An Honest Review On The Ordinary Peeling Solution – A 30% AHA & 2% BHA Formula

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Ever since I became a skincare lover, I became a strong fan of The Ordinary brand. Not just because their products are insanely pocket-friendly, but also well formulated for potential effect on the skin. Not to forget that they also keep their formulations simple, no fanciness and no exaggeration. 


Of all The Ordinary products I have used in the past and currently using at the moment, I have had 90% positive results, of which I come back here to give a detailed review of. And this time, I have decided to give one of their best-selling product a trial — The Ordinary peeling solution — a formula with 30% AHA & 2% BHA. 

This blood-like liquid peeling-solution has been the talk of the town amongst skincare lovers, which includes YouTube skincare-review vloggers, some dermatologists and happy-consumers. For the love of skincare, I have decided to join the league of users, to see if this product really lives up to the hype. But before we plunge into that, lets know what AHA and BHA  (which are the main component of this formula) are. 


AHA stands for “Alpha Hydroxy Acids”, it’s an umbrella term of a group of exfoliating-acids, purposely meant to exfoliate the skin, by sloughing off dead skin cells, to reveal healthier and brighter-looking beneath, enhance skin texture and also to boost the penetration of skincare products/topicals. 

AHAs are water-soluble acids and mostly refered to as “Fruit acids” because they are derived from sugar cane or other plant sources. Aside exfoliation, AHAs are primarily used for hyperpigmentation like age spots, melasma, scars, enlarged pores, wrinkles, fine lines and uneven skin tone. AHAs works best on skin surface. Example of these acids are, glycolic, lactic, tartaric, citric, malic, and mandelic acid


BHA stands for “Beta-Hydroxy Acid”.

Salicylic acid is a one-known BHA, which exercises its potentials to get rid of acne. You must have heard about this all-powerful anti-acne ingredient. 

Beta hydroxy acid is an organic compound that contains a carboxylic acid functional group and hydroxy functional group separated by two carbon atoms. They are relatively related to alpha hydroxy acids. BHA works on skin surface and beneath the skin (deep inside the pores).

The Ordinary 30% AHA + 2% BHA Peeling Solution.

The ordinary peeling solution review

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The Ordinary brand combines both AHA at 30% and BHA at 2% for optimum result.  

These two components are used in The Ordinary peeling solution, to ensure both skin-surface and underneath exfoliation. As we all know, exfoliation is one of the keys to a successful skincare routine, infact without a proper exfoliation in a skincare routine, your skincare routine is as good as being useless, as you’re wasting your time and as well as your precious (if not expensive) skincare products. The reason being that, oil-build up, grime and gunk congestion which includes dead skin cells will restrict your skincare topicals from penetrating deep into the skin dermis to establish their respective potentials.

Exfoliation helps get rid of dead skin cells on the skin surface and decongest the skin pores of pore-clogging impurities to enhance more permeability of your skincare products. The alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) ingredients involved in The Ordinary peeling solution includes; glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acid and the beta hydroxy acid (BHA) in this formula is salicylic acid. 

This formula also contains hyaluronic acid crosspolymer, for skin surface hydration, vitamin B5, for anti-inflammatory potentials to the skin, black carrot which contains vitamin C for healthy and glowing skin and tasmanian pepperberry which soothes the skin, provides anti-inflammatory protection and help reduce irritation associated with acid use. All the active ingredients used in this formulation will be briefly explained below. 

