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The Ordinary NMF + HA Review

Updated: Jan 17

Nothing is more exciting in skincare than a great product at a reasonable price and The Ordinary is one of the beauty brands that has nailed this concept. I have been using their star moisturizer, The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA (hyaluronic acid) for quite a while now and I will be sharing my experience with you guys.

The tube of the Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA placed in wooden cupboard that's on a bed.

My Experience With the Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

Let's start with the texture of the product. This moisturizer is a medium-thick white cream. It is fragrance-free so do not expect it to have any scent. Though it looked thick, I was impressed by how easily it melted once I rubbed it between my palms before applying it to my face. It felt light and was nongreasy. although it has some stickiness after application. This moisturizer absorbs quickly into the skin and doesn’t feel warm on the skin nor does it leave a film on the face. This is a great advantage. I love products that melt away easily and leave a subtle glow on the skin.

I have used this product as my regular moisturizer and I have been very satisfied with the result. My skin looks hydrated and I don't experience the flakiness that is common with my skin type. I got a 100ml in July 2021 and used it most mornings and nights. Then I began alternating with another moisturizer from Cerave which I use as my night cream and I still have a lot left of the NMF. This is by far the most long-lasting moisturizer I have ever tried. With this product, a little goes a long way, a peanut size of cream is all you need.

Hand holding the Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors Yaounde Cameroon
This tube was 1/3 full in October 2021 from usage in July 2021.

My Review Update in 2023

While this moisturizer is a great product I did not repurchase it after about a year of usage. I switched to a more hydrating moisturizer: The e.l.f Holy Hydration Face Cream.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of the Ordinary NMF + HA


  • Oil-free

  • Alcohol-free

  • Silicon-free

  • Vegan

  • Just a little is needed to get the job done.

  • Long-lasting

  • Fragrance-free


  • Might feel a tad bit too heavy for oily skin types especially if you are used to lightweight or gel-based moisturizers. However, it will work great for oily skin during winter.

  • It has some stickiness to it after it absorbs into the skin. While this for me wasn't a problem if you prefer a moisturizer with no tackiness, this might not be the one for you.

What are Natural Moisturizing Factors?

Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF) are elements naturally present in the skin that maintain adequate hydration levels. They constitute a group of hygroscopic (water-binding) compounds that are primarily responsible for keeping the skin moisturized, soft, and flexible.

NMF components include:

1. Amino Acids and their Derivatives

 These are the building blocks of proteins and play a critical role in maintaining the skin's hydration, texture, resilience, and overall healthy appearance.

2. PCA (Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid)

This is a key NMF component that helps to maintain skin hydration. In skincare products, PCA is used primarily as a humectant due to its ability to absorb water from the air. This property makes it a great ingredient for moisturizers, as it helps to keep the skin hydrated, supple, and smooth.

3. Sodium Lactate:

Sodium lactate is a major component of the NMF and has strong moisturizing properties. Sodium Lactate is a natural ingredient often used in skincare products due to its powerful moisturizing and anti-aging properties. It's a sodium salt of lactic acid and is a key component of the skin's Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMF), which help to keep the skin hydrated and healthy.

4. Urea:

Urea has strong hydrating properties and is an excellent source of nitrogen for the skin. Urea is a naturally occurring substance found in the human body. It's a component of our skin's Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) and plays a crucial role in maintaining skin's moisture balance and smoothness. In skincare products, urea is often synthetically produced and used for its potent hydrating, exfoliating, and barrier-repairing properties.

5. Salts and Sugars:

These compounds can attract and hold onto water, helping to keep skin hydrated.

6. Glycerol (Glycerin):

Glycerin, or glycerol, is a vital skincare ingredient known for its potent hydrating properties. As a humectant, it attracts and locks in moisture, enhancing skin hydration. Glycerin also fortifies the skin barrier, improving resilience against irritants. Its soothing nature benefits irritated skin, while its role in maintaining skin hydration indirectly combats signs of aging. Compatible with most skin types, glycerin is generally safe and non-irritating.

These factors work together to maintain skin hydration by attracting and holding water in the skin, as well as by forming a protective layer that prevents water loss to the environment. When NMFs are depleted, skin can become dry, rough, and more susceptible to damage and signs of aging. Some skincare products include ingredients like amino acids, urea, and hyaluronic acid that mimic NMFs to help restore skin hydration.

How does the Ordinary NMF + HA work?  

