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Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary (Which Is Better For Skin?)

Updated: 6 days ago

The Ordinary and Good Molecules are brands renowned for their affordable and effective skincare products. What piqued my interest was that they are among the first to adopt a transparent approach to ingredient listing, emphasizing simple, effective formulas.  I have tried various products from each brand, and in today’s article, I will compare both to establish which is the best.



An Overview Of Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary 

The Ordinary, a DECIEM skincare brand, disrupted the beauty market in 2013  with its transparent pricing and clear communication, challenging inflated industry norms. It offers familiar, effective clinical technologies at honest prices, steering away from the typical marketing of standard technologies as innovative. The brand focuses on demystifying skincare and enhancing consumer understanding of product ingredients, while celebrating the genuine advancements of its sister brand, NIOD, in functional beauty.


Good Molecules launched in 2019 with the mission of delivering effective skincare products at fair prices, formulated with high-quality ingredients backed by scientific research. The brand positions itself as an affordable and effective alternative in the beauty industry, safe for both its consumers and the environment. By maintaining low prices, Good Molecules aims to make its products accessible to a wide global audience. The brand encourages potential customers to try their products and experience noticeable improvements in their skin.

Is The Ordinary Or Good Molecules Better For Your Skin? 

When comparing Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary, I evaluate them in terms of skin type suitability, ingredient quality, and product efficacy. 

Skin Type Suitability:

Both The Ordinary and Good Molecules offer products suitable for various skin types. The Ordinary's products are known for their specificity, targeting specific skin concerns with highly concentrated formulas. This makes them particularly effective but also means they may require more careful selection based on your skin type and condition​. Good Molecules, on the other hand, tends to formulate products that are generally gentler and more hydrating, making them accessible for a broader range of skin types, including sensitive skin​.

Ingredient Quality:

The Ordinary is renowned for its transparency and simplicity in formulations, often highlighting a single active ingredient, which allows users to tailor their skincare more precisely to their needs​. However, on the downside getting a full regimen may require purchasing various products. Also, potency may prove to be problematic for people with sensitive skin. Good Molecules, on the other hand, focuses on combining efficacious ingredients at lower concentrations for a gentler effect, which can be particularly beneficial for sensitive skin types. This gives room for shorter routines.  Both brands emphasize the quality and source of their ingredients, though Good Molecules may incorporate more innovative delivery systems like encapsulated actives​.

Product Efficacy:

Feedback and reviews suggest that both brands provide effective products. My personal experience with both brands equally attests to this. The Ordinary often receives praise for the visible results its high-concentration formulas deliver, especially for specific concerns like aging, pigmentation, and texture​. Good Molecules is often highlighted for its gentle effectiveness and its ability to improve skin hydration and overall tone without irritating​.


In summary, your choice between The Ordinary and Good Molecules will depend on your specific skin needs—whether you require potent treatments for targeted concerns or gentler formulations for sensitive skin. Do not forget that skincare is subjective and there is no way to know how good your results with either brand will be unless you try. 

5 Products Compared Between Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary

Good Molecules Hyaluronic Serum Vs. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 

These two serums are among the respective brands’ best-selling products and both have as primary focus skin hydration. However, they also differ on several points; 


The Good Molecules Hyaluronic acid is formulated with two types of hyaluronic acids with different molecular weights and glycerin to guarantee deeper skin hydration. It primarily targets skin dehydration and skin firmness. It has a lightweight, slightly viscous texture that absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving a sticky residue. It is suitable for all skin types, works well under other skincare products and makeup, and costs $6 for 30ml of product.


The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (recently reformulated) targets skin hydration and signs of aging. It deeply hydrates and plumps up the skin while smoothing wrinkles and fine lines. This product contains 5 forms of hyaluronic acid to provide multi-depth hydration. It also contains Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) and, ceramides (sphingolipids) to support and maintain the skin’s barrier for smoother, plumper, and healthier skin. This serum has a lightweight texture that easily absorbs into the skin without feeling tacky. It is suitable for all skin types and costs $9.90 for 30 ml of product.


