Budget Brand or High-End: $6.80 vs $48
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a wonderful ingredient for its hydrating and soothing properties, offering plump dewiness without making skin oily. It prevents irritation from dehydration and is an all-around great ingredient to incorporate in a skincare routine. But, how much should you pay for an HA serum? These two serums are often considered interchangeable- The Ordinary’s being touted as a “dupe” since they both feature two hyaluronic acid derivatives and vitamin B5. But, that’s about where the similarities stop. Let’s break them down: The Ordinary - Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 ($0.23 USD per mL) is a tacky, thick serum that takes a while to soak in. I had issues with pilling when applying products over even a small amount of the serum. The ingredient list is pleasantly simple, with some hydrating hitters: sodium hyaluronate (HA derivative), propanediol (humectant that helps products absorb), sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (HA derivative), panthenol (B5, humectant), glycerin (humectant), and a variety of glycols that serve as further humectants. Unproblematic, simple, hydrating. But, that simplicity leaves something to be desired in my opinion, unless I’m using this to dilute another product. I did see more hydrated skin immediately, though no long-term effects were visible even after using 2.5 bottles. DRUNK ELEPHANT - B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum ($0.96 USD per mL) is a light gel serum that soaks in quickly and offers no issues of pilling in my experience, regardless of what I layer over it. And the ingredient list is packed: every hydrating ingredient I mentioned in the Ordinary’s quick review is in B-Hydra, with the exception of propanediol. But B-Hydra incorporates niacinamide (B3, skin-soothing), sodium PCA (humectant), marula oil (moisturizing emollient), dipotassium glycyrrhizate (skin-soothing licorice extract), wheat amino acids (skin-restoring humectant), and a variety of fruit extracts (versus the Ordinary’s one singular fruit extract). I saw similar immediate hydration effects, but actually experienced long-term effects as well in the form of reduced oiliness. Breaking that down, the added benefits understandably have an added cost. This makes B-Hydra superior to me, though the texture superiority and lack of pilling alone makes it worth it since I apply it in the AM as well as PM.
DRUNK ELEPHANT-B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum