The Ordinary vs La Roche-Posay

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: February 19, 2024

As a skincare editor who has extensively tested both The Ordinary’s no-frills scientific formulas and La Roche-Posay’s elegant French pharmacy offerings, I often field questions about how these popular serum […]

As a skincare editor who has extensively tested both The Ordinary’s no-frills scientific formulas and La Roche-Posay’s elegant French pharmacy offerings, I often field questions about how these popular serum collections compare. Beyond shared bestselling products like vitamin C and retinols, these highly effective lines take decidedly different approaches to textures, branding, and overall value for the investment.

Key Ingredients

Both brands leverage gold standard ingredients like copper peptides, vitamin C, retinoids, and salicylic acid with impressive supporting evidence behind their ability to tackle signs of aging, uneven tone, breakouts and textural irregularities. However, The Ordinary takes an exclusive “clinical” angle, pairing these proven actives with no-nonsense bases like propanediol, triglycerides and Tasmanian pepper fruit extract for skin tolerance. By contrast, La Roche-Posay supplements with botanical fruit waters and antioxidant-rich spring water for soothing abilities top of beautifying and correcting benefits.

Formula Experience

Due to their precise concentrations of well-researched ingredients, I find both The Ordinary and La Roche-Posay serum collections highly efficacious for skin transformation in my experience, from brightening to smoothing. However, The Ordinary’s precise formulas also require precise application and layering knowledge to leverage properly without sensitivity. Meanwhile, elegant La Roche-Posay options offer sophisticated blends balancing potency with innate skin coddling abilities for almost foolproof use.

Texture & Formatting

The Ordinary proudly embraces a hipster-esque “clinical” style identity reflected through basic pipette packaging and unscented transparent gel-like serum consistencies. On the other end of the spectrum, La Roche-Posay oozes luxury with frosted glass bottles and featherlight scented lotion-serums channeling French pharmacy sophistication. But aesthetics aside, ease of use comes down to texture preference - whether you like no-nonsense gels that sink in fast or pampering creamy serums with a touch of indulgence.

Budget Considerations

Affordability is truly where these brands diverge most strikingly for the acne-fighting, wrinkle-reducing enthusiast. Averaging $5-$10 per bottle, The Ordinary blows La Roche-Posay’s $30-$45+ serums away price wise - often for the exact same gold standard ingredients like granactive retinoid or vitamin C suspensions. Yet prestige brand fans happily pay extra for formulations less likely to provoke irritation plus a heavy dose of luxury with the added perks.

In closing, The Ordinary and La Roche-Posay both deliver highly effective, proven complexion transformers appreciated by skincare devotees…just packaged and positioned very differently in terms of branding approach, usage experience and budget positioning. At the end of the day both can provide fantastic corrective skincare results as long as aligned properly with individual preferences and financial means for access.

Article written by Tom Qiao

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