When November came, I swear my lips turned parched, under eyes darker than darkness and skin rough and dry - all in a blink of an eye. I’ve been layering my skin with hydrating serums/ampoules, Max and Me facial oil (review here) and January Labs face cream (review here). But hydration is key! Today I’ll be chatting about three different hydrating serums from 3 different price points. There’s a mix of eco and K-beauty, so I’m sure there’s something for everyone!
Esse Serum R6*
15ml for 47€
This Esse serum came to me “out of the blue”; I’ve read favorable reviews of this line, but don’t remember specific products mentioned. I fell quickly in love and hard. I love that this bottle has a pump and not a pipette. I take about two pumps and the serum spreads on the skin evenly, absorbing quickly and diminishing any feeling of tightness. While the price is cheaper than Kypris - the bottle is significantly smaller: only 15ml! I got through this serum pretty quickly, but I can’t wait to purchase a new one when there’s a sale.
This almost water-free formula (water is the 4th to last ingredient) is based in rooibos leaf extract and rose water, followed by inulin (humectant) and glycerin. After a couple of binding agents the formula is packed with sodium hyaluronate, several fruit and plant extracts. I think the color must be from rooibos leaf and the light sweet scent from vanilla extract. There’s a little bit of exfoliating salicylic acid in this formula, but it’s not very high up in the INCI list, so I think it’s safe to use even if you have other exfoliating products in your routine. If you’re very sensitive, there’s fragrant limonene and linalool in the formula, so I’d ask a sample first.
Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Leaf Extract*, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Water, Inulin, Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, Xanthan Gum, Tragacanth Gum, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract*, Sodium Hyaluronate, Kigelia Africana Fruit Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Extract, Cyclopia Genistoides (Honeybush) Leaf Extract*, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil*, Salicylic Acid, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Levulinic Acid, Sodium Levulinate, Water (Aqua), Tocopherol, Limonene***, Linalool***
*ingredients from organic farming **made from organic ingredients ***component of natural essential oils, 99% of the total ingredients are from natural origin. 48% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming
Kypris Antioxidant Dew
47ml for £69 / €77
Kypris’ serum is an old favorite mine: quench and glow text in the bottle is quite accurate for this serum. When my skin is seriously ‘thirsty’ and dry, this serum is like giving it a big drink. The texture is light and milky, non-sticky and absorbs to the skin instantly. There is a very slight scent, but to my understanding it is from the plant extracts and not fragrance. The price is quite steep, but you get a very generous amount of the serum.
One thing I’m not too keen about is that this serum is water based - I’d far prefer aloe vera base or something else than plain water. The second ingredient is moisturizing glycerin, but again very inexpensive ingredient. However the next ingredients are moisturizing oils (sunflower and camellia), amino acid and moisturizing sugar, followed by a variety of plant extracts such as reed, comfrey leaf, nettle, damascus rose and so forth. I’d prefer the sodium hyaluronate and ferulic acid to be higher in the ingredient list, but still the results are very nice.
Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Algae, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phospholipids, Phragmites Communis (Reed) Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Xylitol, Anhydroxylitol, Waltheria Indica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Superoxide Dismutase, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mannitol, Dextrin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Gluconate, Xanthan Gum
Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule*
30ml for €32.9
Leegeehaam is Korean cosmetics brand that is famous for it’s propolis ampoule. I’ve given both the Propolis and Hyal B5 ampoules a go and I do prefer the hydrating Hyal B5 one. Compared to Esse and Kypris this serum is much more gloopy, almost sticky feeling. I think it’s a good addition to a routine if you enjoy using many steps, but I’d recommend this serum more to normal to oily skin types. For my very thirsty, dry and dehydrated skin Leegeehaam alone isn’t hydrating enough.
While Kypris and Esse are eco beauty brands, Leegeehaam has some synthetic ingredients - this is not necessarily a bad thing, but a preference. Panthenol aka B5 is high in the ingredient list as promised, after a couple of other skincare ingredients that I love: niacinamide and sodium hyaluronate. Niacinamide is also known as Vitamin B3, which is also very versatile and beneficial skincare ingredient against uneven skin tone, dullness and wrinkles. I also love that this formula has some Korean herbal ingredients, such as Panax Ginseng Berry Extract!
Water, Glycerin, Methylpropanediol, 1,2-Hexanedio, Niacinamide, Dioscorea Japonica Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Piper Methysticum Leaf/Root/Stem Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Panax Ginseng Berry Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Michelia Alba Leaf Oil, Elettaria Cardamomum Seed Oil, Michelia Alba Flower Oil, Tagetes Minuta Flower Oil, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Octyldodeceth-16, Polyquaternium-51, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Glycosyl Trehalose, Glyceryl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Raffinose, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Adenosine, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Tromethamine, Lecithin, Beta-Glucan, Butylene Glycol, Acetyl Glucosamine, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Ascorbyl Propyl Hyaluronate, Ascorbic Acid, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol
Which one should I buy?
Very dry, dehydrated skin: Esse or Kypris
Normal to oily skins: Leegeeham
Luxury eco skincare lover: Esse or Kypris
Layering addict (K-beauty style): Leegeeham
Hydration on a budget: Leegeeham
You might have noticed, I don’t have much bad to say about any of these serums. I like to match them according to my skin needs on a particular day, but I understand that a ‘regular’ consumer might not want to purchase (over) three hydrating serums. As much as I like many ingredients in the Leegeehaam INCI list, I wish the texture was a bit runnier and lighter, so it would absorb faster. Perhaps that’s why it’s my least favorite, but I would still recommend it. The Esse serum is my recent addiction, but the price is quite high for repurchasing it on regular price. Most likely I will be repurchasing my 3rd bottle of the Kypris serum.
What’s your favorite hydrating serum? Let me know!
*Products marked with asterisk were kindly gifted for consideration.
All thoughts are my honest and my own.