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The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Masque Ingredients Explained

Wash Off Mask
3.6   (7 ratings)
32
4
31
2

Updated on June 13, 2024

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Overview

What it is

Wash off mask with 19 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA and exfoliants

Cool Features

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, dry skin, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores and scar healing

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

The Ordinary is from Canada. This product is used in 299 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

Wash off mask with 19 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA and exfoliants

Quick info

ph level
4

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 19

Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Kaolin Abrasive, Absorbent, Cosmetic Colorant
0 / 0 Exfoliant IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps fight Acne Icon
ExfoliantExfoliant Icon 2 Benefits

Kaolin is a clay. It is used for oil control and to help minimize pores. Like other clays, kaolin has the ability to absorb excess sebum or oil. This can help clean out pores and mattify the skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Squalane Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon

Squalane is an emollient that helps the skin hold onto moisture. It's an oily liquid that occurs naturally in certain types of fish and plant oils.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Dimethyl Isosorbide Solvent

Dimethyl Isosorbide is a solvent and helps deliver actives into your skin. It is created from sorbitol.

Silica Cetyl Silylate

We don't have a description for Silica Cetyl Silylate.

Unknown Full details ->
Salicylic Acid Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon PreservativePreservative Icon 5 Benefits 4 Concerns

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Sodium Polyacrylate Absorbent, Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising

Sodium Polyacrylate is the sodium salt of polyacrylic acid.

Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

Charcoal Powder Abrasive, Absorbent
Exfoliant Icon
ExfoliantExfoliant Icon

Charcoal Powder is an exfoliant.

4-T-Butylcyclohexanol Masking, Perfuming
Fragrance Icon
FragranceFragrance Icon

4-T-Butylcyclohexanol is a fragrance.

Sclerotium Gum Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning

Sclerotium Gum is a polysaccharide gum made by the fungus, Sclerotium rolfssii. It is similar to xanthan gum.

Disliked Full details ->
Acacia Senegal Gum Masking

We don't have a description for Acacia Senegal Gum.

Disliked Full details ->
Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Phytic Acid
AHA IconHelps brighten skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon Helps brighten skinHelps brighten skin Icon May worsen RosaceaMay worsen Rosacea Icon

Phytic Acid is a gentle AHA and antioxidant. The chemical makeup makes it classified as an AHA, such as lactic acid.

Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

Chlorphenesin Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

Disliked Full details ->
Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->

Ingredient Ratings

Based on the number of likes and dislikes each ingredient has received.

7
5
6
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 19 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Abrasive, Absorbent, Cosmetic Colorant
Liked

Kaolin is a clay. It is used for oil control and to help minimize pores. Like other clays, kaolin has the ability to absorb excess sebum or oil. This can help clean out pores and mattify the skin.

Some types of kaolin may have exfoliating properties. When water is added to kaolin, it becomes a paste with small abrasive particles.

Most kaolin is a white color, but may be pink/orange/red depending on where it comes from.

The name 'kaolin' comes from a Chinese village named 'Gaoling'. Kaolin clay comes from rocks rich in kaolinite. Kaolinite, the mineral, has a silicate layered structure. Kaolinite is formed from chemical weathering of aluminum siilicate minerals.

Besides skincare, kaolin is commonly used to make glossy paper, in ceramics, toothpaste, and as medicine to soothe stomach issues.

Learn more about Kaolin
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Loved

Squalane is an emollient that helps the skin hold onto moisture. It's an oily liquid that occurs naturally in certain types of fish and plant oils.

Because squalane boosts hydration in the skin, it also comes with plenty of benefits: it is an antioxidant and can help fight free radicals and skin damage. Squalane is also found to have a detoxifying effect when applied.

Squalane comes from squalene, which occurs naturally within the sebum of our skin. It is one of the oils our skin produces to keep itself hydrated. Squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene and has a longer shelf life.

Research shows that squalane is non-irritating (even at 100% concentration).

In general, it's a fantastic ingredient. It does a great job at hydrating the skin, and it's suitable for those with sensitive skin.

The source of squalane may impact malassezia / fungal acne. This is because olive oil derived squalane can contain impurities such as fatty acids and plant waxes. Sugarcane derived squalane is recommended for anyone with malassezia concerns.

Is squalane vegan?

This depends on the source. Squalane can be derived from both plants and animals. Most squalane used in skincare comes from plants.

Please note: the source of squalane is only known if disclosed by the brand. We recommend reaching out to the brand if you have any questions about their squalane.

Read more about squalene with an "e".

Learn more about Squalane
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
Solvent
Mixed

Dimethyl Isosorbide is a solvent and helps deliver actives into your skin. It is created from sorbitol.

As a solvent, dimethyl isosorbide helps dissolve other ingredients. This helps ensure even distribution of an ingredient. It may also be used to decrease the thickness of a product.

Studies show dimethyl isosorbide is able to penetrate skin to deliver other ingredients into the skin, making them more effective.

Learn more about Dimethyl Isosorbide

We don't have a description for Silica Cetyl Silylate.

Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
Absorbent, Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Mixed

Sodium Polyacrylate is the sodium salt of polyacrylic acid.

Sodium Polyacrylate is a super-absorbent polymer. It can absorb 100 to 1000 times its mass in water. As an emollient, Sodium Polyacrylate helps soften and soothe skin. Emollients work by creating a barrier to trap moisture in. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

Sodium Polyacrylate is also used to stabilize products.

Learn more about Sodium Polyacrylate
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Mixed

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

The hydrophilic trait of Pentylene Glycol makes it a humectant. As a humectant, Pentylene Glycol helps draw moisture from the air to your skin. This can help keep your skin hydrated.

This property also makes Pentylene Glycol a great texture enhancer. It can help thicken or emulsify a product. Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. It does this by preventing certain ingredients from separating.

Pentylene Glycol also acts as a mild preservative and helps to keep a product microbe-free.

Some people may experience mild eye and skin irritation from Pentylene Glycol. We always recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient in your routine.

Pentylene Glycol has a low molecular weight and is part of the 1,2-glycol family.

Learn more about Pentylene Glycol
Abrasive, Absorbent
Mixed

Charcoal Powder is an exfoliant.

Masking, Perfuming
Mixed

4-T-Butylcyclohexanol is a fragrance.

Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning
Disliked

Sclerotium Gum is a polysaccharide gum made by the fungus, Sclerotium rolfssii. It is similar to xanthan gum.

In cosmetics, Sclerotium Gum is used to thicken the texture and to help stabilize other ingredients.

As an emulsifier, Sclerotium Gum helps prevent ingredients from separating, such as water and oil.

Learn more about Sclerotium Gum
Masking
Disliked

We don't have a description for Acacia Senegal Gum.

Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Disliked

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.

Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.

Learn more about Xanthan Gum
Liked

Phytic Acid is a gentle AHA and antioxidant. The chemical makeup makes it classified as an AHA, such as lactic acid.

AHAs are chemical exfoliants that help remove dead skin cells. Phytic Acid has a slight exfoliating effect. Phytic Acid has been shown to help calm irritation. In some cases, it is a chelating agent. Chelating agents help prevent metals from binding to water, helping to stabilize the ingredients in a product.

As an antioxidant, phytic acid may help with the signs of aging. Antioxidants help neutralize free-radical molecules. These molecules may damage your skin cells.

An interesting fact about phytic acid is that it is considered an antinutrient. People do not have the enzyme needed to properly breakdown and digest phytic acid. When ingested, phytic acid binds to minerals and prevents them from being absorbed.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Phytic Acid
Emulsifying
Very Disliked

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

As a surfactant, it helps collect dirt and oils for washing. Emulsifiers prevent oils and water from separating.

Polysorbate 20 also adds scent to a product. Since it is made using sorbitol, it has a sweet scent. Sorbitol can also be found in fruits such as apples and peaches.

The lauric acid used to create Polysorbate 20 is often derived from coconuts.

Polysorbate 20 may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Polysorbate 20

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it helps prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This prevents unwanted reactions in products. Metal ions can come into a product via the water ingredient. They are found in trace amounts and are not known to be harmful.

Antimicrobial, Preservative
Disliked

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

Chlorphenesin is a biocide. This means it is able to help fight the microorganisms on our skin. It is also able to fight odor-releasing bacteria.

Chlorphenesin is soluble in both water and glycerin.

Studies show Chlorphenesin is easily absorbed by our skin. You should speak with a skincare professional if you have concerns about using Chlorphenesin.

Learn more about Chlorphenesin
Preservative
Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

Reviews

3.6
from 7 ratings
CustardBunny's avatar

CustardBunny

9 months ago · Sensitive Skin
Review

Waay too harsh for my skin, doesnt do much..
But feels fun in the moment

antimonious's avatar

antimonious

1 year ago · Combination Skin
Review

The only mask good for my skin
DISCLAIMER: Every skin is different, explore products carefully, mindfully, and have fun :) | (Skin profile:...

The only mask good for my skin
DISCLAIMER: Every skin is different, explore products carefully, mindfully, and have fun :) | (Skin profile: combination, slightly sensitive, textured, oily T-zone, enlarged pores) | For years I've struggled with top-layer exfoliation because any product I'd use would leave my skin red, irritated, and looking like tight plastic foil. I tried dozens of wet masks, sheet masks, acid peels, with a variety of acids (salicylic, glycolic, you name it - I've tried it), and none worked well. This wet mask is a game-changer. Twice a week, I apply it in the evening, after cleansing, a generous amount I'd say, but not too much, "about half a teaspoon is enough for the face and neck" the packaging says. Usually I leave it on for 7-8 minutes, a bit less than the 10 minutes the packaging puts as the maximum, gently rinse it off with warm water, pat my face dry with a soft towel, and my skin looks just fine. I haven't ever had any redness after using it, my skin wasn't feeling tight, and it even still had a natural glow to it (which hasn't ever happened because other masks would dry my skin out completely). This product deserves way more than just 5 stars.

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