Thirsty Skin? Check Out These 15 Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums

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Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums

Byrdie / Chloe Jeong

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably caught wind of the skincare industry's current favorite ingredient, hyaluronic acid (HA). This powerful humectant can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, which is why it's often a key ingredient in serums for parched complexions.

"Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that naturally exists in the skin," explains Claire Wolinsky, MD. "When a hyaluronic acid-based lotion or serum is applied to the skin, it can attract and hold water, leading to a plumping and hydrating effect."

Dr. Wolinsky tells Byrdie that while HA doesn't directly reduce signs of aging, the plumping effect can diminish the appearance of fine lines. And no matter your skin type, she adds, regular use of a hyaluronic acid serum "can lead to the appearance of healthier, more dewy skin."

When browsing serums, you'll see there are more pure forms of HA, as well as options containing other key ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin B5, and niacinamide. With insight and recommendations from Dr. Wolinsky and other dermatologists in mind, we rounded up the choicest formulas for every budget and skin concern.

Meet the Expert

Claire Wolinsky, MD, a New York dermatologist specializing in facial rejuvenation.

Below, the best hyaluronic acid serums money can buy.

Our Top Picks
Hyaluronic acid and mineral water combine in this serum to knock out dryness and plump up skin.
To deliver even more moisture into the skin, this affordable hyaluronic acid serum also contains vitamin B5.
See the results from this fast-acting drugstore serum after just one day and enjoy hydrated, plump skin.
A blend of hyaluronic acid, proxylane, and 2% licorice root extract create an ultra-hydrating boost to skin in this luxe pick.
Made from 100% pure sodium hyaluronate, you know exactly what you're putting on your skin.
Vitamin B5 is the hero ingredient in this serum that aids hyaluronic acid in reducing signs of aging.
Boost your complexion with the vitamin C provided in this line-reducing serum.
Best for Under Makeup:
Glossier Super Bounce at Glossier.com
This delivers a smoother and more supple complexion while prepping the skin for foundation.
Lock in moisture for hours on end with this affordable formula.
Dermatologist-approved, this serum contains an concentrated amount of hyaluronic acid (75%!) to hydrate super dry skin.

Best Overall: Vichy Laboratoires MINÉRAL 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Moisturizer

Vichy Mineral 89 Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
What We Like
  • Fragrance- and oil-free

  • Long-lasting hydration

  • Protects against environmental stressors

What We Don't Like
  • May leave a sticky residue behind

"Vichy Mineral 89 is a dermatologist favorite," says Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Dermatology. Aside from hyaluronic acid, it's formulated with vitamin C and glycerin, plus mineral-rich volcanic water sourced straight from French volcanoes.

This all-star serum promises to deliver up to 24 hours of hydration while protecting your skin from environmental stressors. Besides ample hydration, you can expect a softer, noticeably supple, brilliantly dewy complexion.

Benefits: Hydrating, plumping, protective | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Small amount daily | Size: 1 ounce, 1.7 ounces, 2.5 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: No

What Our Editors Say

"I’ve tried more hyaluronic acid serums than I can count on two hands, but this drugstore go-to is by far my favorite option at its price point. Because even without the hefty price tag, it packs a serious punch thanks to hyaluronic acid (duh) and a whopping 89% of Vichy’s Mineralizing Water, which is rich in 15 rare minerals sourced from French volcanoes. The formula glides onto the skin easily and absorbs so quickly you’ll likely forget you’re wearing anything at all. But once you look in the mirror and see plumped-up skin with a healthy glow, you’ll be easily reminded."Jessica Mahgerefteh, Commerce Editorial Director

"This hyaluronic acid is thick in a way that makes my skin feel glossy and hydrated, but lightweight enough that you can easily layer it with other products. It feels more like a hydrating serum than a pure hyaluronic acid, yet it's one of my faves." — Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial & Strategy Director

Best Budget: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Calms inflammation

  • Contains vitamin B5

What We Don't Like
  • May leave a sticky residue behind

Dr. Maguiness is also a fan of The Ordinary's "cult favorite and very inexpensive" Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5. This wallet-friendly serum contains vitamin b5 (aka pantothenic acid) to help your skin retain moisture and calm inflammation.

