the ordinary natural moisturizing factors + ha review

I have a confession to make. In the past, I would have overlooked The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA for being a boring formula. Now I know that boring is just what your skin needs sometimes. Let me explain…

Are you so focused on anti-aging you forget to hydrate your skin? This was totally me a few years ago. My skin was thriving in sunny Italy. It was soft and smooth all the time. I didn’t have to do anything to keep it that way. Hand me over that retinol, instead!

Things changed during my first winter in London. My skin struggled to put up with the cold. My usual skincare routine wasn’t working. It was too high in anti-agers and too low in moisturising agents. It was no match for the cold London winter weather. In a couple of weeks, my skin was a dry and flaky mess.

That’s when I realised I had to up my hydration game. The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA was just the thing the doctor ordered. Here’s why:

About The Brand: The Ordinary

The Ordinary changed the world of skincare forever. Before late founder Brandon Truaxe came up with the idea, the world of drugstore skincare was a boring and dull land where all you could find was hydrating formulas with hardly any anti-aging actives. They made promises they just couldn’t deliver. And how could you tell her?

Truaxe changed all that. It brought science-based actives to then drugstore, creating products that do what they say on the tin. And he demystified the science of skincare, helping consumers make smarter choices when it comes to their skin.

Granted, not all of their products are anti-aging. The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA is just hydrating (like most other skincare products). But, unlike other lines, this brand creates both moisturising AND anti-aging products, so you can give your skin everything it needs without breaking the bank. Phew!

Key Ingredients In The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA: What Makes It Work?


Natural Moistur… WTH? Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF). A catch-all term for all those substances that make up your skin’s natural protective barrier. Like urea, fatty acids, amino acids and hyaluronic acid (this cream contains them all).

When your skin’s protective barrier is damaged, NMF patch up the holes, making it whole again. When it’s already whole, NMF strengthen it, so the cold winter winds and all the other enemies of your skin have a harder time breaking it down.

NMF don’t just protect skin from its enemies. They also trap water in, so it can’t evaporate into thin air and dry out your skin. The best part? Your skin already knows NMF so it won’t throw an irritating fit when you apply them. Thats’ why they’re perfect for anyone with dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin.

Related: How To Strengthen Your Skin’s Protective Barrier And Why It Matters

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The Ordinary singled out hyaluronic acid (it’s the HA in the name), so I’ll do the same here. FYI, you won’t find hyaluronic acid in the ingredient list. It’s called sodium hyaluronate there.

Call it as you like, 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 bind up to 1000 times its weight in water!

Can you imagine what your skin does with all that moisture?! It plumps it well up, so your fine lines suddenly look smaller. It makes skin softer to the touch. And gives it a subtle, dewy glow.

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

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Aqua (Water): The base and. main solvent of this product.
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: Derived from coconut oil and glycerin, it’s an excellent emollient that strengthens the skin’s protective barrier, making it softer and smoother.
  • Cetyl Alcohol: A moisturising fatty alcohol that makes skin softer and smoother. It also enhances the texture of skincare products.
  • Propanediol: It’s a solvent that helps dissolve other ingredients in the formula. Plus, it helps skin retain moisture and stay soft and healthy.
  • Stearyl Alcohol: It’s an emollient that makes skin softer. While it’s at it, it also doubles up as an emulsifier that keeps the oily and watery parts of the formula from separating.
  • Glycerin: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into your skin, helping to keep it hydrated, soft, and plump.
  • Arginine: An amino acid with antioxidants and hydrating properties.
  • Aspartic Acid: An amino acid with light hydration properties that also helps build collagen.
  • Glycine: The simplest of the amino acids, it’s very hydrating and helps to keep skin soft and younger-looking.
  • Alanine: Another amino acids, one of the building blocks for collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep your skin firm and elastic.
  • Serine: An amino acid that helps retain moisture in the skin. Hydrated skin = younger-looking skin.
  • Valine: This amino acids soothes and hydrates skin.
  • Isoleucine: Another hydrating amino acids that makes skin soft and supple.
  • Proline: This amino acid helps skin retain moisture and supports the structures in skin that prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Threonine: Another hydrating amino acid that makes sure your skin is always softer and smoother.
  • Histidine: This multi-tasking amino acid hydrates, soothes irritations, and protects skin from environmental aggressors.
  • Phenylalanine: An amino acid used in the treatment of vitiligo.
  • Glucose: A plant sugar, it hydrates skin and gives cosmetics a sweet, pleasant flavour.
  • Maltose: Another hydrating sugar. There’s initial research shows that it may also reduce hyperpigmentation.
  • Fructose: A natural sugar found in honey and fruits, it hydrates skin.
  • Trehalose: A plant sugar with humectant properties. It draws moisture from the air into the skin, helping to keep it hydrated.
  • Sodium PCA: Part of the skin’s natural protective barrier, it helps skin attract and retain moisture, keeping it softer, suppler, and younger-looking.
  • PCA: Derived from amino acids, it helps boost hydration in the uppermost layers of your skin.
  • Sodium Lactate: The sodium salt of lactic acid, it hydrates skin and has minor antioxidant properties.
  • Urea: Another natural component of your skin’s protective barrier, it holds water into your skin to keep it hydrated and softer for longer.
  • Allantoin: A skin soother that calms down redness and irritation.
  • Linoleic Acid: The most abundant fatty acid found in skin’s upper layers, it’s an emollient that makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Oleic Acid: Primary fatty acid found in olive oil, it makes skin softer when combined with other fatty acids.
  • Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides: It makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Palmitic Acid: A fatty acid found naturally in the skin, it helps skin softer and smoother.
  • Stearic Acid: An emollient that makes skin softer and smoother. It also thickens the texture of skincare products.
  • Lecithin: A multi-tasker that makes skin softer and smoother, hydrates skin, and helps the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating.
  • Triolein: It makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Tocopherol: A form of Vitamin E with antioxidant properties that fight free radicals and extend the shelf life of the product.
  • Carbomer: It helps to adjust the thickness of a formula.
  • Isoceteth-20: It prevents the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating.
  • Polysorbate 60: It improves the texture and feel of formulas.
  • Sodium Chloride: Used to thicken skincare formulations.
  • Citric Acid: It’s used to adjust the pH of the product.
  • Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate: It’s a chelating agent, a fancy way of saying it binds to the metal ions in the water and neutralises them before they have a chance to spoil the formula.
  • Pentylene Glycol: It helps to stabilise emulsions, making textures more pleasant to use.
  • Triethanolamine: It’s an emulsifier that helps the oily and watery parts of the formula blend together beautifully. It’s also a pH adjuster.
  • Sodium Hydroxide: Used to adjust a formula’s pH.
  • Phenoxyethanol: A preservative that kills a wide range of bacteria to keep your moisturiser safe from contamination and spoilage.
  • Chlorphenesin: A preservatives that keeps bacteria at bay and helps the formula last longer.


