The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums for Hydrated and Glowing Skin

The ultimate guide to the best hyaluronic acid serums.

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums for Hydrated and Glowing Skin
Now’s the time to add a hyaluronic acid serum into your skincare routine. Julia Cherruault for Observer

There are few skincare ingredients that are quite as universally beloved as hyaluronic acid, and for good reason. Hyaluronic acid is a dermatologist-approved, skincare maven-adored go-to for a plethora of skin concerns, thanks to its hydrating, glowing and plumping properties. Hyaluronic acid is one of those miracle ingredients that, when used properly, combats dehydrated, dull and tight skin, and leaves you hydrated and radiant. But what, exactly, is hyaluronic acid, and how should it be used?

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“Hyaluronic acid can bind up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It functions as a humectant and holds water molecules onto the surface of your skin to keep it nice and hydrated,” board-certified dermatologist Dr. Amy B. Lewis told Observer. “When a product prevents trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), that means it’s  keeping your skin hydrated by stopping water from escaping from your skin’s surface. Hyaluronic acid does that by slowing the rate at which the water evaporates. In turn, this helps give an increase in elasticity, an increase in volume and wrinkle reduction. It also firms the texture of the skin.”

Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in our skin, but the levels produced deplete with age, which is why using a product with the hero ingredient is so important. “Incorporating hyaluronic acid into the topical skin care regime is a must for mature skin to help maintain the hydration level, and preserve moisturization and a youthful glow,” Dr. Lewis explained. While tons of products contain HA, a serum is one of the best ways to get your daily dose of hyaluronic acid, as it “stays on the skin longer, allowing for better penetration.”

It’s important to choose the right hyaluronic acid serum for your skin concerns; those who are super sensitive should look for an HA product that perhaps doesn’t contain other active ingredients. “On its own, HA tends to not cause untoward reactions since our bodies also make it, so we see it as a natural substance,” Dr. Lewis said. “However, HA products that contain other ingredients could possibly cause an allergic or irritant reaction.” So as always, remember to patch test!

Despite its name, hyaluronic acid is not an exfoliant, and reacts well with almost all other skincare ingredients. Dr. Lewis recommend using a hyaluronic acid serum on a daily basis, ideally in the morning and in the evening, and to make sure that you don’t just slap into dry skin. “Apply to slightly damp skin or with damp fingers to give it the water it is looking for,” Dr. Lewis instructed. “You can layer a moisturizer on top to lock in hydration for more mature drier skin if needed.”

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to find the best hyaluronic serum to incorporate into your skincare routine, especially as we head into the driest time of year. Below, see all our favorite hyaluronic acid serums for plump, hydrated, smooth and glowing skin.

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums

  • Osea.

    Osea Hyaluronic Sea Serum

    Osea’s natural skincare products are simple, clean and effective. Their Hyaluronic Sea Serum contains a combination of hyaluronic acid and three organic seaweeds (hence the name) for an ultra-soothing dose of hydration. It has a slightly thicker texture, but dries down quickly and is a great option for anyone with sensitive skin.

    $88, Shop Now
  • Valmont.

    Valmont Hydra 3 Regenetic Serum

    Yes, Valmont products are pricey, but they’re also so good. This particular serum has a gel-like consistency, and contains a blend of liposome DNA to hydrate, regenerate and strengthen, a hyaluronic acid precursor that helps stimulate production of HA, as well as hyaluronic acid to plump skin, so you get *all* the anti-aging and hydration benefits.

    $295, Shop Now
  • Jordan Samuel Skin.

    Jordan Samuel Skin Hydrate Facial Serum

    This serum is a true multitasker, as along with the plumping and hydrating hyaluronic acid, it also contains vitamin c, hexapeptides, cucumber and tamarind extracts that soothe and hydrate for a glowy complexion. This one does have vitamin c, so if you’re sensitive to the antioxidant, either skip this one or do a patch test (as you always should) beforehand.

    $29, Shop Now
  • Tatcha.

    Tatcha The Dewy Serum

    Tatcha’s Dewy Serum is one of the most aptly-named products out there; it gives a truly envy-worthy glow that will have people asking about your skin routine all day long. Seriously, I get so many compliments when I use this product, which is formulated with hyaluronic acid, Hadasei-3 lactic acid and squalane.

    $88, Shop Now
  • Vichy.

    Vichy Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

    Vichy’s Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is a cult classic for a reason. It’s super lightweight, fragrance-free and great for all skin types, including sensitive complexions. It’s composed of just 11 ingredients, including components to not only hydrate and plump, but also soothe and repair damaged barriers.

    $29.50, Shop Now
  • Isdin.

    Isdin Isdinceutics Hyaluronic Concentrate

    Isdin’s water-gel serum is lightweight yet effective, thanks to “medium and low molecular weight HA for improved penetration into the skin,” per Dr. Lewis. “It contains a BioMarine extract for plumping effect, dual peptides for firming, and lentil extract giving a smoothing effect on the skin.” Another highlight is the texture; it has a “silky smooth consistency, and melts into the skin without leaving a sticky residue.”

    $103, Shop Now
  • Farmacy.

    Farmacy Filling Good Serum

    This serum uses new hyaluronic acid technology to hydrate skin, while vegan collagen peptides help smooth out (ahem, fill!) fine lines and wrinkles. It’s a bit on the thicker side and does have a slight scent, but easily absorbs and works well for sensitive skin.

    $44, Shop Now
  • Biossance.

