I've got a case of skincare fatigue and in a world saturated with beauty brands, you'd be forgiven for admitting it, too. From cleansers to serums, products with big claims and buzzy ingredients are churned out left, right and centre. But one brand which always captures my full attention is The Ordinary.
First of all, it knows exactly what I need when I need it. Case in point: its recent Glucoside Foaming Cleanser, which replaced a handful of creamy versions that just weren't cutting it for me. This one cleanses brilliantly thanks to a foaming agent called glucoside, but it's very gentle and therefore suitable for skin types across the board.
Before that, I discovered that The Ordinary's viral Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution not only works to prevent cracked feet and a flaky scalp but improves polish-stained and peeling nails, too. So when the brand announced a new moisturiser just as my skin was quite literally going through a rough patch, I was certainly interested.
If you're already a fan of The Ordinary, you'll know that this isn't the brand's first Natural Moisturizing Factors moisturiser. Its Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (hyaluronic acid) is a lightweight lotion that quenches tight, dehydrated skin. It has been my go-to for years, especially when I'm dealing with breakouts and I want something that sinks in quickly sans greasiness and doesn't clog my pores further.
The second product in the line still boasts hydrating hyaluronic acid but includes a number of other nutritive ingredients, making it a lot richer in texture. In fact, the brand says that this is its most nourishing moisturiser yet.
Natural moisturising factors (NMF) are the star ingredients. These are found in the skin naturally and, combined, they keep your skin hydrated and protected. These ingredients include the likes of moisturising urea, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and amino acids (essentially skin-strengthening proteins). The Ordinary's moisturiser is a megamix of all of the above — a must for keeping your skin barrier (the outermost layer of skin) happy. Without them, skin tends to become dry, flaky, sensitive, red and itchy. They're so vital for healthy skin, The Ordinary refers to them all as 'skin identical' ingredients.
Alongside the NMF goodness you'll spot phytoceramides, which are ceramides made from plants. Skincare enthusiasts among us will already know that ceramides are essential, natural fats which keep the skin intact. As well as these, the new moisturiser contains fatty acids to lock in moisture, and antioxidants for guarding skin against the bad stuff, like smoke and pollution.
On paper, this is all you would ever need or want from a moisturiser (besides UV protection, of course, but experts argue that a separate sunscreen is more effective than a moisturiser which contains SPF anyway). So how does it fare? Firstly, the texture is entirely different from the original Natural Moisturizing Factors moisturiser. It's a lot thicker so I only really need a pea-sized amount to moisturise my whole face and neck.
Compared to the OG moisturiser, this one takes a little longer to massage in. I like the matte, undetectable finish of the first one but the newbie lends skin a subtle, dewy sheen that makes it look juicy and plump. If you have very oily skin, it's likely you'll do much better with the original, which doesn't leave behind a residue. The new moisturiser does give skin a slight slip but it's great for my combination skin, and I don't notice any more of a shine on my T-zone throughout the day.
That said, this new moisturiser is most ideal for those with dry, dehydrated skin. Having been prescribed tretinoin (a strong retinoid, which is notoriously drying) by a dermatologist to treat acne, this new moisturiser is something of a saviour. It smooths over flaky patches, soothes sore areas and feels like a shield against the cold weather. What's more, The Ordinary told me that this moisturiser is non-comedogenic, which means it's less likely to clog your pores.
At £20, this is one of The Ordinary's pricier products, especially when you consider that the majority are under £10 (even after the recent price increase). I asked The Ordinary why this one is double the price of the first Natural Moisturizing Factors, which is £9.90. The brand told me that the new moisturiser is formulated with almost two times more humectants (ingredients that draw in moisture) and four times more moisturising emollients (ingredients which keep that moisture under lock and key) than the original Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA. I can only assume that because The Ordinary has boosted the ingredient content, this is reflected in the cost.
Still, at £20 this moisturiser competes with plenty of high-end ones I've tried. I'm a fan of U Beauty The Barrier Bioactive Treatment, in particular, and even included it in our recent Beauty Innovator Awards roundup — it's that good. But at £187, the price makes my eyes water. The same goes for the revered Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, £225 for 50ml. Surprisingly, The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + PhytoCeramides delivers very similar results.
Like those more expensive products, it's incredible at repairing an ailing skin barrier, eradicating dryness, redness and sensitivity. My makeup (which often clings to parched patches) also looks more professional over the moisturised canvas. I've been using it on my dry lips throughout the day, too, and I could swear it's better than my lip balm.
Just like the brand's Multi Peptide Serum For Hair Density, £19.30, and Matrixyl 10% + HA, £9 (said to be like Botox in a bottle), I predict this new moisturiser will achieve viral status on TikTok imminently. My advice? Add it to your basket before the internet's skincare army sells it out.
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