This product is marketed as a moisturizer that helps protect the outer layer of the skin and keep the skin hydrated. And to do that their moisturizer has a rather interesting formula. The brand included lots of humectants and emollients but took it a step further to incorporate two of the three natural moisturizing factors present in the outer layer of the skin. These include:

  • Urea - a humectant that keeps the skin hydrated by drawing moisture from deeper layers of the skin and the air.

  • Amino acids - are the building blocks of proteins and peptides needed to keep the skin healthy

It is therefore not a coincidence that this product is called “ Natural Moisturizing Factors”. It equally contains other essential moisturizing elements such as ceramides. These are a group of naturally occurring fatty acids that help reinforce the skin’s outer barrier and prevent transepidermal water loss. They are essentially the glue that holds our skin cells together to keep our skin barrier in shape.

For anyone with dry skin, this product should work like a charm.

Ingredients in the Ordinary NMF + HA

The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA is a hydrating formula that offers non-greasy, surface-level hydration. The formula combines a wide array of elements that are naturally present in the skin and contribute to its overall hydration and health, these include;

  • Glycerin

  • Amino acids

Arginine, Aspartic Acid, Glycine, Alanine, Serine, Valine, Isoleucine, Proline, Threonine, Histidine, Phenylalanine

  • Sugars

Glucose, Maltose, Fructose, Trehalose

  • Sodium PCA

  • PCA

  • Sodium Lactate,

  • Urea,

  • Allantoin

  • Fatty Acids

Linoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid.

How To Use The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA : 

This moisturizer is most suitable for dry skin and can be used morning and night after your toner (or serums if your routine includes them) for proper hydration.

A quick tip: I found that applying this moisturizer on damp skin works even better to trap in more moisture.

Also, you do not need a ton of product for it to work. A little goes a long way. Just a peanut size will be enough for your face and a little bit more for your neck.

Where To Buy The Ordinary's Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA

Final Thoughts

Does this moisturizer match up to its claims? Yes totally! It is already a staple in my routine. I recommend it for all skin types. It won’t clog your pores nor cause you breakouts. However, it should be noted that before applying to your face, you should do a patch test in case of any allergies. I also want to highlight the fact that I have noticed that products that contain Hyaluronic acid tend to be drying when applied to dry skin. So make sure to apply this moisturizer to damp skin for optimal results. I hope you enjoyed reading this review. Make sure to drop your comments about your experience with this product as well as any questions.

Also, check out why every man needs a skincare routine, and a review of my best toner of 2023, the Anua Heartleaf 77% Soothing Toner.

If you found this post helpful, kindly drop a comment, like, or share it with your friends

Alternative Products To The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factor

Looking for more hydrating moisturizers to add to your skincare routine? Here is a list of our top hydrating facial lotions to help hydrate your skin and repair your skin barrier.

The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + Phytoceramides

This moisturizer is a revised formulation of the original The Ordinary NMF lotion and delivers 6x more hydration than the original formula.

Jumiso Waterfull Hyaluronic Face Cream

This moisturizer is formulated with 3 types of hyaluronic acid complex to deliver intense hydration and leave the skin plump and full.

Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream

Cosrx Hyaluronic Acid Intensive Cream is a deeply moisturizing and nourishing cream designed to quench the skin's thirst. Infused with high concentrations of hyaluronic acid, it attracts and locks in moisture, providing long-lasting hydration. Ideal for all skin types, its lightweight yet powerful formula helps to smooth, soften, and rejuvenate, revealing a more radiant, plump complexion.

FAQ about The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors

What are the key elements of The Ordinary NMF + HA?

A: The key elements of The Ordinary Moisturizing Factors + HA include humectants, emollients, occlusives, and phyto-ceramides, which help to condition the skin and reduce dryness, respectively. It also contains natural moisturizing factors that mimic the skin's natural moisturizing abilities.

Is The Ordinary NMF + HA suitable for all skin types?

A: This moisturizer is suitable for all skin types, but those with dry skin may benefit from additional moisturizing ingredients.

Can The Ordinary NMF + HA be used as a Standalone Moisturizer?

A: Yes, this moisturizer can be used alone or in combination with other products.

How Does the Ordinary NMF + HA Work?

A: The moisturizer works by immediately boosting skin hydration, strengthening the skin barrier, and providing all-day hydration. It does this by utilizing skin-identical natural moisturizing factors, ceramides, and skin lipids, which work together to target dryness.

How Do I Use The Ordinary NMF?

A: The moisturizer should be applied to cleansed skin after any targeted treatments have been applied. It can be used in both the morning and evening.

Is The Ordinary NMF cruelty-free?

A: Yes, The Ordinary is a cruelty-free brand [2].


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