Benefits: Hydrating, softening, anti-inflammatory | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Twice daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

the ordinary hyaluronic acid 2% + B5

 Byrdie / Olivia Hancock

What Our Editors & Testers Say

"It soaks effortlessly into the skin and doesn’t leave behind any stickiness on the surface of my skin." — Olivia Hancock, Product Tester

"This is the first serum I recommend to anyone looking to supplement their moisturizer. I've been using this potent hyaluronic acid formula for years. It does its job well, and the price can't be beaten." Kathryn Vandervalk, Editorial & Strategy Director

Best Drugstore: L'Oréal Paris Revitalift 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum

loreal-hyaluronic-acid-serum
What We Like
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

  • Budget-friendly

  • Can use as a makeup primer

What We Don't Like
  • Results aren't dramatic

From the drugstore aisle, we're loving L'Oreal Revitalift. Containing 1.5% pure hyaluronic acid. "Hyaluronic acid is a key ingredient to look for in products, as it aids in locking in moisture to the skin," says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank. The highly concentrated gel-like formula plumps the skin and goes on so smooth that you can use it as a makeup primer.

Benefits: Anti-aging, hydrating | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Small amount a.m./p.m. | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best Splurge: SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier Serum

SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier Serum
What We Like
  • Improves skin elasticity

  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

  • Promotes a radiant complexion

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

"Skinceuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier is a quality product with a high concentration of HA, as well as some other valuable skin-correcting ingredients, such as licorice root extract, which can help with discoloration," Dr. Wolinsky tells Byrdie.

Benefits: Hydrating, firming, smoothing | Skin Type: All | Dosage: 4 to 6 drops twice daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier Serum

 Byrdie / Joline Buscemi

What Our Editors Say

"Hyaluronic acid is one of those ingredients that not only works to improve skin over time, but the right formula can also deliver immediate results. The SkinCeuticals HA Intensifier Serum does just that. Every night when I apply it after my retinoid, my skin immediately looks dewier, feels softer, and the fine lines around my eyes—which look deeper and wider when my skin is dry—are significantly reduced on contact." Holly Rhue, Senior Editor

Best Pure: The Plant Base Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100

The Plant Base Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100
What We Like
  • 100% hyaluronic acid

  • Fragrance-free

What We Don’t Like
  • Small amount

Containing nothing other than 100% pure sodium hyaluronate (aka hyaluronic acid), this no-nonsense ampoule doesn't waste time hydrating your skin. Just a few drops twice a day is all you need for a plumper, smoother complexion.

Benefits: Hydrating, plumping | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Small amount a.m./p.m. | Size: 0.68 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best With Niacinamide: La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum

La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Pure Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum
What We Like
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

  • Minimizes appearance of pores

  • Calms inflammation

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains fragrance

"As we age, the hyaluronic acid in our skin begins to degrade and is distributed differently, leading to loss of skin elasticity and the visible signs of aging," says Dr. Frank. La Roche-Posay Hyalu B5 Serum calls on all the usual suspects to smooth, plump, and hydrate the skin. We're talking hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5, and niacinamide, the latter of which helps reduce the appearance of pores, redness, and fine lines.

Benefits: Smoothing, hydrating, plumping | Skin Type: Mature, dry, sensitive | Dosage: Small amount twice daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best With Vitamin C: Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate

kiehls powerful strength line reducing concentrate
What We Like
  • Promotes a radiant complexion

  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

  • Pleasant scent

What We Don't Like
  • May sting upon application

  • Expensive

Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate has no mercy on fine lines and dull complexions. Containing a heaping dose of vitamin C, it addresses discoloration, boosts radiance, and hydrates the skin while minimizing the appearance of fine lines.

