The Ordinary conflicts

The Ordinary is one of the popular brands in the skincare space, and with reason. They truly have some outstanding products and there’s a lot that you can expect in terms of results. However, back in the day, when I started using The Ordinary, I felt confused by all the different ingredients and formulations. Usually, I love to experiment with brands by implementing several products into my routine. But with this brand, using products together wasn’t always easy because of The Ordinary product conflicts – some ingredients simply don’t work well together! I had to do my research and look for information on what Ordinary products should not be used together.

The Ordinary product conflicts – why does it happen?

The Ordinary has a rich product portfolio of attractive skincare products. No matter whether you’re into The Ordinary serums, masks, exfoliants, or any other formulation, the truth is that they all use different ingredients. Some of the active ingredients in their products are not designed to be used together with other products from the brand portfolio. The very least that this could result in, is that some combos may ruin your regimen and cause it to lose its effectiveness as the ingredients cancel each other out. In this case, you’ll just be spending money without enjoying all the benefits of the products. However, the consequences may be a lot more serious. Mixing certain ingredients could trigger skin irritation and inflammation. You could end up with extremely dry skin or get dry patches, and you could experience redness, breakouts, and other reactions. In fact, Deciem, the company that owns The Ordinary, doesn’t recommend using more than three products from The Ordinary in the same regimen. And this isn’t just a general guideline. There are a ton of threads about The Ordinary conflicts on Reddit that confirm that some products just don’t play well together. My personal experience also confirms this for me. When I was a newbie in the skincare space, I remember using a vitamin C cream, which I followed with a niacinamide serum. Now I know that this is a complete no-no. I’ve now tailored my skincare routines to avoid niacinamide conflicts and problems with other ingredients. But it did take me some time to get to where I am now. I’d love to help you save this time by telling you all you need to know from the get-go.

The Ordinary mixing chart

Before I dig deep into the details of why some products shouldn’t be used together, I’m sharing with you The Ordinary mixing chart – a downloadable PDF that features all products currently in TO’s range – what products and ingredients to not be mixed together.
The Ordinary Mixing Chart of products
It’s all there – what products there are and what Ordinary products should not be mixed. However, to get the most up-to-date information, it’s best to visit the Deciem website. I’ll show you how to do that in a minute.

How to see what Ordinary products should not be mixed

Finding the right information about product conflicts and mixing guides is a challenge on its own. Luckily, The Ordinary offers a ton of brilliant information on its website. There are quick and easy instructions on how to do this in the video I’m sharing with you below.
In a nutshell, visit The Ordinary website and go to the Skincare section in the upper-hand menu. From the drop-down menu, choose Regimen Guide under Skincare Guides. Next, click on the Formulations by Category section, and select the category that you’re interested in. The page will display detailed information about the products along with what products and ingredients they shouldn’t be mixed with. The best part is that you’ll also be able to see information on the regimen (day or night routine). You’ll also see which step it’s most suitable for, like cleansing, hydrating, or others, and the product’s formula (whether it’s water-based or oil-based). Here’s a personal piece of advice. Even after you’ve done your research, always test the products with a patch test. This will save you so much skin-related drama. A patch test is the best way to see any reactions to products or a mix of products before you introduce them into your routine. After all, every skin is unique and even if the chart says it’s okay to mix certain products, you may be one of the few people that will experience a reaction anyway.