  • Glycolic acid: Glycolic acid is the most common type of AHA and widely used. It’s made from sugar plant. Glycolic acid is known for its small molecular size in weight which enables it to penetrate deeper into the skin to eradicate dead skin cells and dissolve sebum.
  • Lactic Acid: A mild exfoliating-acid which is more suitable for senstive skin. Lactic acid is made from lactose in milk.  It offers exfoliation and anti-aging benefits. It gently sloughs off dead skin cells, treats hyperpigmentation, age spots, and other factors that contribute to a dull and uneven complexion. 
  • Tartaric Acid: This is yet another type of AHA derived from grape extracts. Although it’s not widely known but it definitely has its benefits on the skin. It exfoliates the skin and stimulates collagen production.
  • Citric Acid: Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits. In skin care formulations, citric acid has protective antioxidant, and corrective anti-aging effects by helping to reverse visible signs of photo-damage. It also exfoliates the skin, by getting rid of dead skin cells. 
  • Salicylic Acid: the BHA in this formula. It’s a well known chemical ingredient, derived from white willow (salix alba) which is used to treat acne, due to its potency and oil-soluble nature which enables it penetrate deeply into the skin to decongest and exfoliate the skin pores, thereby keeping it clean and clear. Salicylic acid is particularly beneficial for individuals with acne prone skin.
  • Hyaluronic Acid:humectant that pulls moisture from the atmosphere to deeply hydrate the skin surface. Hyaluronic acid also helps strengthen the skin barrier, firms and plumps the skin which in turn helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. 
  • Vitamin B5: Also known as a “Pro-Vitamin” which helps to keep skin soft, smooth, and healthy. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help stimulate your skin’s healing processes and helps to keep skin quenched by absorbing moisture from the air to deeply hydrate the skin.
  • Black Carrot: Contains high percentage of vitamin C which helps supply skin with antioxidant-benefits and with an enhanced radiance, makes skin healthy and glowy. 
  • Tasmanian Pepperberry: Tasmanian pepperberry derivative contains anti-inflammatory and skin soothing potentials to help reduce irritation associated with acid use by curtailing redness, tightness and stings.


The ordinary peeling solution review

The Ordinary peeling solution comes well packaged and sealed in a frosty-looking transparent bottle. 


The ordinary peeling solution review

It has a runny texture, but more thicker than water, which dries-off almost immediately when applied on the skin. 


The ordinary peeling solution review

The Ordinary AHA and BHA peeling solution has a dark-reddish color which looks just like blood. And if you’re wondering why it has such color, it’s because the formulation contains “black carrot”, unlike the regular carrot we all know (which is orange in color) black carrot takes a purple-dark reddish color. That’s why The Ordinary peeling solution has a blood-like color. 


The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution comes in a 30ml bottle size.


Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol

My Honest Review On The Ordinary Peeling Solution.

The ordinary peeling solution review

Effect On Skin Texture.

The ordinary peeling solution review
Me putting on The Ordinary peeling solution mask.

After using this formula for 4-weeks, (once-weekly on 10 minutes duration) as instructed by the brand, here is my honest review about this product.

First Week Of Usage. 

The result was immediate. After applying The Ordinary peeling solution, I left it on for 10 minutes, before washing it out with a lukewarm water. The result was mind-blowing as my face was as soft and smooth as a baby’s bum, not only that, my face was more firm than it used to be. 

Second Week Of Usage. 

I only apply The Ordinary peeling solution once a week and on 10 minutes duration. On the second week of application, more positive effect was noticed. My pores shrunk to it’s smallest size, (looking almost unnoticeable).

Effect On Skin Tone.

Third Week Of Usage

At third-week of usage, i started noticing brightening effect on my skin. I don’t know if I should completely give the credit to the peeling solution or to my skincare routine. But either way, The peeling solution really potentiated the effect of my skincare routine as my skincare products soaked in better into my skin to deliver their potentials. 

Fourth Week Of Usage. 

The more I use the peeling solution, the more my skin keeps getting, smoother, brighter, firmer and healthier. My skincare topicals works X2 more effective, as penetration was increased.  

Below is a picture of my face after using The Ordinary peeling solution for 4-weeks. 

The Ordinary peeling solution review
My face after 4-weeks of using The Ordinary peeling solution.

In Conclusion. 

If you’ve been sitting on the fence towards getting hold of this blood-like peeling-solution, i urge you to go ahead and get it, to deeply exfoliate your skin, and boost the efficacy of your skin care products due to enhanced permeability — remember, exfoliation is very important in every skincare. 

What I Like About The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.

  • Easy to use.
  • Mild on the skin. 
  • Comes well Packaged.
  • Pocket-friendly.
  • Fragrance-free.

What I Dislike About The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.

  • I have no dislike for this product. 

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: How do you use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution?

