The Ordinary is an affordable skincare brand that offers products that contain a concentrated amount of actives to get you results, whether you are concerned with acne, dryness, hyperpigmentation, or wrinkles.
One of the actives that The Ordinary use in their product range is mandelic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that gently exfoliates the skin. I will discuss my experience with The Ordinary’s mandelic acid serum in this The Ordinary Mandelic Acid review.
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The Benefits of Mandelic Acid
You may have heard of glycolic acid or lactic acid, but have you heard of mandelic acid? Derived from bitter almonds, mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA).
It works by loosening the links between dead skin cells, speeding up cell turnover, and gently exfoliating the skin.
This exfoliating action helps unclog pores, reduce fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and improve skin texture, making it ideal for aging and mature skin.
Mandelic acid also helps fade acne scars from post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, dark spots, sun spots, age spots, uneven skin tone, and other discoloration.
While mandelic acid is an AHA like glycolic acid, it has a larger molecular structure that is more gentle on the skin.
This larger molecule size also means that mandelic acid doesn’t penetrate the skin as deeply or create the stinging and irritation commonly associated with more potent acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid.
Mandelic acid has antimicrobial properties that can reduce blemishes, breakouts, and enlarged pores associated with acne. This is why some skincare brands make it part of their acne-fighting range.
Mandelic acid has a molecular weight of 152.15 daltons. This molecule size is larger than other AHAs like glycolic acid, which has a molecular weight of 76.1 daltons.
The larger size means that mandelic acid is more gentle on the skin, penetrates slower, and is less likely to cause irritation or stinging than other acids. This makes this mandelic acid serum suitable for all skin types, even sensitive skin.
The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA Ingredients
The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA Ingredients: Propanediol, Aqua (Water), Mandelic Acid, Glycerin, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Pentylene Glycol, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.
The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA contains 10% mandelic acid to gently exfoliate the skin. The serum also contains glycerin, an all-around excellent skin moisturizer and humectant.
The “HA” in the product name stands for hyaluronic acid. This mandelic acid serum contains a form of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring compound in the skin that can hold up to 1000 times water weight.
Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer is a cross-meshed form of hyaluronic acid. This super-hydrating ingredient binds water to keep the skin hydrated.
Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer forms a film on the skin, providing extended hydration and preventing moisture loss, supporting a healthy skin barrier. This ingredient is perfect for people with dry skin.
The serum also contains Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf (Tasmanian Pepper) Extract, which is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. It helps to soothe the skin and reduce the burning and redness associated with inflammation.
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid Review
The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA has a lightweight texture that leaves a somewhat silky feeling on the skin until it is absorbed. This is due to the ingredient propanediol, which acts as a solvent and moisturizer in the serum. This silky/oily texture dissipates as the serum is absorbed.
I have somewhat sensitive skin, and I only feel the slightest tingle on my skin after using this serum—no redness or irritation, which is fantastic.
I make sure to apply an effective moisturizer while using this serum because any chemical exfoliant can make my skin a bit dehydrated.
I also make sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher while using this serum and for a week after since AHAs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
While I don’t notice as drastic results the morning after using this serum as a glycolic acid or lactic acid serum, I see improved clarity and a decrease in the look of pores after using this serum.
I like to use this serum every third night, but I will use it more frequently if I’m having a breakout. It works well with my current skincare routine and is a nice break from irritating actives like retinol and glycolic acid.
It is affordable and does not irritate my somewhat sensitive skin or cause me to experience any side effects like other AHAs.
If you have sensitive skin or are just starting out in your skincare journey, I highly recommend trying The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA.
Thanks to its antibacterial properties, it could also be an excellent choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin.
How to Use The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA
Apply The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA once a day, preferably in the evening, since AHAs can make your skin sensitive to the sun.
This is a water-based serum, so apply it after cleansing and toning in the serum step of your skincare routine. Follow with a moisturizer and/or oil. If you choose to use it in your morning skincare routine, don’t forget the sunscreen to protect from free radical damage from UV rays.
NOTE: If your skin cannot tolerate this mandelic acid serum, you can dilute it with other products, like this moisturizing hyaluronic acid serum, until your skin builds a tolerance.
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The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA Conflicts
The Ordinary notes that you should not use this mandelic acid serum with peptides, copper peptides, The Ordinary EUK134 0.1%, or The Ordinary’s 100% Niacinamide Powder.
Also, don’t use it with other direct exfoliating acids, pure or ethylated vitamin C, and retinoids like retinol.
The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA Alternatives
If The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA is not giving you the results you are looking for, consider other exfoliating acids like glycolic acid or lactic acid.
The Ordinary has a glycolic acid toner that contains 7% glycolic acid. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution is a great place to start with exfoliation if your skin is not sensitive. For more on this acid toner, please see my review.
The Ordinary also has a 5% lactic acid serum and a 10% lactic acid serum which is stronger than mandelic acid but not as strong as glycolic acid. Lactic acid is great for people with a dry skin type as it has moisturizing properties.
For a comparison of mandelic acid and lactic acid, please see The Ordinary Mandelic Acid vs Lactic Acid.
If you have acne-prone skin, a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) like salicylic acid will penetrate your pores to remove excess sebum.
The Ordinary has a new squalane-based salicylic acid serum, a reformulated best-selling salicylic acid serum, and a 2% salicylic acid charcoal masque that is perfect for calming breakouts and clearing pores without the irritating side effects of an exfoliating acid.
Another acid you may consider trying is azelaic acid. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% is another gentle acid that contains 10% azelaic acid and is ideal for acne-prone and oily skin. It brightens the skin, evens out skin tone, and reduces the look of blemishes.
You can also opt for a gentle retinoid to increase cell turnover and smooth the look of wrinkles and fine lines, like The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, one of my favorite skincare products ever.
Finally, if you want to avoid irritating exfoliating acids altogether but are still looking to increase cell turnover, you can opt for indirect forms of skin exfoliation. The Ordinary recommends their sister brand NIOD’s Non-Acid Acid Precursor.
- The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% Review
- Best Azelaic Acid Products
- How To Use The Ordinary Glycolic Acid
- The Ordinary Acids: A Complete Guide
Where to Buy The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA?
Final Thoughts on The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA
The Ordinary 10% Mandelic Acid + HA is an exfoliating serum with multiple benefits. It can improve skin clarity, brighten skin tone and help to promote the growth of new skin cells, giving you a more radiant complexion. Plus, it’s cruelty-free and vegan!
While I don’t think that this mandelic acid serum is as effective as an AHA (glycolic acid) or BHA (salicylic acid) chemical exfoliant, it is excellent for sensitive skin, people who are just starting their skincare journey, or those that want a gentle chemical exfoliation with irritation and redness.
Thanks for reading!
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