The Ordinary: Hyaluronic Acid 2% vs. Buffet

The Ordinary Skincare Hydrating Serums: Buffet vs. Hyaluronic Acid 2%

Deciem, the parent company of stand out skincare brands like NIOD, Hylamide, and The Ordinary have several Hyaluronic Acid products available to purchase. On some of the product descriptions for The Ordinary it even says for further fight against signs of aging see MMHC and Sub-Q Anti-Age. (Paraphrasing here!) So which one should you be using?

Hyaluronic Acid, Hydrating Serum Options from Deciem. NIOD MMHC 2, Hylamide Sub-Q Anti-Age, The Ordinary Buffet & Hyaluronic Acid 2%.

Why Hyaluronic Acid?

First, let’s talk about why everyone should use a Hyaluronic Acid serum. I mean, starting at around age 18 I would say. Definitely younger if you wish, Hyaluronic Acid will only help your skin! The word ‘acid’ in the title may be a little scary, but Hyaluronic Acid isn’t an acid like you will find in a chemical exfolilator (or peel.) It is very gentle. It is used to deeply hydrate your skin. I discuss in my NIOD MMHC review how even oily skin care be dehydrated. That is why a HA serum can work for all skin types, even sensitive skin as it is a calming ingredient.

Hyaluronic Acid is infamous for holding more than 1,000 times its weight in water, meaning it can deliver hydration to cells and can also hold it there. Especially in the cold winter days when everywhere you go the heating is on full blast. I don’t know about you, but the heat sucks every drop of moisture from my skin creating a perfect storm of lackluster, dull skin. Applying a Hyaluronic Acid serum, especially directly after applying a facial mist helps to replenish the hydration that is lost throughout the day (or night.) The serum helps by locking in hydration and creating plumper, healthier looking skin. Some oily or acne prone skin types that cannot use a typical emollient moisturizer (because they may cause breakouts) may find that a Hyaluronic Acid serum may be enough hydration to skip a traditional moisturizer altogether.

When our skin is dehydrated our cells shrink causing fine lines, think cracks between bricks. Whenever a Hyaluronic Acid serum is applied it rehydrates the cells and causes a plumping effect, in turn filling in the gaps of the bricks. Hyaluronic Acid is a substance that is made within our own body so when it is applied to our skin our cells already know how to use it and it works very quickly. The weight of the hyaluronic acid molecules determine how deeply it will penetrate, with the low-molecular weight penetrating the deepest. It is beneficial to have multiple weight HA in a singular formula so that your skin can reap the benefits of surface hydration alongside deeper hydration that will in turn last longer. The varying molecular weights along with other skin beneficial ingredients are what I look for in a HA serum for my combination skin. Other ingredients like Peptides, antioxidants, and soothing plant extracts are all icing on the cake for me!

Another factor to look for when choosing a HA serum is the base ingredient. Usually the first ingredient in the INCI list, this is what has the biggest concentration of all the ingredients listed below it. Most HA serums are water based, which is absolutely fine. However, one of my favorite HA serums actually has a base of aloe vera. Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Serum contains Aloe Vera which makes the texture of the serum light yet gelatinous and adds additional benefits that water cannot.

As early as age 18, moisture levels start decreasing within our skin. The effects usually are not seen until we age in our 30s-40s with most loss of firmness, elasticity, and fine lines can be attributed to this loss. By adding a HA serum to your routine, it hydrates skin better than any other single ingredient and makes skin feel soft, smooth and glowing!

So the options that Deciem as a whole have for Hyaluronic Acid serums are; NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex 2 (MMHC2,) Hylamide Sub-Q Anti-Age (SQ-AA,) The Ordinary Buffet, and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid Serum 2%. I have tried all four and each are different in texture and ingredients. Obviously the more beneficial ingredients they pack into the formula, the higher the price. So let’s explore which Deciem HA serum is right for you!

