The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
3

The Ordinary

Salicylic Acid 2% Masque

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 12.00
Expert Rating

Expert Reviews

Community Reviews

Claims

Ingredients

Brand Overview

The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Masque has its share of pros and cons, netting a mixed, average review.

From a formulary standpoint, salicylic acid is an excellent ingredient to “remove dead skin cells,” as claimed. However, salicylic acid works best in a leave-on formula where it has time to fully exert its exfoliating action—not rinsed off after 10 minutes as is the case for this mask. Still, there is some benefit to including it in this mask, as it can potentially help gently minimize breakouts while simultaneously calming skin.

The absorbent kaolin and charcoal are welcome additions to fragrance-free formula for their ability soak up skin’s surface oil, which is helpful for oily/blemish-prone skin. Better yet, replenishing squalene and glycerin help balance their absorbent nature so skin isn’t left feeling dried out.

The aesthetics are where things go downhill. Housed in a smaller-than-average (compared to most face masks) opaque squeeze tube, the thick, pitch-black mask feels gritty going on. Worse, it’s more difficult to rinse than your typical mask, meaning you have to do a fair amount of massaging/wiping at skin to get it completely off, which ends up feeling a bit abrasive, and can be detrimental to skin (see More Info to learn why).

Refer to our top-rated face masks for superior results.

Pros:
  • Salicylic acid helps gently minimize breakouts while simultaneously calming skin.
  • Kaolin and charcoal absorb skin’s excess oil.
  • Replenishing squalene and glycerin help balance skin.
  • Fragrance free.
Cons:
  • Gritty texture poses a risk of abrading skin.
  • Formula takes extra effort to remove completely.

More Info:

Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!

Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.

Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.

A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that if you don’t see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.

Generally, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.

References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Salicylic Acid 2% Masque is formulated to target lackluster tone and textural irregularities. The formula, infused with charcoal and clays, aims to enhance the appearance of smoothness and clarity, leaving the skin feeling refreshed. The structure of salicylic acid facilitates its lipophilicity and miscibility with the lipids located on the surface of the skin. It is a suitable ingredient for targeting the removal of dead skin cells on the surface of oily and blemish-prone skin, with the purpose of revealing more radiant skin beneath.

Aqua (Water), Kaolin, Squalane, Glycerin, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Silica Cetyl Silylate, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Polyacrylate, Pentylene Glycol, Charcoal Powder, 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, Sclerotium Gum, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Phytic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.

It's not an overstatement to say that Canadian brand The Ordinary has taken the global beauty world by storm. In fact, no skincare line in recent memory has generated as much buzz as this brand!

Why all the commotion? Its because of The Ordinary's combination of clinical-looking products that contain high amounts of proven skincare ingredients and their unusually low prices (near rock-bottom prices). The curiosity to try these latte-priced products is intense; after all, you can assemble an impressive collection of anti-aging products for around the cost of one anti-aging product from a pricey department store brand!

The Ordinary is one of several brands that are part of a larger company, named DECIEM, whose tag line is The Abnormal Beauty Company, and with that we agree 100%. According to company founder Brandon Truaxe, DECIEM exists to create beauty brands with one mission common amongst them: to marry function, design and authenticity. Were not sure about the function, design, and authenticity part, but The Ordinary is certainly not ordinary at all in the world of beauty!

Frankly, we don't see how DECIEM can rationalize the low prices of The Ordinary products when the products from the other DECIEM skincare brands are so expensive. The difference is so glaringly strange it seems to border on a bait and switch - more about that in a moment.

Some of the ingredients in The Ordinary products are indeed inexpensive, but some of them absolutely qualify as expensive. These expensive ingredients are part of the reason why well-formulated anti-aging products, like serums and retinol treatments, typically cost much more than what The Ordinary charges.

The owner has been quoted as saying that the fill (fill is actual product inside the package) for his products costs less than $1 (less than $1 for how much? ). Depending on the formula, that can be true, but a skincare products retail price isn't just about whats inside the packaging, but also about how whats inside got there. There are costs for packaging, global regulatory testing, development, stability and safety testing, distribution, and on and on. Surely, The Ordinary didn't avoid some of these steps, but it does make us wonder.

We generally don't comment on a company's marketing strategy, but in this case its hard not to. We suspect The Ordinary is possibly a loss leader for the pricier DECIEM brands; that is, it gets DECIEM a ton of media and viral attention. Consumers, drawn by the low prices of The Ordinary, check out the site aiming to try the cheap stuff, but then, in sometimes not-so-subtle ways, they're lured into considering the expensive stuff from their other lines. Again, were just guessing here because its just so intriguing. Is The Ordinary a crusader for consumers or something else?

In terms of the quality of The Ordinary's products, the majority are one-note formulas. That is, rather than containing a robust mix of ingredients proven to help skin, most of their products focus on providing an efficacious amount of a single key ingredient, but to the exclusion of others. To give your skin an essential mix of antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients, you'd have to purchase several products from this line, and, since most of them have similar fluid-like serum textures, layering them, and knowing which product to apply first becomes a confusing guessing game. Plus, the Ordinary brand doesn't include sunscreens or cleansers, so it isn't one-stop shopping.

The Ordinary does one more unusual thing that reinforces their slogan of being The Abnormal Beauty Company: They routinely point out what they believe are the negative aspects of the very ingredients they use! For example, The Ordinary states clearly that it does not recommend exfoliating with AHA or BHA ingredients, but they sell AHA and BHA products. They also state they don't like silicones because of how they interact with certain ingredients, but they sell products that contain silicones.

They downplay retinol (vitamin A) as being inferior to other forms of vitamin A, but they still sell retinol products. Aside from the fact that these statements about retinol, AHAs, BHA, and silicones are wrong, its just bizarre to sell products you dont really want people to use, but then there's an allegedly superior, more expensive option from one of DECIEMs other brands, just waiting for you.

As you'll see from our reviews, there's a handful of The Ordinary's products worth checking out, but there are also several products that simply don't supply enough of what all skin types need to look and act younger, healthier, and more radiant. Low prices are great, but not when the trade-off is getting less than your skin deserves.

For more information about The Ordinary, call (800) 513-6088 or visit www.theordinary.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our terms of use here.