The Ordinary's new moisturizer is here - but it's not for everyone

If you're a fan of The Ordinary, you'll know that the brand has been busy, releasing five new skincare products in the past few months.

First up is the Glucoside Foaming Cleanser, a gentle cleanser that is so effective it has replaced all micellar water and cleansing balms in my skincare routine. Then there's the Peptide Eye Serum, which Refinery29's Senior Affiliate Writer Karina Hoshikawa rates 11/10 for its hydrating and skin-strengthening properties.

Since then, we’ve seen Natural Moisturizing Factors + Phytoceramides (a rich moisturizer for dry skin), Aloe Vera 2% + Nag 2% Solution (to minimize acne-induced skin blemishes), and Glycolipid Cleanser The milk was so good that I used up every last drop. But The Ordinary has a new member in its booming skincare dynasty, and the company is already racking up five-star reviews online.

What is beta-glucan? What are its benefits for skin care?

The star ingredient in The Ordinary's new moisturizer is one you've probably never heard of: beta-glucan. But it shouldn't be underestimated. In fact, some dermatologists and TikTok skincare enthusiasts say it could replace hyaluronic acid as the next big "hydration magnet."

In a nutshell, celebrity esthetician and skin care expert Cynthia Franco recently told R29, "Beta-glucan is a nice large molecule made up of many smaller sugar molecules called polysaccharides." Interestingly, Studies show that beta-glucan provides 20% more moisture than hyaluronic acid. "Both are great skin moisturizers and will reduce the appearance of fine lines over time with regular use," adds Cynthia. Many skin care products actually combine hyaluronic acid and beta-glucan to increase moisture levels and make skin look plumper.

The beta-glucan in The Ordinary Moisturizer comes from Ganoderma lucidum, which has been used in traditional Chinese culture for over 2,000 years. Beta-glucan is not only an effective humectant that locks in moisture in the skin and prevents it from becoming dry and tight, but it is also an excellent antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect skin from the effects of environmental stressors like dulling pollution.

While beta-glucan is the main ingredient, this moisturizer also contains ceramides, which help keep the skin barrier intact, and amino acids, which repair skin damage over time. These are also called "natural moisturizing factors" (NMFs) because they actually occur naturally in the skin, hence the name on the tube. In theory, this is everything you want or need in a moisturizer (except for sunscreen, of course, but most dermatologists will usually recommend additional targeted SPF).

Is The Ordinary’s natural moisturizing factor + beta-glucan useful?

I have combination skin that tends to get oily, so I can't use most moisturizers for fear of breaking out. However, it looks promising. Not only is it a water-based gel, it's also oil and silicone-free, so it's not heavy at all. The texture is very light, more like a hydrating serum. Plus, it's completely sheer, unlike any other moisturizer I'm currently using.

I first applied Natural Moisturizer + Beta Glucan (L'OrĂ©al Revitalift Clinical SPF50+ Invisible Liquid, £19) under my sunscreen in the morning and I really loved it. Normally using moisturizer and sunscreen is too much for my skin, and double layering makes my makeup slip. This combination provides just the right amount of moisture and ensures my foundation lasts until the end of the day.

At night, however, things looked different. I use retina regularly which makes my cheeks relatively dry and sometimes (if I overuse) very flaky. So I needed something to soothe and smooth my dry areas without leaving my face glued to the pillow before bed. I was convinced that this was it, after cleansing, I applied a generous amount of product, but as it absorbed into the skin, I noticed a slight tightness around my eyes, cheeks, and forehead. This shows that it is not powerful enough as a night moisturizer for me. However, I find that applying moisturizer to damp skin a few minutes after washing my face helps retain more moisture, which means my skin feels less stiff.

When it comes to The Ordinary’s hydrating trio, Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta Glucan is easily the thinnest in texture. The brand's Natural Moisturizer + Phytoceramides (£20) is the thickest, giving skin a subtle glow, while Natural Moisturizer + Hyaluronic Acid (£9.90) is somewhere in between. The latter is just right for me: it absorbs quickly, eliminates unpleasant tightness, and leaves a subtle, dewy finish.
The new Natural Moisturizing Factors + Beta-Glucan is an even bigger winner for my partner, with whom I share skincare products regularly. He has oily, acne-prone combination skin, and he hates his face feeling covered or greasy after applying moisturizer. I like products that give my skin a little TLC, but he loves that this moisturizer feels like nothing. Once absorbed, it's really hard to notice. There are no obvious signs that you used moisturizer, like shiny cheekbones or a damp forehead. For him, it has the task of providing ample and quiet moisture. He also has fewer breakouts, and he believes the lighter texture is responsible for his clearer skin.

All in all, natural moisturizing factors + beta-glucan are not suitable for everyone. However, if you're looking for a product that's easy to use, leaves no trace at all, and isn't likely to aggravate oily skin and breakouts, then this might be for you.
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