Lactic Acid and Azelaic Acid from The Ordinary: A Review

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February 22, 2017 14 Comments

I bought a few items from The Ordinary a couple months back and I'm finally ready to provide a review of two out of the four items I purchased. Like most acids, these products claim to provide smoother, brighter skin. But did they?

You can check out my items from that haul here.


Lactic Acid 10%+HA 2% – $6.70CDN

The website describes this acid as “A High-Strength Lactic Acid Superficial Peeling Formulation,” which some people new to acids might find a bit terrifying. Trust me, it’s not! Lactic acid is a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates the skin for a smoother, brighter appearance. It is milder than glycolic acid, and comes in a 5% and 10% strength from The Ordinary. The formulation also includes Tasmanian Pepperberry, which the company claims will reduce the inflammation and sensitivity that some people may experience with exfoliation. 2% hyaluronic acid (HA) is mixed in for skin hydration and added skin plumpness (yes please!).

Given my long-time history using acids, I went all the way and opted for the 10% strength. The lactic acid is intended for use in your night time skin care routine before you apply your creams or facial oils. The website doesn’t really give you much more direction than that, but I like to use it after double cleansing at night as my exfoliation step,before my hydrating toner, treatments and face cream. You don’t have to worry about your other skin care ingredients interfering with the lactic acid, so it will easily fit into your skin care roster.

A dropper is provided to dispense the orange-tinted, water-based serum; I like to use about 3 drops to get good coverage all over my face and neck. I will warn you, this stuff does have a funky smell. Nothing totally nasty, but funky nonetheless. Once applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly and leaves no residue behind. In spite of the 10% strength, I didn’t experience any tingling or burning after application and had no irritation either (thank you Tasmanian Pepperberry!).


Was it effective? Yes – my skin did feel softer, looked smoother and more even overall. The website claimed that this acid would be fast working, but I didn’t notice any difference over night and found that continued use was more effective.

Would I repurchase? Yes, especially at the $6.70 price point. I love a great product at a bargain.


Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% – $7.90CDN

Azelaic acid is derived from wheat, rye and barley and is most commonly prescribed to rosacea sufferers because of its ability to reduce inflammation and the associated redness it produces. It’s also great for unclogging pores, killing bacteria and reducing acne and is safe for use during pregnancy when retinol has to be avoided. The Ordinary markets this product as a way to brighten skin, reduce blemishes and improve skin texture, but I feel like they really undersold all the benefits of this stuff!

The azelaic acid comes in a white, opaque, odourless cream that absorbs super fast into the skin. I find it best to apply a large pea-sized amount in dabs all over my face to make sure I can spread it out before it starts to absorb; it’s that fast. The website directs you to apply this morning or night (with sunscreen if in the morning) before your heavy creams or facial oils. I like to apply it after I cleanse, exfoliate, tone and treat. Although it has “acid” in the title, this did not tingle or burn at all; great for people new to acid use. It doesn’t leave any residue on the skin, just a smooth, matte finish that makes it great under makeup as well.

Was it effective? Hell yes! After using this product for the first time, I noticed that my skin did look more even (e.g. less red) and smoother overall by the next morning. I continued to use this product each night and found it made my skin look healthier and more radiant as I went.

The only negatives I have is that it comes in a cream instead of a serum; I have a love affair with serums so I guess this is a small personal bias. The amount you get is also minimal (30mL) so I can see this product reducing at a fast pace (thank God it’s cheap!). Nonetheless, a great product at an amazing price and probably my favourite item from The Ordinary so far.

Would I repurchase? Oh yeah. If you have any of the skin issues described above, go to the and start ordering (and then come back to Blush & Pearls, ok?).

I plan to start using the Vitamin C Suspension 23% next and will report back on my findings!

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Have you tried anything from The Ordinary yet? Would you?

*this post contains affiliate links*

  • Christine C.

    I’ve tried just one of their products and I liked it, but I think there are others that are better suited for my skin right now. Their products fascinate me, but I find their website to be a little overwhelming because I want it all, lol! Great review though. I think I’m going to place another order!

    • Yes, their low prices make it easy to load up your shopping cart! I have a couple other items I’d like to try as well. Thanks Christine!

  • Ela

    I’m so sad that The Ordinary isn’t available here! I don’t find a lot of acids available in the Philippines besides CosRX, a K-beauty brand.
    Ela |

    • The Ordinary ships worldwide and it included the Philippines in the list of countries for shipping (I just checked). Check out the website:!

      • Ela


  • Beauty Frenzy

    I recently ordered the Vitamin C 23% Suspension. I also the High Adherence primer. I’m excited about the idea of effective affordable skincare, and I can’t wait to try these.

    • I’m curious about the primer, so I’ll be looking out for a review on that if you do one!

  • These both sound amazing especially the Azelaic Acid cream, I really need to try this brand!

    The Makeup Directory

    • They’re so affordable which makes it easier to grab a bunch!

  • Alex Grijalba

    I want to try both but can you use both the lactic acid and azelaic acid at the same time? And in that case, what order would you put them in?

    • I only used one at a time to avoid confusing the results I got from both for reviewing purposes. That being said, if you want to use them together, I believe the lactic acid should be used first (to exfoliate dead skin after cleansing) and the lactic acid second.

      • Alex Grijalba

        Thanks! 🙂

  • This has definitely convinced me to buy the Azelaic acid! Never really heard of it until this brand arrived, and I’m glad I read your review. I’ve got the The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% and I’m in love with it! My skin has never been so flake-free!

    Madame Raptor x

    • I hope you enjoy it! I’d never used azelaic acid before either but it is so great for redness and pores. It really helped my skin.