AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution from The Ordinary, a TikTok phenomenon

During the lockdown, people began to take good care of their skin. And on TikTok, we saw a wave of videos with influencers with their faces all red, as they spread AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution at The Ordinary.

Consequence: a worldwide shortage of stock at the retailers (like Sephora, for example). On Amazon, the fakes are blooming (red liquid added in authentic used bottles). The most clever ones buy the product by fifty and resell them at a golden price on second-hand websites.

Only The Ordinary’s official website continues to sell them. Considering its small price, I bought it to test it by saying to myself, “it’s just a phenomenon. It will pass.”

But I was wrong, this peel is really not like the others.

The Ordinary

The Ordinary was created by the company DECIEM, which specializes in highly concentrated products.

The products are aimed at skincare addicts, who can read the label and do active layering – because the products aren’t fully formulated. You often have to use one product, then another, then another… to get your complete routine.

my last order, including re-stock for some

Ingredients of AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

As its name suggests, this product is a peeling (or chemical scrub) containing 32% acid: including 30% AHA and 2% BHA

Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) ( Glycolic/Lactic/Tartaric/Citric Acids) exfoliate the skin’s surface to awaken radiance and unify the complexion. 30% is an extremely high concentration. It can not only irritate the skin but also burn it, so use it with extreme caution.

Beta-Hydroxy Acids (BHA) (Salicylic Acid) also exfoliate the skin and decongest pores.

What’s it for?

This 32% concentrated solution offers the skin a deep exfoliation to reduce the appearance of imperfections and boost the skin’s radiance.
This formula also improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of fine lines over the long term.

This formula contains a derivative of Tasmanian pepper berry to reduce the irritation often associated with fruit acid use. Depending on the time of harvest, the serum’s color varies (it can be very red to a little less red, without being a fake for all that).

This formula also contains hyaluronic acid, Vitamin B5 pro-repair and black carrot with antioxidant properties.

This product is reserved :

  • to skins with textures
  • to skins with micro cysts

This product is NOT reserved for :

  • skin with active acne
  • skins with any kind of injury
  • sensitive skin
  • skin that peels
  • skins not used to the use of acids


  • Cleanse the face and wait until the skin is dry.
  • Do not use it on wet skin.
  • Apply evenly with fingertips to face and neck, avoiding the eye area. Leave on for up to 10 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. This formula should not be used on sensitive, damaged, or peeling skin.
  • Avoid contact with eyes and eye contour area during application and while rinsing. This low viscosity solution is intended to be used as a mask. Please do not leave it on for more than 10 minutes.
  • It is not recommended to use this product more than twice a week. Limit the frequency and duration of skin contact. In case of irritation, discontinue use and consult a physician. Use only as directed on intact skin. It is advisable to perform a skin test before use.

Patch test

At first, I wanted to throw it in the trash because 1 week after buying it, I came across a so-called dermatologist’s video saying that 30% AHA is too strong for dark skins. Finally, it was bullshit because another dermatologist I respect confirms that glycolic acid isn’t the enemy of dark skins and that she doesn’t know where this rumor comes from.

So, even though I’m used to acids, I was using a more concentrated product in PHA, an exfoliating acid milder than AHA and BHA. I was still ultra-careful with this one.

I first started on my hands and then did a test patch behind my ear. And each time, I let it rest for only 4 minutes, on a timer.

my hands, BEFORE
the solution is applied on my left hand, you see that it is very difficult to have the same red color everywhere.
AFTER 4 minutes of mask & rinse: no visible change on my left hand (vs. the right hand that had nothing)

After the peel, my left hand is softer and smoother, but that’s it. You can see that it isn’t whiter, for example.
And so much the better! If it had changed color vs. the right hand, it would have been alarming.

So I did a test patch behind the ear for 4 minutes.

Two days later, 0 reaction to report, the area remains normal, not red, not whiter, normal what.


So I applied the product on half of my face (the other half still has 2 pimples healing, so we’ll leave them alone).
On perfectly dry skin. Why is that? If the skin is wet, the acids may be carried even deeper into the skin, which is very dangerous.

If the liquid looks viscous on the skin, it becomes completely liquid. I thought I would apply just 2 drops but it took me 4 drops to cover half my face.

It does sting a little, even if the area in question has absolutely no injuries or recent pimples. I have a hard time knowing why it stings in one place and not in the other because both places seem to have the same texture and the same problems.

Some say it foams a little. In fact, it foams a little bit when you apply it to the skin. Once you leave it on the skin, it doesn’t foam anymore.

After 4 minutes, I remove it with a soft towel and lots and lots of warm water. Fortunately, it comes off very well. You don’t need to scratch (that would be the last straw). I immediately put on a manuka honey mask, extremely repairing and ultra-moisturizing: Aura from Antipodes ( Sephora link). I leave a very very generous layer.


  • The +
    • The pores in the area around the nose are almost clean. There are almost no more sebaceous filaments.
    • The area with texture on my chin and cheek has gotten rid of 20% of its texture. It is much softer as soon as the peel is removed and even softer the next day.
    • The spots fade faster. You can really see a lot.
  • The only snag I have every time I use high-concentration AHA: 2-3 bald spots appear within 2 hours. These pimples are easy to get rid of and don’t leave a stain, so I’m fine. But a few days later, I have micro cysts that appear too.

In short, this peel has an immediate effect. It does not necessarily work on the radiance but seems to be effective on the texture. You can’t see it at all on the picture, so it’s useless for me to put a before/after here. But since I only did it on half of the face, I touched both sides and saw that the side with the peel is softer.

However, a few days later, on acne-prone skin like mine, BHA brings the dirt hidden deep down to the surface and turns into microcysts, which is hard to get rid of. Either it comes up and turns into red pimples, or it disappears on its own, but in my case, I end up with stinkless red pimples. It’s horrible.

I will continue to use it once every 2 weeks, for 4 minutes each time. finally, no, these micro cysts then red pimples make me furious, and I found a more effective product for the texture, without negative effects
Unlike Caucasian skin, I have Asian skin, which is more sensitive to the effects of AHA & BHA, and since the weather is nice in Italy, I prefer to use it little or not at all (even though I already spread SPF every day)

There you go, I hope you enjoyed your return.

What if I dilute it to make it less strong?

Nooooo! The products are formulated to work with such concentration. If you find it too strong, other, milder chemical exfoliations can be used every other day from Biologique Recherche, for example.

Prices & where to buy

This product is often out of stock.
You can buy it for the modest price of 7,2€ ~> link The Ordinary <~

If ever, it’s really out of stock everywhere in France and UK, know that if you have a friend in Italy, the product is always in stock there.
In the worst case, you can also opt for its Korean dupe: Red Peel by So Natural, less aggressive (link Yesstyle)

Caution, this product is very concentrated. Always do a patch test before using it. It is necessary to use AFTER the sun cream peel for at least one week, a lot of sun cream. There is a risk of burning the skin and burns due to acids. It’s not pretty. Please think carefully before using it. Do patch test!

Anh est toujours très occupée à profiter de jolies choses, et à fabriquer de petites bricoles de ses propres mains. **** Hi, my name is Anh. I am a Vietnamese-French DIY passionate, beauty lover and cosmetic tester.

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