The Ordinary Colours: Serum and Coverage Foundation Review

The Ordinary Colours: Serum and Coverage Foundation Review

Another foundation review for you. (Ambassador, you’re really spoiling us, etc.) It’s actually two foundation reviews in one; the Coverage Foundation and the Serum Foundation, both from Deciem brand The Ordinary. The Ordinary launched last year to a hugely positive reception from the beauty world; it’s a high-tech skincare brand with a no-frills, ingredient-led approach and incredibly low price-points.

I’m not going to attempt to de-mystify the skincare range here – so many people have asked me for a run-down of the products, but I have to admit that I’ve not had the time (nor the energy!) to properly sit down and go through them. Suffice to say, for the moment, that it’s all very to-the-point. You can buy your acid peel according to which specific acid it is that you want – Lactic, Salicylic, Glycolic, for example – and you get just that. I’d say that perhaps you need to know what you’re doing more than you would with other brands and ranges, which is maybe why there are so many requests for a product guide, but if you’re au fait with your skin issues and know which ingredients are effective at treating them, then this is a brilliant (and affordable) way of     getting hold of the good stuff.

The Ordinary Colours: Serum and Coverage Foundation Review

Anyway, I’ve digressed. The Ordinary have branched out with some colour products, namely two foundations – the Coverage and the Serum, which are pretty self-explanatory, I have to say! There are no real surprises here; the Coverage has a medium, buildable coverage that blends well and doesn’t seem to cling to dry patches, the Serum is far more sheer, has less longevity but gives a more natural and fresh look. Here are some before and after pics, but please do watch the video at the bottom of the page for my full review – I was actually intending on simply embedding the video and prompting you all to watch it, but I decided to not be lazy and to cater for those who like to read rather than listen. (You old-fashioned beasts, you!)

Here I am before the Serum foundation – I used shade 2.0N:

The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation 2.0N

And after:

The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation 2.0N

It does a fairly decent job of evening out the skintone but blemishes aren’t concealed and you do need a touch extra under the eyes if you have dark circles. It’s sort of like a tinted moisturiser, this foundation, but without the moisturiser part. If that makes sense. I’ve seen reviews saying that this is dewier than the Coverage foundation, but I don’t find it to be so – not unless I’ve prepped with a particularly buttery moisturiser.

And actually, I’d say that’s quite an important point: both foundations are very lightweight and I’ve found that they sort of take on the properties of whatever you have on underneath. You need to prep your skin well, whether that’s tackling an oily t-zone with a primer, or making sure that dry skin is adequately hydrated. I find that I can get a really lovely finish with the Coverage foundation if I’ve plumped my skin out with buttery face creams; equally the Serum can look rather dry if I try to apply it over minimal moisturiser.

Here I am before and after using the Coverage Foundation in 2.0YG, which is the yellow-toned shade with golden highlights (there are 21 shades, 9 different depths and then a selection of undertones):

The Ordinary Colours Coverage Foundation 2.0YG The Ordinary Colours Coverage Foundation 2.0YG

Now I did originally think that the 2.0 was slightly to deep for me, but after perusing my photos and re-watching the video, in which I opted for 1.2N, I think that 2.0 is probably my best match. It’s fairly spot-on if you’re generally a 2.0/20 in Dior and Chanel foundations and I like the added warmth that it gives my skin. The golden highlights in the YG give a little bit of luminosity to the base that I think that the foundations in general seem to lack – they’re not flat matte, but you don’t get the high-wattage glow or “real skin” effect of some of my high-end favourites…

The Ordinary Colours: Serum and Coverage Foundation Review

But I’m not sure that The Ordinary are promising a luxury foundation for less – just functional products without the frill and frippery. For me, they miss out that vital finish that I love so much – plumped, real-skin glow – but, as I said, you can get an enhanced finish by really prepping your face well.