A: The Ordinary peeling solution should come immediately after cleansing. You cleanse your skin, pat it completely dry and then apply the peeling-solution evenly all over your face. Wait a few minutes and wash it off with lukewarm water. 

After that, apply your skin hydrator (recommended: hyaluronic acid serum), then apply your additional non-exfoliating and non-sensitizing skincare products, then finish-off with your moisture-rich moisturizer

Q: How long should I leave The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution On my face?

A: Not more than 10 minutes.

It’s best to start out gradually. When you’re just starting out, leave it on for 5 minutes. If your skin is cool with it, next time leave it on for 6 minutes. Repeat until you reach 10 minutes.

Q: Can people with sensitive skin use The Ordinary peeling solution?

A: Although this peel is mild on the skin, but considering the high percentage of AHA (30%), I strongly advise you should opt for a more milder AHA such as lactic acid (recommended: The Ordinary 10% lactic acid + HA 2%) and mandelic acid — also known as an AHA for sensitive skin (recommended: The Ordinary Mandelic acid + HA 2%). 

Q: How often should you use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution?

A: The Ordinary recommends not more than twice a week. If you’re just starting out, i strongly recommend you should ease your way into it by using it once a week. Then when your skin must have gotten accustomed to it, you can increase to twice a week (if necessary).

Q: When is the best time to apply The Ordinary peeling solution.

A: At night. Considering the skin sensitivity caused by AHAs and BHA, it’s advised to apply products contained of AHAs and BHA at night-time only to limit sun exposure while the product is on or applied. That shouldn’t mean you should not apply sunscreen during the day. It’s very important. 

Q: Did you feel any burning or tingling sensation while the The Ordinary peeling solution is on the skin?

A: While The Ordinary peeling solution is on the skin, you’ll feel a tolerable burning or tingling sensation. Don’t panic, it’s absolutely normal, as AHAs & BHA (especially on a high percentage or concentration) gives a slight burning or tingling sensation to the skin. Therefore, so far you don’t exceed the normal 10 minutes duration, your skin will be perfectly fine. If you feel your skin can’t take it at the recommended time duration, then leave it on for 7-8 minutes. Don’t forget to apply a moisture-rich moisturizer afterwards and coat your skin with your sunscreen. 

Q: Can I apply retinoids after using The Ordinary peeling solution?

A: Don’t apply retinoidsL-ascorbic acid vitamin C  or any other AHAs or BHA after using The Ordinary peeling solution as to avoid inflammatory-irritation. After using the peeling solution, seek for skin nourishing and soothing serums or moisturizers with no skin sensitizing or exfoliating-acids/ingredients. Remember, your skin needs moisture after exfoliating, to replenish itself of lost moisture. 

If you have other additional skincare products to put on after using The Ordinary peeling solution, ensure to apply a skin hydrating serum first (such as hyaluronic acid serum) before commencing to other of your skincare topicals. 

Q: Who shouldn’t use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution?

  • A: Anyone who’s never used acid exfoliants before.
  • Anyone who has only used toners/exfoliants with small concentrations of acids.
  • Anyone who doesn’t know what this peeling solution is but buys it anyway because “my skin may need it.”
  • Anyone who wants quick results.
  • Anyone with super-sensitive skin.
  • Anyone with peeling, cracked or compromised skin.
  • If you’re on prescription medication like tretinoin, talk to your doctor before adding the peel to your skincare routine. Using too many harsh products can backfire which can lead to serious inflammatory-irritation. 

Q: Who can use The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution?

  • A: Anyone who has a previous experience of exfoliating acids or a long-term acid user. 
  • Anyone who wants to step-up his or her skincare routine. 
  • Anyone who wants to increase the potentials of their skincare products (due to enhanced penetration)
  • Anyone who wants to have a smoother skin and also minimize skin aging-signs.
  • Anyone battling with skin texture irregularities and wish to improve their skin texture. 
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a super-sensitive skin
  • Anyone who doesn’t have a compromised or damaged skin. 

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience with The Ordinary 30% AHA + 2% BHA Peeling Solution, you may have a whole different experience as skin type differs so as result differs too.

UP NEXT: These Are The Best At-home Chemical Peels For Smoother Radiant Skin.


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