The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum Review: My Honest Take

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum Review
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The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: How and Why it Works

Hyaluronic acid is well known for its ability to attract and retain moisture. Ironically, although it is naturally occurring in the skin, it does not function as a hydrator in the skin.  See a list of all of the best hydrating face serums here.

There are many products on the market that make claims that they are hydrating.  But most of these formulas do not have the correct molecular structure to be beneficial. 

Many of these forms of Hyaluronic acid’s molecules are too large to penetrate the layers of the skin.  This causes the HA to have an adverse effect, drawing moisture out of the deeper layers of the skin to make the surface feel moisturized at first.   

But in fact, these other products are often dehydrating the skin causing a sense of dryness as soon as it is washed off.    The molecular size of HA determines its depth of delivery into the skin.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum takes a better approach by incorporating HA with 3 different molecular weights to ensure absorption into all the layers of the skin. 

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid

The Ordinary also includes Vitamin B5 in its hyaluronic acid formula. B5 is known to also increase hydration and reduce inflammation. 

The Journal of Dermatological Treatment cited several studies that indicated that B5 improves hydration in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin) and reduces transepidermal water loss (meaning water loss due to evaporation from the skin barrier). This all results in improved skin softness and elasticity.

Click here for an easy guide to build your own The Ordinary skincare routine.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum Review: Who Needs This

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid serum is helpful for all skin types!

Dry Skin Types:

Since Hyaluronic acid is famous for its hydration benefits, this seems like a no-brainer. If your skin is extremely dry and flaky,  this can help to replenish lost moisture, making your skin look and feel more smooth, soft, and supple. 

There is a caveat to this though!  If used incorrectly you could end up with dryer skin than you had before.  Be sure to read the section below in “How to Apply” to ensure you don’t make your dry skin worse. 

Normal Skin Types:

Because skincare ingredients penetrate the derm barrier best when it is well hydrated, even normal skin types will benefit.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid serum will help to hydrate all layers of the skin which improves the absorption and efficacy of all of your other skincare products. 

Pair this with other antiaging serums such as vitamin C, glycolic acid, or retinol,  to give them an extra boost.

Oily/Combination Skin Types:

This serum will also help to balance oily or combination skin.

As Hyaluronic acid can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water,  allowing this ingredient to sink into your skin will signal to the sebaceous gland (the oil-producing gland) that the moisture level is up to par. 

This leads to a decrease in excess oil production without sacrificing moisture. Many people with oily skin are afraid to moisturize for fear that this will add to the oiliness. 

To make matters worse, oily skin types are often under the misconception that they need to use ingredients that dry their skin out.  But this will only destroy the skin barrier and cause your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and increase oil production. 

Oily skin needs a humectant such as hyaluronic acid to call on the skin to retain moisture and stop the oil flow. 

The Feel

the ordinary hyaluronic acid review

To be honest, I felt like the texture of this formula was similar to egg whites, but slightly thicker.

It glides on smoothly, gets a little tacky in the next 20 seconds as it dries, and then leaves your skin feeling extremely soft and silky without any sensation of stickiness or leftover residue. 

Initially, your skin may feel slightly tight, but this feeling fades within minutes after application.  

The Scent

I am personally often overly sensitive to scents. If any of my skincare products have even the slightest undesirable aroma, I will return them. 

The Ordinary has a very faint “plasticky” scent when you first apply it.  But for me, this subtle odor disappeared immediately.  Some say that they don’t like the smell or that it lingered, but I didn’t experience this at all.  

The Results

The Good:

Hand to heart I have to say… WOW! This stuff works! I have been using this for about two weeks. The first night I applied it I instantly felt a difference in my skin texture. 

It felt softer and smoother right away.  I have very dry skin so I often have flakiness on my forehead, and around and on my nose. 

The flakiness has completely disappeared, and my skin looks noticeably more smooth and radiant. The game-changer is the difference it’s made for me at the end of the day. Usually, my makeup looks cakey and dried up by 5:00 pm. But since using this serum, my foundation looks almost as good as new by dinnertime.

So yes, I am impressed! After two weeks of consistent daily use, my 50-year-old skin looks and feels healthier and more youthful!  

The Bad:

On the other hand, my 21-year-old daughter did not have the same results. Her skin type is completely different from mine; acne prone and a combination of oily and dry. 

Her experience after using this serum for a few days was not nearly as positive as mine.   It made her feel more dehydrated in the drier areas of her face, and she had more redness and irritation. 

She stopped using it by day 3.  

The Verdict:

So it is clear that this product isn’t for everyone. Some will find it to be the beauty elixir that answers all of their skincare concerns. 

Others will find it to cause more problems than it solves.  Just like all products, one size does not fit all.  But I’m still a believer that this one is definitely worth a try!


Just as the name indicates, the active ingredients in The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum are 2% Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin B5. The following is a complete list of ingredients:

Water, Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

This formula is vegan and cruelty-free and is free from nuts, oils, alcohol, silicones, gluten, and water.

The ph is 6.5 – 7.5.

How to Apply

Serums should always be applied to clean skin directly after your toner (if you choose to use a toner).

Since Hyaluronic Acid works its magic by latching onto water molecules and drawing them into the skin, this specific serum should be applied while the skin is still damp in order for it to work correctly. 

If you apply HA to dry skin, especially in arid climates, you run the risk of de-hydration.  Without some outside moisture to attach to, HA will instead pull the moisture from the deeper layers of skin up to the surface of your skin. 

Initially, this will provide a soft and moisturized feeling.  But once the serum is washed off, your skin will be more parched than it was to begin with.

To avoid this problem and get the best results, always apply your HA serum immediately after cleansing, toner, or face mist while it is still slightly damp. 

Use a few drops every morning and evening.  After applying your serum, you can also benefit from the use of an occlusive cream to lock in that moisture.  

It is recommended by The Ordinary to always perform a patch test before putting this on your face. Do a patch test by applying a drop or two to your forearm and leaving it on for 24 hours. 

If you experience any irritation to the area it is recommended by the company to not use this product.  

For more specifics on how to apply face serum check out this article.

Should You Buy It?

This is an extremely well-thought-out product, free of most irritants and formulated to actually penetrate the skin barrier to give you real results.

Not only does it have the credibility and science behind it, but it is also one of the most affordable Hyaluronic Acid serums on the market. 

This serum is well worth a try if you are experiencing any skin issues, not only because it can hydrate and improve the overall health of your skin, but also because it can help the rest of your skincare products to be even more effective.  

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum Review

Why The Ordinary is Less Expensive Than the Others

Many Hyaluronic Acid serums range from $20 to upwards of $100 an ounce! The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid sells for $7.50 an ounce on their website.

How are they able to make a quality product for so much less than their competitors?  

The Ordinary company doesn’t waste money on marketing to convince consumers that their products work.

Their simple white packaging (much like a generic brand) is an indication of their goal to keep marketing and production costs down so that they can pass those savings on to us skincare junkies!  

The Ordinary products contain higher concentrations of their active ingredients, with less fluff.  They use simple formulations backed by science to stay on budget keep and keep their products super affordable.  

More on Facial Serums

How to Use Glycolic Acid Serum

How to Tell if a Serum is Water-Based: Breaking Down Serums

9 Crucial Facial Serum Benefits & Must-Have Ingredients

Can You Put Serums in a Skincare Fridge

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