The Ordinary Foundation Shade Guide

This popular foundation has just been discontinued. With a scarcity of availability, we give you the definitive guide for the right foundation for you from The Ordinary range
The Ordinary Foundation Shade Guide -

The Ordinary Foundation Shade Guide

The Ordinary has taken the market by storm since its launch in 2016. The Canadian skincare and make up brand has provide millions with top quality skincare at prices which make it accessible for the majority. Their sleek, minimalistic branding make their brand instantly recognisable and a fashionable addition to any bathroom. Despite the popularity of The Ordinary, not all products are a relative success. 

What happened to The Ordinary Foundation?

Internet search engines have seen an explosion in the search 'Did The Ordinary discontinue their Foundation?' To the dismay of millions around the World, The Ordinary has discontinued their Foundation ranges. Both the The Ordinary Serum Foundation and the Coverage Foundation ranges will be taken off the market in 2023 and have already stopped production. According to their Instagram post on 5th December:

'Despite many people loving the formulas, we didn’t manage to reach enough of you with our Colours range and the products have not been profitable since their launch. Although we really strongly believe in both products, their popularity simply was not strong enough to make their production sustainable.'

This news has been met with dismay but understanding by The Ordinary's loyal followers. 

the ordinary serum foundation


The Ordinary Foundation ranges brought together make up and skincare offering minimalistic suspension with SPF protection. This range is perfect for those with dryer skin providing healthy hydration to the skin whilst offering a perfect foundation finish. Why is the ordinary so popular you might ask. The Ordinary has exploded in popularity ever since it's launch in 2016. The simplistic nature of their products, represented in with the stylish minimalistic design, coupled with affordability, has given customers access and aspiration.

Why is The Ordinary out of stock already?

Even though the announcement stated that the foundations would be taken off the market in the first half of 2023, production of The Ordinary's foundation has already been halted and stocks are in limited supply. This has led to bulk panic buying by many customers and, with no expiry date on the foundation range, this is the last opportunity for fans to stock up on these popular foundations. With over 30 different shades and tints, many ask 'how to choose the right shade of the ordinary foundation?'

Which The Ordinary foundation shade is for you?

First of all, let's explain the product and the ranges. There are two ranges in The Ordinary Foundation portfolio. The Serum foundation and the Coverage foundation. For both of these foundations, there are 21 shades ranging from the lighter, pale shades starting at 1.0 up to shades for darker skin tones that end with 3.3.

The full shade range is as follows:

1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3.

how to choose the right shade of the ordinary foundation

Within these shade numbers there different tints depicted with a letter.

The tints are as follows:

Letter Tint
NS Neutral with Silver Highlights
N Neutral
P Pink Undertones
R Red Undertones
YG Yellow Undertones with Gold Highlights
Y Yellow  Undertones

How do I choose The Ordinary foundation?

To choose the right The Ordinary foundation for you, you first have to know your own skin tone and any associated undertone.

To start with, understanding your skin tone breaks down into the following categories:

  • Fair
  • Light 
  • Medium
  • Dark 
  • Deep

Once you've worked out your skin tone, you need to understand your skin's undertone which falls under the following categories:

  • Pink
  • Yellow
  • Neutral

What is a Pink undertone?

You know that you have natural pink undertones if:

  1. You suit silver jewellery rather than gold
  2. Your veins appear blue in natural light
  3. Your natural skin tone appears to have a slight blush of pink/blue.

If you suit all or some of the above, you should choose The Ordinary shades that are marked with a 'P' or an 'R' such as The Ordinary Serum Foundation 1.1P

What is Yellow undertone?

Also know as a 'warm' undertone, you can identify a yellow undertone by:

  1. Gold jewellery naturally suits your skin tone.
  2. In natural light, veins appear green.
  3. You have a natural yellow tint within your skin's pigmentation in natural light.

If this sounds like you, you should look for The Ordinary foundation products marked with 'Y' or 'YG' such as The Ordinary Coverage Foundation 1.2YG

What is a Neutral undertone?

  1. Either silver or gold jewellery naturally suits your skintone.
  2. In natural light, veins appear blue and/or green.
  3. You have a natural balance of pink, blue and yellow within your skin's pigmentation in natural light.

If this is you, you'll need to choose The Ordinary Foundations that are marked with 'N' such as The Ordinary Coverage Foundation 1.0N


What's the difference between The Ordinary Serum Foundation and Coverage Foundation?

Essentially, the Serum Foundation is a lighter, liquid-based foundation offering a lighter coverage whilst the Coverage Foundation is a creamier texture that offers a fuller, matte finish. 

Can you mix The Ordinary Serum foundation with Coverage foundation?

The short answer is yes. Beauty influencers have tried and have loved some of the results. This all comes down to individual tastes and preferences. Try it and see for yourself.


the ordinary foundation


Each of the Foundation products come in sleek 30ml bottles that are light weight and small enough to fit in even the smallest of make up bags.


Where can you buy The Ordinary Foundation?

With the discontinuation of The Ordinary Foundation, there's currently a scarcity of products available, especially some of the most popular shades. Even The Ordinary website has sold out. Large retailers such as Boots are struggling to source the remaining foundations at the moment. Fortunately, has limited stocks available including some of the most popular lighter shades.

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Other places where the last remaining The Ordinary Foundations can be found albeit sporadically is ebay

With the now limited amount of stock in circulation these foundations will become increasing difficult to find and the prices are likely to keep on increasing. Given that these foundation don't have expiry dates (simply store in cool dry places away from direct sunlight), people have been stocking up on the foundations.

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