Here’s the thing, though; the Coverage Foundation costs £5.90 and the Serum is £5.70. You can’t really go far wrong with those prices – light, easily transportable packaging, SPF15 and (in the Coverage, at least) a high concentration of pigment that means a little product goes a long way.

Take a look at the video for more thoughts – there’s a pretty long waiting time for the foundations, if you want to order them, so you’ve a while to make your mind up if you’re thinking of buying them. You can find all of the shades online here* – they’ll be rolled out to other stockists once the supply is there, but I suspect that The Ordinary are currently working their way through their extraordinary waiting list!

Browse all of my foundation reviews…

© 2018 A Model Recommends®: all opinions are my own and any sponsored or paid posts will always be clearly marked as an AD in the title. I accept press samples and receive product and services to review as part of my job. *Outbound links are affiliate links, which means that I receive a very small percentage of any sale made. This does not affect my content in any way and does not cost you anything, but you are most welcome to Google the products on a new page if you prefer. Please see here for full "about" section and disclaimer. A Model Recommends and Ruth Crilly are registered trademarks.



  1. May 8, 2017 / 2:23 pm

    I am more interested in the skincare than the makeup. To be honest, I was a bit wary when I heard they were about to release foundations, like I always am when skincare brands rekease makeup and vice versa. But it seems they have done well.

  2. Anna
    May 8, 2017 / 2:27 pm

    Hi Ruth, they come with a pump now!
    Always loving your honest reviews.

  3. Judith
    May 8, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    How I really wish we had The Ordinary in Germany (skincare & foundation)! Thanks for the review.


    • DLA
      May 8, 2017 / 5:54 pm

      I’m also from Germany…
      Do you mean we don’t have a DECIEM store in Germany?
      Because it is absolutely no problem ordering Ordinary products online.
      Some shops even offer free shipping when ordering a certain amount of €€€

    • Bettina
      May 8, 2017 / 9:48 pm

      We have it in Germany!!

    • Lina
      May 8, 2017 / 9:59 pm

      ASOS and Victoria Health stocks them, they ship to NZ so i would be very surprised if they didn’t ship to Germany!
      hope that helps

    • Miranda
      May 9, 2017 / 7:04 am

      We do! Buy it from with free shipping over €25, or from :) Both those sites ship from the UK so no customs fees. Asos also has it but they don’t stock the full range.

      • Judith
        May 9, 2017 / 10:02 am

        Yes, I do know you can order online via victoriahealth, etc. ;)
        I meant, I would really appreciate the products to be in stationary retail (or a actual Deciem store), since I like to test out skincare and foundation shades on my skin in advance. Sorry for the misunderstanding and many thanks for the recommendations :)

  4. May 8, 2017 / 3:44 pm

    I’d love to try the Coverage foundation out, but I’m currently on the waiting list for more stock. I think the Serum version would be too lightweight for me.

  5. bev
    May 8, 2017 / 6:13 pm

    I have just found out the backlog will be even longer now as the brand have packing issues.
    I pre-ordered the serum version as I only wear very light makeup if I wear any at all! I have been waiting from the first date we could pre-order in March from VH when I emailed today I was told it would be at least another 4 weeks which is disappointing as the stock to cover the backlog was expected today but now the brand has packaging issues!
    I know it isn’t critical and there aea lot worse things but the way this was launched has made me think again.

    • bev
      May 8, 2017 / 6:14 pm

      There ‘are’ (not aea) sorry I just noticed the typo as this posted

    • Maggie
      May 17, 2017 / 3:21 am

      I don’t know if you are on Instagram, but Deciem issued an apology for the delays a couple of days ago. Apparently the waiting list for the colours range was 25,000 and then, when it was released, they had orders for 250,000 units in the first week. They do all their own manufacturing in-house which is quite unusual and which meant that the huge initial demand put them under extreme pressure.

