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Welcome to the long-awaited comprehensive guide to SkinCeuticals vs The Ordinary! Both are loved by celebs and have strong followings all around the world, but which brand is best for you?

Skinceuticals is a well-respected brand that firmly established itself in the skincare scene after making its debut with "Serum 10" in the 90s. The Ordinary splashed onto the scene much more recently (2016) with the goal of providing effective skincare at reasonable prices - and it'd be hard to argue that they haven't achieved exactly that!

Come with us as we compare their cult favorites and help you decide which products are right for you and your skincare routine!

Skip to "Serums" section

> Hyaluronic Acid

> Vitamin B5

> Vitamin C

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SkinCeuticals vs The Ordinary Serums

We'll be comparing some of SkinCeuticals' and The Ordinary's best-selling treatments packed with premium active ingredients, side-by-side.

Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Although it’s been in skincare products since the mid 90s, hyaluronic acid (HA) really hit its PR-stride in the early noughties and we’re so happy it did!

Synonymous with plump, dewy and glowing skin, HA is a humectant which means it draws moisture from the air and pulls it into your skin. It’s also naturally occurring within our skin which makes it extremely well tolerated and great for all skin types.

You may be thinking: if I don’t have dry skin, why would I need to use hyaluronic acid? The answer is because it’s excellent for anti-aging and increasing tolerance of other active ingredients like l-ascorbic acid and retinoids! As we age, our skin naturally retains less water which results in the typical signs of aging: loss of volume, wrinkles, and sagging. HA helps replace that water loss and keep your skin looking youthful.

Skinceuticals and The Ordinary both make extremely popular hyaluronic acid serums, namely: Skinceuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier Serum and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum, but which one is better?

When you’re assessing an HA serum, you want to consider how much of the active ingredient is in the serum, what other ingredients are used in the product, the texture, and the efficacy. We’ll use all of these criteria to decide which wins our vote as best overall hyaluronic acid serum!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum is vegan, cruelty free and completely clean. It gets even better as we look at the specific ingredients. The key ingredients include sodium hyaluronate, sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer, and vitamin B5. Sodium hyaluronate is the sodium sister of HA, which chemists agree can be used interchangeably. Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer is a magical HA mesh that can bind 5 times more water than regular HA, which is already incredible at 1,000 times its body weight! As an added bonus, it’s also an antioxidant! The final ingredient is vitamin B5, which we’ll get into more later, but its main job is as a moisturizer. Combined, these ingredients give The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid triple moisturizing properties!

Skinceuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier Serum isn’t cruelty free or vegan. It also has alcohol and fragrances which can be irritating to some skin types. The star of the show is its powerful formula of 10% Proxylane™ (Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol), 2.0% Licorice Root Extract (dipotassium glycyrrhizate), 0.2% Purple Rice Extract (Oryza Sativa Extract), and 1.3% sodium hyaluronate (HA’s twin). When formulated together, the first three work to prevent HA loss while the sodium hyaluronate replenishes it for extended moisturization.

It's a close call, but at 1/10th of the cost, completely clean and endorsed by Kim Kardashian, our choice for best overall HA serum is The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Serum.

Hyaluronic Acid + B5 by The Ordinary, a hydration support formula with ultra-pure, vegan hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid + B5 by The Ordinary

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A hydration support formula with ultra-pure, vegan hyaluronic acid.

What makes it special? This serum’s expert formula of 5 different sizes of hyaluronic acid pairs perfectly with Vitamin B5 to provide intense, long-lasting moisture, and skin-soothing effects.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

HA Intensifier Serum by SkinCeuticals, a powerful corrective serum that helps amplify skin’s hyaluronic acid levels.

HA Intensifier Serum by SkinCeuticals

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★

Price: $$$$

A powerful corrective serum that helps amplify skin’s hyaluronic acid levels.

What makes it special? This immediately hydrating serum includes a potent blend of pure hyaluronic acid, proxylane, licorice root and purple rice work to boost skin's hyaluronic acid levels, improving skin texture and restoring elasticity. Clinical studies show that after 12 weeks of use, 23% of participants saw improvement in plumpness, and over 10% saw improvement in firmness, elasticity, and texture.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Best Vitamin B5 Serum

Vitamin B5 is a massively underrated skincare miracle worker! It’s another humectant and an anti-inflammatory. It works to provide hydration and soothe your skin. An older study also shows that it stimulates fibroblast cells which are key to collagen production and help maintain the structural integrity of your skin. The best part is that it plays well with other active ingredients and layers easily. This is a great, easy addition to your skincare routine, so let’s find the right one for you!

For this comparison, we’ll be looking at The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5 (again) vs Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel. Since we’ve already explored The Ordinary’s ingredient list, let’s talk about Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel then decide which is the best overall.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel keeps it simple with this four-ingredient gel. In this instance, simple doesn’t mean ineffective! The two active ingredients are Vitamin B5 (Calcium Pantothenate) and Sodium Hyaluronate (HA’s sister like in The Ordinary’s formula). Fortunately, since they kept it so simple, this product doesn’t include fragrances, alcohols, or oils! Making it incredibly hydrating and gentle on even the most sensitive skin.