The Ordinary product conflicts explained

Vitamin C pure & derivatives + Niacinamide

During my initial research as a newbie skincare enthusiast, perhaps one of the most difficult things to get my head around was the use of Vitamin C or its derivatives together with Niacinamide. Reading people’s reviews online also showed me that I wasn’t the only one feeling confused. And there’s a reason for the lack of clarity. Years ago, Deciem suggested that it’s okay to use vitamin C and niacinamide together in the same regimen. However, in 2020, they had a change of heart and stated that it’s no longer a good idea to combine these ingredients in the same routine. Regarding using vitamin C and niacinamide in the same routine, Deciem states:
“We do not recommend combining Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid, Ethylated L-Ascorbic Acid or Vitamin C Derivatives) with Niacinamide with Direct or Ethylated Vitamin C and Vitamin C Derivatives. This is due to the formation of a salt complex that has the potential to reduce the integrity of both compounds. If you wish to combine both products into a regimen, we recommend using them on alternate days and/or nights.”
This statement could have been a result of the many user feedback received by the brand from people who had experienced breakouts, irritation, and other adverse reactions. Here are some of The Ordinary products that contain either pure Vitamin C or a Vitamin C derivative: The Ordinary Vitamin C pure & derivative products:
  • 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder
  • Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%
  • Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
  • Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
  • Ethylated Ascorbic Acid 15% Solution
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%
  • Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%
  • Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone
On the other hand, here are the Niacinamide-rich products that you should avoid mixing with any of the above. The Ordinary Niacinamide products:
  • 100% Niacinamide Powder
  • Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Why can’t you use The Ordinary Peptides & Acids in the same routine?

Another combo to stay away from is peptides and acids. Peptides are susceptible to hydrolysis. The process destroys bonds between peptides and transforms them into separate amino acids. This significantly lowers their efficacy. Furthermore, peptides in a low pH environment go through processes such as deamination and oxidation. This additionally minimizes the function and activity of peptides. Considering this, peptides and acids used together could potentially cause a range of unpleasant side effects in addition to skin discoloration. However, if you’ve tried the two ingredients in the same regimen and haven’t noticed any negative effects or consequences, you could continue using them together. When it comes to The Ordinary’s products, here are two lists of the ones using peptides and acids. The Ordinary Peptide products:
  • “Buffet”
  • “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1%
  • Argireline Solution 10%
  • Matrixyl 10% + HA
The Ordinary Acid-based products
  • AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution
  • Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%
  • Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution
  • Lactic Acid 5% + HA
  • Lactic Acid 10% + HA
  • Mandelic Acid 10% + HA
  • Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
  • Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
So before I had a full understanding of all of this, I had one urgent question – Why can’t I use The Ordinary “Buffet” with Acids & Vitamin C? Well, now I know – because the “Buffet” product is peptide-based and doesn’t work well with acids.

Why can’t I use Vitamin C, Retinoids & Direct Acids in the same routine?

I already explained the situation with using Vitamin C and Direct Acids together. However, Retinoids are also added to the no-mixing list. If you want to take advantage of the benefits of all three – Vitamin C, Retinoids, and Direct Acids, it’s best to do so on alternate routines. Give your skin some time to adapt to the regimen before making changes and introducing new ingredients. The Ordinary Retinoids:
  • Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane
  • Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane
  • Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion (Previously Advanced Retinoid 2%)
  • Retinol 0.2% in Squalane
  • Retinol 0.5% in Squalane
  • Retinol 1% in Squalane

Why can I not use The Ordinary Acids together?

The Ordinary has a wide range of acids in its product range. Different products contain different types of direct acids, which mustn’t be mixed together. One example is using salicylic acid with other high-strength acid formulas, such as glycolic acid, for example. Layering different acids on your skin could cause serious sensitivity, dryness, and irritation. If you do decide to take a risk, make sure to always test your skin’s reaction with a patch test.

The Ordinary products with no/few conflicts

Although there is a lot to think about when it comes to The Ordinary conflicts, there are products with little or no risks. For instance, your skin type may enjoy a combo of products with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide-based products, like The Ordinary’s 100% Niacinamide Powder. If you’re not experiencing any problems, there’s nothing wrong with continuing what you’re doing. Here’s a list of ingredients and products in The Ordinary range that you can safely use together with the rest of the brand catalog: More Molecules:
  • Alpha Arbutin
  • Caffeine Solution
Oils & Hydration:
  • B Oil
  • Marula Oil
  • Moroccan Argan Oil
  • Rose Hip Seed Oil
  • Chia Seed Oil
  • Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil
  • Hemi-Squalane
  • Amino Acids
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Marine Hyaluronics
  • Natural Moisturising Factors


I hope I’ve helped you clear out the questions you may have about The Ordinary product conflicts. I wanted to share all of this with you in hopes of helping you use The Ordinary products with zero risks for your skin and with maximum results. If you’ve had a TO conflict experience and would like to share your story on using certain products or ingredients together, I warmly welcome you to leave a comment in the comments section below. Until next time!
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