I continue to write about The Ordinary on A Beauty Edit because the brand focuses on providing affordable and practical solutions for a variety of skin concerns. The products may be no frills, but they work.
Some of The Ordinary’s most popular products are their hydrators and oils because no matter your skin type or skin concerns, everyone needs skin hydration and nourishment.
So in this post, we’ll look at all The Ordinary hydrators and oils and how to use them correctly so you can achieve optimal skin hydration and moisture levels.
This post contains affiliate links, and any purchases made through these links will result in a commission for me at no extra cost to you. Please read my Disclosure for additional information.
The Ordinary Hydrators vs Oils
Hydrating products, also known as humectants, draw water into the skin, while oils act as a barrier to keep moisture in.
Hydrators may contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or urea to draw moisture into the skin.
Oils, on the other hand, are composed of lipids (fatty, oily substances) that form a protective barrier on the skin, trapping moisture and protecting against environmental aggressors.
While hydrating serums are excellent for boosting hydration, you can supercharge them with oils to lock in moisture and for an extra dose of nourishment in your skincare routine.
The Ordinary offers a variety of hydrators and oils that range from light to heavier in texture and feel on your skin, so you are bound to find a product that works for your skin type and concerns.
The Ordinary Hydrators
The Ordinary offers a range of hydrating products that help support skin hydration through binding with water.
All The Ordinary hydrating products can be used in both your morning and evening skincare routines and don’t conflict with any other The Ordinary products.
Be sure to patch test before using any new skincare product for the first time to avoid an adverse initial reaction.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
BEST FOR: While hyaluronic acid is suitable for all skin types, it’s especially good for dehydrated and dry skin.
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a lightweight water-based serum that contains low-, medium-, and high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid molecules plus a next-generation hyaluronic acid crosspolymer that work together to provide hydration at multiple levels of your skin.
If you are new to hyaluronic acid (HA), don’t let the word acid scare you. Hyaluronic acid is actually a powerful humectant that attracts and holds hydration in the skin, so this serum is an excellent choice for long-lasting hydration.
HA can also temporarily plump wrinkles and fine lines and reduce the look of textural irregularities.
Vitamin B5 is also included to enhance surface hydration.
This serum is suitable for all skin types and is perfect for dehydrated and dry skin.
The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics
BEST FOR: Dehydrated or dry skin or anyone that wants a lightweight, non-sticky hydrator.
If you want the hydrating benefits of a serum in a nearly weightless formula, The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics is a great choice.
The weightless, water-based serum contains a hyaluronic acid alternative that sends water where your skin needs it the most.
This serum is designed to provide intense hydration to the skin from exopolysaccharides derived from skin-friendly marine bacteria, Hawaiian red algae, glycoproteins from Antarctic marine sources, and micro-filtered blue-green algae.
Multiple amino acids hydrate and moisturize the skin.
The serum plumps and hydrates your skin while working well with other skincare and makeup products.
The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5
BEST FOR: Dehydrated or dry skin or anyone that wants a lightweight, non-sticky hydrator.
The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5 is a super lightweight hydrating serum that contains a 17% (by weight) solution of amino acids and amino acid derivatives, soothing ingredients, and vitamin B5.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and they help to support the skin’s natural moisture barrier as they mimic your skin’s own Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMFs).
NMFs are natural substances like hyaluronic acid, lactic acid, and urea found in our skin’s outer layer and are responsible for keeping the skin hydrated and support a healthy skin barrier function.
Pro-vitamin B5 at a concentration of 5% (by weight) enhances surface and below-surface hydration while offering anti-inflammatory benefits.
This water-based serum is deeply hydrating without feeling greasy and has an almost water-like consistency. It absorbs quickly without leaving any residue.
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane
BEST FOR: Those looking for lightweight hydration and moisture. Suitable for oily and acne-prone skin.
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane is a lightweight, non-greasy saturated hydrocarbon derived from sugar cane that hydrates your skin.
Although often considered an oil due to its oily texture, squalane is technically a hydrogenated version of squalene (with an e). This hydrocarbon occurs naturally in our skin and helps to keep it soft and supple.
Squalane is an excellent emollient that helps to prevent moisture loss and improve the surface hydration of the skin.
Squalane is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores and is suitable for all skin types.
It’s a multi-benefit product, too, since it can be used on your hair for heat protection, shine, and a reduction in breakage.
The Ordinary Squalane is light enough to be used after water-based serums and before your moisturizer.
For more on this product, please see my The Ordinary 100% Plant-Based Squalane review post.