Since both of these formulas are packed with HA and Vitamin B5, and are clean, the main difference we’ve noticed is in the texture. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid + B5 can be sticky and tacky, whereas Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel goes on silky smooth and provides lightweight hydration. Dr. Flint calls it “first-aid for your skin” and many users note that it’s great to use as you’re adjusting to a retinoid which can make your skin red, itchy, dry, and flaky. If you haven’t already figured it out, Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel wins this head-to-head!

Hydrating B5 Gel by Skinceuticals, hydrating gel with high concentrations of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5.

Hydrating B5 Gel by SkinCeuticals

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

Hydrating gel with high concentrations of hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5.

What makes it special? This oil-free, alcohol-, dye-, and fragrance-free moisturizer combines vitamin B5 with hyaluronic acid, binds moisture to the skin, heals the skin barrier and increases collagen production.

Which skin types? Dry, Normal, Oily, Combination, Sensitive.

Find the best price on Amazon

Hyaluronic Acid + B5 by The Ordinary, a hydration support formula with ultra-pure, vegan hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic Acid + B5 by The Ordinary

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

A hydration support formula with ultra-pure, vegan hyaluronic acid.

What makes it special? This serum’s expert formula of 5 different sizes of hyaluronic acid pairs perfectly with Vitamin B5 to provide intense, long-lasting moisture, and skin-soothing effects.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Best Vitamin C Serum

This wouldn’t be a comprehensive Skinceuticals vs. The Ordinary guide without talking about their top vitamin C’s! Vitamin C is by far the most famous skincare vitamin and rightfully so. Regular use of vitamin C helps your skin produce collagen, heal wounds, reverse sun damage, brighten your complexion, prevent aging, and improve overall skin tone. Skin care experts recommend that even the simplest of skincare routines include vitamin C because it also makes your SPF more effective. We told you, it really lives up to the hype!

For this product match up, we’ll be comparing Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Antioxidant Serum to The Ordinary’s Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%.

As you search for the right vitamin C serum for you, it’s really important to stick to products that are transparent about the type of vitamin C they use and the concentration. Both Skinceuticals C E Ferulic Antioxidant Serum and The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% check those boxes.

If you’ve read our guide on Skinmedica vs SkinCeuticals, you know that we are serious fangirls over Skinceuticals C E Ferulic acid. First and foremost, Skinceuticals uses the most effective form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid, and it uses just the right amount at 15%. Dermatologists share that you want a formula between 10-20 percent to see results and avoid irritation. As noted in the name, it’s also formulated with vitamin E and ferulic acid. Combined, studies show that it helps keep the l-ascorbic acid stable and increase absorption. As an added bonus, vitamin E and ferulic acid both pack antioxidant benefits for your skin. The product is also alcohol-, fragrance-, and oil-free, and an all-around skincare superstar.

You’re probably wondering is it even worth talking about The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%? The short answer, yes! As the name suggests, this solution is formulated with the other vitamin C derivative, ascorbyl glucoside, at a dosage of 12%. Although it’s not as effective as l-ascorbic acid, it does have its benefits. It’s much more stable than l-ascorbic acid which means you don’t have to worry as much about it going rancid. It’s also more easily tolerated because your skin must convert it to l-ascorbic acid before it can use it. That means that if you have sensitive skin or haven’t been able to tolerate l-ascorbic acids in the past, this could be the solution for you! You’ll take additional reassurance knowing that just like the other The Ordinary products we’ve discussed, this solution is alcohol-, oil-, and fragrance-free, as well as vegan and cruelty-free.

As far as best overall, if your skin can tolerate l-ascorbic acid, we echo the celebs and skin experts who rave about Skinceuticals C E Ferulic acid because it really will provide some of the best results on the market. However, if your skin is sensitive and cannot tolerate l-ascorbic acid, The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% is the best choice for you!

CE Ferulic Serum by SkinCeuticals, high potency triple antioxidant treatment.

CE Ferulic Serum by SkinCeuticals

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Our rating: ★★★★★

Price: $$$$

High potency triple antioxidant treatment.

What makes it special? This patented serum is clinically proven to reduce the damage of environmental free radicals by nearly 50%! With 15% L-ascorbic acid, 1% vitamin E and .5% ferulic acid, this serum reverses signs of aging, firms skin and brightens your complexion.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% (Vitamin C) by The Ordinary, a brightening serum with stabilized vitamin C derivative.

Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12% (Vitamin C) by The Ordinary

SHOP Check price on amazon.com

Our rating: ★★★★

Price: $$$$

A brightening serum with stabilized vitamin C derivative.

What makes it special? Formulated with the most stable and tolerable derivatives of vitamin C, this product is water-soluble, so it goes on smoothly to brighten your skin and deliver a gentle dose of antioxidants.

Which skin types? For all skin types.

Find the best price on Amazon

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