The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Review

Hello lovely ladies,

Super excited to bring today’s review to you! It is from a brand which is anything but “Ordi-nary”! The brand hit the beauty world with a bang not because it was launched with a bang but solely because of one un-sponsored YouTube endorsement by Wayne Goss. The fact that Wayne said it would revolutionalize the skincare industry was of more impact than the actual fact that the parent company – Diciem is also the parent company for a well-established high-end skincare brand – Niod!  I was extremely fortunate to be able to get my hands on a handful of the Ordinary products, which I have been testing for last 3-4 months and am ready to share my views with you.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Review

Product Details:
A water-free, Silicone-Free Stable Suspension.  Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant and its pure form of L-Ascorbic Acid has been shown to reverse multiple signs of skin ageing while brightening the skin when applied topically. This water-free, silicone-free formula provides 23% pure L-Ascorbic Acid which remains completely stable due to the absence of water. The system is supported with addition of dehydrated spheres of Hyaluronic Acid to offer visible surface smoothing alongside the benefits of Vitamin C. This treatment is ideally applied at bedtime.  Note: Based on recommendation from our customers, this formula is now offered in a tube format for easier dispensing.  This product is a water-free suspension of 23% L-Ascorbic Acid powder. The Ordinary’s portfolio of Vitamin C includes the following formulations:

Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%
Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F
Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate Solution 10%

Topical Vitamin C offers a wide array of benefits to the skin. However, many forms of Vi-tamin C and many more formulations of Vitamin C are available commercially with a po-tential to confuse the audience. We have developed a guide that offers guidance on the formulations of Vitamin C offered under The Ordinary range. It also offers education on Vitamin C itself and on the differences between formulations of Vitamin C at large.
USD 9.70 for 30 ml.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% ingredients

My Experience with The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%:

My standard skin type information – I have oily to combination skin which gets dull and dehydrated very easily – due to my lousy eating habits and my horrid sleeping patterns (and age!!!!) Also, I deal with periodic acne and the scars left over from previous ones!

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% outer packaging

So, first things first! Why is this brand supposed to be all revolutionary? Why is it supposed to be the next best thing? Here are some of the points to consider (in no particular order):

1. The Price Point – This, I think is one of the MOST important points to consider.  For example, the cost of this Vitamin C suspension is USD 9.70. Not that you don’t get skincare at that price point – you do. But, you definitely don’t get targeted anti-ageing skincare at that price point.

2. The Ordinary is just one of the lines that the parent Company Diciem has under their belt. Niod and Hylamide are some of the other web brands under the Company’s umbrella.

3. The packaging is as simple as it can be. How does that make a difference? All the Ordinary products come in these simple glass bottles – except the Vitamin C suspension which is in a tube. The packaging is basic and “ordinary” (pun intended). This means, there is less money wasted on the frills.

4. The Language: This again is the key here. The Company talks ingredients. Their products don’t have fancy names, they don’t make fancy claims, they don’t do fancy jargons, they don’t try to sell you this “uhmazing new revolutionary patent-pending ingredient”! All their packaging, descriptives, talk, website – everything is based around tried and tested ingredients. While this could be an issue for someone who isn’t comfortable/aware of ingredients and what role each one has to play in their skincare, it is still a welcome change for the rest of the skincare-obsessed people.

So, that about sums up the hysteria around the brand. However, the bottom line is, do the products work. I have been testing this products for last 3 months and I am ready to share the reviews with you. A head’s up – it has been a bit of a mixed bag.

So, today’s review is on the Ordinary – also known by “The Abnormal Beauty Company” – their Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%.

I reviewed the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum – a Vitamin C serum to be used in the day. I saw how amazing Vitamin C can be for the skin. I definitely wanted it in my skincare routine. However, the big deterrent was the price. At $80 for a 30 ml bottle, it was expensive to keep in my regular skincare. Also, not to mention the cost of getting it in India through resellers. Anyway, so I was open to try on something different – read cheaper 😛 And nothing can beat the price point here. So…

Packaging: The product comes packaged in a metallic plastic tube with a flip cap. The product can be dispensed easily and there is enough control to manage the amount of product being dispensed. The tube comes packaged in a white cardboard box which has all the details about the product mentioned on top.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%

Texture: The Company has been extremely clear in broadcasting the fact that the texture is not like a lotion or a cream. It is more granular, but not so granular that it hurts the skin during application. It is more like a lotion with a finely milled powder in it – a powder which doesn’t really dissolve in. So, you can actually feel it.

What’s the story on it? The Ordinary uses L-Ascorbic Acid – one of the most effective moms of Vitamin C. A normal Vitamin C Serum has the Vitamin C suspended in water or silicon base. Vitamin C is dissolvable in water – so Vitamin C suspension in water makes it extremely easy to absorb; however, it is equally easy to oxidise as well. The alternate is using a silicon base which gives the Vitamin C a fab texture and is easy to apply. However, the silicon molecules may actually entrap the Vitamin C molecules and render it ineffective. (I know, geek mode on)!!