Benefits: Boosts radiance, hydrating | Skin Type: Balanced, mature | Dosage: Twice daily | Size: 1.7 ounces, 3.4 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Under Makeup: Glossier Super Bounce

glossier super bounce
What We Like
  • Combines different weights of hyaluronic acid

  • Can use as a makeup primer

What We Don't Like
  • Results aren't dramatic

Super Bounce is a godsend for regular makeup-wearers. This hydrating concoction from Glossier boasts a softening blend of vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to deliver a smoother and more supple complexion while prepping the skin for foundation.

Benefits: Hydration, smoothing, softening | Skin Type: All | Dosage: 3 to 4 drops | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Very Dry Skin: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum
What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Absorbs quickly

  • Non-comedogenic

What We Don’t Like
  • Contains fragrance

"Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Serum is a good over-the-counter option for those wanting to incorporate HA into their skin regimen," says Dr. Wolinsky. The oil-free, non-comedogenic formula is gentle and effective, locking in moisture for hours on end.

Benefits: Hydrating | Skin Type: Dry, balanced, combination | Dosage: Small amount a.m./p.m. | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Best for Very Dry Skin: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum

water-drench-hyaluronic-cloud-serum
What We Like
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

  • Long-lasting hydration

  • Improves texture

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Contains dye

Parched skin got you down? Water Drench has your name on it. This fan-favorite from Peter Thomas Roth contains a whopping 75% hyaluronic acid, plus essential ceramides and the brand's proprietary HydraFence to keep your skin moisturized for up to 120 hours.

Benefits: Hydrating, softening, smoothing | Skin Type: Dry, balanced, combination, mature | Dosage: Small amount a.m./p.m. | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Sensitive Skin: Marla Rene Beauty & Co. Moisture Recovery Hyaluronic Serum

Marla Rene
What We Like
  • Shields skin from free radicals

  • Calms redness and irritation

  • Supports skin's barrier

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Those with sensitive skin should reach for Marla Rene's Moisture Recovery. This hyaluronic acid serum calls on organic aloe, witch hazel, vitamin E, and jojoba to calm inflammation and reinforce the skin barrier while addressing dullness and dehydration.

Benefits: Hydrating, anti-inflammatory | Skin Type: Sensitive, balanced, dry | Dosage: 2 to 3 drops a.m./p.m. | Size: 1.7 ounces | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Oily Skin: Klur Immersion Serum Concentrate

Klur
What We Like
  • Supports skin's barrier

  • Non-greasy

  • Provides long-term hydration

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

If you're working with oily skin, your best bet is Klur Immersion. Containing vitamin E, C, and B5, this concentrated tincture is formulated to lock in moisture and support the skin barrier without leaving a greasy or sticky residue in its wake.

Benefits: Plumping, hydrating | Skin Type: Oily, balanced, combination | Dosage: A few drops a.m./p.m. | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Mature Skin: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster

Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydration Booster
What We Like
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles

  • Promotes firmness

  • Multifunctional formula

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Formulated with mature skin in mind, Dr. Dennis Gross's Hyaluronic Marine Booster contains moisturizing watermelon extract and centella asiatica (aka cica) to smooth the appearance of fine lines. We like that this multifunctional serum can be applied all over the face or on dry patches as needed.

Benefits: Smoothing, hydrating, firming | Skin Type: Mature, balanced, dry | Dosage: A few drops a.m./p.m. | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best for Acne-Prone Skin: ROSE Ingleton MD Skin Calming Booster

Rose Ingleton MD
What We Like
  • Gently exfoliates

  • Clears congestion

  • Calms inflammation

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

Blemish Control Booster is something you want in your arsenal during the battle against breakouts. It calls on naturally-derived AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids) like glycolic and lactic acid to clear congested pores and encourage cell turnover.

Benefits: Hydrating, anti-inflammatory, exfoliating | Skin Type: Acne-prone | Dosage: 3-4 drops once or twice daily | Size: 1 ounce | Cruelty-Free: Yes | Byrdie Clean: Yes

Best K-Beauty: COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence
What We Like
  • High concentration of hyaluronic acid

  • Targets dullness

  • Generous amount

What We Don’t Like
  • Not vegan-friendly

We're also partial to CosRx Advanced Snail Mucin. This Korean beauty mainstay contains 96% snail secretion filtrate, a natural form of hyaluronic acid to plump, hydrate, and boost radiance.

