a dupe for skinceuticals hydrating b5 gel

You’d think the higher the price, the better a product works, right?

Not necessarily. Take The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. It’s only £5.90 but it works better than – and is a great dupe for – Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel (£65.00).

Yes, really. Here’s why:

What Ingredients Do These Hyaluronic Acid Serums Have In Common?


Hyaluronic acid is a moisture magnet. It attracts water from the air into the skin and binds it there. It’s so powerful, it can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water!

Problem is, hyaluronic acid is too big to penetrate the skin. That’s why, usually, it hydrates only its surface.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 uses different forms of hyaluronic acid with low-, medium- and high- molecular weight to reach every level of the skin and ensure every layer gets the hydration it needs.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel uses only one. It’s just not as hydrating.

Related: Why You Should Add Hyaluronic Acid To Your Skincare Routine


B5 stands for pro-vitamin B5. A.K.A. pantothenic acid. In skincare, it goes by different names.

Skinceuticals uses calcium pantothenate, the salt form of vitamin B5. The Ordinary uses panthenol, the alcohol form of the vitamin (don’t let the world alcohol scare you; in this case, alcohol’s good).

Either way, both forms do the same thing. Like hyaluronic acid, they’re moisture magnets that attract moisture from the air into the skin and keep it there. 

Related: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Panthenol In Skincare

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What Else Is In These Hyaluronic Acid Serums?

Not much else. Both Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel and The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 are basic hydrating serums. Apart from moisture magnets, there’s not much else here.

The main difference? The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 has way more moisture magnets so it’s more hydrating.

What’s The Texture Like?

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is a thick, slightly tacky gel.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel has a much lighter texture and absorbs immediately into your skin.

What’s The Packaging Like?

The both come in see-through bottles with a dropper applicator. Sleek and practical.

How To Use Them

Morning and/or night, right before moisturiser.

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, hands down. You’re getting way more hydration at a fraction of the cost.

Now, that’s what I call a bargain!

Price & Availability

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel (£65.00): available at Blue Mercury, Dermstore and Skinstore

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 (£5.90): available at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty and Feel Unique

Is The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 A Dupe For Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel?

I’m not sure if I would call The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 an exact dupe for Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, just because  its ingredient list is much longer.

But, it does the same thing – just better. That’s enough for me to call it a dupe and choose it over Skinceuticals.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel Ingredients

aqua / water / eau, phenoxyethanol, calcium pantothenate, sodium hyaluronate

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 Ingredients

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