3 Best Hydrating Serums to Date

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!

3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

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.

Ingredients

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

3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

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.

Ingredients

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 

3 Best Hydrating Serums | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

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!

Ingredients

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.

Millennial Pink Meets Eco Beauty - Bybi Beauty Supercharge Serum Review

Cute millenial pink packaging, cruelty free, 100% natural and a price point that doesn't make your choose between beauty and your rent. That's BYBI, a British skincare brand launched in 2017. While the range is well-curated and simply adorable on the outside, does the skincare actually perform? Today I'm taking a look at their Supercharge Serum* and sharing you my thoughts! Enjoy!

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BYBI Supercharge Serum

This natural facial serum is designed to be potent, nutrient-dense yet light and fast-absorbing in texture. Unlike many eco facial oils, the Supercharge Serum has almost a transparent color and the blend of natural oils and essential oils are in a squalane base. Suggested use is in the mornings for a fresh, dewy look or as a night treatment before, in place of or added to a normal moisturizer. Packed in a glass bottle with a pipette dropper. 30ml / 1.018 fl.oz. for £32 or 38,90€. In Finland you can find BYBI from Jolie* or TwistBe*.

About BYBI Beauty Brand

BYBI was a completely new brand to me and I had to do some research who/where/what was it all about. The packaging is very cute millenial pink, typography is smart, overall the look is very Instagram friendly (and my graphic designer's heart is very happy). The price point is moderate/affordable if you consider the fact these ingredients promise to be high quality, 100% natural, vegan and cruelty free. The name BYBI stands By Beauty Insiders and the brand is founded by Elsie and Dominika, who are both UK beauty bloggers, consumers and formulators. They wanted to create a transparent brand based on their knowledge and bring something fresh to the market.

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Using the Supercharge Serum

I've used this product as my serum step before a moisturizer (AM routine) or sealed under a nourishing beauty balm (PM routine). Despite testing the product during the heatwave that was scorching Europe, my skin wasn't left looking or feeling like a grease ball. BYBI describes the oil "almost like a dry oil" and I can agree - it sinks in very quickly, leaving the skin looking fresh and moisturized. I have a firm love for heavier, opaque colored eco facial oils, but it was wonderful to reach for something lighter during the hotter months. I take a generous amount (more than 4-5 drops), press my palms together and then press and roll on my face, neck and décolleté. The scent is slightly citrusy, but not overpowering.

I almost always prefer a dark opaque bottle for packaging to protect the product from light, but I guess the oils in BYBI's formula aren't that 'sensitive' type? I'm used to droppers but BYBI's is a tad flimsy as the glass pipette once fell off from the plastic pipette. Nothing was spilt and I pressed the glass part back to it's place, but as a consumer I don't want to think or be careful with the packaging. So that's a minor minus point, but otherwise I would travel with this serum despite the glass bottle as it does work very nicely under makeup.

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Ingredients

Squalane, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Seed Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Citrullus Vulgaris (Watermelon) Seed Oil, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Opuntia Ficus-Indica (Prickly Pear) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Papaver Somniferum (Poppy) Seed Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Citronellol, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Flower Oil, Geraniol, Jasminum Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Flower Extract, Citral, Linalool, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemongrass) Oil, Limonene, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Eugenol, Isoeugenol

The base of this serum is squalane derived from olives. SqualAne is a hydrogenated version of squalEne, but not subject to auto-oxidation ie. it has a longer shelf-life. They're both naturally occuring compounds of human sebum and won't irritate or sensitize the skin. Squalane is a popular emollient and moisturizing agent in a lot of skincare as it absorbs quickly, making the skin nice and plump with no greasy residue.

Looks like BYBI has chosen a lot of other very moisturizing, antioxidant rich and stable oils for their formula, such as meadowfoam seed oil and Japanese camellia oil. I could find only little info on the second ingredient, kuikui or candletree oil, but meadowfoam is another fast-absorbing oils that locks in moisture and delivers nutrients into epidermis. There's also Tocopherol (Vitamin E), evening primrose and prickly pear seed oil. Especially prickly pear seed oil has been popular in green beauty as it has high olinoeic acid and antioxidant content.

After a few flower oils there is a surprising amount of fragrant ingredients, most likely naturally derived, but they are possible irritants and allergen (Linalool, Limonene, Eugenol etc.). It's weird because the Supercharge Serum has only a faint citrus smell that doesn't linger. So why the need for fragrance? Luckily I haven't had any issues while using this oil, but if you're very sensitive or have issues with essential oils I'd patch test or give it a sniff first. 

I think Supercharge serum would suit the best for reactive, perhaps acne-prone and oily skins as the comedogenic rating of squalane is very low, but it provides well-needed moisture for the skin. Just be cautious of the fragrance. If you have more mature or very dry skin this serum alone might not be enough for you, except if you enjoy a lighter and fast-absorbing oil under makeup.

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Final thoughts

As I mentioned before, BYBI was a completely new eco brand to me and I had some healthy scepticism that something so cute wouldn't be effective.. silly I know and I'm happy report I was proven wrong! I thought the range would be only aimed towards younger audience judging by the pink packaging and lower price point (with eco oil serums the prices can be in 3 figures), but so far the products I've tried have won me over. I'm glad there's a range with an oil serum that is both aesthetically fresh but also won't break the bank.

*This product was kindly offered for consideration.
My thoughts are unbiased, honest and my own.