In my opinion, while both are good products I prefer The Ordinary  Hyaluronic acid 2% + B5 because it has both hydrating and barrier support ingredients for more optimal skin care.

Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum Vs. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 

Good Molecules Niacinamide Serum is formulated to improve skin texture, minimize pores, and even out skin tone. It contains 10% niacinamide as its primary active ingredient, which helps to regulate sebum production, reduce redness, and enhance overall skin clarity. The serum has a lightweight, fast-absorbing texture that works well with other skincare products and is suitable for all skin types. It costs from $6 for 30ml of product.


The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% targets blemishes and improves skin texture. It contains 10% niacinamide and 1% zinc PCA, which help regulate sebum production, reduce the appearance of blemishes, and provide anti-inflammatory benefits. It can also improve the skin’s tone as niacinamide has skin-brightening properties. The serum has a lightweight, slightly viscous texture that spreads easily and is especially beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin, and costs $6 for 30ml of product. 


While both serums contain 10% niacinamide to target similar concerns such as pore size and skin texture, The Ordinary includes zinc PCA, making it more effective for those with oily and acne-prone skin. Good Molecules, on the other hand, offers a straightforward niacinamide formulation that is suitable for all skin types and integrates smoothly into any skincare routine.

Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum Vs. The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%

While both products aim to improve skin tone and clarity, they do so through different active ingredients. Good Molecules uses a combination of tranexamic acid and niacinamide to specifically address hyperpigmentation and discoloration. In contrast, The Ordinary focuses on azelaic acid, which not only brightens the skin but also helps with textural issues and blemishes. Choosing between the two depends on your primary skin concerns: opt for Good Molecules if hyperpigmentation is your main issue, or The Ordinary if you need broader benefits including texture improvement and blemish reduction.


Good Molecules Discoloration Correcting Serum is designed to reduce hyperpigmentation and even out skin tone. It features 3% tranexamic acid and 4% niacinamide as key ingredients, for evening out skin tone and improving skin texture. This serum has a lightweight, gel-like texture that absorbs quickly, making it suitable for all skin types, and costs as from $12.


The Ordinary Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% targets uneven skin tone, dullness, and textural irregularities. Azelaic acid is known for its ability to reduce the appearance of blemishes, brighten the skin, and improve overall texture. This formulation has a cream-gel texture and provides antioxidant benefits, making it suitable for all skin types, especially those dealing with redness and blemishes.

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toner Vs. Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toner is formulated to improve skin texture, clarity, and radiance. It features 7% glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) known for its exfoliating properties that help remove dead skin cells, unclog pores, and brighten the skin. The toner also includes Tasmanian pepper berry derivative to reduce irritation, ginseng root, and aloe vera to soothe the skin. Its lightweight liquid texture makes it easy to apply with a cotton pad and is suitable for most skin types, though those with sensitive skin should use it cautiously.


Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment is designed to be used as a night treatment to reveal smoother, brighter skin. It combines 10% alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHAs and BHAs) including glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids. This combination helps to exfoliate both the outermost layer of the skin and penetrates deeper to clear pores and reduce breakouts. The treatment has a lightweight serum texture that absorbs quickly and is suitable for most skin types, particularly those dealing with dullness and uneven texture.


While both products aim to exfoliate and improve skin texture, they differ in their application and ingredient profiles. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toner is a daily toner (though I do not recommend using it daily)  with a single type of acid (glycolic acid) for surface exfoliation and brightening. Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment, on the other hand, is a more intensive treatment combining multiple acids (glycolic, lactic, and salicylic) for comprehensive exfoliation, targeting both the skin surface and deeper layers. Choosing between the two depends on your skin's tolerance and exfoliation needs: opt for The Ordinary for more gentle exfoliation or Good Molecules for a more robust, overnight treatment.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Vs. Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner

While both The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA and Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner focus on brightening and evening out skin tone, they achieve these goals through different key ingredients and formulations. The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA is a serum that specifically targets dark spots and hyperpigmentation using alpha arbutin and hydrates with hyaluronic acid. In contrast, Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner combines niacinamide, vitamin C, arbutin, and liquorice root extract to address various skin concerns, including brightening, soothing, and improving texture. Let’s take a closer look at each product 


