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The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum Review

The Ordinary pink serum is here! Although it’s not actually called The Ordinary pink serum. Its real name is The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum.

While the official name is not quite as fun as calling it the “pink serum”, it’s still a true multi-benefit serum that addresses a weakened skin barrier, skin irritation, and redness. So, all you sensitive-skinned folks, this serum is for you!

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, handheld.

I recently received my order and put it to the test, so I will share my first impressions of this unique serum in this The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum review.

This The Ordinary barrier serum review post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, flatlay of serum bottle at angle next to box.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum is a bright pink water-based serum that helps reduce the look of irritated skin while smoothing uneven skin texture.

What does The Ordinary pink serum do?

This pink serum provides soothing hydration while strengthening your skin barrier.

Unlike many of The Ordinary’s other serums that focus on a single hero ingredient, this serum contains multiple active ingredients, starting with one of my favorite ingredients, niacinamide.

The Ordinary’s clinical testing shows that Soothing & Barrier Support serum provides an 86% increase in hydration (that lasts all day).

The serum also reduces the look of redness and uneven skin texture while repairing and strengthening your skin barrier in just 2 hours.

Sounds great, but why so expensive (compared to other The Ordinary serums)?

At the time of writing this post, the serum is priced at $17, which is about twice as much as you might expect to pay for a The Ordinary serum. This higher price is due to the more complex ingredient list.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, flatlay.

Let’s take a look at what’s contributing to the higher price:

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum: Key Ingredients

2% Niacinamide: The highest concentration of any active ingredient. In theory, you could call the serum the Niacinamide Soothing & Barrier Support Serum.

Niacinamide has so many incredible skin benefits, including its ability to calm redness and strengthen your skin barrier. But it doesn’t stop there: niacinamide helps reduce pore size, improves oil regulation, and smoothes wrinkles.

Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, and Xylitol: These sugar-based ingredients help your skin retain moisture and strengthen your skin barrier.

Centella Asiatica Phytotechnologies: Beneficial compounds of the Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) plant, including asiaticoside, asiatic acid, and madecassic acid, soothe, calm, and heal irritated and sensitized skin.

Vitamin B12: This nourishing vitamin (a fermentation-derived cyanocobalamin) helps reduce redness and gives the serum its signature pink shade.

4-T-Butylcyclohexanol: Known under the brand name SymSitive, this active helps reduce stinging and burning, making it ideal for sensitive skin.

Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid: Known under the brand name of SymCalmin, this active reduces itchiness and skin irritation.

Cetylhydroxyproline Palmitamide: A compound that is similar to ceramides. It helps strengthen your skin barrier and retain moisture.

Bisabolol: A chamomile-derived ingredient that soothes and calms your skin, helping to reduce redness and irritation.

Plant-Derived Ceramides (Sphingolipids and Phospholipids): These ingredients help your skin retain moisture and strengthen its barrier function.

Gallic Acid Derivatives (Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside (EGCG), Gallyl Glucoside, and Propyl Gallate): These activated forms of gallic acid are skin-protective antioxidants with soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits that can help with redness caused by skin irritants.

The serum is fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and vegan, like all The Ordinary products.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum Review

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, open bottle with pink dropper applicator.

Although I can’t help thinking of Pepto Bismol when I look at The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, once I remind myself that it’s not Pepto and actually a cute Barbie pink shade, I shift my focus to the texture.

I love the way this serum feels upon application.

The texture is light and creamy, and it absorbs quickly.

While some The Ordinary serums don’t have a very elegant skin feel, this calming serum is not one of them. It doesn’t leave my skin tacky or sticky (yay!).

The serum is also non-greasy, so I can wear it under makeup without worrying about pilling or having a greasy residue.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, flatlay of bottle next to a few drops of pink serum on hand.

The fact that the serum contains 2% niacinamide is a big plus for me. I LOVE niacinamide.

While 2% isn’t a very high niacinamide concentration, the serum isn’t meant to replicate The Ordinary’s other niacinamide serum (The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc PCA).

Yet a 2% niacinamide concentration still provides skincare benefits.

Case in point: This clinical study showed that a 2% niacinamide concentration was effective in controlling sebum (oil) production.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, flatlay of bottle next to a few drops of pink serum on hand, absorbed.

The serum goes on bright pink, but the shade doesn’t linger once it absorbs (see photo above). It leaves my skin feeling super soft and comfortable.

I can layer it with serums like The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum or The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion without worrying about pilling or greasiness.

My skin often gets sensitive from direct acids, retinol, and retinoids, so this will be the perfect serum to reach for when my skin is dehydrated, tight, and flaky (which is all too often since I am constantly testing products).

Do you need this serum?

