The Ordinary has become widely popular over the years which is in part due to its accessibility. Skincare can be expensive but The Ordinary is a great quality product for a reasonable and low price. The Ordinary does not disclose much information. Instead, the information can be found on their parent company’s website, DECIEM. Their website is thorough and truthful with their practices, decisions, and products. It is impossible to consider The Ordinary without including DECIEM because of how strongly intertwined they are. Without the information provided by DECIEM, there would be little to know about the practices of The Ordinary which is not how it is supposed to be. The Ordinary has to work on being transparent without needing DECIEM to fill in missing information.
The only ingredient in this product is Rosa Canina seed oil. This is surprising to see because there is usually a long list of unfamiliar and intimidating ingredients in skincare products. This is an example of a product where you are buying exactly what is advertised. Since there is only one ingredient, there is more opportunity to be extremely transparent with everything about that ingredient. I wish they would have shared why or how their oil is organic because they state it with no evidence to support their claim. They have no certifications stating that this product is organic. The Ordinary does share that the oil is unrefined which indicates that it is minimally processed. This means that the oil is not altered after processing and does not contain unnecessary chemicals.
Although there is not a dedicated space for The Ordinary’s sustainability efforts, their parent company DECIEM does. It can only be assumed that The Ordinary is complying with the goals and practices listed by DECIEM on their website. DECIEM does not claim to be sustainable and I appreciate that they are telling the truth instead of attempting to greenwash. They state their unit boxes are carbon neutral because they buy carbon offsets to balance their carbon emissions during manufacturing. In my opinion, buying too many carbon offsets is a poor attempt of delaying the problems they are causing by not addressing their emissions directly. I hope this is not the case for The Ordinary and DECIEM but it is something to keep in mind. The company has also stated there will be a shift to recyclable and sustainable alternatives but until it actually happens, there is no benefit. The only timeline they provide is that within a few months, they will transition from plastic bags to sustainable approaches which is vague. DECIEM has an in-store recycling program that helps increase accessibility and awareness of recycling beauty products. They accept packaging from any beauty brand which indicates to me that they have this program solely for recycling and not some other benefit. DECIEM’s goals and the systems they already have in place to be sustainable are better than most companies and their transparency through all of it is admirable.
DECIEM owns many brands which include The Ordinary. In 2017, DECIEM became partners with the Estee Lauder Companies. The decision to work with a larger company may be upsetting because of the harmful practices of these large businesses. Both the founder and co-founder wrote statements about the partnership that I appreciated because of the transparency they have with their decision. They took the extra step to provide some explanation which shows that they care but it also shows they acknowledge possible controversies with partnering with such a large company. DECIEM claims they do not test on animals and has the Leaping Bunny certification. The Ordinary is certified by PETA for being vegan. Between these two certifications, PETA is not trustworthy because it can be easily falsified. The Leaping Bunny certification has more thorough regulations and is internationally recognized which I trust more. While DECIEM promises to have all of their products be certified vegan, that is hard to accomplish when partnered with Estee Lauder which is not cruelty-free or vegan. The decision to partner with Estee Lauder has the ability to hurt DECIEM and their brands in the context of sustainability but the decision was necessary to keep their brands growing. Unfortunately, this decision is seen often where brands compromise parts of their mission to stay in business.