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NOW READING Why I Can’t Live Without Hydrating Ampoules in My Routine (+ Get It Beauty’s Pick)
August 27, 2018

Why I Can’t Live Without Hydrating Ampoules in My Routine (+ Get It Beauty’s Pick)

When it comes to getting that coveted K-beauty glow, no amount of highlighter is going to beat drenching your skin in hydration so that it lights up from within. Here, why hydrating ampoules are a must in your routine (and which budget-friendly option made it to the top 2 on Get It Beauty).


I’m not sure about everyone else, but I am ready for fall to happen ASAP. It’s regularly over 100℉/37℃ daily where I live, and I’m ready to pull a Charmed and start casting some spells to get the weather to cool down already.


I’ll be getting into how I gear up for season changes in regard to my skincare in my next article, but as I was sitting down for my weekly cheesy snack party this weekend (@Jude Chao knows what I’m talking about), I got sucked into another episode of Get It Beauty. In this show from earlier this month, they were focusing on hydrating ampoules and serums, which led to me talking back at the screen very passionately. In that moment, I realized two things: 1) I needed to calm myself and stop talking to a TV show, and 2) I am really passionate about hydration. That is such a weird sentence, but I know all of you reading are my people and get just as giddy over hydrated skin as I do.


hydrating ampoules


Earlier this year, @Coco Park wrote an article about dehydration in your skin, and I can honestly say that figuring out my skin is combination with surface dehydration was the biggest personal revelation. Embracing the 7-skin method (or 3-5 skin method for me personally lol) was awesome and something I still do every day, but if I’m gonna be honest, I really don’t have the patience or desire to pat away that much in the morning. Yes, I know, it literally just takes a few minutes, but something about the combination of my T-zone already getting so oily and layering on a lot of product doesn’t feel like a great fit for me. I have no problem walking around my apartment in the evenings looking shinier than a Krispy Kreme glazed donut, but I personally am not down with shuffling through the aisles of Target looking drenched like the Little Mermaid.


hydrating ampoules


That’s where hydrating ampoules really shine in my routine for me. Grabbing something containing hyaluronic acid isn’t anything new for me, but if you’re looking to spruce up an existing routine or are newer to the skincare game, it’s something that I would say is almost vital to getting that seemingly elusive (but in reality, not that hard-to-get) glow that everyone is chasing.


I’m sure a lot of us have heard time and time again that hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in our bodies that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, but sodium hyaluronate has been what I’ve had my eye on lately. It’s categorized as the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, and the reason I love it is that it has a smaller molecular size than hyaluronic acid, which is supposed to aid it in penetrating deeper into the skin. Since I’ve got the aforementioned dehydrated situation going on, this could not sound more appealing.


Some of my fellow K-Beauty Squad members have mentioned this before, but I cannot stress it enough: If your skin is not hydrated, it cannot function at its best. I live in the desert, and I can attest to the fact that when the monsoons hit here, it completely floods the streets because the ground is so dry that it can’t absorb the rainfall. Obviously skin is not a dry, cracked desert landscape (although my face may beg to differ during the summer), but the same principle does apply. A few of the experts on the Get It Beauty panel, comprised of beauty industry veterans and respected dermatologists, weighed in on this topic themselves:


hydrating ampoules


hydrating ampoules


On this particular episode, Get It Beauty tested 100 hydrating ampoules. They gathered about 10 testers and had them wash their faces. After 30 minutes, doctors measured their skin’s hydration levels with a skin moisture meter. Then, the testers applied a hydrating ampoule to their face and nothing else. After three hours, doctors again measured the skin’s hydration levels, and this is how they determined the winners.


hydrating ampoules


Out of the 100 ampoules, the top four were presented, each with their labels and brands obscured. The finalists included the seaNtree Hyaluron Ampoule 100 (from brand “S,” but you could still see the name Hyaluron Ampoule 100). This little gem — brought into the test by dermatologist Ahn In Sook, director of the Korean Society of Dermatology — actually ended up being the second place winner of the hydrating ampoules; it increased skin hydration by 88.46% even after three hours. The panel raved that it felt very lightweight, absorbed super quickly, and had a clean, non-sticky finish. In fact, host Jang Yoon-ju commented that of the two ampoules they had just tried, the seaNtree one felt the best. The panel also liked that it was very simply formulated without unnecessary ingredients like artificial colorants or fragrance.


hydrating ampoules


The seaNtree ampoule is actually great for those of the you who have skin that’s more on the sensitive side of the spectrum. The ingredient list is super concise (only four ingredients, the second of which is sodium hyaluronate), and I’m always here to stan a budget-friendly option ($25 for 100ml!). The bottle is huge and should last you quite some time even with twice-daily use.


hydrating ampoules


If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, the COSRX Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Power Essence is another great alternative that’s budget-friendly and a blast of hydration for your skin. I’ve gone through two bottles of this in the past, and it worked perfectly for me, regardless of the season or condition of my skin. The sodium hyaluronate is suspended in a base of Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) water. Sea buckthorn is an awesome little berry that is packed with vitamins A, C, E and carotenoids that help with free radical damage — think acai berry but improved.


