have already started looking for product stand-ins.

Ahead, we share some of the closest K-beauty alternatives to The Ordinary’s bestsellers, so you won’t have to miss your hyaluronic acid serum if the company has officially run its course.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (~S$15)

Who should use this: Those with dry, oily, blemish-prone, or sensitive skin
How to use: Apply after toner, before moisturiser

A brilliant lightweight humectant, hyaluronic acid is loved for its water retention properties. This ZULA team favourite uses three forms of hyaluronic acid to visibly plump the skin, so it’s ideal for those with drier skin. Make sure you follow up with a moisturiser after.

Alternatives (from left to right):
the SAEM Power Ampoule Hydra (~S$5.50)
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Toner (S$17)
iUNIK Vitamin Hyaluronic Acid Vitalizing Toner (S$18.90)
THE PLANT BASE Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100 (~S$31.70)
HANSKIN Hyaluron Skin Essence (~S$63.40)

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% (~S$20)

Who should use this: Those with stubborn dark spots, acne-scarring, or uneven skin tone
How to use: After toner, before moisturiser

An effective antioxidant, vitamin C brightens skin tone and stimulates collagen production to reduce the signs of aging. In this serum, The Ordinary combines ascorbic acid, a potent derivative of vitamin C, with alpha arbutin, to lighten dark spots and even out the complexion.

Alternatives (from left to right):
Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum (S$28.50)
CosRX Triple C Lightning Liquid (~S$37.21)
By Wishtrend Pure Vitamin C21.5% Advanced Serum (S$35.90)

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (~S$14)

Who should use this: Those with acne-prone, rough, or dull skin
How to use: After toner, before moisturiser

Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide reduces the appearance of congested pores and blemishes. The ingredient works as a skin brightener too, targeting hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. Paired with zinc salt, the serum balances sebum production.

Alternatives (from left to right):
CosRX Galactomyces 95 White Power Essence (S$14.50)
2Sol Facial Recovery Booster (S$24)

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The Ordinary “Buffet” (~S$27)

Who should use this: Those with fine lines, wrinkles, or pigmentation
How to use: After toner, before moisturiser

With a multitude of actives like Matrixyl 3000, Matrixyl synthe’6, SYN-AKE, Relistase, and ARGIRELOX amongst the ingredient list, The Ordinary’s “Buffet” is a peptide-powered serum that targets multiple signs of aging at once.

Alternatives (from left to right):
It’s Skin Power 10 Formula Syn-Ake (S$11)
Mizon Original Skin Energy Peptide 500 (S$30.85)
CNP Laboratory Propolis Energy Ampule (S$40.90)
Neogen White Truffle Serum In Oil Drop (~S$48.24)

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution (~S$17)

Who should use this: Those with blackheads, whiteheads, blemishes, or dull skin
How to use: After toner, before moisturiser at night

Glycolic acid, the primary ingredient in this toner, is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that mildly exfoliates to combat blackheads, whiteheads, and blemishes, improving the clarity and texture of the skin. It contains ginseng root and aloe vera to soothe and brighten the complexion.

As chemical exfoliants can lower the skin’s sun tolerance, make sure you use a lightweight sunscreen the following day.

Alternatives (from left to right):
Tia’m Aura Milk Face Peeling Toner (S$12.90)
CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid (S$18.50)
Sidmool AHA 10% Brightening Smooth Toner (~S$33.52)

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (~S$12)

Who should use this: Those with blackheads, blemishes, cystic acne, or dull skin
How to use: After toner, before moisturiser at night. Use a sunscreen the following day

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrates deeper layers of the skin to slough off impurities via chemical exfoliation. Together with witch hazel, this formula fights blemishes and shrinks the appearance of pores with continued use.

Alternatives (from left to right):
CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid (S$19.90)
Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner (S$23.50)
Mizon AHA & BHA Daily Clean Toner (~S$31.70)

The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane (~S$20)

Who should use this: Those with fine lines, wrinkles, or sensitive skin
How to use: After toner, before moisturiser at night. Use a sunscreen the following day

Made to target visible signs of aging, this water-free solution contains 2% of an advanced retinoid ingredient called Granactive Retinoid. Unlike most forms of retinol, Granactive Retinoid doesn’t irritate the skin, so it’s better suited for those with sensitive complexions.

As Granactive Retinoid is exclusive to Grant Industries and can only be found in The Ordinary’s product, we turn to these two gentle retinol products instead.

Alternatives (from left to right):
Elizavecca Milky Piggy EGF Elastic Retinol Cream (S$24)
Isa Knox NOX LAB Retinol Moisture Emulsion (~S$24.97)

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil (~S$23)

Who should use this: Those with dry, oily, or acne-prone skin
How to use: After serum or as your moisturiser

From Miranda Kerr to Kate Middleton, celebrities have credited rosehip oil for their glowing complexion. The oil is rich in fatty acids and pro-vitamin A to hydrate and soothe blemishes, so to preserve these qualities in the extraction process, The Ordinary uses a cold-pressed method.

Alternatives (from left to right):
Aromatica Organic Rose Hip Oil (~S$34.46)
Julep Reparative Rosehip Seed Facial Oil (~S$49.62)

Alternatives To The Ordinary Products

While we hope The Ordinary doesn’t shut down, this list will Save Our Skin if it does.

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