A Sephora Addict Goes Clean - Part 4

You can read part 3 of this series of blogs here.

A little bit more about the brands I’ve chosen…

…The Ordinary.

The Ordinary, under the DECIEM brand, is not technically “green” (aside from their oils) as the products aren’t plant-based. Nevertheless, I believe they fall under the “non-toxic” classification as they exclude carcinogenic ingredients and endocrine disruptors like artificial fragrance (1), so at the very least, this makes them far superior to common products from supermarkets or pharmacies. I’m okay with clinical ingredients and safe synthetics, so The Ordinary is a great choice for people like me who endeavour to use mostly botanically based products, but require supplementing with “conventional” products when “green” ones aren’t delivering the necessary results. The Ordinary’s brand image and reputation are founded upon the promise to deliver “clinical formulations with integrity”, and very openly state that their skincare products are free from parabens, sulphates and mineral oils, as well as vegan and cruelty-free. The ingredients are minimal, frill-free and simple, much like their packaging: basic dropper bottles with plain white labels. Quite a lot of research is needed to determine which product addresses particular skin problems, which products shouldn’t be used together, and where they should fit into your skincare regime.

The Ordinary products are split into the following categories: retinoids, vitamin C, direct acids, antioxidants, hydrators and oils, more molecules, and sun-care.


🌞 - To be used in the morning

🌚 - To be used at night

❗️🔆 - Causes increased skin sensitivity to sunlight

The Ordinary products I currently, or plan to, integrate into my skincare regime:

  • Retinol 0.2% in Squalane - ❗️🔆 + 🌚 only. Conflicts with other Retinoid treatments. This water-free solution contains 0.2% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines, of photodamage and of general skin ageing. One of the only silicone-free retinoids available. Very stable, with a shelf life of 12 months. This would be a good product to start with if you are new to retinol. Not pH-dependent.
  • 100% Plant-Derived Squalane - 🌞 + 🌚. To be used after water solutions. Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that is found naturally in the skin. It has very high emollience, is an exceptional hydrator and can prevent ongoing loss of hydration that impairs dermal suppleness. Not pH-dependent.
  • Salicylic Acid 2% Solution - ❗️🔆, 🌞 + 🌚. In the form of a water solution, this treatment solution helps exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with continued use. PH: 3.2-3.5.
  • Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG -🌞 + 🌚. In the form of a water solution. Topical use of each of caffeine and EGCG can help reduce looks of puffiness and of dark circles in the eye contour. However, it is important to note that dark circles are usually related to food allergies, low thyroid or both. PH: 4.50-5.00.
  • Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - 🌞 + 🌚. In the form of a water solution. Conflicts with pure Vitamin C serums. Reduces the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity. PH: 5.50-6.50.
  • “Buffet” + Copper Peptides 1% - 🌞 + 🌚. To be used before oils or creams. In the form of a water solution. Conflicts with direct acids, pure Vitamin C, and strong antioxidants. The natural role of copper peptides is found in human plasma includes supporting a wide range of skin health functions like maintaining normal immune function, collagen synthesis, fibroblast production and anti-inflammatory responses. PH: 6.00-7.00.
  • Natural Moisturising Factors + HA - 🌞 + 🌚. Should be used as the last step in AM before makeup primer. It is an emulsion. Offers non-greasy hydration that acts as a direct topical supplement of impaired NMF components. It contains 11 amino acids, phospholipids, alpha/beta/gamma fatty acids, triglycerides, sterols and sterol esters, glycerin, ceramide precursors, urea, saccharides, sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid. It offers immediate hydration and lasting results with continued use. One of the few silicone-free moisturisers on the market (2). PH: 6.50-7.00.


The first step in my evening skincare regime is to remove makeup I’ve been wearing throughout the day. I’ve been a big fan of Bioderma Sensibo H2O Micellar Water for many years as it was very effective at removing makeup gently without causing any skin irritation. However, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides is listed in their ingredients. These are mainly acquired from plant oils such as Coconut Oil, yet they are not always pure. About 50% of PEGs are contaminated with ethylene oxide and/or 1,4-dioxane, and although I was fairly confident Bioderma would remove these impurities by a process known as “vacuum stripping”, I couldn’t find any confirmation from the company online to show that the toxins have definitely been removed.

I tried Madara micellar water, but I found it quite ineffective as a makeup remover, it took a lot of rubbing and multiple uses to remove makeup, particularly around the eye area, entirely. For the price, it isn’t worth it. I chose Sukin Micellar water for the price and its online reviews.

Sukin is a pioneering skincare brand that is dedicated to effective, sustainable and affordable natural skincare, that omits any artificial additives and harsh ingredients that can cause harm to humans, animals, or the environment. Their tagline is ‘beauty shouldn’t cost the earth’. It’s pretty good at removing makeup, but it did require a bit more rubbing than I’d need with Bioderma. However, it smells lovely, and it contains cucumber, aloe vera and chamomile, leaving the skin refreshed but not dry or tight. I’ve happily replaced my beloved Bioderma for it, it’s definitely worth it.

…Indie Lee.

Following a brain tumour diagnosis in 2010, Indie Lee made the connection between health and what she put on her skin and created a skin care line which was non-toxic, safer, cleaner, and ethical. The Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser removes dirt and grime from the skin and contains strawberry oil which is packed with Omega-3 and antioxidants.

The next post will discuss the key differences between chemical and natural sunscreen. Until then, drop me a note if you want to share your thoughts on clean beauty! Below are the links to the previous blogs in this series.

Part 1 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean

Part 2 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean

Part 3 - A Sephora Addict Goes Clean