The Ordinary Colours foundations – see what $6.70 can get you

The Ordinary Colours foundation
The Ordinary Colours foundation

If you haven’t heard of THE ORDINARY then you just aren’t part of the “in” crowd. LOL. In actuality, it’s one of the hottest companies out there right now and the two big reasons for that is the quality and prices of their products. Their parent company Deceim calls themselves The Abnormal Beauty Company. When you receive what you’ve purchased that’s what you’ll see on the box. It prepares you for what you are about to experience. As Deceim says “The brand was created to celebrate integrity in its most humble and true form. Its offering is pioneering, not in the familiar technologies it uses, but in its honesty and integrity. The Ordinary is born to disallow commodity to be disguised as ingenuity. The Ordinary is “Clinical formulations with integrity”. ”

I’ve purchased both skincare and foundation from The Ordinary. The foundation is the beginning of their Colour line and has taken off like wildfire. The orders are coming in rapidly, so fast that it’s difficult for them to keep up. It may take weeks (I think I waited almost 4 weeks) but patience is a virtue when you enjoy what you’ve bought.

The Ordinary Colours foundations
The Ordinary Colours foundations

Today it’s all about their two foundations: Serum and High Coverage. Both are available in a large range of shades and undertones. In my experience there’s a minor different in shade between the two coverages but it’s so small that it’s negligible.

Each foundation format is available in 21 shades. The shades are divided into three categories: 1 for fair to lighter tones, 2 for medium tones; and 3 for darker tones. Each category is then classified further by a second digit from 0 to 3 to indicate depth within each category. Finally, a letter is added to the shade code to identify the undertone: P (Pink) and R (Red) indicate cool undertones for lighter and darker shades respectively; N indicates a Neutral tone; Y indicates a Yellow undertone.

The Ordinary Serum Foundation

Not being sure what to order I chose 1.0 N and 1.1 N. I really didn’t need to do that since the colors turned out to be so close to each other that either works on my pale skin. 1.0 N is Very Fair Neutral while 1.1 N is Fair Neutral.

The Serum foundation is said to be a lightweight medium-coverage formula but I disagree and consider it a light formula. The coverage possibly can be built to medium but with the amount I’m comfortable using I find the coverage to be quite light.

The Ordinary Serum Foundation 1.0N
The Ordinary Serum Foundation 1.0N
The Ordinary Serum Foundation 1.1N
The Ordinary Serum Foundation 1.1N

1.0N and 1.1N are practically identical on my skin with 1.1N being just a little more yellow. This is a very natural looking foundation that is low in viscosity. I prefer using my fingers with this rather than a brush or sponge. The Serum Foundation is a semi-matte finish. It doesn’t cover my freckles and some of my redness shows through but it’s a natural look which works for me most days.

The Ordinary Serum foundation in both 1.0N and 1.1N
The Ordinary Serum foundation in both 1.0N and 1.1N

Deceim says that their ‘proprietary spreadablilty system’ allows pigments to look natural on skin (yes), resist collecting within fine lines (not so sure about this), and stay on for longer. Marcia says that at the end of the day I notice this makes my pores, especially on my nose, look more pronounced. That’s my only grievance with this.


The Ordinary calls this their High-Spreadability Pigment Suspension System with High Coverage. There is a big difference between the coverage of the Serum and Coverage foundation. I like this High Coverage formula a little better since it’s dewier and has a fuller look to it. There’s more pigment than in the Serum foundation but it never looks cakey on me. I like that this isn’t an oily cream and that it spreads with ease. I find just about any tool helps me with application: fingers, a makeup sponge, a brush like Artis.

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation 1.0N
The Ordinary Coverage Foundation 1.0N
The Ordinary Coverage Foundation 1.1 N
The Ordinary Coverage Foundation 1.1 N

I’ve been using this with my PUR No Filter Primer to give it an even smoother and longer lasting finish but it works almost as well on its own. The Ordinary, of course, recommends their primer but I haven’t read raves about it.

The Ordinary top Full Coverage, below Serum Foundation in 1.0 N and 1.1 N
The Ordinary top Full Coverage, below Serum Foundation in 1.0 N and 1.1 N

There are several reasons to try this foundation.

  1. Price! You can’t beat $6.70 for a full 30 mL bottle of foundation
  2. No fragrance
  3. Wide variety of shades but mostly in the light and medium ranges
  4. Cruelty free
  5. Oil free
  6. Vegan
  7. nut free and gluten free
  8. free of parabens, sulphates, mineral oil, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, animal oils, benzalkonium chloride, coal tar dyes, formaldehyde, mercury, oxybenzone.
  9. pH 6.0 – 7.5
The Ordinary Colours foundation
The Ordinary Colours foundation

It’s important too to know about SPF with with The Ordinary Coverage. “Coverage Foundations sold in the European Union offer an SPF 15 claim. This protection is achieved without the use of chemical sunscreens and only through physical protection from Titanium Dioxide. Additionally, no nano-particles are used to achieve this sun protection. These attributes are unique in foundations because it is exceptionally difficult to create a natural, lightweight look and consistent shades when using only non-nano forms of Titanium Dioxide for sun protection without any chemical sunscreen agents.”