    Biossance Squalane + Copper Peptide Rapid Plumping Serum

    The Reese Witherspoon-approved clean skincare brand recently launched this new hydrating and plumping serum, which is packed with a combo of hyaluronic acid, polyglutamic acid and squalane, while copper peptides help stimulate collagen production for super bouncy, glowy skin.

    $68, Shop Now
  • Paula's Choice.

    Paula's Choice Hyaluronic Acid Booster

    While this isn’t *technically* a serum, it functions nearly identically to one, and provides a super concentrated boost of hyaluronic acid to help lock in moisture for major hydration.

    $37, Shop Now
  • SkinMedica.

    SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator

    This nourishing serum contains no less than five types of hyaluronic acid, for the ultimate in smoothing hydration. It also features an exclusive combination of antioxidants, Polysaccharides and a peptide complex that help support your skin’s ability to retain moisture it, for the healthiest glow. It’s a serious powerhouse product, as it helps hydrate skin for an impressive eight hours.

    $178, Shop Now
  • Alpha-H.

    Alpha-H Hyaluronic 8 Super Serum

    Use this hydrating serum every morning after cleansing and spritzing your skin with a little water; it’s a super fast-acting formula, thanks to a mixture of eight hydrating ingredients including multi-weighted forms of hyaluronic acid. It’s a near-instant major plumping effect (seriously, this one was formulated as an alternative to dermal fillers), but it also works great as a makeup primer.

    $62, Shop Now
  • RéVive.

    RéVive Moisturising Renewal Hydrogel Targeted 4D Hydration

    Yes, this serum is a serious splurge, but sometimes you just need to indulge. This gel-serum uses a 4D hyaluronic acid technology with moisturizing “beads” that contain jojoba, lavender and tea tree oil, as well as aloe vera, cucumber and chamomile extract, to sooth irritated skin, reduce redness and hydrate by targeting skin at all levels. I turn to it time and time again when my skin is tight and dehydrated during these frigid months.

    $235, Shop Now
  • Chantecaille.

    Chantecaille Blue Light Protection Hyaluronic Serum

    It’s not always easy finding an effective hyaluronic acid serum that’s also oil-free, but Chantecaille is here to fix that. The brand’s soothing oil-free serum is sure to be a hit for acne-prone skin types, plus a lovely combination of botanicals including nasturtium flower extract, tamarind extract, alga extract, amino acids and red sage root extract, along with a blend of hyaluronic acids of different molecular weights to sink into all levels of your skin.

    $150, Shop Now
  • Lancome.

    Lancome Rénergie H.C.F. Triple Serum

    Lancome’s new triple-threat serum is composed of a blend of vitamin c and niacinamide as well as ferulic acid with hyaluronic acid, for serious anti-aging, plumping and smoothing benefits all in one single product. We also love that it helps with dark spots.

    $135, Shop Now
  • Alo.

    Alo Radiance Serum

    Alo’s Radiance Serum is unscented, hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic, vegan *and* dermatologist-approved, which makes it a great pick for reactive skin types. The serum is filled with hyaluronic acid and antioxidants, thanks to amla superberries and marula oil, while aloe vera soothes irritated skin.

    $68, Shop Now
  • Medik8.

    Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense

    This serum delivers impressive results thanks to multi-weight hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and a booster complex with antioxidants and ingredients to help support the skin’s natural HA.

    $69, Shop Now
  • Skinceuticals.

    Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel

    Skinceuticals has long been a dermatologist favorite, and the brand’s oil-free hydrating serum is a nice choice for all skin types. It uses a combination of vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to restore moisture and give a nice glow, and it’s hydrating enough that you can use it either alone or follow up with a moisturizer.

    $83, Shop Now
  • La Roche Posay.

    La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

    You local drugstore is as good a place as any to find a quality hyaluronic acid serum. “La Roche-Posay’s Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum contains two types of pure HA and vitamin B5, which work together to intensely hydrate skin,” explains Dr. Lewis. “It’s safe for all skin types, including sensitive complexions, and it’s an excellent drugstore option to try if you’re in the market for a new hydrating treatment.”

    $49.99, Shop Now
  • Dr. Barbara Sturm.

    Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum

    This celeb-favorite skincare brand is all about using molecular cosmetics; this serum uses long and short-chain hyaluronic molecules to penetrate the skin on all levels, for serious hydration that also helps lessen the look of lines.

    $300, Shop Now
  • Luzern.

    Luzern Laboratories Serum Absolut Rehydrate

    Two types of hyaluronic acid and a plethora of hydrating, smoothing and plumping ingredients like peptides, panthenol, niacinamide and lipids will help you achieve healthy, dewy skin in no time.

    $145, Shop Now
  • Purity Products.

    Purity Products Hylastra Gold

    Hylastra Gold “has gold peptides to increase the absorption rate exponentially. These peptides provide a drone-like delivery system to allow HA molecule to penetrate deeper and more efficiently,” said Dr. Lewis. “Hylastra Gold has a combination of both ultra short and long chain HA molecules that work together for better integration through the skin. These gold peptides also act to block the enzymes that would normally break down the HA. Most HA’s are active on the skin for 20 minutes before they are broken down. Hylastra Gold extends its lifespan on the skin to about 30 hours.” The formula also contains vitamins A, E and CoQ10, which neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage from pollutants and UV rays.

    $79.95, Shop Now
The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums for Hydrated and Glowing Skin