The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane
BEST FOR: Those looking for ultra-lightweight hydration and moisture. Suitable for oily and acne-prone skin.
If you want an even lighter emollient product to moisturize your skin and prevent water loss, The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Hemi-Squalane feels like a dry oil on your skin.
Hemi-squalane has a lower molecular weight than squalane, so it has an even lighter, more spreadable texture.
Like squalane, hemi-squalane is considered an excellent alternative to traditional oils because it is non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores) and has a low potential for irritation.
If you don’t love the feel of heavy oils on your skin (like me), then hemi-squalane (or squalane) may be a game changer for you.
Related Post: Squalane vs Hemi-Squalane
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
BEST FOR: Normal to combination skin.
The Ordinary’s original moisturizer and one of The Ordinary’s best selling products, The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, is a lightweight moisturizing cream containing a blend of natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) that hydrate and protect your skin.
NMFs are found naturally in our skin and help keep it hydrated while supporting a healthy skin barrier.
NMFs in this moisturizer include amino acids, fatty acids, triglycerides, urea, phospholipids, glycerine, saccharides, sodium PCA, and all-star hydrator hyaluronic acid.
The moisturizer improves your skin barrier with each use. A strong skin barrier helps to maintain optimal hydration, protect against environmental aggressors, and improve overall skin health.
This cream is non-greasy but nourishing, making it suitable for all skin types, but it may not be quite as nourishing as the next item on our list:
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Phytoceramides
BEST FOR: This rich cream is best for normal to dry skin in need of deep moisture.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides is formulated for those that need a richer, more nourishing moisturizer than Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA.
The creamy moisturizer contains almost four times the moisturizing emollients and two times the humectants than Natural Moisturising Factors + HA.
Ideal for dry skin, Natural Moisturizing Factors + Phytoceramides contains three different kinds of actives: PhytoCeramides, skin lipids, and skin-identical Natural Moisturizing Factors, to reduce dryness and strengthen the skin barrier.
PhytoCeramides are plant-derived ceramides similar to the ceramides naturally found in our skin.
Using a bricks-and-mortar analogy, ceramides are like the mortar that holds our skin cells (bricks) together, helping to protect our skin from environmental damage and keep in moisture.
Excellent for dry skin.
The Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan
If you are looking for a moisturizer for combination to oily skin, The Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan is a lightweight gel moisturizer that provides all-day surface hydration.
This new The Ordinary moisturizer is set to be released on May 10, 2023 on The Ordinary’s website.
You can read more about my experience with the gel moisturizer in The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan review.
The Ordinary Oils
The Ordinary offers a wide range of plant-derived oils that target various skin concerns. These oils are rich in fatty acids, triglycerides, vitamins, and antioxidants that help to hydrate, nourish, and protect the skin.
All The Ordinary oils can be used in both your morning and evening skincare routines and do not conflict with any other The Ordinary product.
For a more in-depth discussion of The Ordinary oils, please see my guide to The Ordinary Face Oils.
The Ordinary “B” Oil
BEST FOR: Excellent for irritated, aging, or dry skin, this nourishing oil improves skin radiance.
The Ordinary “B” Oil is a rich blend of micro-algae, squalane, jojoba oil, Crambe Abyssinica oil, marula oil, argan oil, borage oil, rosehip oil, Sacha Inchi oil, pataua oil, and Brazil nut oil.
This oil blend is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids that help to hydrate, nourish, and protect the skin.
It hydrates, softens, and smoothes your skin without feeling too greasy.
The oil has a golden-green color. The Ordinary notes that it has a mild herbal odor due to its high micro-algae concentration.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
BEST FOR: Aging skin, wrinkles, and acne-prone skin thanks to its linoleic acid content.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is a pure oil rich in linoleic acid, linolenic acid, and antioxidants like vitamin E and pro-vitamin A.
This oil helps to hydrate, brighten, and supports skin elasticity, for a softer, smoother complexion.
Rosehip oil offers many other skin benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help to reduce the look of reddened post-acne scars and hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and uneven skin tone.
Rosehip oil also strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier.
You may have heard that rosehip oil is good for acne-prone skin. This is because clinical research has shown that acne patients have low levels of linoleic acid in their skin.
Rosehip oil helps to replenish this essential fatty acid and can help reduce the size of blemishes.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil is unrefined, so you may notice a natural, earthy scent, which comes from the concentration of omega fatty acids.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil
BEST FOR: Dry, flaky, itchy, or sensitive skin.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil is a highly nourishing oil due to its high concentration of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that has soothing and moisturizing benefits, making it excellent for irritated, dry skin.