Do I recommend these products? Of course I do. There are so many positives and very few negatives. I don’t have reactive skin but I think one or the other would work for any skin type. The Serum Foundation especially would work for those with oily skin. While these aren’t my holy grail of foundations I’m not sorry that I bought them and I’m using them almost every day. As I’m typing this I have Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Invisible Coverage Foundation on the left side of my face and The Ordinary Serum Foundation on the right side of my face. I see no difference in the coverage. At $43 vs $6.70 which would you choose? —  Marcia

*nothing to disclose


  1. Never Say Die Beauty | 12th Jun 17

    I’m so curious about this brand. Very informative and helpful review, Marcia. I haven’t tried anything from The Ordinary yet, but I’ll see what, if anything, is available now as well as the cost of shipping. I didn’t want to have to buy a lot from a new brand, but I was concerned that the shipping would be equal to the cost of the product so I haven’t done anything about it yet. I was happy to see the swatches on your fair skin, because it’s difficult to choose from a photo online. The shades you chose are too light for me so at least I know that. I’m going to look at the full coverage and see if I can figure out what would suit me

  2. Lola Seicento | 12th Jun 17

    I have been wanting to try this brand since it first landed on my radar! This is a fantastic review, and now I want to try both of these foundations.

  3. Cathy | 12th Jun 17

    Thanks for the excellent review, Marcia. I was thinking I wanted the Serum formula, but after reading this I’ll probably go with the Full Coverage.

  4. Holly Thomas | 12th Jun 17

    I am still searching for the perfect foundation, and at this price I can’t go wrong!

  5. Lynne B | 12th Jun 17

    I was so excited about this foundation. However, recent reviews haven’t all been great, with some saying that it “slides” too much. 🙁

  6. Judy | 12th Jun 17

    I am behind the times, I’ve only recently read about this brand but didn’t know anything other than its name. The full coverage foundation is definitely what I want to try!

  7. beautyin | 12th Jun 17

    @LynneB – everyone’s skin is different but these foundations don’t slide on me. My skin is normal/dry and other than the pores on my nose being obvious in my 8X mirror, the foundation lasts well and stays in place.

  8. beautyin | 12th Jun 17

    Hi @Cathy, I am wearing the Serum again today (it’s 90 out) and the coverage is quite light but good for summer.

  9. beautyin | 12th Jun 17

    @Allison/Never Say Die Beauty – they have free shipping after a low cost of products. I think you might like the Caffeine Serum for under eyes so you might get to free shipping quickly.

  10. CosmetopiaDigest | 12th Jun 17

    My shades keep getting sold out ALL the time. Ugh! I can’t wait to try them out – I love their skincare and am excited about the makeup.

  11. Kristina | The Feminine Files | 12th Jun 17

    Holy smokes that price is incredible! I haven’t heard of this company yet, but I can see why they are taking so long to fill orders. I like the sound of the Ordinary Foundation.

  12. Cindy (Prime Beauty) | 13th Jun 17

    I can’t believe that price is real! Definitely worth trying for the summer months!

  13. Kimmi @ The Plastic Diaries | 13th Jun 17

    I will definitely be trying these. I think hand swatches for foundation can always be a little misleading because our hand texture is just so different to our face. The serum foundation does look lighter in coverage than I thought it would but I do sometimes want a minimal amount of coverage just to even my skintone so it could still be useful for me.

  14. Stacie | 13th Jun 17

    I’ve seen a lot of ladies talking about this foundation but never realized it was so inexpensive! Wow! I may need to look up my shades, just in case…

  15. Babi | 13th Jun 17

    I hear such good things about this brand, I definitely need to try it out!

  16. Elyse | 18th Jun 17

    I’ve been seriously meaning to check out this line. This looks like a great, inexpensive foundation. That it has SPF makes it even better.

  17. Christy Peeples DuBois | 19th Jun 17

    I had stumbled onto their site a while back, prior to all the notoriety they are getting now from their foundation. I was impressed at the time with the prices but wasn’t as knowledgable about the skin care products in general as I am now, unfortunately. I say unfortunately because I usually have had to experience an unpleasant situation in order to be educated about products and/or procedures. I have ordered a few of their skincare products and look forward to trying them. I believe I read that there are generally three foundations that will work with each persons skin tone because they are so close in shades. Thanks for the great review.

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