[REVIEW] The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%


It’s been quite a while since I use this The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. Even though I like it, I don’t really know how to explain my experience with my first The Ordinary product, hence the reason why it took so long for me to write this post. But since it’s over 3 months since I’ve used it, I’m trying to explain it as much as I can.


Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxyl acid that exfoliates the skin. This 5% formulation offers very mild exfoliation and is supported with a purified Tasmanian pepperberry known to reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is often associated with exfoliation. A stronger 10% formula is available here.

This formula contains a studied Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to help reduce irritation associated with acid use. This derivative is of plant origin and varies in colour seasonally and this colour variation may be apparent in the formula from time to time.

Contraindications: Lactic Acid should not be used on sensitive, peeling or compromised skin. Please refer to additional sun protection note and other warnings in provided Directions.

This pH of this formula is approximately 3.8. Lactic Acid has a pKa of 3.8 and pKa is the most important aspect to consider in formulating with acids. pKa implies acid availability. When pKa is close to pH, there is an ideal balance between salt and acidity, maximizing effectiveness of the acid and reducing irritation. Higher pH numbers in such a case would increase salt which counter-intuitively would make the formula even more irritating than if the formula was more acidic.


Note: While Lactic Acid can result in quick visible benefits, we generally suggest indirect forms of skin exfoliation in favour of direct forms such as this formula due to potential inflammation and sensitivity associated with acids. Please refer to NIOD’s Non-Acid Acid Precursor for such a reference.

Apply once per day, ideally in the PM. Can be diluted with other treatments to reduce strength until skin develops tolerance. Avoid contact with eyes. If irritation persists, discontinue use and consult a physician. (Sunburn Alert: This product contains an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly the possibility of sunburn. Use a sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and limit sun exposure while using this product and for a week afterwards.)

Aqua (Water), Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Arginine, Potassium Citrate, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Ethyl 2,2-Dimethylhydrocinnamal, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.


Although it’s relatively a mild exfoliator, I think it’s a pretty strong one if you are not used to acids. I prefer to take it easy because of my bad history with acids. I’ve always trying to layer lots of hydration before applying this The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. If you’re just used to Korean skin care AHA/BHA, there are a high chance that’s this Lactic Acid serum would be too strong for you at first, even The Ordinary suggested to diluted it with Hyaluronic Acid first if you’re not used to acids.

The scent is strong and iron-like, definitely a chemical-ly scent that I still found quite disturbing to be honest. The texture of this serum is pretty thick and easy to spread. However, I found that if I layer it after or before oils, the serum would rolled up. So, I always avoid to use this serum together with oil in the same routine.


For the first three weeks, this serum stings when I applied it to my skin. Especially if I forgot to layer it with hydrating serum. Layers lots of hydrating product definitely help to reduce the stings, though.

Even though I didn’t find massive difference in my skin yet, but I can see that the serum help to improve my overall texture after a while. Gothamista said that The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% is the dupe to Sunday Riley Good Genes, but I can’t comment on that since I sampled Good Genes when I didn’t understand fully all about this skin care regime game.


Would I recommend it? If you want to try a proper and affordable Lactic Acid serum, then by all any means, go ahead. It’s affordable, and this things works. So, why not? However, I have to warn you that if you want to try this serum or any other exfoliating serum / toners in general, you definitely have to build a strong foundation of skin care regime first, or else, you have to be ready to get irritation in your skin.

Will I repurchase it? It could be, however I think I want to try other serum first before repurchasing this one.



8 thoughts on “[REVIEW] The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! :-). I have very sensitive skin as well, but you can definitely make it work and avoid any irritation by layering lots of hydrating toners and hydrating serums beforehand! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi! Sorry for the late reply. I suggest you to put hydrating toner like Hada Labo Gokyujun Lotion or hydrating serum like Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum beforehand. 🙂


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