The Ordinary Amino Acids + B5 review

This is another review I have promised months ago so finally got round to do it this week. As we all know The Ordinary website is not necessarily the most user-friendly, so I hope my attempt to explain what the Amino Acids + B5 serum is, will be a bit more palatable. I bought the serum four months ago when there weren’t too many details floating around about the formula. Luckily we know so much more now and as I have been using it for a while I review it properly.

What it is:

Amino Acids: the main ingredients in the product, the building blocks of peptides that build up proteins in our body. A short chain of amino acids is able to penetrate the top layer of our skin and send signals to our cells to let them know how to function. One important protein in our skin is collagen that is responsible for keeping our skin firm and supple. When applied topically to the skin peptides can send a signal to collagen to encourage the formation of new collagen which is basically one of the most important things in anti-ageing. In addition, amino acids help to hydrate the skin and aid in the healing process.

B5: aka panthenol is usually added to skin care formulations to hydrate, soften and sooth the skin, it also aids healing and regeneration. It absorbs moisture from the environment which keeps the skin continuously hydrated.

What it does:

This serum contains Amino Acids and Amino Acid derivatives that provide barrier support, elasticity, exfoliation and the added B5 provides surface and below-surface hydration, anti-irritation properties while helping to repair the skin. It will help you to achieve plump, younger-looking, healthy skin.

Who it is for: all skin types, it works really well with trickier ones too like oily, acneic, dry, irritated skin, and the ones that struggle with eczema, or the ones who don’t get along with Hyaluronic Acid.

pH: 4.75-5.25

Ingredients explained:

Aqua (Water), Propanediol (solvent, moisturiser, humectant), Betaine (moisturiser, humectant), Sodium PCA (moisturiser, humectant, skin-identical ingredient* – ingredients that can be found in the skin or mimic the things that can be found in the skin naturally), Panthenol (moisturiser, humectant, soothes skin), Sodium Lactate (buffering – helps to set the pH of a cosmetics formula to the right value, moisturiser, humectant) Arginine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient*), PCA (skin-identical ingredient, moisturiser, humectant), Aspartic Acid (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Glycine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Alanine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Serine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Threonine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Valine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Proline (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Isoleucine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Lysine HCl (amino acid), Histidine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient, moisturiser, humectatnt), Phenylalanine (amino acid, skin-identical ingredient), Glutamic Acid (amino acid, moisturiser, humectant), Citric Acid (exfoliant, buffering), Dimethyl Isosorbide (solvent, viscosity controlling), Polysorbate 20 (emulsifying, surfactant, cleansing), Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate (aids to keep the formula stable), 1,2-Hexanediol (solvent), Caprylyl Glycol (moisturiser, humectant, emollient).

*skin-identical ingredients can mimic the things that can be found in the skin naturally. They have two big groups:

NMFs (Natural Moisturizing Factor): things that can be found inside the skin cells and help our skin to bind water. Glycerin or hyaluronic acid are the two most well-known NMFs that aid in keeping the skin nicely hydrated.

SC (Stratum Corneum – the outer layer of the skin) Lipids: found between the skin cells and is important in having a healthy skin barrier. Ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids are important SC lipids.


The formula is water-free, alcohol-free, oil-free, silicone-free, nut-free, vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free.

How to use it: you can add it to your morning and/or evening routine use it before oilier formulations, use a few drops only, massage it into the skin.

How it worked for me: this is a very light, watery textured serum with a pleasant hydrating feel to it. I use a few drops after cleansing (Dr Sam Bunting’s Flawless Cleanser), toning (Pixi Glow or Retinol), before antioxidants, moisturizers and oils. I sometimes use an HA serum in place of the Amino Acids, it depends which texture I prefer on the day. The website mentions that it can give the skin a slight tingling sensation but I haven’t experienced it.

I think I still prefer Hyaluronic Acid for hydration, The Buffet or the Matryxil for peptides but if you don’t get on with those, go for it. It worked wonders for so many people.


Value for money: excellent as always, you get 30 ml for £5.90.

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