REVIEW: The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%

The Ordinary 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid antioxidant serum garcons world

The Anti-Aging Antioxidant Serum

When it comes to the most used terminology in skincare, “anti-aging” and “antioxidants” are right up there. The Ordinary’s Resveratrol 3%+Ferulic Acid 3%, however, is exactly those two things. True to The Ordinary’s brand ethos of simple, pared down formulas that focus on typically 1 or 2 central actives, it comes as no surprise that their Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3% serum is just three ingredients: Propanediol, Resveratrol, Ferulic Acid. The latter two ingredients being two of the most powerful antioxidants that tackle atmospheric UV skin aging, the most common cause of skin aging.

What’s in it?

Given that two of the three ingredients in The Ordinary’s Resveratrol 3%+Ferulic Acid 3% have their percentages written out, we can safely say the ingredients are as follows:

94% Propanediol

A colorless, odorless glycol liquid that isn’t technically oil, alcohol, or water. It acts as a penetration enhancer that helps skin absorption. The EWG rates this at a 2 in terms of risk to safety which means it’s pretty safe, and it is FDA approved to work as a vehicle in topical, and oral preparations. As a base in the formula, it’s not only stable, but also helps the actives absorb into the skin. If you’re worried about performance given that 94% of the serum is the carrier, you shouldn’t. Most actives work best at a controlled level (e.g. retinols at 1%, acids no more than 2%), anymore would cause irritation or be counterproductive.

3% Resveratrol

A natural phenol antioxidant found in several plants, including wine grapes and dark berries. The Ordinary sources 100% from Japanese Knotweed. The quick science is that it prevents UV damage, in particular UVB radiation that cause skin damage and premature aging. Resveratrol is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, and reduces the effects of sun damage and hyperpigmentation. It’s known as an anti-aging antioxidant because it provides comprehensive skin strengthening benefits and is fundamental for building the core of the skin’s antioxidant network. At 3%, not only is the concentration potent, it’s actually higher than typical skincare formulas. For comparison, Skinceuticals $153 Resveratrol serum contains this active at a 1% concentration.

3% Ferulic Acid

The free radical scavenging king. Antioxidants typically target one or two types of free radicals. This is why antioxidants work better in a team (like in this serum). Ferulic Acid neutralizes three forms of free radicals: nitric oxide, superoxide, and hydroxyl radical. If you’re wondering where you might have heard of this antioxidant before, it’s probably due to Ferulic Acid’s reputation as a power player with Vitamin C and Vitamin E that doubles photo-protection, and protects against skin cancer and skin aging. In this formula, it happens to specialize in UVA protection which means you get full spectrum UV protection through this antioxidant cocktail.

UVA protection is perhaps even more important than UVB protection when it comes to skin aging. UVA damage causes collagen breakdown, and wrinkle formation. Many scientists bluntly describe it as central to all forms of skin aging. It’s a good thing that this formula packs a wallop in potency as 3% Ferulic Acid is considered a very high concentration. Again for comparison, Skinceuticals cult CEFerulic Acid Serum contains a 0.5% concentration of this active.

The Ordinary 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid antioxidant serum

How does it work?

So now you know what’s in this powerful 3-ingredient formula. Many scientists cite atmospheric ultraviolet radiation as the main culprit of skin aging. The Ordinary’s 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid is basically an antioxidant cocktail that prevents ultraviolet radiation and the pervasive atmospheric background damage it does to prematurely aging the skin.

This works best when applied after water-based serums and before oil-based serums. Although the formula is alcohol, water, and oil free, the texture does feel similar to a light face oil. Therefore a face oil might not be necessary afterward. It pairs well with Vitamin C serums especially given Ferulic Acid’s excellent performance with it. So those who like to cocktail serums should definitely try this mix.

Sensitive skinned individuals should not have too much trouble with this pared down formula. The Ordinary’s 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid has no fragrance, and is relatively light, while nourishing. Also worth mentioning, the formula is nut-free, silicone-free, vegan, and gluten-free. So it should be agreeable to just about anyone.

The Ordinary 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid antioxidant serum

Results & Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to review antioxidant products because they’re silent workers. Unlike acids and retinols that might produce an immediate feeling, or a noticeable change after short-term use, antioxidants better the skin with time. In our testing, The Ordinary’s 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid really showed its strength when traveling or on busy days running errands. Skin just felt calmer, and kept together. You know those days where you’ve been running around, and you’re sure you look awful? This kept our skin from ‘falling apart,’ when it otherwise would have. It’s for sure an effective barrier against the aging outside factors.

We recommend applying both morning and night, especially if you’re the type who is out quite often. In the morning, this should help in a preventative way, while the antioxidants should help repair at night. So both are quite helpful. If you use a Vitamin C serum, The Ordinary’s 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid is a stackable exponential boost, and a no brainer to combine. If you’re a minimalist, this is a pretty broad-spectrum antioxidant that gives anti-aging and preventive benefits.

The science is clear that this formula is very powerful and beneficial. The benefits are long-term focused, and can best be seen with time as the serum continually defends against UV damage, and thus, keep the skin from prematurely aging. At just $7.90 per bottle (1 oz, lasts at least 2-3 months), The Ordinary’s 3% Resveratrol + 3% Ferulic Acid is one of those products that can be used for the long term where the payoff will be more than worth the investment.


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