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% packaging

So, for this product – The Ordinary decided to go without water or silicon. The product is supposed to remain stable and at the same time, provide maximum impact.  There are other skin care ingredients added to the mix – including 2% HA – Hyaluronic Acid (which is known to bind moisture to skin – keeping it sort supple and hydrated).

Application: When you apply the product, it spreads easily because the base still feels like a lotion. However, you can feel the powder under your finger tips and on your skin. The first couple of applications cause your skin to tingle and feel like a slight burning sensation. This goes away in due course.

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% swatch

Efficacy: All promises, ingredients aside, this is the true test of a product. Is it effective? The box said that the product can be use AM or PM. Since, it was to be a replacement of the Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum, I went with AM application. Post application, the product seemed to stay on the skin and not get absorbed. The brand does say that the product takes a few seconds to get absorbed. Forget seconds, even after 5-10 minutes, the product still seems to be sitting on the skin and not getting fully absorbed. So, the first question which comes to mind is that – even though the product is 23% Vitamin C Suspension – how much of it is actually penetrating into the skin?

Post application, the skin feels greasy and sticky. The product does not really sink into the skin surface. You can attempt applying anything on top – sunscreen/makeup – nothing stays. Everything slides off. Quite a bummer. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed. Using it under makeup was not possible, so I kept it aside.

Still, not wanting to give up on it, I thought of giving it a try in the night. Please note that the packaging and website do state “apply AM or PM.” However, the website also states “The treatment is ideally applied at bedtime.” Has the latter part been a recent update or it has always been there – not sure. Another point to remember would be that if you are using this in the night, you cannot use a Retinol/Retinoid treatment in the night. Under ideal scenario, your Vitamin C application goes in AM and your Retinol/Retinoid goes in PM because you definitely CANNOT use Retinol/Retinoid during day time.

Back to the product, so I started using this in the night instead. The penetration level still remained the same. It pretty much stays on the surface despite the time lapsed. Considering I fall dead asleep as soon as my head touches the pillow, I cannot really comment on the ickiness of the product on your face while sleeping.

So, I did get better usage out of it in the night than in the day. With continued usage, I feel that my skin does look brighter and clearer. Have the spots/blemishes diminished distinctly? I don’t think so. The skin feels relaxed, plumper and supple – which may be the hyaluronic acid at play. Considering the potency of the product, I would have expected more drastic, more distinctly visible impact. I think it may have something to do how much of the Vitamin C actually gets absorbed by the skin and what percentage stays on the skin.

To sum this up for you:

Pros of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%:

  • High potency L-Ascorbic acid, which is an excellent antioxidant.
  • A stable formulation of Vitamin C – which is difficult to find.
  • Water / Oil / Silicon / Nut Free.
  • Results visible after continued use.
  • Skin feels soft, supple, brighter, clearer, more even toned.
  • Did not break me out.
  • Non-comedogenic product.
  • Helps improve skin texture, radiance.
  • Free from unnecessary additives like colour and fragrance.
  • Interesting mix of effective ingredients.
  • Cruelty free.
  • Vegan.

Cons of The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2%:

  • Not suitable to be used during day time.
  • Heavy, greasy texture which does not allow anything else to be layered on top of it.
  • Does not absorb easily – stays on the surface.
  • Does not seem to show as effective result – considering the high percentage of Vitamin C that is present in the product.

IMBB Rating:


This is difficult to sum up, but here is my final view on the product. Yes, the price point is amazing. Yes, you are getting a stable version of the product. Yes, it does work (to certain extent). However, the issues cannot be ignored either. It is too greasy, does not allow any-thing else to go on top, you cannot use it in the day time and despite the potency, it did not seem as effective as another product in the market. Having said that, the other product I am comparing it to is $80, while this is under $10. You have to be cognisant of this fact.

So, who could benefit from it? Someone who wants to start using Vitamin C and is not welling to shell a huge amount and is okay to live with the concerns mentioned earlier. It isn’t a BAD product, but not the best option either – despite the excellent pricing.

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3 thoughts on “The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% Review

  1. KK just love the way you write your reviews..gotta learn loads of stuff from you..I feel like a suspense story unwinding..ok she likes the product…oh here comes the first con..then she has picked up liking the product again..but here comes another con 😉

    1. I think I’m spending too much time in Shondaland!! Or it may be the influence from all the Sidney Sheldon books i used to read!! 😉 😉

  2. See with me, I don’t get the tingling sensation at all, and I have very dry sensitive skin, and surprisingly doesn’t irritate me like all products. However, the power does feel like it’s scraping my skin a little.

    For me, it does absorb well, around 1-2 minutes but maybe it’s because my skin is dry it just soaks it up.

    I’ve only been using it a few days both AM & PM and can see a slight difference in “brightness” and texture. We’ll see how I fair after a few months.

    Thanks for the review! 🙂

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