Benefits: Hydrating, boosts radiance | Skin Type: All | Dosage: Small amount once or twice daily | Size: 3.38 ounces | Cruelty-Free: No | Byrdie Clean: No

Final Verdict

Our number one choice is Vichy Laboratories Mineral 89 Skin Fortifying Daily Booster, a dermatologist-approved hyaluronic acid serum that delivers a more supple complexion and 24 hours of hydration on all skin types. That said, those on a budget should consider The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, a fan-favorite formula that works hard to hydrate the skin while calming inflammation.

What to Look for in a Hyaluronic Acid Serum

The Right Base for Your Skin Type

When searching for the best hyaluronic acid serum, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Nava Greenfield recommends figuring out what base works best for your specific skin concerns. "You’ll want to look for a water-based product [such as a gel] if you have oily skin, while an oil- or cream-based serum is best for dry skin,” she says.

Alcohol-Free Formulas

Greenfield also advises against hyaluronic acid serums that contain alcohol. “A formula with alcohol can end up drying out your skin rather than hydrating it,” she says.

Antioxidant-Rich Formulas

Since serums are a great vehicle for delivering a high concentration of active ingredients to the skin, look for a hyaluronic acid serum that also contains your daily dose of antioxidants. Greenfield notes that hyaluronic acid works well with vitamin C, but it also plays nicely with vitamin B5 and green tea, amongst other free radical-fighting ingredients.

FAQ
  • What do hyaluronic acid serums do?

    Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance made by our skin cells that supports our skin's barrier function, explains Greenfield. It’s a humectant that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, essentially drawing in and binding moisture to the skin, softening and hydrating it without being overly heavy. “When applying hyaluronic acid to our skin topically [through a serum], we’re giving our skin what is needed to maintain its barrier function and keep us healthy,” she says.

  • When should you use a hyaluronic acid serum?

    Greenfield says that because hyaluronic acid is so light and versatile, you can apply a serum with it pretty much whenever you please. “I love applying hyaluronic acid post-procedure, as a part of my morning antioxidant serum, or after applying retinoids at night,” she says.

  • Can you apply too much hyaluronic acid serum?

    In general, hyaluronic acid isn’t thought to have any negative side effects, though some studies have shown that overusing products with low-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid may induce inflammation. Greenfield also says that those with oily or acne-prone skin shouldn’t overdo it with serums in general: “You should still moisturize, but don’t go overboard!” Otherwise, you may end up with a shiny, greasy complexion or clogged pores.

  • Can you use hyaluronic acid and vitamin C together?

    Serums are great for delivering antioxidants to the skin. Greenfield points out that vitamin C serums (amongst other antioxidant serums) are typically formulated with an emollient, such as hyaluronic acid, so, yes, they can (and should!) be used together.

  • Which ingredients should you avoid using with a hyaluronic acid serum?

    Currently, there are no known negative reactions to any specific ingredients being used together with hyaluronic acid. However, Greenfield advises against using any hyaluronic acid serums that contain alcohol (since they can be drying) or any other ingredients that typically irritate your skin or cause you to have an allergic reaction.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Theresa Holland is a commerce beauty writer specializing in skincare. For this story, she interviewed three dermatologists for product recommendations and insight into formulations. She pored over user reviews, combed through ingredients lists, considered the price, recommended skin type, amount, and dosage of a myriad of serums before landing on her final selections. From the above, Theresa is a fan of CosRx, Dr. Dennis Gross, Vichy Laboratories, Peter Thomas Roth, and Glossier.

Meet the Expert

  • Nava Greenfield, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in Brooklyn, NY. She’s been published in many medical journals and is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology, Women’s Dermatologic Society, and the American Medical Association.
  • Celebrity cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, CMO is the founder of PFRANKMD and the author of The Pro-Aging Playbook.
  • Sheilagh Maguiness, MD, is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School Department of Dermatology.
Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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