One of my favorites (and the one that I’ve planned out for many of my friends’ skincare routines) is the Klairs Rich Moist Soothing Serum. This one has quite the ingredient list, so make sure to take a look that there isn’t anything in there that your skin may not like; however, I’m all about the botanical extracts that are in here. I mentioned in @Coco Park’s article about mixing skincare products together that I like using a water-based serum with a few drops of face oil morning and night, and this is exactly the kind of product that I would use for that purpose: all of the hydration and none of the heaviness.


Do you use hyaluronic acid or sodium hyaluronate in your routine? If so, what are your favorite hydrating ampoules or serums? I want to know!



Born in Korea and raised in Washington, Leo is another 20-something member of the K-Beauty Squad that is as committed to his love of skincare as he is to wine and cheese covered snack foods. After working as an educator and trainer in the beauty industry, he joined the team at Beautytap to continue sharing his knowledge and passion for skincare and all things chok-chok. During his free time, he’s been spotted in the wild bingeing Netflix shows, blasting K-pop while playing video games, or (much more rarely) leaving his hovel to venture forth in search of cocktails and Korean BBQ.




what were the other finalists?


I've had my eye on that seantree ampoule since it was put on the site and it's definitely going into a future order. The short ingredients list got me real excited.

I've gone through multiple bottles of Elizavecca's hell pore control 97% hyaluronic acid serum. My skin sucks it up like a straw!! And it's under $10 so it's super budget friendly. I go through the 50ml pretty fast though.

Also I definitely want to keep watching Get it Beauty, but I can't seem to find full episodes anywhere!


I usually end up watching the episodes on various Korean streaming sites but unfortunately they don't have subtitles the majority of the time :(

If I find anywhere that reliable posts the beauty shows with subs I'll definitely make sure to mention it in the future!


The Cosrx hylauronic acid serum saved my skin last fall/winter. Most of my life I’ve had oily skin, then combo/oily, but last fall my skin just suddenly became sooooo dry. I found myself putting more moisturizer on throughout the day - which felt so crazy when in the past I always worried about my skin becoming oily. I had to toss a bunch of mattifying and oily skin friendly products and research how to care for dry skin, because I had absolutely no idea! The Cosrx hylauronic serum is the first serum I’ve ever tried, and I haven’t looked back.... Read more


I totally understand the dry air struggle; it's a year-round thing for me as I have the AC running all summer and then the winter is bone dry here. So glad you like the Cosrx one, it really is a life saver! You wouldn't think something so simple could make such a big difference but it really can.


It was a great and informative, thank you ! I am still trying new products and figuring out what works for me, so I won't use ampoules soon but I definitively will some day *o*


i have and love the Klairs serum!! I was using it myself, and when my husband wanted to start a skincare routine (I was so thrilled, omg!) I added this as his first serum. He commented within a week that he noticed his skin was feeling much less tight and more hydrated. (Granted, he had been washing once a day and then not doing anything else.)

Meanwhile for me, someone with an established routine, I found the Klairs to be an added boost of hydration that sank in quickly, allowing me to move onto my next step. I might try out... Read more


Hahaha, the mister can't live without his 4-step routine now that he knows what his skin feels like with a serum and moisturizer!

I love HA, but I find some serums to be too sticky since I layer on a number of essences and serums. But the seaNtree ampoule is one of the less sticky ones I've tried, and I love that it's almost all HA. I really liked the Graymelin 100% HA serum as well, but it's hard to find now!


I feel like Graymelin is getting harder to find in general. I'm still layering things but I've definitely cut down on my steps for sure and I've not noticed that my skin has suffered in negative way thankfully.


Me too, especially during the daytime. I find my makeup sits better when there aren't so many layers on my face, especially the richer serums and ampoules, and especially during the summertime. I used to think my face would instantly shrivel up and dark spots would explode if I left out a single step, hahaha.


I definitely go for biggest bang for my hydrating buck products in the morning, so I don't miss out on too much but am not putting excessive amounts of layers on my face. Then at night I apologize and lovingly apply more products to make up for it.


I've got my SO rotating through various hydrating products too after I hooked him into a skincare routine about a year and a half ago and I want him to try the Klairs one next because it sinks in so quickly. If I give him anything sticky or heavy to try he immediately protests lol


Wow these look good! Maybe it's time to venture into hyaluronic acid proper :/ All my previous attempts at including hyaluronic acid into my routine (mostly via sheet masks to test waters) resulted in overly shiny and greasy-looking skin with clogged pores and breakouts, so I've stayed away from hyaluronic acid for ages :/


I think that formulation has a lot to do with it; unless you've got an allergy to it, I haven't found any evidence to support that hyaluronic acid is really capable of clogging pores due to the fact that the molecules are so small; maybe something else in the previous formulations you tried contributed to the irritation? I think the seaNtree ampoule would be a great place to start! Super simple ingredient list so you get all the hydration with anything else that could potentially be sensitizing.


Hmmm that sounds logical (and the scientific part of me is already screaming at me for blasphemizing that hyaluronic acid can 'clog' pores anyway HAHAHHA). Time to put it on the 'to-buy' list!