This is where The Ordinary formulas kind of fail. They work wonders, but their textures are a bit (ok, a lot) unpleasant to use. This moisturiser is thick when you pour it out of the tube. But, don’t let that stop you. Once you slather it on, it melts into the skin, sinks in fairly quickly, and feels very comfortable once on.


It’s fragrance-free. That’s either good or bad news, depending on what you value. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll appreciate the lack of scent. Fragrance is the most irritating ingredient in skincare. If a product irritates your skin, 9 times out of 10, fragrance is the culprit. Leaving it out avoids unnecessary problems. But, if your skin doesn’t react negatively to fragrances and you like a moisturiser that smells like a garden in full bloom, you’ll find this boring and unappealing.

How To Use It

It’s a moisturiser, so you can use it both in the morning and in the evening. In the morning, apply it in between serum and sunscreen. At night, it’s the last step of your skincare routine. If you’re also using a facial oil, layer it on top of this moisturiser.


This moisturiser comes in a grey tube. It’s not the prettiest, but it does its job well. The small opening doesn’t pour out too much product, but not too little either. In other words, a functional tube that helps keep the price down and doesn’t waste product.

Performance & Personal Opinion

Before discovering The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA, I’d apply a hylauronic acid serum both in the mornings and at night and finish my night-time skincare routine with an oil.

I still do all that. But now I use The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA as my daytime moisturiser. At first, I thought the texture would be too thick for that, but it layers well under sunscreen. It makes a perfect base for makeup, too.

If your skin’s already in good condition, you may not see a drastic improvement. What this moisturiser does well is keeping your skin soft and your natural protective barrier strong – just as nature intended.  It ensures that your skin has all the hydration and protection it needs, anytime, anywhere.

If your skin’s on the dry side, then you’ll see the magic at work. Within a few days, this moisturiser can fix the damage without irritating your skin.

If I could change only one thing, I’d add some antioxidants to the mix. But this moisturiser is so cheap, I don’t mind supplement with a separate antioxidant serum (you can check out my faves here).

Related: What Are The Best Antioxidant Serums?

the ordinary natural moisturizing factors + ha

What I Like AboutThe Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA

  • Fragrance-free.
  • Makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Protects skin against environmental aggressors.
  • It layers well under sunscreen.
  • It makes a good base for makeup.
  • Affordable price.

What I DON’T Like AboutThe Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor + HA

  • Thick texture.
  • Boring packaging.
  • No anti-aging benefits.

Who Should Use This?

Everyone can use this moisturiser, but it’s best suitable for dry and sensitive skin that needs a “medicine” to patch up their skin protective barrier and an extra dose of hydration.

Does The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA Live Up To Its Claims?

This formula offers non-greasy hydration that acts as a direct topical supplement of impaired NMF components.True.
It offers immediate hydration and lasting results with continued use. True.

Is The Ordinary Cruelty-Free?

Yes, The Ordinary is truly cruelty-free. They don’t test on animals, neither by themselves or through a third party.

Price & Availability

$5.80/£4.90 at Beauty Bay, Cult Beauty, The Ordinary, and Sephora

Do You Need It?

If you’re looking for a moisturiser to repair your dry and damaged skin, this is a great option to consider. It does the job without breaking the bank.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • CeraVe Moisturising Cream (£5.00): Loaded with ceramides, cholesterol, and hyaluronic acid, it repairs the skin’s natural protective barrier and keeps skin softer and smoother. Its texture is smoother and pleasant to use. Available at Boots, Sephora and Ulta.


Aqua (Water), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine, Glucose, Maltose, Fructose, Trehalose, Sodium PCA, PCA, Sodium Lactate, Urea, Allantoin, Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Phytosteryl Canola Glycerides, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Lecithin, Triolein, Tocopherol, Carbomer, Isoceteth-20, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Pentylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.