The Ordinary Buffet vs. Hyaluronic Acid 2%, Hydrating Serums

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2%

Whenever The Ordinary launched at Sephora I picked up The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% Serum to compare to the other options. It is a basic Hyaluronic Acid serum composed of the HA derivative, sodium hyaluronate. Often times the two ingredients are used interchangeably, and sodium hyaluronate is often simply referred to as hyaluronic acid. It doesn’t mean that sodium hyaluronate is less effective as a derivative, actually it can be more easily absorbed. The base of the serum is composed of water and has a few additional ingredients like Vitamin B5, Propanediol, and Algae extract. Propanediol helps the absorption of HA and has hydrating properties itself.

On paper this serum looks like a great option, especially for younger skin that may not need all the fancy peptides and “anti-aging” ingredients. At under $7 a bottle, it’s a safe bet! However, it is my least favorite of any HA serum I have ever tried. Sorry, I just can’t sugar coat it! Especially when there are better options offered by The Ordinary. The texture is sticky, bottom line. It is a slightly thicker, syrup-type texture that is tacky during application and after application. Sometimes when a serum has a tacky texture then another serum or product is applied on top, the tackiness dissipates. Not with this serum. The HA serum is so sticky, even once dry, I found myself tugging at my skin to layer other products on top. When another product is layered on top of Hyaluronic Acid 2% it’s like it reactivates the syrupy texture and no matter how nice the formulation of the next product it is turned into a goopy mess too. A big pass for me.

Others have found great success incorporating this serum into their daily skincare routines, I’m just not one of them! I do however appreciate that there is an affordable option available out there. I do believe wholeheartedly in the main goal The Ordinary as a brand is trying to achieve and think they have encouraged thousands of people to take better care of their skin!

New Products from The Ordinary: Marine Hyaluronics & Mandelic Acid 10% +HA Serums

Marine Hyaluronics

Update! The Ordinary has launched a new product that I have been impatiently waiting months for! Marine Hyaluronics is a lightweight, faster-absorbing alternative to Hyaluronic Acid 2% serum! It is on its way to my house as I type. You know I will be trying it out, putting it to the test and sharing all my thoughts with y’all ASAP!! Read my initial thoughts in my Deciem Haul Post. It doesn’t actually contain Hyaluronic Acid, but it still attracts and holds water like HA to hydrate the skin. I suspect that this formulation will be perfect for those with oily, combo, or anyone who loves lightweight products! The formula for Marine Hyaluronics is actually really impressive for The Ordinary. Sophisticated. It contains amino acids which help to strengthen and repair the skin barrier, which are hard ingredients to find in a lightweight texture. The only other skincare product that I have tried personally to achieve this lightweight texture with amino acids is the new Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream which I wrote about here. If you want to hear how my testing process with this new product (and others) from The Ordinary, come join me on Instagram! 

Full Ingredients List: Aqua (Water), Sodium Hyaluronate, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Ahnfeltia Concinna Extract, Glycerin, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Citric Acid, Isoceteth-20, Ethoxydiglycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol.

The Ordinary Skincare Hydrating Serums: Buffet vs. Hyaluronic Acid 2%

The Ordinary Buffet

With a cheeky little name like Buffet, I expected a lot from this little bottle! A play on words for a dinner buffet where you fill your plate with all kind of goodies, that’s exactly what The Ordinary achieved with this Hyaluronic Acid serum. Technically classified as a multi-technology peptide serum, it feels and performs like a really nice HA serum. It goes beyond a basic HA serum with the addition of other skin repairing ingredients that are not only beneficial for aging skin.

Buffet includes a whole host of skin restoring peptides included in its formulation, all in a base of water and glycerin. Matrixyl 3000, Argirelox, and Matrixyl Synthe’6 are a few peptides that are included. Each peptide has its own function, some to smooth wrinkles, others for hydration or calming skin, you get the point. Buffet does contain a high concentration of these peptides unlike some other products that claim to contain peptides only to find the tiniest concentration! The Ordinary does have another peptide/HA option Matrixyl 10% + HAwhich I have yet to try. One point to make: Since both Matrixyl 10% and Buffet contain HA, you do not need Hyaluronic Acid 2% (unless you just prefer to use both!) Also, Buffet includes both versions of Matrixyl that are contained in the Matrixyl 10% serum, so a safe bet is to choose one or the other.

