The Complete Guide To The Ordinary Foundations, Concealers, And Primers

Guide To The Ordinary Foundation, Concealer & Primers

We know The Ordinary has a fantastic line up of affordable and quality skincare. It’s hyped up, well loved and the quality formulations have an unbeatable price tag. But, can we talk about their makeup? Yes, The Ordinary has foundations, primers and now concealers! We have to admit, the bar is set high with their skincare line so let’s talk about it.


The Ordinary has 2 foundations: A coverage foundation and a serum foundation. The coverage offers medium-full coverage. While the serum foundation is more of a light coverage foundation that evens out the skin tone. Both have a semi-matte finish so there’s not one more geared towards one skin type or another. It’s more about how much coverage you like from your foundation.

The Ordinary Coverage Foundation


  • Offers medium-full coverage.
  • The semi-matte finish is wearable and good for all skin types.
  • Covers most dark spots and blemishes.
  • Wears well throughout the day.
  • Can be built up but tends to look cakier as the layers build.
  • Lightweight texture.
  • The pump applicator is easy to use.
  • Contains proprietary pigment suspension systems to keep the foundation from settling into fine lines.


  • The shade range.
  • Can feel a little dry on dry skin if you don’t prime well.

The Ordinary Serum Foundation


  • Light-medium coverage. Very lightweight and wearable. This evens out the skin tone and does not conceal large blemishes or dark spots.
  • Same semi-matte finish. This does not wear as long as the coverage foundation.
  • Can be built up but can look cakey.
  • Lightweight, watery texture.
  • Pump applicator is easy to use.
  • Contains proprietary pigment suspension systems to keep the foundation from settling into fine lines.


  • The shade range.
  • Can feel a little dry on dry skin if you don’t prime well.

Both of the foundations have a similar finish, the difference is the coverage. Simply, if you favor a more full coverage look, go for the coverage foundation. If you like light coverage, go for the serum foundation.

Let’s talk about the greatest fault of the foundations: their shade range. The Ordinary’s shade range is abysmal. It favors the fair-light shades and there are slim pickings at the darker end of the spectrum. With 21 one shades, this is not a well dispersed shade range. This is a very poor range and many can look at this foundation and won’t be able to find a shade.

The Ordinary needs to make expanding their shade range a top priority.

As for the shades that they have – they come in 4 undertones: Pink, Red, Yellow and Neutral. Now if you can find a shade, the varying undertones are a nice thing. But, I don’t find the shade descriptions to be fairly accurate – I think the foundations are darker than they look so keep that in mind.

If you can find a good shade, these foundations can be a really great option. They feel and wear like they’re more expensive than they actually are. Since it’s The Ordinary, you get affordability and high quality. The semi-matte finish works for all skin types depending on what primer you pair it with.

This foundation wears well throughout the day, I do think the semi-matte finish really helps with that. These foundations wear well and the pigments are suspended to avoid settling into fine lines and pores. So, expect your makeup to get better as the day goes on.

This foundation is good but the shade range is not so, it’s really a matter of if you can find a shade or not. The Ordinary is offering 15 new shades later this year, but still disappointing when you look at their offering.

How to use the foundations

As a makeup product, this has no conflicts. Apply 1-2 pumps to the skin, after primer. You can use a brush, a sponge or your fingers. But something to note, it’s a very lightweight product so a sponge will soak up a good amount of it.

You can mix the serum and coverage foundation for more customized coverage.

Where to buy

The foundations are available at:


The Ordinary has 2 primers: High Adherence Silicone primer and the High Spreadability Fluid primer.

High Adherence Silicone Primer

The Ordinary High-Adherence Silicone Primer

This primer uses adaptive silicones to act as a matte, hydrating, blurring primer.

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Works for: Blurs pores and texture. Creates a velvety matte slip. Good for oily skin types.


  • Velvety matte slip helps to blur pores and imperfections. If you have textured skin, this is the primer you want to use.
  • Texture is good for oily skin. This helps to make the skin matte.
  • Can work for all skin types when paired with another primer.
  • Works well on the cheeks to conceal pores.
  • Creates a nice, smooth base for foundation.
  • Helps makeup to last longer on the skin.


  • Can feel drying on the skin.
  • Not good for those who want a natural, dewy finish.
  • Formula contains silicone.
  • Claims to work as a non-greasy hydrator but this is not super hydrating.

