The Best Affordable Alternatives To The Ordinary's Top Sellers

Update: Yesterday, Deciem founder Brandon Truaxe, whose once-“quirky” behavior quickly turned to erratic and even volatile over the past year, announced that the company would be shutting down, effective immediately. In a minute-long video posted to Instagram, an emotional Truaxe rambled on about “financial crimes,” “major criminal activity,” and the 2012 Ben Affleck film Argo.
Though the Deciem website has since been reinstated after several hours of deletion, the brick-and-mortar stores appear to be closed, and stockists like Beautylish have reported that Truaxe has discontinued their supply partnership, which can only mean one thing: We may well be looking at a world without $9 retinoids in the very near future. If you haven't already, now would be a really good time to track down some alternatives to your The Ordinary must-haves...
This story was originally published on April 7, 2018.
There are a lot of reasons to love The Ordinary: the simplified formulas, the potent ingredients, the mix-and-match possibilities, the low, low prices. Unfortunately, there are also quite a few reasons to not want to support the brand, which have become more and more apparent over the past few months as Brandon Truaxe, the founder and CEO of The Ordinary and its parent company, Deciem, has very publicly made a bit of a mess of it.
While boycotting a company whose divisive views you disagree with is fairly easy when it’s something like, say, a chicken-sandwich chain that opposes same-sex marriage, cutting The Ordinary out of your routine might feel like waving goodbye to good skin, especially if you’re not looking to sell a kidney in exchange for a new seven-step skin-care routine. But there are still ways to stock up on the good stuff without spending an insane amount of money, while getting to keep all of your organs. (Though you do only need one kidney, after all.)
Ahead, the best — and most affordable — product alternatives to try if you love The Ordinary, but aren’t in love with what’s going on behind-the-scenes.
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If you like the Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion, try…

This gentle moisturizing cream contains three different types of retinol, for smoother, more even-toned skin and increased collagen production without irritating even sensitive types.
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If you like the Vitamin C 30% Suspension in Silicone, try…

This powerhouse serum combines free radical-fighting vitamin C from Kakadu plum with echinacea and shea butter to keep skin soothed and nourished.
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If you like the 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder, try…

This unique booster makes it easy to get your vitamin C powder without the mess — it doesn't mix with the enclosed emulsion until you want it to, so it stays as fresh as possible in the meantime.
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If you like the Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution, try…

The addition of vitamin E makes this solution gentle and soothing, not harsh, despite the high concentration of 10% glycolic acid.
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If you like the Mandelic Acid 10% + HA, try…

You don't see mandelic acid all that often, which is why this lightweight gel is a godsend. Combined with proven skin-soothers like aloe, chamomile, and allantoin, you get the best of chemical exfoliation with the least amount of irritation possible.
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If you like the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution, try…

This cult-favorite BHA liquid is a little on the higher-priced end, but there's a reason it's so well-loved: You'll get noticeably smoother, brighter skin after just a few uses.
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If you like the Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%, try…

Peptides, actives, resveratrol, hydrating ingredients like argan oil and aloe vera — this well-rounded lotion has everything, and is a serious source of antioxidants across the board.
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If you like the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, try…

This silky serum does exactly what it promises, making skin smooth, "bouncy," and plump, without feeling sticky or clogging pores.
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If you like the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, try…

The perfect everyday moisturizer uses plant-derived squalane in a fragrance-free fluid base to leave all skin types soft and well-hydrated.
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If you like the 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil, try…

A vegan, earth-friendly, phthalate-, paraben-, and cruelty-free marula oil priced just over $10 — what's not to love?
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If you like the Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG, try…

The metal roller-ball applicator on this soothing under-eye treatment helps reduce the appearance of dark circles and under-eye puffiness on contact while caffeine, glycerin, and green-tea extract get to work.

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