4 of the Best The Ordinary Products to Use Together, and the One Combo You Should Avoid

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Flash back to 2017 when highly effective, insanely affordable skin-care line The Ordinary sprung onto the scene. Everyone was obsessed (including us) and then everything sold out. Oh, the horror.

This time around, we’re maximizing our luck and buying products that work in tandem with one another. Here are all the best The Ordinary products to combine for four main skin concerns, plus the one combo you should avoid at all costs.

AHA vs. BHA We Asked a Dermatologist to Explain the Difference Once and for All

am aging skin

Best for Age Concerns

AM: "Buffet"; Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5; Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA; Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

If wrinkles are your main concern, The Ordinary has a plethora of fine-line-filling elixirs that work well alone, but are more potent when combined. Start with “Buffet,” which combines peptides, hyaluronic acid, amino acids and bioderivatives to target multiple signs of aging . Then, add the Hyaluronic Acid, which has additional hydrating ingredients like B5 to plump skin with moisture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles. Layer on the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA to seal everything in and prevent evaporation without the slightest greasy feeling. Then, finish with SPF to protect skin against photoaging and UV damage.

pm aging skin

PM: "Buffet"; Granactive Retinoid 2% in Squalane; 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil

At night when skin goes into repair mode, adding a retinoid into the mix will help to increase cell turnover and regenerate skin, which gives you that youthful glow. Because retinol can be irritating to skin, start with the 2 percent dose and work your way up to the 5 percent (if necessary). To seal in moisture (and help fend off redness) the brand recommends finishing with ultra-hydrating rose hip seed oil.

dry skin am

Best for Dry, Dehydrated Skin

AM: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5; Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA; Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

While dryness and dehydration are not the same thing, they both occur from the lack of moisture or oil within the skin. To increase the skin’s water content, use Hyaluronic Acid (which can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water) to draw H2O into the skin and keep it there for the long haul. Slather on a generous layer of Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA to balance skin and lock in water content. Applying SPF is always a must, but it will help to keep sun damage and resulting dryness far away.

dry skin pm1

PM: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5; Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA; 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

At night, hit your skin with another dose of both the Hyaluronic Acid and Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA to replenish any moisture you lost during the day. An added dose of the Plant-Derived Squalane will help fend off flakes and prevent the ongoing loss of hydration while you snooze.

oily skin day

Best for Oily, Blemish-Prone Skin

AM: Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%; 100% Plant-Derived Squalane; Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

Skin a little too dewy with unexplained breakouts? Your complexion might just be out of whack due to hormonal shifts, dietary changes or stress and anxiety. To keep occasional breakouts at bay and to help reduce oil production, introduce the Niacinamide (a vitamin and mineral blemish formula) to banish pimples and congestion while balancing sebum production. Next, layer the Plant-Derived Squalane to help increase moisture levels and prevent skin from over-producing oil. Finish with a layer of SPF, because you know the drill.

oily skin pm1

PM: Salicylic Acid 2% Solution; Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%; 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

At night, continue the same routine, but start with Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, which will help further exfoliate and clarify the skin for improved tone and texture while you sleep. Just skip the SPF here.

uneven skintone am

Best for Uneven Skin Tone

AM: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA; Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%; Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate 10%; Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants

During the day, tackle pigmentation issues with the brand’s Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, which has double the concentration of typical doses to zero in on dark spots, and the addition of Hyaluronic Acid to help it sink into the skin more easily. Next, apply the Niacinamide to help decongest skin and up its radiance. Then, slather on Magnesium Aascorbyl Phosphate, which is a vitamin C derivative, to brighten skin overall. And please, please don’t forget the sunscreen!

uneven skintone pm

PM: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA, Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%; Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

Wouldn’t it be nice to wake up to fewer dark spots? That’s what this combo is for. Hit skin with another dose of Alpha Arbutin to target hyper-pigmentation and add in Azelaic Acid to brighten, re-texturize and clear skin. Finish with Lactic Acid to help gently slough off those dead cells that can congest your complexion and leave it looking dull.

combo to avoid

Combo to Avoid

Retinol 0.5% in Squalane & AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

While retinol and acids both work to regenerate skin cells, they can cause extreme irritation when used together (too much exfoliation is a bad thing). If you use retinol or retinoids nightly, try skipping the dose once or twice a week and replacing it with a peel like AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution for a clean sweep of dead skin cells, which will help to unclog pores without making your complexion extremely angry in the process.

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Brianna Lapolla formerly held the role of Senior Commerce Editor at PureWow covering all things shopping across beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Now, she's putting her 12 years of...