High Spreadability Fluid Primer

The Ordinary High-Spreadability Fluid Primer

This formula also acts as a light, non-oily surface hydrator for a natural dewy look.

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Works for: Dry skin. Leaves a dewy finish to the skin. Helps to increase the spreadability of makeup, i.e stops your makeup from collecting in fine lines.


  • Offers a more hydrating slip and finish.
  • This is a good option for dry skin types.
  • Works to keep makeup from settling into fine lines and pores.
  • Helps to create a long lasting base for makeup.
  • The dropper applicator works well for this formula. But it’s in glass while the High Adherence primer is in a plastic squeeze bottle.
  • Gives a gorgeous, dewy glow to the skin.


  • May not be a fan favorite for oily skin.
  • This does not blur pores.

How to use the primers

Use this primer after SPF and before foundation. Less is more with both of these primers, especially to avoid pilling. As a makeup product, there are no conflicts!

Where to buy

The primers are available at:

Foundations & Primer Pairings

These primers wear really well with both of the foundations. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with what you choose, but, here are some pairings based on skin types:

For dry skin, try the High Spreadability Fluid Primer and choose the foundation based on what coverage you like.

For oily skin, try the High Adherence Silicone Primer with the Coverage Foundation.

If you have combination skin you can pick the one that’s better suited to your needs or mix both primers. The best way to do so is, apply the High Adherence primer in all the areas where you need blurring. Around the nose, T-zone and nose or chin. Then, apply the High Spreadability primer around the perimeter of your face. Then you have blurred problem areas and an overall dewy glow on the perimeter.

The Ordinary Concealer

This is the newest addition to The Ordinary’s lineup of makeup. Concealer! At 36 shades, this range looks better than the foundation’s but there’s still room for growth in between shades. It’s broken up into 1 for lighter tones, 2 for medium tones, 3 for dark/deep tones, and 4 for deeper tones. With the same 4 undertones as the foundation: Pink, Red, Neutral and Yellow.


  • Full coverage finish covers most blemishes and dark circles.
  • High spreadability suspension system helps the concealer to keep a skin like finish.
  • This concealer should not collect in fine lines or pores.
  • You need very little product to cover blemishes.
  • Super affordable price tag and performs like a high end concealer.
  • The shade range is more diverse than the foundation.
  • Alcohol, oil and nut free.


  • Some reviews said this concealer clung to dry patches and imperfections.
  • Some reviews said this did crease.
  • The matte finish may be drying on dry skin types.
  • Can be a little tough to blend if you let it dry on the skin.
  • It’s really hard to shade match online.

This concealer is marketed as medium-full coverage with a ‘satin’ finish. I find the finish to lean more matte. Like the foundation, this concealer has a high spreadability suspension system. Meaning, it’s not supposed to settle into fine lines. This is a heavy-duty concealer but it does look like skin!

This concealer can blur blemishes, dark spots and the matte finish helps it to stay put all day. This is a heavy concealer so keep that in mind if you usually go for lightweight formulas. I don’t recommend building it up because it will start to look cakey! Apply with your fingers or a dense brush for the most coverage.

This concealer works particularly well with the serum foundation because you still get a light coverage with more attention for blemishes and dark circles. Pair it with the coverage foundation for a glam, full coverage and long wearing look.

This is a new launch for The Ordinary and I think they did a good job with the formula. Coverage is usually associated with a higher price tag and this is not the case here. This product is a steal! Performance wise, it reminds me of a luxury concealer and this formula isn’t something you come across too often with this price tag.

But again, the shade range is lacking and it’s super tough to decipher. A guide outlining shades with descriptions and swatches would be super helpful. Especially now that testers aren’t in stores and more people are shopping online. As you can see from photos the 2.1Y foundation is actually darker then the 2.2Y concealer.

How to use the concealer

This concealer sets quickly and needs to be blended immediately. If you’re using it on the under eyes, I recommend doing one eye at a time. The thick, matte texture makes your fingers or a brush ideal for applying. You don’t need a lot – a little goes a long way.

Where to buy

The concealer is available at:

Final Thoughts

Like The Ordinary’s high quality and affordable skincare formulations, their makeup follows suit. The makeup far outperforms the price you pay for it! But, we can’t ignore The Ordinary’s abysmal shade range. The new concealer comes in 36 shades and shows what The Ordinary will be expanding their foundation range to later this year. It’s a step in the right direction but there is still much room for improvement.