Foundations Makeup

The Ordinary Serum Foundation (review)

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the ordinary serum foundation review

A few weeks ago, I reviewed The Ordinary Coverage Foundation (see post here) and received quite a few comments asking me if I’d tried The Ordinary Serum Foundation and how they compared. Since I’ve never tried an actual serum foundation, I thought this would be a great starting product as 1) it’s super cheap, 2) I know and use its full coverage counterpart, and 3) reviewing stuff pretty much was my blog is about.


Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua (Water), Caprylyl Methicone, Coconut Alkanes, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Coco Caprylate/Caprate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Cetyl Diglyceryl Tris(Trimethylsiloxy)silylethyl Dimethicone, Dipropylene Glycol, Tocopherol, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hectorite, Sodium Chloride, Hexyl Laurate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Alumina, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin. May Contain [+/-]: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Tin Oxide, Aluminum Hydroxide, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Mica, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

Price, packaging, quantity and shade range

Price: €6.70 on The Ordinary’s website (but the brand is very easy to find on other websites as well). 

Packaging: it’s exactly the same bottle as the Coverage Foundation. It’s light, modern and sleek looking. Works with a pump. 

Quantity: the usual 30ml. As I was saying in my other review, it’s by far the most affordable foundation on the market when you compare the price per litre. 

Shade Range: 21 shades. Complete shade guide provided by the official website. 

Since my Coverage Foundation shade is 1.2N, I picked the same one in the Serum Foundation range, but I was surprised to see how different the shades looked in the bottles. 

the ordinary serum foundation
Left: Serum Foundation, Right: Coverage Foundation

The Serum Foundation seemed to have a more more yellow undertone than the Coverage Foundation (it’s even more obvious in the next picture).

The Ordinary Serum Foundation is vegan, cruelty-free, oil-free, nut-free, alcohol-free, and gluten-free (it’s basically pigments, silicones and water). 


  • Lightweight
  • Medium coverage
  • Natural looking
  • SPF 15 (European Union only)
  • Semi-matte finish

My thoughts on The Ordinary Serum Foundation

Application: I was really surprised at the texture of the product the first time I used it: it’s extremely liquid compared to the CF. Again, they are the same shade (1.2N), but the tones look extremely different. 

I hate the way it applies with a Beauty Blender (with or without primer). It looks like a child stamped it on my face with a DIY foam sponge. The product just sits on my face and looks horrid (sorry forgot to take pictures, but you’re not missing out). 

I also find that powdering it makes the texture on my face more visible. 

Turns out when you read the directions that it’s recommended to apply the foundation with your hands. I have found that to give better results than with the Beauty Blender. As a matter of fact, I would even say it doesn’t look too bad right after application. 

The Ordinary Serum Foundation
Left: Coverage Foundation, right: Serum Foundation

Coverage: I really don’t think I’d call it medium. It’s extremely light and that’s what it’s supposed to be, right? I can’t understand why a serum foundation would be marketed as medium coverage. If you suffer from rosacea, acne, dilated pores, and other imperfections, don’t expect The Ordinary Serum Foundation to cover any of that. At best, it’ll even out your skin tone if you don’t have a problematic skin.  

Staying power: it isn’t that great and, because I think powder looks awful on it, my skin gets oily and my redness peaks through very quickly. 

Would I recommend The Ordinary Serum Foundation?

Honestly, I’m not sure I would. If you want something lightweight to even out your skin tone, opt for a BB or CC cream (see my complexion products guide here), but I think the formula of The Ordinary Serum Foundation could do with a bit of improvement. 

If your skin is flawless, normal and you’re on a budget, sure, give it a try.

If you have blemishes, redness or dilated pores, there are other options (check out my other foundation review). 

This hasn’t been an extremely positive experience, but I’m determined to give serum foundations another try, perhaps on the higher end of the price range. If you know of awesome serum foundations, please leave a comment. 

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The Ordinary Serum Foundation review

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  • Reply
    December 8, 2018 at 4:23 am

    Thanks for sharing your review! This sounds like a “no-need” sort of foundation.

  • Reply
    The Newbury Girl
    November 30, 2018 at 5:49 am

    Was waiting for this review, Kate! ☺️ Bummer that this isn’t great for oily skin, since that is my skin type too. I appreciate how you so thorough in explaining all the various methods you used to make this product work.

    • Reply
      November 30, 2018 at 10:13 am

      Thanks. And thank you for your comment 🙂
      I much preferred the coverage foundation although there are WAY better foundations for oily skins out there (esp. Clinique Superbalanced), but the price is different!

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