Buffet is The Ordinary's attempt to create a well-rounded serum rather than a one-note product. The all-skin-types formula succeeds with its impressive mix of proven, intriguing ingredients to help visibly reduce signs of aging. It's also proof that The Ordinary can create an aesthetically pleasing texture and finish, as this is by far their nicest-feeling serum.
Packed with skin-replenishing glycerin and peptides, Buffet comes packaged in a frosted-glass bottle with a dropper applicator. The glycerin and peptides are joined by sodium hyaluronate, amino acids, and other skin-replenishing and hydrating ingredients that help reinforce skin's surface for lasting results.
Although not as inexpensive as other products from The Ordinary, Buffet remains highly affordable based on the ingredients it contains. The Ordinary says that this combination of ingredients adds up to “25.1% by weight,” but that’s a somewhat misleading way to state things. We suspect they mean a 25.1% total concentration, which is a more direct way to communicate what many consumers are looking for. Not surprisingly, the word choice has caused some confusion, but we approached this formula on good faith that The Ordinary meant a 25.1% total concentration.
Buffet is an impressive enough formula to recommend. It beautifully hydrates skin without a slick, greasy, or occlusive feel, and it layers perfectly with other products like moisturizer. We wish it had included more in the way of antioxidants, but that's forgivable given Buffet's price. Just be sure that at least one or more of the other products in your skincare routine are loaded with antioxidants.
The Ordinary At-A-Glance
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? It’s 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.” We’re 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 product’s retail price isn’t just about what’s inside the packaging, but also about how what’s 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 it’s 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, we’re just guessing here because it’s 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, it’s just bizarre to sell products you don’t really want people to use—but then there’s an allegedly superior, more expensive option from one of DECIEM’s 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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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