The Ordinary’s New Skin Product Is The Most Effective One I Own

Designed by Kristine Romano.
Contrary to popular belief, the cornerstone of a great skincare routine isn't a retinol serum, an eye-wateringly expensive night cream or regular facials; it's the humble cleanser.
Ask any dermatologist and they'll argue that skipping a thorough cleanse (especially at the end of the day) is doing your skin a disservice. Though often invisible to the naked eye, your face comes into contact with pollution, dirt and bacteria daily. If you wear sunscreen, makeup or both, that's a lot of stuff (some of it potentially pore-clogging) sitting on your skin.
You may not be bothered by a little grime here and there, and that's fine. But the serums and moisturisers in your bathroom cabinet are likely to be rendered useless if all of the above is preventing them from being absorbed into your skin. We can all agree that's money down the drain.
As someone who wears sunscreen and makeup and is prone to oiliness and subsequent breakouts, I can't get into bed without doing a minute-long cleanse at least. Skin specialist Dr Emma Cunningham told me that a thorough evening cleanse usually involves double cleansing: removing your makeup with something like a micellar water or an oil cleanser and then following up with a proper, water-based cleanse over the sink or in the shower. You might want to use a face cloth or a cleansing gadget but facialist Lisa Harris revealed to me that clean hands are actually your best option.
There are a handful of buzzy cleansers out there but only a couple of them have your skin barrier (the outermost layer of your skin, which acts like a fortress to defend against the bad stuff) in mind. I've lost count of how many luxury face washes I've tried that have made my skin feel like it might crack afterwards, and some popular gentle cleansers just don't cut it when it comes to melting away foundation and mascara.
So when The Ordinary announced that it was adding a cleanser to its skincare dynasty, my ears pricked up. Fans of the brand might already be acquainted with its Squalane Cleanser, £5.50, a creamy and highly moisturising face wash that gets a thumbs up from those with dry or reactive skin in particular. But if you like the feel of a lather and want something with a bit more oomph, chances are you'll love the new Glucoside Foaming Cleanser, £11.10.
There's a reason why you haven't spotted this gel-to-foam cleanser on TikTok or the brand's Instagram. Until today, it has been top secret. So what exactly is glucoside and why is it particularly effective in a product like this? Basically, the ingredient is a very mild surfactant, responsible for the bubbles which lift away oil and grime. Unlike other foaming cleansers, however, this one is a lot kinder on skin and won't make your face feel uncomfortably tight afterwards.
Prudvi Mohan Kaka, chief scientific officer of Deciem and The Ordinary, says that while this product cleanses effectively, using it regularly strengthens the skin's barrier, improves the look of skin clarity and texture, and promotes skin radiance and suppleness. Another selling point is that it's fragrance-free and non-comedogenic (less likely to clog your skin).
So how does it fare? I'm currently using a high strength retinoid to treat breakouts and my skin is a little worse for wear. It's dry, flaky and sensitive but it still needs to be washed. I love CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, £10, and Byoma Creamy Jelly Cleanser, £9.99, though lately neither is cutting it to remove my makeup. For this reason, The Ordinary Glucoside Foaming Cleanser came home with me as soon as it landed on my desk.
The clear, unfragranced gel is unassuming but the tiniest squeeze goes a long way to create a creamy lather on contact with water, which quickly slices through layers of makeup — even mascara. It's so efficient, I don't use micellar water anymore and go straight in with this to take everything off.
Some foaming cleansers make my eyes sting but this is really kind on skin so I've been enlisting it as a morning cleanser, too. Though I haven't noticed a change in my skin texture just yet, throughly cleansing every evening helps to prevent clogged pores and, in turn, those little pesky bumps under the skin, which derms call closed comedones.
The best thing about this cleanser (besides being the most effective product in my skincare arsenal right now) is that it's affordable. With the price of skincare products rising left and right, it's a welcome addition to my routine and I'll certainly be stocking up.
There is one caveat: the Glucoside Cleanser is launching today as a limited edition product while stocks last. But if you fall for it like me, you'll be pleased to know that it's joining The Ordinary's skincare family for good on 9th March 2023. In the meantime, you can sign up to the brand's new O.Lab, which will give you a taste of what's to come next year. And trust me, skincare obsessives, there's a lot to be excited about.
Refinery29's selection is purely editorial and independently chosen – we only feature items we love! As part of our business model we do work with affiliates; if you directly purchase something from a link on this article, we may earn a small amount of commission.

More from Skin Care

R29 Original Series