The Ordinary vs Glossier (The Definitive Guide)

By Calum Torrington

17 December 2022

Famed for their transformative skincare products packed with efficacious actives, both The Ordinary and Glossier are more than worthy of occupying some shelf space in your bathroom.

Come with us as we compare their best-selling serums side-by-side to help you decide which is best for you and your skincare routine. Enjoy!

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The Ordinary vs Glossier

When treating temperamental skin, one can typically expect dullness or too much shine (it’s always something, right? *Sigh.*).

Perhaps perfect skin is more in-reach than you realize, though. For many, using hyaluronic acid and niacinamide in tandem had shown to be incredibly effective.

Two brands that boast superstar HA and niacinamide formulas—The Ordinary and Glossier—could be just what your skin is looking for.

While neither brand specifies whether to use one over the other in the morning versus at night, we would recommend consulting an esthetician or dermatologist for your answer. (And, hey, perhaps you’ll only need one over the other!)

Designed to target symptoms of dryness, The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a hydrator that plumps the skin for optimal tautness. That said, HA works to smooth the appearance of wrinkles and textural irregularities while pro-vitamin B5 enhances the power of its counterpart ingredient. The Ordinary claims that this luscious product offers long-term results with regular use, such as strengthening the skin barrier and lending noticeably more supple skin after just a month.

When it comes to their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% formula, you can expect increased brightness and balance within two-ish months. But The Ordinary does note that they don’t consider this solution to be a treatment for serious, prolonged acne. However, it can complement the rest of your acne treatment routine if you’re experiencing dullness or too much shine.

Glossier claims that their Super Bounce Hyaluronic Acid + Vitamin B5 serum does just about all the same things as The Ordinary’s. One aspect of their formula that stood out to us is that they state their HA serum isn’t sticky. Well, as someone who’s used The Ordinary’s HA serum before, I can say the texture is slightly sticky and doesn’t always mesh well with the rest of the products in my skincare routine.

And in regards to Glossier’s Super Pure Niacinamide + Zinc Serum, their formula isn’t as strong as The Ordinary’s—Super Pure uses only 5% niacinamide. According to Glossier, this is just the right amount to be effective without irritating skin. Further, zinc reduces the look of congested pores (which may be a side effect of treating acne prone skin).

With 604 reviews, The Ordinary’s HA serum has a 4.1-star rating and is $13.50 for a 60ml bottle, while their Niacinamide serum has 1,577 reviews and 4.4 stars, and is $11.70 for a 60ml bottle. Glossier’s Super Bounce, which is $29 for a 1oz bottle, is a top-rated product on their site, with 600 reviews and 4.5 stars. Super Pure is also top rated, earning 4.2 stars after 878 reviews. It’s also $29 for a 1oz bottle.

It appears that each item is about the same in terms of effectiveness, but they differ greatly when it comes to price. But before we recommend one brand over the other based solely on cost, we’ll examine their brand ethics.

The Ordinary is both vegan and cruelty-free and has even opted out of selling products in mainland China, where animal testing is mandatory. Sustainability-wise, they’ve adopted some initiatives to move towards being more eco-friendly. For example, their shipping packaging is currently made from recycled and recyclable materials. They also have an in-store recycling program where they accept empty bottles. However, while much of their products come in recyclable glass bottles, they still tend to use a lot of plastic in their packaging.

Glossier is certified cruelty-free and on the way to being 100% vegan. Since they began a more ethical business transition in 2019, all items released since that year have been vegan. In terms of sustainability efforts, Glossier doesn’t seem to use organic ingredients and does use non-biodegradable and hard to recycle plastic packaging for most of its items. We also struggled to find evidence that they are attempting to move forward with a better strategy for packaging.

While neither company is hitting it out of the park with their efforts to protect the Earth, we can at least rest assured about them being cruelty-free. But, being that The Ordinary is also vegan and it’s cheaper, we think we’ve found our new perfect skin pairing.

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