It also contains linoleic, oleic, stearic, and palmitic acids to calm irritation and dryness.
This is another oil from The Ordinary that has a natural earthy scent that is not an indication of rancidity.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil
BEST FOR: While argan oil contains both oleic acid (best for dry skin) and linoleic acid (best for oilier skin), the oil will be best suited to normal to dry skin. Also, its antioxidant benefits will benefit mature/aging skin.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil is a 100% organic cold-pressed oil rich in fatty acids, vitamins, and other compounds that moisturize and replenish the skin.
It is especially high in oleic and linoleic acids, making it great for dry and dehydrated skin. Antioxidant vitamin E helps protect the skin from environmental stress.
As a bonus, argan oil can be applied to your hair to increase strength and shine without weighing it down or feeling too greasy or heavy.
The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil
BEST FOR: Those with dry skin in need of hydration and moisture.
The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil is an antioxidant-rich plant oil that offers numerous benefits for the skin and hair.
It is derived from the nuts of the Marula tree, native to Southern Africa, and has been used for centuries in traditional African medicine and cosmetics.
The Ordinary’s virgin marula oil is 100% organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined. It is rich in fatty acids, including oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids.
This oil is filled with antioxidants such as procyanidin, catechins, and flavonoids that protect the skin from UV radiation by neutralizing free radicals. These antioxidants also rejuvenate the skin by helping to reduce the visible signs of aging, like wrinkles and fine lines.
Marula oil can also be used on your hair for increased shine and a reduction in frizz.
The oil supports skin hydration and forms an occlusive barrier on your skin which locks in moisture, making it perfect for dry skin types.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil
BEST FOR: This oil is suitable for all skin types, but those with itchy, dry, dull skin would benefit the most from this plant oil.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil is a 100% organic, natural, cold-pressed plant oil.
This oil contains a high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid, also known as omega-3 fatty acid, which has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing benefits and can even help fade hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
The oil contains linoleic acid, oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acid for additional moisture.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Chia Seed Oil is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts.
The lightweight oil can also be used on your hair to improve moisture and strength.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil
BEST FOR: Mature, aging, or dry skin types would benefit the most from this deeply nourishing oil.
The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil is 100% organic, unrefined, plant oil rich in antioxidants.
The oil contains a high concentration of palmitoleic acid, also known as Omega-7, and fatty acids, such as gamma-linolenic acid, palmitic acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid, and linoleic acid.
The oil has a deep orange-red shade due to the antioxidants beta-carotene, lycopene, and vitamin E, which help defend against oxidative stress and protect your skin’s natural moisture barrier.
This oil has a natural, earthy fragrance that does not indicate rancidity.
Please note that the orange color of the oil will transfer to your skin, so consider using only a small amount or diluting it with other products.
It’s best to use it in the evening, but please note that it may stain fabrics.
Want a The Ordinary skincare routine that is tailored to your unique skin type and concerns? Take my exclusive The Ordinary Skincare Quiz now!
How To Choose The Ordinary Hydrators and Oils
When choosing The Ordinary hydrators and oils, there are several considerations to keep in mind:
The Ordinary offers a range of hydrators and oils to address various skin concerns, so consider your most pressing skin concern or issue and look for a product that addresses it.
Luckily, many of The Ordinary hydrators and oils address multiple skin concerns besides the hydrating and moisturizing benefits we all need.
Hydrators often have a lighter, water-based texture, while oils are thicker and have an oily consistency.
The skin more easily absorbs hydrators, and they often feel less greasy. Due to their lipid content, oils may leave a heavier, more occlusive film on the skin.
You may prefer one texture over the other depending on your skin type, season, or time of day.
Water-based hydrators are usually suitable for all skin types, including oily skin, as they do not contribute to excess oil production. They are especially beneficial for dehydrated skin, which lacks water.
Oils are more appropriate for dry or mature skin, which can benefit from additional moisture and protection. However, some lightweight oils may also work for combination or oily skin.
The Bottom Line
Consider your skin care goals and individual skin concerns when choosing a hydrator or oil from The Ordinary. Once you have selected your product, make sure to use it as directed for the best results.
Regularly using The Ordinary hydrators and oils will make your skin hydrated, nourished, and healthy-looking.
And don’t forget! Be sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher daily, as the sun’s UV rays can damage your skin and undo the benefits of The Ordinary hydrators and oils.
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Thanks for reading!