The Ordinary Buffet

I was contemplating going back to my review for the Ordinary’s niacinamide and copy-pasting the whole thing into this post, since the wear and the results have been roughly the same for me between the two products. But, alas, that would have been boring.

In TO’s usual style, this is a serum that you can apply directly to your face using a dropper. Buffet’s serum is clear, but extremely heavy. I usually apply one squeeze of the dropper to both sides of my face, and to my forehead. When spreading the serum, I have to be INCREDIBLY careful to not go over the same section more than once. Because it pills. Like crazy.

The pilling, actually, merits it’s own dang paragraph. I had almost the identical problem with The Ordinary’s niacinamide. As the instructions state, your face must be clean before applying. And they mean it, too: nothing can be on your face, or this product will pill. Don’t even think about putting foundation, or any other moisturizer on top of this, either! This product plays well with nothing, and will cause your face to become a huge, pilling mess if you try to introduce anything else for the next eight hours. The serum does leave behind a tacky feeling even after it’s dried, and the residue will peel off your skin if you push on it too hard.

All that said… even on it’s own, this serum has a really nice sheen to it that makes your skin glow. I noticed that it decreases redness and other discoloration, too, which evens out your skin tone. If you’re comfortable with going out into the world bare-faced (and without a lot of sun exposure, since the likelihood of you applying SPF over this are most likely nil), this product will make your skin look phenomenal.

Long-term results have been harder for me to track, because of the aforementioned pilling product: most days, I’d like to be able to use SPF, and a little bit of foundation. Peptides and their supporting amino acid actors are supposed to be helpful to reduce signs of aging, but I’m of the opinion that this product itself is a one-time shot only. Once the product has worn off (or pilled off!), my skin no longer looks bright. Similar to the niacinamide product, the serum has a certain tacky-ness created by the ingredients that contributes to the shine, but I’m not convinced that it’s being absorbed well by the skin since it pills off so quickly, thus making me question if it’s truly effective.

If you’re a lucky individual who can stack Buffet with other products, there’s a few counter-indications for using this with other ingredients. Vitamin C will nullify the effects of ‘Buffet, as will any other direct acid, such as lactic acid. In terms of comedogenicity, despite Buffet leaving behind a residue, this did not cause me to break out, or create any sort of irritation. Yay!

If you’re going bare-faced and are willing to forgo all of your other skincare products that day, Buffet is the way to go. You will be glow-y and bright! Otherwise, I’d skip this one in any routine. I’m hoping to find another peptide serum that plays better with others.

Happy 2020! May we have all have fantastic skin this year! ~A

Perceived efficacy: Short term, 5/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

The Ordinary Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%

I have a section in my medicine cabinet that is reserved for products that I’m unsure about keeping around for the long haul — Skincare Purgatory, I call it. The Ordinary’s MAP was soundly in purgatory. I ignored it for a few weeks (probably destabilizing the Vitamin C in that time, but, this particular product isn’t as prone to oxidation as other formulas, so I don’t feel too bad), came back to it, and I’m so glad I gave it a second chance. Although MAP is not known to be a Vitamin C powerhouse, I’ve personally had great results while using this.

There’s not a ton of product in this little tube, which kind of stinks since I find myself reaching for this lotion at least three times a week. Granted, it is only $10 , but having to frequently rebuy is still kind of annoying.

The lotion itself has a bit of an orange-tan tint, but it applies white, and absorbs relatively quick, and fully, without any leftover cast. Unlike other Vitamin C formulations, this particular lotion is not gritty, thank goodness. Now, for the downside: this lotion smells like… cardboard. Or wet paper. Or, glue, maybe? Whatever it is, it’s pretty pervasive for the first hour of wear. Maybe this isn’t the worst smell in the world, but it’s definitely not my favorite.

When you apply Vitamin C products, you should wait a few extra minutes between that and your next routine step. This is no exception, it does take a little longer to dry. But once it’s dry, it plays PHENOMENALLY with any moisturizers or foundations you layer over it. (Don’t forget your sunscreen, too!) This wears well throughout the day, and doesn’t cause any faster-than-normal makeup breakdown.

I think I’ve gotten VERY tiny breakouts — like, one or two miniscule blemishes — since I’ve started using it, but it’s far less extreme than when I use regular Vitamin C serums, and they go away quickly. I don’t foresee this being a normal occurrence going forward, and I otherwise think it’s great for sensitive skin. My skin texture seems to have gotten brighter overall.

I haven’t had good luck with The Ordinary as of late, so I’m happy to finally have a win from them. MAP is officially out of my skincare routine purgatory shelf, and onto my “use a few times a week” shelf. If you’re looking for a less abrasive Vitamin C product, I absolutely recommend this one. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Recommended for sensitive skin:¬†Yes — though you may experience some initial break outs, as it is an exfoliant.

THE ORDINARY Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

I think my skin has an “eject” button when it comes to TO’s products. I’d say about 50% of the products I’ve tried from them end in a terrifying amount of drying and peeling, with nothing to show for it.

The packaging is standard fare for TO: dropper bottle and dark packaging, to prevent light from affecting the structural integrity of the product (I think? Or did I make that up?). Sephora’s website says that the serum inside is “lightweight”, but I beg to differ. It’s pretty heavy and slow-moving — the dropper will likely take in way more than you need for both eyes. The serum itself is a light brown color, but that color is not noticeable once you apply it to your skin.

You really don’t need too much to spread under your eye. The formula is incredibly thick, but it’s fairly easy to push around. And for being so thick, it dries relatively quickly and fully, although you might feel that area of skin is a bit heavy for up to ten minutes. I can’t speak to stacking products over top of this one, since I think it’s overkill for such a thin layer of skin, but my next paragraph will explain this product’s time-delayed destruction of eye makeup!

Even if you’re careful to apply very little to the skin, within two to three hours you may notice your skin is starting to slough off, regardless of time you apply it. While initially playing well with eye makeup (assuming you’ve waited the dry time), it’ll start to crack any concealer, eye shadow or powder you’ve applied. This made me think “perhaps I should only apply this at night!”. In theory, this should be fine, since there’s no makeup around to break down at that point, but I still woke up with tons of rolling pills of skin and product under my eye.

Even after washing all of that… lovely mess off of my face, there wasn’t much to show for it, even after three weeks of use. I have noticeably recessed skin between my lower eyelid and cheek, so any dark circles or wrinkles that come into my life are on full display to the world. I didn’t feel like I was experiencing any brightening or decreasing of either. On the plus side, besides the crazy pilling skin, I didn’t experience any other irritation, not even in the instance it touched my waterline.

Another swing and a miss for me with TO products, although the low price tag of $8 doesn’t make me feel too guilty. I had a similar pilling issue with their Niacinamide and Buffet products, but those are HG’s for a lot of other people. So, as always, YMMV. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 1.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 1.5/5