How did youngsters become skincare geeks? It’s out of The Ordinary

Marian Keyes and her Sudden Wild Enthusiasms: This week it’s The Ordinary

The past is a foreign country – they do skincare differently there.

When I was in my 20s, I used to sleep in my make-up and sunbathe using olive oil on my face. On the rare occasions nightcream was necessary, I’d scoop a lump off a bar of lard, slather it over my clob and go to bed feeling virtuous and “self-care-y”.

Okay, I’m lying about the lard, but not about the olive oil.

Recently, however, I was working with a 28-year-old woman named Amy, and she mentioned how cheap the retinol from The Ordinary is. I was bamboozled – I've only just started "taking" retinol and I'm 97 (or close enough to make no difference). Why would a whippersnapper like Amy know about it?


But, under rigorous interrogation, Amy revealed that the younglings are skincare geeks now and adore The Ordinary.

I too adore The Ordinary and I wasn’t sure whether to be annoyed that the young ones are muscling in on my turf or thrilled that I’m so down with the kids.

The Ordinary – for those who've been living under a rock – is a newish, alarmingly cheap skincare brand from Canada. Caveat: If you like your skincare to be organic, plant-based natural stuff, picked under a full moon by barefoot, Lindy-hopping workers singing Edelweiss, this brand is not for you.

The Ordinary is about chemicals which have been proven to effect positive changes on skin – alpha hydroxy acids to exfoliate and smooth texture; powerful antioxidants such as resveratrol; vitamin C which has brightening properties and, of course, the aforementioned retinol, which turbo-charges collagen production – at prices so suspiciously low that my glamorous publisher Louise gloomily predicted, “They’ll get us all addicted, then whack the prices up.”

(My theory is slightly less cynical: I think they’ve piggybacked on the research and development done by other brands.)

Now lookit, if you’ve been on the Astral for the last 100 years (and Astral is lovely, I’ve only good things to say about it) but you’re interested in amping up your skincare, I cannot overstate this enough: GO FECKEN EASY. The Ordinary site contains detailed breakdowns of what each product does and how to use it, but pick the lowest concentration and introduce things gradually.

Finally, as soon as you start with these chemicals, you MUST wear sun protection. At least SPF 30, preferably 50. Yes, even in Ireland. Yes, even in winter. You simply must.