  6. Minty
    May 8, 2017 / 11:00 pm

    I have ordered the 2.0N.. it’s hard to decide without swatching and I certainly would not have blindly leapt with a more expensive product. I nearly went for lighter.
    Reassured that you are a 2.0 as the foundation shades you use almost always turn out to me my match too.
    Thank you for such a balanced review x

  7. Eliza
    May 8, 2017 / 11:13 pm

    Thank you for your thorough review. I totally understand what you mean when you say you prefer a foundation with a little bulk or bounce…a little anything, and not just watery-esque pigment. I have no interest in those either. However, it seems the Coverage version won’t be guilty of this this if I make sure to bounce up/ moisturise first. And before you think me an old fashioned fuddy dud, I did in fact watch your video yesterday! :) I find both super helpful.

  8. Miranda
    May 9, 2017 / 7:08 am

    I have the serum version in 1.0NS, 1.1N and 1.2N. I use the lightest one under my eyes and for a gentle highlight, and haven’t tried out the 1.2, yet as my winter face is still in full force. I’m pink toned but hate pink foundations, so was very pleased to be able to buy a neutral foundation that was actually pale enough, with not-too-heavy coverage. Thanks as always for the review :)

  9. zeezee
    May 9, 2017 / 11:33 am

    does this foundation contain silicones or feel silicone-y?

    • Zanna
      May 16, 2017 / 10:49 am

      I just got the Serum foundation in two colours and it’s full of silicones. I think the name Serum is actually misleading as it implies the product has skincare qualities, when on the packaging it actually says ‘serum-textured’ – it just means it’s thin in consistency.

  10. Tweez
    May 19, 2017 / 8:47 pm

    I have the serum foundation in two shades and totally agree with this review. I found it just doesn’t have the finish of my high end and other chemist foundations. I have dry skin and also found the serum foundation made my skin look drier. I’m in my early 50s and it made me look older. I was really disappointed. I found makeup doesn’t ‘sit’ very well on top either. I suppose for the price, it’s ok, but I wish I hadn’t bothered.

    • SouthSea
      June 1, 2017 / 8:11 pm

      I’m glad someone else had a poor experience with it – everyone seems to be raving about these foundations, but I’ve tried both kinds now and they cake up and make my face look like a weird dry mess (and I have oily skin with no dry patches!)

  11. Indre Viltrakyte
    June 6, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    I finally got mine after almost 6 weeks wait, but have to say it was totally worth it. I generally have good skin, I’m now in my thirties, but the serum foundation blended like a dream! my go-to foundation is Chanel vitalumiere aqua, but the Ordinary one is in the same league for me. it looked absolutely fabulous on my skin, especially over Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow.

  12. Lady Eve
    June 12, 2017 / 7:25 pm

    This review is really interesting. I bought the Serum Foundation and have worn it twice. The first time I was thrilled with the results – the foundation looked natural and lasted for the whole time that I was out on a hot day. I was thrilled. The second time, though, I found the same shade looked completely ‘off’ – strangely chalky and almost clown-like. It also curdled quite quickly on a similar hot day. I felt hugely disappointed. I notice you say that this foundation takes on the characteristics of what’s underneath, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t vary my skincare regime over the two days. The only possible variation might be that I have inadvertently got a little more colour in my face, although I do not sunbathe, ever. For me, then, The Ordinary Colours Serum Foundation has been both a hit and a miss. I will persevere, but know that it was so inexpensive that it will ultimately not matter if I cannot make it work.
    I wanted something really light, natural and blendable, and frankly I’m feeling overwhelmed by the choice that’s available.
    Previously I had been wearing Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation in #51 Light Vanilla. But I found it to be a bit too heavy for summer. Do you, Ruth, or any of your followers have thoughts on a likely shade match in, for example, the Armani Luminous Silk? My skin tends dry (normal to dehydrated). I’d love to know your thoughts. x

    • ŽivaS
      July 4, 2017 / 9:53 pm

      Hey lady Eve, I was thinking of buying the ordinary serum foundation but i’m not quite sure which colour to pick haha. I too am a Bourjois #51 and I was wondering which colour did you get and would you say that it’s a good pick?
      Best, Živa

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