If you struggle with a compromised skin barrier or are dealing with damaged skin that needs some TLC, this soothing serum could be a great choice for you.

If you have sensitive skin, this pink serum could become a staple in your skincare routine thanks to its calming formula.

Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, this is still a great serum to have on hand for when your skin needs some extra care and hydration. (Or if you love the bright pink shade, 😜!)

If it’s not in your budget or doesn’t address your skin concerns, consider one of the alternatives discussed below to support your skin barrier.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum Drawbacks

The price. The Ordinary barrier serum is not the cheapest The Ordinary serum.

Why is Soothing & Barrier Support Serum so much more expensive than other The Ordinary serums?

Soothing & Barrier Support Serum is a multi-active serum, so you get a more complex product with a higher concentration of active ingredients. This makes it more expensive to produce, hence the higher price.

Another potential drawback is that although the pink shade simply comes from vitamin B12, the bright color might be a turn-off for some.

For more on the best The Ordinary products for sensitive skin, read my The Ordinary Guide For Sensitive Skin.

How To Use The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum can be used in both your morning and evening skincare routines.

Apply it after other water-based serums (like The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5) and before your moisturizer (like The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA) or other creams and oils.

You’ll only need about 2-4 drops for your face and neck.

The shelf life of the serum is 12 months after opening.

As with any new skincare product, be sure to patch test before using this serum for the first time to avoid an unwanted initial adverse reaction.

The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum Conflicts

The Ordinary notes that you should not use Soothing & Barrier Support Serum in the same skincare routine as pure vitamin C products or vitamin C derivatives.

Alternatives to The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum

An alternative and cheaper The Ordinary serum that contains niacinamide is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, which also contains added zinc for extra oil control.

But keep in mind that the higher niacinamide concentration may be too potent for sensitive skin, and the serum is not specifically formulated for soothing and calming benefits.

So, if you have sensitive skin, the lower niacinamide concentration of Soothing & Barrier Support Serum is probably the better choice.

Here are a few other The Ordinary serum alternatives to consider:

Want To Target Hyperpigmentation, Acne Scars, and Redness?

Try: The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution:

(Targets Textural Irregularities, Uneven Skin Tone, and The Look of Redness)

The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution, handheld.

The Ordinary Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution offers similar benefits as Soothing & Barrier Support Serum but uses different ingredients to calm irritation and redness and is formulated for blemish-prone skin.

The calming serum contains aloe barbadensis leaf juice powder for hydration.

N-acetyl glucosamine targets hyperpigmentations, acne scars, and uneven skin tone. Palmitoyl pentapeptide-4 helps reduce textural irregularities.

Plus, the serum is also a few dollars cheaper than Soothing & Barrier Support Serum. See my complete Aloe 2% + NAG 2% Solution review here.

Just Need Some Hydration?

Try: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

(For Hydration)

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, handheld.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 offers lightweight hydration with a 2% hyaluronic acid (HA) concentration.

The serum contains three different types of hyaluronic acid plus a HA crosspolymer to provide hydration at multiple skin levels.

The serum also contains pro-vitamin B5 (panthenol), which has soothing benefits and helps enhance your skin’s surface hydration.

This serum is suitable for all skin types and is especially beneficial for dehydrated or dry skin.

While the formula isn’t as targeted to sensitive skin and isn’t as advanced as Soothing & Barrier Support Serum, it’s much less expensive.

Read more about this HA serum in my The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid review post.

Prefer An Ultra-Lightweight Texture?

Try: The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5

(For Skin Barrier Support)

The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5, handheld.

The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5 (read my review here) is all about supporting and rebuilding your skin’s natural moisture barrier.

The serum contains 17 amino acids and amino acid derivatives to hydrate and support your skin barrier.

It has a super thin texture that absorbs quickly, making it perfect for layering under makeup or other skincare products.

The formula is also enriched with 5% pro-vitamin B5 (panthenol) for added hydration and soothing benefits.

This serum is great for all skin types, especially those with sensitive or compromised skin barriers and dry skin.

Want a The Ordinary skincare routine that is tailored to your unique skin type and concerns? Take my exclusive The Ordinary Skincare Quiz now!

The Bottom Line

While the Barbie pink color (that could pass for a fun nail polish shade) may be the first thing that draws you in, the silky feel and nourishing benefits of The Ordinary Soothing & Barrier Support Serum have me hooked.

If your skin doesn’t get easily irritated or if you don’t want additional skin barrier support, then you probably don’t need this serum.

However, if you’re looking for a hydrating and soothing serum that calms irritation and is gentle enough for even the most sensitive skin types, then this is definitely one to consider.

Thanks for reading!