The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% Review

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%


First a little introduction on the brand, then I’ll go on to review The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. If you’d prefer to just read the review then skip to the bottom!


About The Ordinary

The Ordinary arrived on the skincare scene with little fanfare of its own, but with much anticipation from the beauty community. Writers and bloggers up and down the UK, as well as Redditors from much further afield, heralded The Ordinary as a brand that promised skincare formulated with ingredients scientifically proven to work, but at a fraction of the cost of much bigger brands.

When I heard about a new skincare line that promised so much but cost so little, I simultaneously salivated at the mouth and raised an eyebrow: what’s the catch? Well, apparently there isn’t one. This range of skincare has taken the beauty world by storm – and it’s easy to see why: the products really do exactly what they say and are sold by a company that prides itself on science and honesty. Reviews of The Ordinary products have been overwhelmingly positive, so after a few months of research, I decided to take the plunge and order some for myself.

Because there aren’t any stores local to me, I ordered online. The Ordinary offer free delivery over £25, so of course I spent all that fabulous cash that I don’t have on a whole bunch of products (which I will review later). The interesting thing is, for £25 I managed to get 5 products. Yeah. FIVE WHOLE PRODUCTS. Somebody wake me up, I’m in a skincare dream!

One of those products was The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. Until I ordered this I’d been using Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix pads, which were nice, but not £5.50 nice.

By the way, The Ordinary’s website IS SO FUCKING INFORMATIVE, OMG. Like, if all skincare websites went into this much detail, I swear we’d all be skincare experts and they’d all be out of business: “this moisturiser contains fragrance because…well…I guess scents are nice, right? We all want to smell like blueberry cheesecake even if it gives us red, inflamed skin, right? RIGHT??”. Moving on…


The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% Review

So, a little background on what the product is: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% is a chemical facial exfoliator. It contains Lactic Acid, which is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). AHA’s break down dead skin cells to make way for new ones. I used to struggle so much with flakes around my nose, even after physical exfoliation. I used to get horrible skin-barnacles around my nose whenever I’d wear foundation, but trying chemical exfoliation (AHA and BHA – read more about them here) has seriously helped me so much, not just with flakies but with skin tone and general glow too!

Here’s a little from the website about what it claims to do:

Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. This 5% formulation offers very mild exfoliation and is supported with a purified Tasmanian pepperberry known to reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is often associated with exfoliation.

This formula contains a studied Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to help reduce irritation associated with acid use. This derivative is of plant origin and varies in colour seasonally and this colour variation may be apparent in the formula from time to time.

It doesn’t actually mention it in any detail on the product page (except for in the ingredients), but the “HA” refers to hyaluronic acid, which is a super hydrating little acid that can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water.  This is a nice additional ingredient which can help skin hydration. You can read more about hyaluronic acid here.

How did it perform?

I’ve been using this for about 3 weeks and the results have been amazing. I use The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% about 3 nights a week (careful not to over-exfoliate) and my skin has honestly never looked better. I’ve been using a lot of new products, but I’d put improvement mostly down to this. I’ve noticed my skin looks brighter, smoother and less red than ever before.

I’ll admit the texture is a little weird. It’s very liquid, kinda sticky, and not that pleasant to put on my skin…but does that really matter? So what, my skin is a little tacky for 10 minutes, I’m only going to moisturise and go to bed!

I basically just put a little on the back of my hand, then rub it all around my face til it goes sticky. After about 10 minutes I moisturise and sometimes add a layer of Vasaline before bed (this makes my skin feel unbelievably smooth the next day, kind of like how I imagine a dolphin feels – I wouldn’t know what dolphins feel like because I missed out on the childhood magic of swimming with the slippy bastards).

Another plus is that The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% doesn’t hurt my sensitive skin, but some may struggle with it – I can tell it’s pretty potent, even if it’s on the lower end of acid concentrations. I’ve used milder AHAs in the past, so it might be something those who’ve never chemically exfoliated work up to.

It’s also worth noting (and I’ve already mentioned it in passing) that this is best used at night. AHAs make skin super susceptible to sun damage, so it’s best used as a sleepy night-night treatment. If you’re going to use this in the day, give it a good hour before leaving the house and wear some damn sunscreen, you degenerate.

My Verdict


  • It’s. So. Goddamn. CHEAP. Honestly, probably the best £5.50 I’ve ever spent on a skincare product.
  • There’s no added shit. Like bulking agents or fragrance. Just bare-bones stuff that really works.
  • It might not be too harsh for someone who isn’t too used to chemical exfoliators.



  • It can be quite hard to get hold of. It only really stocks in its own London stores in the UK, otherwise you have to buy online (you can get it from The Ordinary’s own site or ASOS and probably other places but I’m lazy AF so Google it yourself!). I know they often have stock shortages, which is unsurprising because of how good/cheap the products are.
  • Possibly too harsh for the uninitiated. If you’ve never tried an AHA before it might be worth trying something a little less hardcore (perhaps the Glycolic Fix pads from Nip + Fab). But, then again, the bottle is so damn cheap it’s not like you’ve wasted £30 on something you won’t be able to use for a while.

Overall rating: 10/10 would put on a nice dress and let it take me to a moderately priced dinner and maybe go back to its flat if it bought me enough drinks and my legs were recently shaved.


Have you tried The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%? What did you think of it?



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