Hyaluronic Acid Serums | Save, Spend or Splash Out?

Serums are definitely one the beauty products I am most open to investing a little more in and hyaluronic acid is a skincare ingredient I absolutely swear by. Today I'm investigating whether you really 'get what you pay for' with hyaluronic acid serums or if a cheaper product can do the job just as well...

What is hyaluronic acid and why should I be using it?

Hyaluronic acid (HA) occurs naturally in the skin, and is famed for being able to retain up to 1000x its weight in water. Although it can be used in cosmetic procedures, you can also apply it topically through your skincare. The reason you find it in so many skincare products is because it draws moisture into the skin and acts as a barrier, so smoothes out fine lines temporarily and stops your skin losing water. It isn't an anti-aging ingredient as such, as it the molecules won't go into the skin to 'replace' what has naturally been lost over time. 

What I really love about this ingredient is that it works for every skin type; whether you're dry and sensitive or combination-dehydrated, it's highly unlikely to cause you any issues. It's also a very lightweight product that's easy to incorporate into your routine (my preferred method is using a serum before moisturising).

But isn't it all the same thing?

A lot of people are going to look at a product and see it's 'hyaluronic acid' and think 'why would I pay more when it's the same ingredient?' However, think of HA as a little bit like olive oil - you may walk down the grocery aisle and see two bottles of 'olive oil' at totally different price-points, however the reason for this is because refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil are made in different ways and will have different tastes.

When it comes to HA, we're looking at the molecular weight of the formulation. The smaller the molecules, the more deeply they can penetrate into the skin. Therefore if you want to maximise the hydration, you'll want to go for a low molecular weight, which can often cost a little bit more to make. 

Save: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 | £5.90 (30ml) 

The Ordinary is the brand that changed the beauty world in 2017 - the central concept (in case you've been living under a rock!) is stripping back skincare to its proven, active ingredients. This product is formulated with a variety of molecule sizes (high, medium and low) which are designed to distribute themselves at each level of your skin. It also includes Vitamin B5, which increases surface moisture on the skin. The Ordinary's 'no frills' approach to skincare is both a benefit (when it comes to price-point) and a drawback. Essentially this has none of the added ingredients that help a skincare product sit nicely on the skin. It has quite a thick formula and therefore does leave a slight tackiness on the skin. However I do find it gives that lovely hydrating and plumping effect that HA products have. It's not a luxury product to use on your skin but it essentially does the job.

Spend: Hylamide Low-Molecular HA Booster* | £18 (30ml) 

This is a nicely mid-range product when it comes to the price - it's on the right side of £20 and I actually find Hylamide to be very underrated compared to other Deciem brands. This product is specifically formulated to have a low molecule size (as opposed to the Ordinary's 'variety' approach) and I do find that it absorbs into my skin more easily without the tackiness. It contains 6 variations HA and the formula is a little more fluid, making it easier to spread and it just feels as though there's less 'product' sat on my skin. It feels very lightweight and is a fuss-free step in my skincare routine. I find this even more hydrating and smoothing than the Ordinary version - they're both doing similar things but I do find this easier to apply and a little more effective.

Splash Out: Niod Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex* | £38 (30ml)

Niod is not an accessible brand for those who aren't already skincare-obsessed, however I absolutely love it. This contains 15 forms of the HA compound and has a very fluid, almost water-like texture, so I drop it directly onto my skin. It also contains specific forms of HA designed to repair the skin and act as a barrier, as well as hydrating. I absolutely love this product - it takes the effects I now expect from HA-based products and kicks them up to the next level. The smoothness and plumpness of my skin is noticeably far improved when I use this product and it just gives that soft-feel, healthy-look effect. If you're comfortable to spend £38 on a serum then this is the one I recommend you getting your hands on.

Which is for you?

Despite the differences I've outlined, I think each product is good and you will see benefits from using any of them, so we circle back to the obvious conclusion: buy the product that fits in with your budget. I personally think Niod is reasonably-priced given that it's a true 'skincare enthusiast' brand. I'm not a luxury skincare blogger and would never encourage you guys to pay for a product I don't think is worth it or wouldn't splash out on myself, however here I think you're getting a high-end product at a price-point that isn't ludicrous. 

