Is The Ordinary's new $21.90 Salicylic Acid 2% Masque any good? Here's our review.

The last time The Ordinary released a new product, it sold out within minutes.

Yes, the cult but clinical skincare brand is bloody difficult to understand and it’s near impossible to figure out what each product actually is from the complicated labels.

But the people who love The Ordinary really love The Ordinary. For them, there will always be a spot in their bathroom cabinets for yet another sciency looking pipette bottle labelled ‘5 % acid peeling and brightening emulsion thingy’.

It’s a good thing too, because The Ordinary is releasing a brand new face masque this week: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid Masque.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque, $21.90.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque
Here she is, The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque. Image: Supplied.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque comes out on June 12 and is formulated to target 'lacklustre tone and textural irregularities'. If The Ordinary labelled their products in the beauty marketing terms we're used to, it would read 'smoothing, purifying mask to unblock pores for oily or blemish-prone skin'.

As you can see from this lab sample we were sent in the lead up to the launch, the masque looks a fair bit like tar or a charcoal teeth whitening toothpaste. It also smells like the latter.

That's because it's made up of a mixture of charcoal and clays to help get rid of the gunk trapped inside your pores under the surface layer of the skin, and salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxy acid or BHA that dives down deeper into the skin) to dissolve the dead skin cells in there too.

Here's our cheeky lab sample. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
Isn't is... pretty? Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

Unlike the brand's other Salicylic Acid 2% Solution (which is a liquid chemical exfoliant that eats away at dead skin cells, yum), the Salicylic Acid 2% Masque is designed to be washed off after 10 minutes. The directions say to use once or twice a week, applying an even layer of the masque to dry skin across your face (or just to any congested areas like your chin or forehead) and rinsing off after no more than 10 minutes with lukewarm water.


The Ordinary advises this product isn't for those us with sensitive skin (skin that's gets angry when you put things on it), or if your skin is peeling or compromised (for example, after a peeling treatment or on sunburnt skin). Also, only use at night and be sure to wear sunscreen the next day as products with BHAs may increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun.

If you're unsure, do a patch test first before going to town on your precious face. I only applied the masque to my chin and jawline where I get unwelcome visitors a few times a month, just to be on the safe side.

Just your average Saturday night. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.
I call this look Mr Steal Your Girl. Image: Supplied/Amy Clark.

You'll definitely feel a tingle/light stinging once you've got the masque on, that's the salicylic acid chowing on the dead skin cells and sebum (the oil your skin makes) that like to hang out in your pores until they become blocked and mutate into one of many lovely types of pimples.

By the time I rinsed the masque off, the black clay had hardened slightly, but it wasn't cracking my face off - if it is, that's how you know you've left it on for too long. My skin felt refreshed and a bit tingly after rinsing off, the product smells a bit like mint so that might be why.

I didn't experience any irritation, which is always the fear when trying a new product with an acid in it, but I also didn't get any life-changing results.


Don't expect to wake up the next morning with all your blemishes gone, but it could help regulate and manage your skin's natural oil production when used consistently in a skincare routine for oily/acne-prone skin. Also be mindful not to go too hectic with the blemish-control masques, and to replace the hydration that's being stripped out by using a moisturiser for oily skin, or even jojoba oil which is antibacterial.

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So, should you buy The Ordinary's new Salicylic Acid 2% Masque?

If you're into The Ordinary, or trying new products to help with skin congestion and blemishes, and you particularly enjoy charcoal face masques and the tingling feeling of putting acids on your face... then go for it. It's only $21.90, after all.

But you'll want to be quick because regardless of whether this masque is the best thing since cask wine or not, it will sell out.

The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque will be available from June 12 only on and in DECIEM stores in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. It won't be available at Priceline, Adore Beauty or Myer, but stay tuned because it likely will pop up there soon.

Do you use The Ordinary? What are your favourite products from their range?

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