The Ordinary Products That Faded Our Dark Spots (For $30!)

product review


Who hasn’t heard about The Ordinary? Their no-nonsense formulas deliver real results, are super affordable, and deserve all the hype they get from friends and online reviews. Plus, these buzzy bottles can be shopped everywhere, from your local drugstore to your fave beauty website.

We recently nabbed three of their hyperpigmentation-targeted formulas, which are being sold as a do-it-all bundle, and put them to the test – we’ve been loyally using them for two months now! #Commitment. So, without further ado, here are our honest thoughts on The Ordinary’s Pigmentation Bundle, $30.

Disclaimer: Always patch test strong products first, and always wear sunscreen when using any potent actives and acids in your routines – they’re not here to play!

1. The Pigmentation-Fighting Serum: The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Hyperpigmentation Serum, $10

1-The-Ordinary-Alpha-Arbutin2Source: The Ordinary

What it is: A concentrated water-based serum that softens the appearance of dark spots and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (post-pimple marks) with skin-brightening alpha-arbutin and hyaluronic acid.

How it works: According to Dr. Vanita Rattan, Founder of The Hyperpigmentation Clinic, “Tyrosinase is the enzyme needed to make melanin.” Alpha-arbutin is a tyrosinase inhibitor, which means it slows down the excess production of tyrosinase enzymes thereby helping reduce hyperpigmentation.

What we thought: As soon as we slathered this gloopy, gel-like texture onto our skin, we loved how easily it glided on and absorbed after just a few seconds of patting. As for the results, we were seriously impressed! After two months of consistent use, our dark spots had faded significantly. Our only hang-up is it does leave a sticky-ish finish, so be sure to follow with your fave moisturizer, which will simultaneously lock in all that hydrating goodness.

2. The Brightening Cream: The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 10% Suspension Brightening Cream, $10

2-The-Ordinary-Azelaic-Acid-10Source: The Ordinary

What it is: A vegan cream that evens skin texture and discoloration with antioxidant-rich azelaic acid.

How it works: This formula contains another ingredient that helps block the formation of excess melanin that leads to dark spots: azelaic acid. Dr. Annie Gonzalez, a board-certified dermatologist at Riverchase Dermatology in Miami, Fla., confirms that it “helps block tyrosinase, which therefore reduces melanin production.”

What we thought: Upon first application, this gel-to-cream leaves a slight tingling and tightening sensation, which according to the reviews is common. It’s also super-thick and rich, which means a little goes a long way. However, this initial feeling did reside, and with continual use, our skin texture became more even and our dark spots brightened. Just make sure you follow with a rich night cream to keep flakiness at bay, as azelaic acid can make the skin drier.

3. The Do-It-All Acid: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution, $10

3-The-Ordinary-Glycolic-Acid7Source: The Ordinary

What it is: An exfoliating solution that addresses uneven skin texture with chemical exfoliants including glycolic and amino acids.

How it works: Glycolic acid is the smallest of AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), and this tiny water-soluble chemical exfoliator dissolves the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal the smooth surface underneath. Many derms tout it as their fave AHA thanks to its small size that helps it penetrate deeper and give greater brightening results.

What we thought: Anyone on #SkinTok will instantly recognize this bad B – she’s developed quite the reputation as a whole-body chemical exfoliator. Although infused with soothing aloe vera, she’s a strong exfoliator, so limit usage on more delicate skin areas to once or twice a week. Follow with your regular skincare routine and a hydrating moisturizer, and be sure to pause on any other exfoliating treatments in the meantime.

As for the TikTok claims, they pan out – we’ve been applying it onto our scalps weekly and seen a major decrease in product buildup. You can soak a cotton pad and sweep it across your underarms to balance odor or over any recent post-inflammatory pigmentation on your body (we’re looking at you, oven burn on our arm!) to brighten over time. But the best part is that the product will last you ages – the bottle’s huge so you get your money’s worth!

The Final Review

As always, The Ordinary’s products are anything but ordinary. We think the serum and toning solution is worth a spot on your top shelf, but patch test before committing to the moisturizer. As always, results come with consistent use, but these formulas do deliver on their promises. Our dark spots and hyperpigmentation have been undoubtedly brightened.

Who says healthy skin has to break the bank? Yup, we have a whooole list of affordable skincare brands with high-impact formulas, like The Ordinary, lined up for you here.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.