If you don't want to splash out so much, the Hylamide is still very good and, particularly if you're not into spending a fortune on skincare or you haven't tried HA as an ingredient before (and just want to see what all the fuss is about) then definitely check out the Ordinary. Paying more does give you a better product here, however when the affordable alternatives are this much cheaper, you're still getting a great deal for similar effects (and it's quite easy to rationalise a slightly messier application process for an almost £33 saving). 

Have you tried any of these HA serums?

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Disclosure - products marked * were sent to me for consideration however all opinions remain my own. 


  1. I have to admit I don't think I could spend over £20 on a product, but I'm definitely going to look into the two cheaper products!


  2. Great post! I've added the Niod one to my wishlist! xx


  3. I've tried The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid serum and it's a staple in my routine - I don't mind the tackiness! I'm super interested in Deceim's other products too!


  4. I love hyaluronic Acid! I'm not a huge fan of the ordinary one. I think i'm definitely going to check out the Hylamide one next xx


  5. This is such a helpful post! I always love posts that explain skincare more thoroughly, because it's one thing I'm not really good at. I should definitely look into getting myself a HA serum as it has so many benefits, and see if it works just as well on my skin! Thanks Jasmine :)

    Julia x
    Last Post: Christmas in London | http://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/lifestyle-christmas-in-london.html

  6. I love The Ordinary's HA, although I do agree it can be a little tacky. It's amazing how much difference it can make to your skin. Loved reading this post!
    Lucie xo | lucieleannexo.wordpress.com

  7. I am loving the Hylamide one right now. I didn't like the tackiness of The Ordinary and found it did nothing for my dehydration but I think its at a great price point and I know so many people love it which is great. Niod just doesn't appeal to me for some reason so while that serum sounds amazing, I will stick to the Hylamide. I also really love the Drunk Elephant formula which is so silky and the Glossier Super Bounce is lovely too xxx

  8. This was such great timing I clicked to read as soon as I saw it. I have been trying out The Ordinary's Hyaluronic Acid, amongst some other products by them and I have to say, I'm not a fan. I can't see past the tackiness and find it piles on the skin when I go to put other products on top of it, so i'll definitely be checking out some of these pricier options. I'm a HUGE fan of Niod. xx

    Frances Kayleigh | Fashion & Lifestyle

  9. I didn't know much about Hyaluronic Acid so thank you for this very informative post !

  10. I've not tried any of these HA serums but would definitely like to! x

    ♥ Carly Susanne ~ A Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

  11. I have tried The Ordinary HA serum however it didn't do anything for my skin. I find that I get way more hydration from toners (Asian brands toners).

    ps: Yay to you using Disqus!

    Shireen⎜Reflection of Sanity

  12. Hello! Great post dear, thanks for sharing! As I, personally, have very dry skin, skin advices and products advices are always welcome! :) Also, your blog is amazing! :)

    I’m your new follower! :) Could you take some time to check my blog and, maybe, be my new follower too, as a new style blogger still need some support? ;)



  13. Great post! Explains HA much more than I knew.


  14. Lots a great information!

  15. I think you'd love it! I'm surprised you don't own it already, actually ;) x

  16. Drunk Elephant is on my wish list! x

  17. It was a tough decision to lose all my old comments but I think it was the right choice for my blog :) x

  18. The Niod really is the creme de la creme of HA serums :) x

  19. It's definitely worth checking out their other brands :) x

  20. It's a nice mid-point product :) x

  21. This is definitely an ingredient I look for in my skincare, but until now I just knew the basics about it.
    I definitely think I'll be picking up the Hylamide version so much cheaper than Hydraluron.
    Laura xx

  22. Such a good breakdown of HA, it's also one of my absolute favourite skincare ingredients, it's made such a huge difference in my skin. I've been using the Indeed Labs Hydraluron, and I really love it, so if you're interested in trying more HA serums I recommend that one (or if you've tried it already, I'd love to know how you think it compares). I'll definitely look into trying the Hylamide version and maybe the NIOD when my budget allows.

    Also off topic, I've had an odd couple of months so haven't been keeping up with your (or anyone's) blog, and I'm really glad to be back to it, I always really enjoy your posts x


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