My Favorite $15 Hydrating Serum

Serums are too damn expensive. Especially the ones I seem to lust after. Ugh. But there are some seriously good exceptions to that rule out there and I found one of them during my trip to Croatia last summer. This hydrating serum from local brand Olival quickly became my favorite beauty find of 2019.

While browsing at BIPA, I happened upon a shelf of what appeared to be very reasonably priced lotions and potions. After checking my currency converter and seeing a “Sale” sticker, I started investigating. I knew immortelle oil was a popular ingredient in Croatian beauty products and I’d never tried it before so when I spotted this Olival serum, I snagged it. The promise of results in five minutes also got my attention (with a healthy dose of skepticism).

The main reason I’ve abandoned other hydrating serums in the past was because they pilled when layered with other products. I tried to love you, Glossier Super Bounce, I really did. I also read a lot about the Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum but $300 a bottle is insane.

But this one from Olival ticked all the boxes. It had a light, gel texture that my skin drank up in seconds. A pea-size amount is all you need, max, so that little tube lasted a few months. It layered perfectly with my BR quintessential serums and my moisturizer without pilling. And lastly, it gave my skin a hydrated glow that lasted all day without making me greasy. All for less than $20? Yes, please.

As for the five-minute effect? It did make my skin look refreshed and dewy once it was absorbed so I looked more awake. It terms of it smoothing out any major wrinkles temporarily, I can’t attest to that. Yet. (*lights a candle, starts chanting*)

They do ship to the U.S. but with a fee, so I ordered several tubes to gift to family at Christmas and to keep for myself. I love how travel-friendly this tube is compared to another glass vial and that the cost doesn’t make it too precious.

If you can get your hands on it, try it. It’s just lovely. Živjeli!

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