The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid is a skincare serum used to improve smoothness of the skin and for anti-aging effect. The brand claims that this serum “targets the appearance of wrinkles and textural irregularities and can “enhance hydration.”
But can this skincare product really improve skin quality and reduce visible signs of aging? Does it contain research-backed ingredients? What about any potentially harmful ingredients? And how do real users rate and describe its effects?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review every ingredient in The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid based on clinical research to give our take on whether or not it’s likely to be effective. We’ll also share real, unsponsored user reviews of the product.
Ingredient Analysis: Will it Work?
Unsurprisingly based on the name of the product, two of the first ingredients on the label are variations of hyaluronic acid: sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer and sodium hyaluronate.
Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, which is one of the most well-studied anti-aging skincare ingredients. Because it has a lower molecular weight, it can penetrate deeper into skin than hyaluronic acid. Sodium hyaluronate is shown in clinical research to have “remarkable anti-wrinkle effects.”
Panthenol is a type of vitamin B5 that was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science to significantly improve skin moisture content.
Glycerin is also an effective and non-toxic skin moisturizing ingredient according to a 2001 clinical trial.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid clearly has a number of research-backed ingredients, but it also contains one ingredient we recommend avoiding.
Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative that was found to be toxic to human cells in a clinical trial, as we documented in our review of The Ordinary lash serum.
The Ordinary’s hyaluronic acid serum contains another synthetic preservative called ethylhexylglycerin but we consider this preservative to have more favorable safety data.
Overall we do believe that The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid is likely to be effective for anti-aging effect and improving skin hydration because it has multiple ingredients proven in clinical research to have those effects.
We don’t recommend the product due to the inclusion of a synthetic preservative, but we do consider this product’s formulation (and price) to be superior to most of the skincare formulations we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health.
Real, Unsponsored The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid User Review
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid is published by a channel called “Pharmacy&Makeup” that’s run by a pharmacist specialized in cosmetology named Danny. She shares her thoughts on the effect of the serum and demonstrates how to use it:
Why to Avoid This Product on Amazon
Although we don’t recommend this product overall, for consumers intent on purchasing it, we recommend doing so through the brand’s official website (link here) rather than Amazon.
The product’s listing on Amazon has many red flags. The brand is listed as “Mtoye” and the “Sold by” company is listed as “DALEDELAHA.” This suggests that this listing is not run by The Ordinary.
We consider the risk of counterfeit products to be significantly higher when purchasing from third-party sellers, and recommend only purchasing directly from brands for safety reasons.
The Amazon listing also lists “rose oil” under “Special ingredients,” while rose oil is not listed as an ingredient on The Ordinary’s official website and ingredient list.
Several of the reviewers of the Amazon product claim this listing is a scam. One reviewer named “Trinity and Christy” has a review titled “Fake Product” and claims this listing is a counterfeit:
“I used to have a picture that compared the real product that is cheaper, to this fake product that is more expensive. The real product has a really long description on the label whereas this one is in way bigger font and is like 1-2 sentences. It definitely does not feel the same on the face”
Before and After Images
A YouTube creator named Cici Do published a review of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid including before-and-after images, which is something many consumers are curious about before purchasing an anti-aging serum:
Will This Serum Cause Side Effects?
Based on the ingredients, we do not believe that The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid is likely to cause side effects. All of the ingredients are relatively safe and well-studied, and while we recommend avoiding synthetic preservatives, there are no especially harsh chemical compounds like artificial dye or fragrance that may be likely to cause irritation or a sensitizing effect.
It’s impossible to determine for sure whether a skincare product causes side effects without a clinical trial testing it (which this product does not appear to have), so our best option is to make an educated guess based on the ingredients list.
Our Clean Skincare Picks
There are skincare products containing ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality.
Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top anti-aging serum.
It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.
HYDRAGLOW by CLEARSTEM is our top moisturizer pick.
It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects."
Bulletproof Collagen Powder is our top skin supplement.
Collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to reduce visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.
All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.