The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

I purchased this as part of my first The Ordinary Skin Care Haul. This was the first The Ordinary product that I tried. I have several dark patches on my face and I want them gone. This seems like something that will help.

According to the website, this is A Concentrated Serum with Purified Alpha Arbutin and Hyaluronic Acid.

Alpha Arbutin reduces the looks of spots and hyper-pigmentation. It’s used at a high 2% concentration versus a standard concentration of 1% and supported with a next-generation form of Hyaluronic Acid for enhanced delivery. Alpha Arbutin is much stronger in effect than Arbutin or Beta Arbutin.

Note: Alpha Arbutin is extremely sensitive to degradation in the presence of water if the pH of the formulation is not ideal. The pH of this formula is approximately 4.9 which is shown to be the most suitable pH to minimize degradation of Alpha Arbutin.

Apply a few drops to face in the AM and PM as part of your skincare regimen. Use sun protection in the AM.

Ingredients – Aqua (Water), Alpha-Arbutin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Initially, I tried using this in the morning and at night. However, it does not play well with my makeup. I had terrible pilling and my makeup looked terrible. It is not greasy or oily but it stays tacky feeling forever. I don’t have a lot of time in the morning so I need skincare that layers well and works under sunscreen and makeup.

I decided to use this just at night when I did not have to worry about pilling. I apply this product first because the hyperpigmentation is my #1 concern. I wait for a few minutes and apply my other serum and then moisturizer. My moisturizer seems to take care of some of the tackiness.

I have reintroduced it into my morning routine on the weekend. I apply a very small amount and concentrate it on my dark spots. This seems to be working better and I am able to layer my other products and apply my makeup. The smaller amount absorbs better and I have more time on the weekend to allow it to absorb.


It has a thin, watery consistency. It doesn’t feel oily or greasy, just sticky. It doesn’t feel like it absorbs quickly or easily.  There is no burning or stinging on application. I have been using this for over 2 months now and it has not caused breakouts or any kind of irritation.

I do think that I can see where my huge area of hyperpigmentation is breaking up some. There may be a slight lightening of it and the other smaller spots. I’m sure my results would be better if I could use it twice daily every day. I just cannot do it on weekday mornings. It does not work well with my other products and makeup.

I have already repurchased a second bottle. I will continue to use this and hope it can fade all my hyperpigmentation. The 30 ml bottle is $8.90 and lasts me at least 3 months. It is definitely the right price. I will update this post in 6 months or so to show if it really works over time.

Have you tried any products from The Ordinary? Have you tried this product? What do you think? Do you use anything that reduces dark spots?

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