The Ordinary | Alpha Arbutin + HA


Canadian brand The Ordinary lit an instant frenzy amount beauty enthusiasts by giving use what we’ve been asking for all these years. Simple, ingredient based products focuses on the science of what works and scrapping all the fillers…all with a shockingly low price point. After a good decade experimenting with my own skin concerns, I felt relatively confident in knowing the handful of ingredients seemed to be the most effective and was thrilled to see two of my favourite things arbutin and hyaluronic acid mixed into one bottle.

According to The Ordinary…

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.

Brand: The Ordinary
Product: Alpha Arbutin 2% HA
Size: 30ml
Price: $8.99CAD
Availability: The Ordinary online
Would I (re)purchase: Probably not.

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.

I’ve long struggled with uneven skin texture, uneven skin tone and large pores. Though I’m naturally light skinned, I scar and mark easily which is evident on my forehead and some pigmentation spots scattered throughout.

Dispensed from a dropper style lid, this arbutin treatment has a clear but slightly viscous consistency and beads on the skin almost like a fluid gel. It spreads easily, dries quickly and appears to form a very thin film over the skin which isn’t noticeable at first but is certainly obvious when a sticky layer starts to form on the neck of the bottle. Only about 3 drops is necessary to cover my entire face generously. There is a slight bit of tackiness but it shouldn’t be a problem after adding a moisturizer.

Having used this consistently twice a day for about 5 weeks as my sole treatment product I did notice some slight overall evening in my skin tone. I wouldn’t say it effectively treated any dark marks I had but it was just as effective as many of the higher end products I’ve used, some even at up to 10x the price of The Ordinary so that’s definitely a win in itself!

I had started to experience minor red spots and increased clogged pores but can not be 100% certain if it’s due to this treatment or the moisturizer I had been using. While there was nothing in the ingredients list that looked like an alarming red flag, the fact that this forms a film over the skin raised some doubts. I’ve since discontinued both and may try reintroducing this treatment back into my routine to see if it’s the real culprit. I did not otherwise notice any other redness or sensitivity. There is no fragrance in this product.

After my wash routine and before my moisturizer.

Sekkisei Foaming Wash*, Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream*


The Alpha Arbutin 2% HA treatment by The Ordinary is a lightweight, fragrance free treatment that rivals many of the higher end skin tone enhancing products on the market. The texture should be comfortable enough for most skin types yet despite containing hyaluronic acid, I did not find this very hydrating and I recommend an additional layering serum if moisture is a concern. My main disappointment was not seeing the great results I had with other arbutin based Asian products but I can say this is as good as other effective western brands I’ve used to date. I’m also not a fan of the texture and sensorial experience. The Ordinary does recommend combining this with other products and many people choose to couple this with an exfoliator. Given the price point however, I would suggest you try this first if arbutin is what you are looking for and I do think it trumps most of what you can find at the drugstore level.

Chat soon,

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