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Blog product reviews

Comparing: The Potions vs The Ordinary

So you’ve decided that the minimalist skincare vibe is perfect for you. Enter the Korean brand, The Potions, and DECIUM’s The Ordinary. Both look remarkably similar, so which one is more likely to work for you?

The Ordinary

The original, no-frills, science-backed skincare brand. The brand was one of the first in North America to educate their customers on skincare ingredients with their lab-style labelling. Central to their philosophy is their approach to affordability — no outrageous marketing campaigns, no celeb endorsements, and all the savings passed down to customers.

The Potions

If brewing your own skincare cocktail sounds like your cup of tea, The Potions may become your new fav brand. This minimalist skincare brand is the Korean “alternative” to the Ordinary, that encourages mixing and matching to create a custom skincare routine. They feature a lot of familiar ingredients that are staples in Korean products, like centella and mugwort. 

How They’re Similar

  1. Both brands create no-filler products, most of which focus on a single ingredient. The goal is functionality, not frills.
  2. Products address a specific skin concern, whether that’s acne or signs of ageing.
  3. Plain packaging is part of the minimalist brand philosophy. Both brands label their products with the name of the main ingredient.
  4. Choosing products from either sometimes requires a little research, since you need to know what the ingredients on the labels do. A quick look at the product descriptions should help sort out what is going to work for you.
  5. Because of the simple packaging and marketing, The Potions and The Ordinary are both able to offer products at very affordable prices. 

How They’re Different

  1. The Potions encourages customers to blend their products, with various suggested combinations for different effects. They also offer packs with 3-4 products geared to a specific skin concern. The Ordinary products focus on actives that can be tricky to combine — instead, they offer more pre-mixed formulas, like their popular “Buffet” serum.
  2. If you’re somewhat a skincare newbie, The Potions may be easier to navigate. With fewer items and less overlap, all you need to do is choose the ingredient you want. With The Ordinary, you’ll have to be more specific as there are serums and suspensions and actives at different concentrations.
  3. The Potions definitely still has a background rooted in K-beauty. There’s an emphasis on familiar ingredients like botanical oils and extracts, and results that are prized in the K-beauty realm, like “radiance” and “dewiness”. The Ordinary hones in on more specific skin concerns, like “textural irregularities” and “look of redness”.


Both The Potions and The Ordinary are great brands, with similar approaches to addressing skin concerns. The best part? With their low price points, you can try both!

If you’d like to start by incorporating The Potions into your skincare routine, discover our newly added broad selection of solutions ready to mix and match your needs!