Good Molecules vs. The Ordinary

Good Molecules vs. The Ordinary



Two hands holding a small and a big pineapple

I'm sure you have heard about the Ordinary (unless you live in a cave 😉 ). It was probably the first brand with a strong focus on ingredients and formulations. The products are extraordinarily effective. And the best part: they're very affordable.

Some other brands with a similar idea followed, such as Naturium, The Inkey List, or Good Molecules. Each of the brands has its uniqueness.

Today let's compare the two brands: Good Molecules vs. The Ordinary...

Similarities Of The Ordinary & Good Molecules

Both - The Ordinary and Good Molecules - focus on well-researched ingredients. Most of the products contain ingredients that have been known for their effectiveness for decades.

The formulations (= all the ingredients in a product) are simple and effective. The products do what they claim. And this is what makes these two brands so successful - no fluff.

You can be sure to find a matching product for each of your skin concerns since both brands have a good variety of products in their range.

Last but not least, both brands are cruelty-free. There are some vegan products as well.

What Makes The Ordinary Vs. Good Molecules So Different?

First of all, let's compare the names of the products.

On the one hand, The Ordinary name their products after the key ingredients. This can be confusing for someone who is less familiar with skincare and ingredients. On the other hand, the products from Good Molecules are named after their goals, such as "Brightening". This is probably easier to understand.

Another difference is the product range of the brands. The Ordinary offers skincare, make-up, and also hair care. Good Molecules focuses only on skincare.

Last but not least: the packaging. The Ordinary is known for its minimalistic, mostly black and white packaging. Good Molecules is different: the packaging is colorful and bright. It somehow reminds us of the space :)

What Are The Differences When It Comes To The Products?

Both brands have great products. No question. But are there differences? Yes.

One of the best-selling products from Good Molecules is the Niacinamide Brightening Toner (read our review here). A great toner containing Niacinamide, Arbutin, Vitamin C and Licorice. All you need for skin brightening. There is no similar toner in the range of The Ordinary.

Good Molecules offers fewer products containing Vitamin C and Retinol than The Ordinary. However, especially their Retinol products are worth a try.

Both ingredients - Vitamin C and Retinol - are some of the best-researched ingredients to fight signs of skin aging. Here are some differences between the two brands:

  • ❯ The Ordinary offers mostly serums or face oils containing Retinol or its derivatives. Good Molecules doesn't have a Retinol-serum in their range at all. Instead, it provides a moisturizer with Retinol (perfect for sensitive skin) and face oils with Bakuchiol. Bakuchiol is a plant-based alternative to Retinol. The benefit: it is less sensitizing. The downside: it is less researched.
  • ❯ Good Molecules has only one product with Vitamin C: The Vitamin C Boosting Powder, which is very similar to The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder.

Now, let's talk about acids. The Ordinary offers A LOT of different products with different acids. They are simple and effective. Some examples are:

Despite the wide range of products, Good Molecules has created two completely different acid treatments:

There are probably more differences between the products of these two brands. However, the ones mentioned above are - in our eyes - the most crucial ones.

Let's Talk About Similar Products...

The Ordinary: Squalane Cleanser vs. Good Molecules: Instant Cleansing Balm


If you're following the double cleansing method: both cleansers can be used in the first step of the cleansing routine. They're suitable for all skin conditions.


The Squalane Cleanser from The Ordinary is based on Squalane. It's a skin-identical ingredient derived from plant oils such as olive oil. The Good Molecules Instant Cleansing Balm is based on a fatty acid ester (palmitic Acid and a soothing fatty alcohol). It also contains small amounts of lovely plant oils.


The Squalane Cleanser from The Ordinary and the Instant Cleansing Balm from Good Molecules have the same goals: cleansing and hydration. They can be used with all skin conditions. The difference: the products' main ingredients (Squalane vs. fatty acid ester).

Good Molecules: Hyaluronic Acid Serum vs. The Ordinary: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5


The key ingredient of both products is Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid is a water-binding ingredient. It attracts additional water to your skin and makes it plump and youthful.


The treatment from The Ordinary consists of 18 ingredients in total. It contains two different types of Hyaluronic Acid (SODIUM HYALURONATE CROSSPOLYMER and SODIUM HYALURONATE) and the skin-barrier repairing ingredient Panthenol (Vitamin B5). The serum from Good Molecules consists of 10 ingredients and contains one type of Hyaluronic Acid (SODIUM HYALURONATE).


The serum from Good Molecules is very minimalistic. It contains only 10 ingredients and is therefore suitable even for hypersensitive skin. The treatment from The Ordinary contains more key ingredients, resulting in more ingredients in total. Both products are great for hydration.

Good Molecules: Niacinamide Serum vs. The Ordinary: Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%


Niacinamide is an exzellen multitasking ingredient. Because of its remarkable properties, it is suitable for: Dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, acne-prone skin, hyperpigmentation, and enlarged pores. Both products from The Ordinary and Good Molecules contain 10% Niacinamide.


The serum from The Ordinary contains - in addition to Niacinamide - another key ingredient, namely Zinc. Zinc is an absorbent - it can absorb excess oil like a sponge. Great for oilier skin types. Not so great for drier skin types since they already lack oil. The serum from Good Molecules might be a better option for drier skin types.


Niacinamide is a great multitasker. Depending on the product formulation (= all the ingredients in a product), it can give you multiple great benefits. Choose the product from The Ordinary if your skin is on the oilier side. Otherwise, Good Molecules might be a better choice.

Good Molecules: Daily Brightening Serum vs. The Ordinary: Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA


Arbutin is a well-researched ingredient to fade hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is a harmless skin condition where patches of the skin become darker in color than the rest of the skin. Common factors causing hyperpigmentation are hormonal changes, excessive UV exposure, or inflammation. Both products contain Arbutin.


In order to fight hyperpigmentation, the serum from Good Molecules contains - in addition to Arbutin - Licorice Root Extract. It is a new, promising ingredient to treat discolorations. On the other hand, the serum from the Ordinary contains Hyaluronic Acid to give your skin water (hydration).


Both products contain Arbutin as one of their key ingredients. If hyperpigmentation is your main concern, then Good Molecules might be your first choice. If you'd like to give your skin additional water, The Ordinary might be a better option.

To Sum Up

Both brands - the Ordinary and Good Molecules - seem to be very similar at first sight. They focus on well-researched ingredients and effective formulations.

However, the products differ more than you might think. Depending on your skin condition and skincare goals, it's worth checking out both brands to find your perfect product :)

Find out more about the products from The Ordinary here and Good Molecules here.