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Amazing skincare ingredients have never been so affordable and in the last couple of years a number of brands have brought us effective actives at a really low cost. So we actually have quite a bit of choice now! Today I'm going to rank four Hyaluronic Acid serums under £15 to share with you the best of the budget bunch...
If you're new to skincare or my blog, you might not know that I love hyaluronic acid and I think almost anyone can benefit from using it. It's found in a lot of serums and moisturisers, however I do recommend serums like the ones we'll talk about in this post for adding a concentrated dose of it to your skincare routine. Don't let the word 'acid' mislead you into thinking this is harsh or exfoliating; it's actually incredibly gentle. Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the skin but over time, of course, its levels deplete.
This ingredient is famous for being able to hold 1000x its weight in water and acts as a humectant so retains water in the skin and makes it look plump and healthy. Note that I say 'retains'; this isn't hydrating in and of itself - it actually draws moisture from the atmosphere, which is why I recommend applying it to slightly damp skin to see the best results possible. Because it's promoting hydration as opposed to moisture (like oil-rich products), it's lightweight, fast-absorbing and won't be too much for oily or acne-prone skin, which still needs deep hydration. The molecule sizes of the formula dictate how deeply the hyaluronic acid can penetrate into the skin's layers and whether you just get some surface hydration or a proper thirst-quench, so don't be fooled into thinking they're all the same!
- WORST TO BEST | MY RANKING -4. Fourth Ray Beauty Rainfall 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum | $15 (30ml)
This is the most expensive option on my list and unfortunately my least-favourite of the bunch. 'Unfortunately' because Fourth Ray Beauty do have some products I really enjoy! This product contains sodium hyaluronate, which has a small molecule size, so will penetrate nicely into the skin. This also contains castor oil (an emollient plant extract), cucumber (a refreshing antioxidant) extract and coconut water (a calming antioxidant). On paper; this should have worked for me but I just didn't like the texture and it wasn't amazing in terms of the results I saw. It felt very sticky and tacky on the surface of my skin, which isn't a total deal-breaker but (as we'll discuss) there are other options out there that absorb tracelessly and are more pleasant to apply. This did draw in hydration and make things softer and healthier-looking, but it didn't wow me enough to be worth tolerating the texture of it.
3. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 | £5.90 (30ml)
This product also contains a 2% concentration of hyaluronic acid and contains three different forms of the ingredient at different molecular weights to get that water-retention evenly distributed throughout the layers of the skin. It also contains Vitamin B5 to promote the strengthening of the skin's natural barrier. This was the first concentrated HA serum I ever tried and I still think it's a good one! This has a little more of a gel-like texture and I do get a little bit of tackiness, but it's nothing major and definitely something I can deal with given that this works. It helps plump my skin and retain hydration, so my skin looks its best. Whilst it isn't my favourite; it isn't bad at all and a great place to start.
2. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum | £5.99 (ml)
This product also features a 2% concentration of sodium hyaluronate and numerous molecule sizes, so it doesn't sit on the surface of the skin or potentially draw water from the deeper layers of your skin (which is not good!) I think the formulation is really high-quality; there's no tackiness, it absorbs really nicely and makes my skin look and feel fresh and hydrated. I really think this is an amazing serum regardless of the price and I definitely recommend giving this a try. It may not have the same buzz that the Ordinary's version does, but I actually prefer it...
1. Good Molecules Hyaluronic Acid Serum* | $6 (30ml)
This is my favourite of the bunch because it gives me glowing, dewy skin and has the nicest texture. This product is very watery and fast-absorbing and contains multiple forms of hyaluronic acid, though unfortunately I can't find the concentration of this formula to confirm that we're doing a like-for-like comparison. I count this amongst my favourite hyaluronic products regardless of price, which is the decider for me, because I'd happily pay 3x the price for a serum that's this hydrating, plumping and refreshing!
Have you tried any of these hyaluronic acid serums?