The Ordinary – Primers & Foundations on Oily Skin

Right off the bat, I should start with an apology – I know there was quite a lot of people who were interested in hearing about this review since I hauled them last summer, and I’m sorry it’s taken so long, truth is – it’s been a real mission testing these products out over the past six months and I’ve felt very indecisive about how I’ve felt about them until they’ve been completely gone – three out of four have now been and gone in my empties. I’m sure most people are aware of the stir that The Ordinary have caused in the world of skincare, and naturally their first foray into makeup was likely to do the same, I picked up both the foundations and both the primers.

If you’ve been following the Ordinary on Instagram you’ll have seen what a shit show that company is becoming under the guise of “thou who thinks he is holy” Brandon and I’ve decided that personally I will not be buying any more products from them. However I know not everyone is in the same boat and I’m completely taking my opinions about how they company is run for this review, and my thoughts have stayed pretty much the same since their first tries – but I thought it was worth mentioning as I have said in Empties that maybe I’d rebuy if it wasn’t for the current situation and I didn’t want it to seem as if I was going back on my previous opinions or letting it sway what I think of the products now.


The Primers

High-Adherence Silicone Primer (£3.90)
This was the primer I was most excited to try and the item out of all four of these products that I’ve owned the longest having it being something I placed an online order for before I picked up the rest. Described as a matte, hydrating, silicone blurring primer – at it’s price point, had me so excited to try. I love a blurring primer, and for months this was what I reached for daily – in those months it didn’t leave me impressed. I was so sure when I was ordering this to try that I was going to love it I ordered not one, but three of these and I decided once I’d finished tube one the others would be going in a giveaway.

This has a lovely balmy texture that feels lovely on the skin but even straight away I fail to see any blurring effects my skin at all, I didn’t find that makeup applied any better over it than it does on bare skin, and nor does it seem to help makeup last any better either. I found on oily skin this really didn’t help with oil control and no matter what foundation I tried this with – The Ordinary’s or already existing favourites in my collection I know performs well this primer didn’t mix well with any of them which was such a shame as I really enjoyed the sensation of applying it.


High-Spreadability Fluid Primer (£5.50)
This is a very different primer, it’s more like a watery gel texture applied with a pipette. Funnily for something descrbed as high spreadability, I’ve found that a bout 3/4 of a pipette at a time is the right amount, which feels like a lot of product – more so than a normal primer, and the name to me sounds like ‘this will go a long way’.  That being said it does absorb quite quickly into the skin so you do need more than a drop or two at a time – I tended to drip this instagram makeup style all over my face then quickly work it in different areas.

It’s another product that I struggle to pin-point what the heck it’s actually doing, it’s another silicone based primer, which is unusual for a line with only two primers to both be silicone based. One over the other I feel like this out of the two is surprisingly more pore filling than the other, but again in terms of helping makeup apply nicer I didn’t find that it helped massively. Considering this had a slightly greasy type texture I was surprised that out of the two this did help slightly with oil control, however ultimately it’s performance was still a bit disappointing as I didn’t find that it helped makeup stay on longer than without a primer either.

The Foundations

I thought I’d quickly cover the foundation packaging – they’re definitely not luxury packaging in simple plastic packaging with a pump. When I first opened these I thought that these just had to be smaller than a normal foundation but they are a normal 30ml size. The glass packaging really does add some serious bulk to the packaging – which is one of the reasons I ended up really wanting to love these as imagine how good these would be for travel? Compared to my trusty Kat Von D foundation which is my all time favourite but seriously overcompensates on the bulky packaging The Ordinary foundations are a third of the size.

The Ordinary did come out with a fantastic range of colours and undertones with their first initial launch. I bought these in the Covent Garden store not long after they launched and there was a worldwide shortage of it as the demand was so incredibly high, which left me with limited colour choices. Despite these are just 0.1 shade apart in their spectrum there’s a hell of a lot difference in shade – even if these were both neutral undertones I’d imagine there would be a big gap between them. The shade 2.0 – which is a neutral shade ‘Light Medium’ was the perfect shade for me over winter and early spring and I managed to use up a whole bottle as my day-to-day foundation over a few months.

Coverage Foundation with SPF15 – £5.95

This was the foundation that out of the two I was most intrigued to try – deep down whilst I was intrigued to try it, I knew that the serum foundation was unlikely to work that well for my oily skin, but I had high faith in the Coverage Foundation.

If you look at the picture above, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s quite a beautiful looking foundation on the skin. It does have a natural finish that’s not too cakey and looks great on the skin. However to get it to this point that’s two layers of foundation all over and some extra touching up over redness and scars. You can achieve coverage, but it’s not a one stop shop to get there.