Buffet hydrates skin like any (much more expensive) HA serum does creating soft, smooth, plump skin. I love using Buffet and the results that I get from it. A comment I read frequently, especially about products that contain peptides is “Am I too young to be using a product like this, aging skin really isn’t my concern..” My personal opinion when it comes to peptides, which are an ingredient for longer term skin health, is that you should definitely start before signs of aging begin to show. Now that’s not to say that it’s too late and that your perfectly placed lines are beyond help! I just think that you should preserve that youthful, glowing skin for as long as possible and peptides are definitely a step in the right direction!

While Hyaluronic Acid 2% is a thick liquid, Buffet’s consistency is that of a medium thickness gel. I don’t find it to be tacky at all and it dries down to a weightless finish. Buffet layers nicely with other products and I also love mixing Buffet with other serums, mainly Paula’s Choice 10% Niacinamide Booster.  Buffet is on the higher end of The Ordinary’s spectrum at just under $15 per one ounce of product. However I will say that the texture, formulation and effectiveness of Buffet is preferred to some of my other much more expensive HA serums.

While cleansers and acids are products that I enjoy collecting, Hyaluronic Acid serums are the product I enjoy applying the most. When you have combo or oily skin you tend to go light-handed with moisturizers and oils. However a product like this is so lightweight it can be applied liberally, and I do! There’s just something about the slip of a great HA serum and its lightweight finish that I am not a less-is-more girl when it comes to HA! Whenever I use Buffet I feel less guilty about using so much product.

Full Ingredients List: Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Lactococcus Ferment Lysate, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Pentapeptide-18, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-1, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Acetylarginyltryptophyl Diphenylglycine, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Trehalose, Fructose, Glucose, Maltose, Urea, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Sodium Benzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.
Texture of The Ordinary Skincare Hydrating Serums: Buffet vs. Hyaluronic Acid 2%
Hyaluronic Acid 2% is a syrup-type texture that is more fluid (Left) and Buffet is a thicker gel (Right)

Where to Purchase

Links to Buffet:  The Ordinary website


Cult Beauty

Adore Beauty (AUS)

Links to Hyaluronic Acid 2%: The Ordinary website


Adore Beauty (AUS)

For a full list of worldwide Deciem retailers click here. 

Night Skincare Routine using The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% Serum
Acid/Retinol Night! Colleen Rothschild Balm, SkinBetter cleanser, NIOD SDSM2 then Re:Pigment, mix of The Ordinary HA + Paula’s Choice Niacinamide, Biossance Eye Gel, AnteAge GF Serum, and SkinBetter Intensive AlphaRet.

To Be Continued….

I have decided to divide this post into 2 parts. If I don’t I will end up with a 3000 word post…again! In Part 2 I will discuss Hylamide Sub-Q Anti-Age and NIOD MMHC2. What do I think about those two? Are they worth the extra cash?? You’ll have to stay tuned to find out! 😉 I hope you find this post helpful and as always this is just my experience with these products. Something that doesn’t work for me may work for your skin, and vise versa, and that’s ok! Everyone’s skin is different and responds accordingly. So please do not be offended if you love Hyaluronic Acid 2%, keep using what works for your skin! Thank you for reading and until next time, come join me on Instagram! 

Goodbye Gorgeous (or Handsome!) 😉



Other Fabulous Posts:

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream Review

NIOD Re:Pigment Review

The Ordinary: Routines for Acne Prone Skin


**All products were purchased by me, however this post does contain affiliate links. If you chose to support my content by making a purchase through one of my links, at no additional cost to you, I am very grateful! My experience and opinion of all products are completely honest, unbiased, and unrelated to the relationship that I have with Deciem (or anyone else!) Thank you for your continued support!
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