The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% was a product that had me scratching my head when I first saw it. It is an alpha hydroxy acid, but not one of the usual suspects. However, being a bit of a skincare junkie, I wondered how this might differ to other AHAs, for example, glycolic acid; it turns out quite a lot!
Mandelic acid comes highly recommended for darker skin tones, as it has a larger molecular weight than glycolic acid. The larger molecular size slows down the absorption of the acid and also impacts the depth it penetrates. This size makes it a much gentler acid and reduces an inflammatory response compared to ‘stronger’ acids like glycolic acid.
If you have darker skin, you will probably know it is more prone to hyperpigmentation due to inflammation. This lack of inflammation is why mandelic acid is a safer bet for darker skin tones. In some cases, other AHAs, e.g. glycolic acid, can worsen pigmentation issues on this skin type.
So after a bit of research, I settled for the cost-effective The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% with Hyaluronic Acid. At the time when I was first looking into this acid, the ingredient wasn’t really a thing on the mass market, and the options were limited. However, a few months later, and there seem to be more mandelic acid treatments available, especially in the K-Beauty product lineups.
The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA product claims and key ingredients
This formula is a gentle exfoliator that helps remove the top layers of the skin. As discussed before, mandelic acid has a larger molecular size which helps deliver on this claim.
Two main ingredients in this formula include:
- Mandelic acid – a chemical exfoliator
- A form of hyaluronic acid – helps to hydrate the skin
This is a water-based solution that has a pH of 3.5-3.7 that is free from oil, silicone and alcohol. The formula is also vegan-friendly, nut-free, gluten-free and cruelty-free.
How I used The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA in my routine
For me, this acid is very much a nighttime use product. I typically do two nights with retinol then one night with an acid; then repeat the cycle. I will usually use 4-6 drops of the Mandelic Acid 10% solution.
The order of products I used this product in:
Cerave Foaming Face wash > The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA > Herbivore Pink Cloud Rosewater Moisture Crème > Garden of Wisdom 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil.
As this is an AHA, a sunscreen must be used the following day as AHA can cause some sensitivity to the skin and leave it more prone to burning. I am not sure why I am saying this, as we always wear sunscreen every day, right?
My final thoughts
On the left-hand side is the product straight from the bottle. On the right-hand side, the product has been rubbed in.
I found The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% solution to be a really lovely and gentle acid – unlike other types of AHA I did not experience the usually tingling sensation. There are times when I have used a product, and it is impossible not to notice that you have used it, this is certainly not the case!
The consistency of the product is quite thin and when fresh from the bottle has a lot of slip to it, almost feels like a very light oil. However, after a couple of seconds, patting (not rubbing) in this absorbs perfectly well into the skin without any unpleasant residue. The addition of the hyaluronic acid helps to stop the tendencies of some acids to dry the skin. I did not experience any level of irritation while using this product.
The product has a relatively lowish pH value of 3.5-3.7, so it is definitely at a level where it is exfoliating. I did not experience any sensation of burning etc. Unlike when I may have first started out with AHA and gave myself chemical burns! Less said that the better, but the net result I made my hyperpigmentation much worse!
Concerning the exfoliating properties, The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% solution does a great job at lightly sloughing away the top layer of skin. With continued use, it has helped to take the hyperpigmentation (my nemesis) down a few notches. Having this solution as part of a well-rounded skincare regime – proved exceptionally good at banishing my problem areas.
Given the gentle action of The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% – this may suit those who suffer from occasional sensitivity. Those who frequently suffer from sensitivity may want to explore more gentle options such as a polyhydroxy acid (PHA).
At the time of writing, you could buy a 30ml bottle of The Ordinary Mandelic Acid 10% + HA for £5.80 from The Ordinary’s website.
I like this product a lot – and would repurchase. This is a very gentle solution and will deliver over time. Other formulas with other acids such as glycolic (in higher) strengths may deliver results faster. Still, you may run the risk of make hyperpigmentation issues worse (especially on darker skins).
If you are interested in reading about other acids I have tried please click here.
Have you used this product or something like it? Tell me about your experiences in the comments section below.
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