I’m used to my full coverage foundations going on in one layer, my Kat Von D is a classic case of high coverage that blends into the skin easily – in the case of coverage in this I presume it means full coverage  (after I wrote that I saw that the box does say Full Coverage on!). However for me this is a light-medium coverage, buildable, but not what I was expecting. I could cope with the fact I have to multilayer as it’s affordable, it was a great colour match for me at the time, with a neutral undertone that’s so hard to find and contains spf 15 and looks so nice on the skin once on – even with so many layers on it felt lightweight on the skin and didn’t look cakey.

However that wasn’t where the problems stopped for me.

This just had awful wear time, I could put this on at 7.45 for work – and on visiting the toilet at lunch time I would generally think, crikey – that’s just disappeared. I tried primers I knew worked well for me, I tried the Ordinary Primers and I tried any other new unusued primers that were sitting in my drawer untested, and the same applied to powders.  i was completely hooked on looking for the perfect cocktail that this would make this foundation that I loved on my skin actually last, but once I’d reached the end of my bottle I came to the conclusion that for me, there wasn’t one.


Serum Foundation with SPF15 – £5.75
Okay, so bizarrely out of all four products this is the one which I thought I’d hate and weirdly have got along with the most, this shade however has been totally wrong for me so it’s had such limited wear.

Whilst I don’t mind this product, it’s not one I’d go to repurchase in a different shade that’s likely to match me a lot better. This is such a thin liquidy consistency – it’s very watery and sits best when applied with a brush, I’ve found sponges it just sinks in so quickly. This would be a beautiful foundation if you had perfect skin – for me at the moment I’m still battling scarring from last September, and it doesn’t offer the coverage to cover completely – but it gives a nice light finish which reminds me of a tinted moisturiser and paired with a bit of concealer it’s been a good foundation to turn to in the warmer weather that we’ve been having lately for something that feels really light on the skin.

The lasting power of it isn’t incredibly long wearing on oily skin, much better than I was expecting and starts deteriorating around the 7 hour mark. My skin after removing this always feels hydrated an the serum base feels beautiful.


Despite the fact I liked most of the skincare from The Ordinary that I’ve tried, sadly none of the makeup has come close to impressing me despite me wanting it to – I wanted to find a total bargain range that was going to impress me. I think this whole range is more suited for normal to dry skin types rather than oily. Whilst some of the products were okay for the price I’m always the kind of person who would prefer to pay double, triple or quadruple for a product that actually works for me so none of these are ones which I’d consider repurchasing.

All of these products are available to purchase at Beauty Bay if you’re interested in trying them for yourself.

Have you tried the Ordinary makeup products?

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Helpless Whilst Drying

Email: helplesswhilstdrying@gmail.com

33 thoughts on “The Ordinary – Primers & Foundations on Oily Skin

  1. Great review!! what’s happening to the brand exactly? I would love to try their skin care products, I heard good stuff about it, too bad their makeup products are not as good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If you take a look at the Deciem instagram over the past 4/5 months the owner just airs his dirty laundry – fires staff, tells suppliers he won’t be using them any more, slags off customers (and the queen Caroline Hirons!). I’m not down with the ethics of the company any more and until Brandon is gone, I’m not buying from them any more.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree completely with regards to the foundations, I just can’t get them to work well for me! I haven’t tried the primers yet though, they’re in my drawer to try. It’s a shame because they’re such a good price point. X

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had high expectations for the HA primer but I really didn’t think it did anything for me. I’ve not loved anything I’ve tried by the brand to be honest, so while I wouldn’t say I’m boycotting them, I probably won’t bother buying anything else x

    Rhi | http://www.rinkydinkyrhi.com

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for pretty much talking me out of all these makeup products that I had been curious about!

    I absolutely love their skincare and am so weirded out about what’s going on w. their founder. The other day I wanted to recommend a product to a friend but knew that if she went to their Instagram she’d think WTF lol….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have tried both foundations a handful of times, and I remember liking the coverage foundation more out of the two. I would agree that for oil control, they’re not the best. I have the high spreadability primer but I’ve yet to try that out.

    I saw the ‘shit show’ the other day and like you, I am no longer supporting the brand either. I will probably speak of them in future empties but that’s it. It’s a shame but I’d rather spend my money on appreciative people who actually reply nice things in the comments, not nasty things.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I find The Ordinary over hyped for me. I tried the silicone primer and it made my skin an oily mess! It’s a shame the coverage foundation takes building up as your skin looks lovely in the photo x

    Liked by 1 person

  7. O man, I have no idea what is happening on The Ordinary’s IG. I have clearly been AWOL 😛 I am pretty much the same as you, when companies give off bad vibe sort of communication, I stop buying from them (include my own holy grail products). The whole buying foundation online thing freaks me out~~ You have certainly bought a decent colour match!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The Coverage Foundation from The Ordinary really didn’t work me either. For me it settled into my pores and just exaggerated all the areas I want to cover! Which is a shame because I really wanted it to work. I had the same problem as you with the wear time.

    As a whole I have been disappointed with The Ordinary.The only exception is the Azeliac Acid Suspension which really has helped me with my acne scarring.

    Liked by 1 person

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