An Honest Review On The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (Reformulated)

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All skincare enthusiasts understand how difficult it can be to select the right ingredient for our skin type and concerns. So imagine my delight when I came across Salicylic Acid while reading a few blogs, and it seemed to be the perfect match for my oily skin and the slew of problems it brings. I must say, I’ve never been so sure about adding a skincare ingredient to my arsenal. 


Having witnessed the cultural adoration for The Ordinary, I’d always wanted to try their products for myself, and my search for the best Salicylic Acid seemed like an opportunity to make that wish come true. So, without much thought, I purchased the cult-favorite Salicylic Acid Solution and have used it for a few weeks. So I’ve decided to share my unbiased thoughts on this serum to help you determine if it’s worth a shot, as I usually do on my blog – Lavenderous.

For those who don’t know, this famous serum mysteriously vanished from store shelves in 2019, sparking a public outcry. But, after almost two years, it made a comeback, promising to be effective without being too harsh on the skin.

Thousands of people love this product, but is it worth the hype? Does it live up to its claims?, or has its popularity obscured its reality? I’m sure many such questions have crossed your mind, so I’m here to answer them all and help you decode the true potency of this serum. 

About The Brand.

The Ordinary was released in August 2016 by Deciem, a Toronto-based company. This skincare line quickly became popular among the general public due to its clean and effective formulations, low prices, and consumer transparency. Within two weeks of its launch, the brand sold 43,000 product units. 

With time, this line has dabbled in makeup and hair care, thus further expanding its collection of beauty products. This is one of the few brands that truly deserves all of the attention and praise it receives, as they work diligently to create potent formulations that are also affordable and easily accessible. 

At its launch, The Ordinary had 27 products under its cover sold only online; however, it has quickly climbed the success ladder and is now available in 44 countries, both online and through retail partnerships.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review





The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is a water-based serum that targets breakouts, congestion, redness/blemishes, and comedones. It is a gentle formulation appropriate for people of all ages with mild to moderate acne. 

This serum is cruelty-free and vegan. It is also void of gluten, alcohol, oil, and silicone. 

Let’s take a closer look at the prominent ingredients contained in this product, to better understand their functions and benefits for our skin.

  • Salicylic Acid: This is a well-known Beta-Hydroxy Acid (a chemical exfoliant) derived from Willow leaves. Salicylic Acid is highly regarded for its extraordinary ability to treat various skin issues, including acne, clogged pores, inflammation, blackheads, and whiteheads. It exfoliates the top layer of the skin and deeply penetrates pores due to its lipophilic (oil-soluble) nature, reducing pimples, redness, and swelling. Salicylic Acid is an excellent ingredient for those with oily or acne-prone skin, and it can produce visible results in 6-8 weeks.
  • Saccharide Isomerate: This 100% natural, plant-derived ingredient mimics the composition of sugars found on the skin’s outermost layer. It functions as a powerful humectant, allowing the skin to retain moisture for 72 hours. It has been shown to increase skin hydration by 19% immediately after application and to protect the skin from environmental aggressors such as weather, sunlight, and pollution. It also strengthens the skin barrier and reduces transepidermal water loss.
  • Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine: This versatile ingredient is used mainly in face and body washes, shampoos, and conditioners as an emulsifying or cleansing agent. Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, when used in skincare, aids in the breakdown of oil, dirt, and other impurities from the skin, making it ideal for people with oily skin. Nonetheless, it is gentle and suitable for all skin types. This ingredient in this serum helps to make Salicylic Acid water soluble and stable, and the combination is known as Curcylic 40.


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution comes in a transparent glass bottle and is well sealed to avoid product spillage. It is packaged in a cardboard box which has a simple design and includes information about the ingredients, usage instructions, warnings, and expiration dates. 

The transparent glass bottle includes a dropper that allows you to readily pick the desired amount of serum and apply it to the skin. The bottle is sturdy, but it should be handled with caution. Additionally, it is recyclable through local curbside recycling programs.


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is a clear water-based serum that is slightly runny, lightweight, and smooth. 

This serum absorbs quickly into the skin and leaves no residue or stickiness. A few drops of the serum are enough to cover your entire face, and it does not make your skin feel heavy or appear dark. 


The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution comes in a size of 30 ml. Depending on how often you use it, this quantity should last at least 2-3 months. According to the brand, this serum should be used, as directed, within one year of opening. 


Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (2%)

Inactive Ingredients: Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Chlorphenesin, Citric Acid, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Saccharide Isomerate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide, Water. Learn how to read skincare ingredient lists

My Honest Review On The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

Before I share my thoughts on this serum, I’d like to briefly discuss my skin type, concerns, and expectations from this product. As previously stated, I have oily skin, and some of my most visible skin issues are blackheads, comedones, excess oil production, and breakouts. When I started using The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, I expected it to address and treat all the mentioned issues. 

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

I’ve been using this serum for about 4-5 weeks. I sometimes skip patch tests before using skincare products due to impatience and excitement. However, I do not support this practice. I strongly advise performing a patch test before incorporating this serum or any other product into your skincare routine. To return to the topic at hand, I used this serum without first performing a patch test, and thankfully, it caused no irritation and suited my skin perfectly. 

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

I use this serum with other acne treatments 2-3 times weekly. I remember receiving this product when I was moderately breaking out, and within a couple of weeks, most of my acne had healed, resulting in a smoother and brighter skin texture. Those were the first noticeable changes I observed after using this serum. I also use this serum right after removing my makeup, so I haven’t had any breakouts like I used to.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

I wasn’t paying attention to the other changes this serum could have caused because I hadn’t been breaking out much in the last few weeks. However, while doing my night skincare the other day, I noticed that the blackheads on the sides of my nose have almost wholly disappeared, and my skin looks remarkably clean. Nonetheless, some blackheads remain on the tip of my nose. 

The Ordinary Salicylic acid Serum review

I am definitely seeing an improvement in congestion. Still, I’m unsure how well this serum has controlled oil production on my face. My skin does not continuously produce oil, but it does become shiny 3-4 hours after I finish my morning skincare routine. Thankfully, my pores are not becoming clogged as they once were, resulting in acne and comedones. 

In Conclusion.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution review

So far, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution appears to be a decent yet effective serum for dealing with common skin issues. This serum, in my opinion, is especially beneficial for beginners looking for low-cost treatments for mild to moderate acne. 

Given the results I’ve seen, I believe this serum is unquestionably potent and lives up to most of its claims. As previously stated, there are some issues I’m hoping it will address; however, I am very impressed with the formulation of this product and the changes it has brought to my skin. 

If you’ve been eyeing this serum and want to incorporate it into your routine. I encourage you to do so because I believe it would benefit many people. However, please conduct a patch test or consult a doctor before fully committing to this serum. 

What I Like About The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.

  • Affordably priced and easily accessible in stores and online.
  • Free of fragrance, irritants, and toxic chemicals.
  • It has a lightweight, quick-absorbing, and smooth texture.
  • Diminishes blackheads and whiteheads,
    heals existing breakouts while also preventing the formation of new ones.
  • Reduces congestion and keeps pores clean.

What I Dislike About The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution.

  • When massaged, this serum produces a white lather. This foam vanishes quickly and is not cause for concern. Although I and several other users do not mind seeing this foam, it is something to be aware of. 
    It has no discernible effect on excess oil production. 

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: What is The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Solution good for? 

A: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution is a water-based serum designed to address skin issues associated with oily and acne-prone skin. It claims to heal acne, reduce congestion signs, minimize redness and inflammation, and unclog pores

Q: What not to use with The Ordinary Salicylic Acid? 

A: This serum should not be used with acidic or high-strength formulas because it may cause skin sensitivity. It is best to avoid using it with Retinol, Glycolic Acid, and Vitamin C.

Q: Can I use The Ordinary Salicylic Acid every day? 

A: Salicylic Acid is gentle enough to be used once daily in the lower concentration (example 0.5%). However, at 2% it’s best to be used twice or thrice weekly, especially if you have sensitive skin. This is to avoid over-exfoliating your skin, thus incurring inflammatory-irritation.

You can use it all over your face or only on breakouts-affected areas. While this ingredient can be used in the morning, it is best used at night, and remember to apply sunscreen the next day when going outside in the sun to protect your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun. Learn how to apply sunscreen correctly.

Disclaimer: This is a personal experience with The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, you may have a whole different experience as skin type differs, so as result differs too.

UP NEXT: Want To Experience Gentle Exfoliation? The Ordinary Mandelic Acid Serum Got You Covered.  
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