The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA serum reduces dark spots and hyperpigmentation with 2% alpha arbutin, which inhibits melanin production. It also includes hyaluronic acid for hydration and lactic acid which both hydrates and brightens the skin. This lightweight, gel-like serum absorbs quickly and is suitable for all skin types. Alpha arbutin gradually brightens the skin and evens out the complexion. Starting price: $11.50 for 30 ml


Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner brightens and evens out skin tone while minimizing pores. It combines niacinamide with vitamin C, arbutin, and liquorice root extract to target hyperpigmentation and improve skin texture and clarity. With a lightweight, watery consistency, it can be applied with a cotton pad or directly with the hands, making it suitable for all skin types. Starting price: $6 for 30 ml

What To Expect With Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary

When it comes to how fast these brands’ products deliver results, there is not a clear-cut answer. Results will vary based on what concern you are trying to address and will equally highly depend on your skin’s unique response.

Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary

As a general rule of thumb, it is best to refer to the brand’s directions and remember to maintain realistic expectations. That being said, concerning the products we compared above, here is how a few of these products performed on my skin;

  • The Good Molecules Hyaluronic Serum and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 improve the skin’s plumpness and hydration after a few days of use.

  • While I consider the Good Molecules Discoloration Serum to be a good product, it took more time (2 months) to improve my skin tone than The Ordinary Azelaic Acid 15% Suspension (4 weeks).

  • The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toner was too harsh and irritated my skin so much that I didn’t use it more than 3 times. I definitely will not recommend this toner if your skin is sensitive.

  • The Good Molecules Niacinamide Brightening Toner is also a good product, but in my experience, using it on its own delivered lesser results than when combined with the Discoloration Correcting Serum. This is a combination that I highly recommend for hyperpigmentation.

What Experts Say When Comparing Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary

Good Molecules is generally well-regarded by experts for its effective and affordable skincare solutions. According to The Dermatology Review, the brand offers a variety of products that target specific skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation, acne, and hydration, using potent ingredients like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid​ (The Dermatology Review)​. Experts from Honest Brand Reviews also commend Good Molecules for its transparency in ingredient lists and commitment to simple, effective formulations without the luxury price tag​ (Honest Brand Reviews)​.

Do Dermatologists Recommend The Ordinary?

Dermatologists frequently recommend The Ordinary for its effective and affordable skincare solutions. According to experts, the brand's products, such as their hyaluronic acid serum and niacinamide formula, are praised for addressing common skin concerns like hydration and discoloration.


The Ordinary products are formulated with high-quality ingredients backed by scientific research. For instance, their use of retinoids, acids, and antioxidants is supported by studies showing their efficacy in skincare treatments (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, International Journal of Cosmetic Science). This scientific basis contributes to their popularity among skin care professionals and consumers alike.

Frequently Asked Questions About Good Molecules Vs. The Ordinary

Is Good Molecules Or The Ordinary Better for Sensitive Skin?

Both brands are generally suitable for sensitive skin, but Good Molecules is formulated with gentler ingredients and fewer potential irritants.

Which Brand Offers Better Solutions for Acne-Prone Skin?

The Ordinary is preferred for acne-prone skin due to its targeted treatments like salicylic acid and niacinamide, known for their acne-fighting properties.

Does The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Lighten Skin? 

Yes, glycolic acid can help lighten skin by exfoliating the outer layer, promoting cell turnover, and reducing hyperpigmentation.

Which Is Stronger AHA, BHA, Or Glycolic Acid? 

Glycolic acid is stronger than other AHAs and BHAs.  Due to its small molecular size, it penetrates deeper into the skin for even exfoliation, promotes cell turnover, and addresses concerns such as hyperpigmentation and fine lines. AHAs, including glycolic acid, primarily work on the skin's surface to improve texture and even skin tone. BHAs like salicylic acid penetrate deeper into pores, effectively treating acne, and controlling excess oil production. Each acid type has distinct benefits, suited to different skin concerns.

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