If I had to choose one beauty pet peeve, it would be dry skin. For me, dryness manifests in flaking between my eyebrows (not cute), a total lack of glow (even less cute), and my skin looking dull and unhealthy (the opposite of cute). Normally, my moisturizer keeps my skin hydrated enough to keep these concerns at bay. But sometimes, even my favorite moisturizers can't banish my dry skin woes. That's where hyaluronic acid, also known as the ultimate skin hydrator, comes in.
What does hyaluronic acid do?
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Hyaluronic acid helps your skin retain its moisture, which it can't do when the elements are dehydrating—during the colder months, for example. The benefits of hyaluronic acid go beyond hydration, too: Skin naturally loses moisture as we get older, too, so introducing an ingredient like hyaluronic acid can also plump the skin, reducing fine lines and sagging.
Does hyaluronic acid serum really work?
Yes—the quickest and most effective way to gift your skin hyaluronic acid is in serum form. But there are a ton of different hyaluronic acid serums out there, as you probably know. So you're looking for the right one for you, I hand-picked my favorites that target different issues—all while still giving your skin a dose of moisture.
The Simple Serum
If you want big results on a budget, this serum from The Ordinary is perfect for anyone venturing into the hyaluronic acid serum game for the first time. A common dupe for pricier options, this product contains pure hyaluronic acid for the no-nonsense consumer.
For Sensitive Skin
For anyone who's hesitant to use products that may clog their pores: There's no need to worry with this serum. This product is ultra-hydrating and perfect for anyone who suffers from breakouts and has to be careful about what they put on their skin.
For Fine Lines
Treating wrinkles can take time, but if you're looking for an instant plumping effect for a night out, this line-filling formula makes quick work. A cocktail of H.A., thyme extract, and vegan collagen peptides hydrate intensely for a smoother canvas.
For Dry Skin
This serum works hard to keep the skin moisturized even hours after it's applied. While some products offer some hydration but gradually sink into the skin, this serum uses time-release technology so you get those hydrating benefits all day long.
For Fine Lines
This one is an editor favorite, especially when the Botox starts wearing off. This blend of H.A., licorice root, and purple rice extract hydrate skin so intensely that tough-to-treat wrinkles like crows feet and marionette lines are plumped up.
Best for Plumping
When we age and lose moisture in our cells, it leads to drooping and sagging skin. This serum revitalizes those cells by giving them some much-needed moisture. The effect? Plumped, youthful skin that everyone will be envious of.
For Aging Skin
This serum comes in a soothing gel texture that helps soften dehydrated skin. With moisturizing hyaluronic acid, soothing peptides, plumping collagen, and calming aloe vera, all the ingredients in this product help combat signs of aging.
For Flaky Skin
This French-girl favorite brand has been around for a century, and this formula is just one example why. Aquatic fruit and flower extracts give hyaluronic acid an extra moisturizing kick to keep skin hydrated for up to 30 hours (!!!).
For Sensitive Skin
When you're dehydrated, you chug water. When your skin is a dry, red mess, you slather on this comfy formula. This gel serum is slippery-smooth and is perfect to use with a jade roller for max effectiveness.
For Oily Skin
For the summer months, you might be in the market for more lightweight formulas for your skincare routine, and our complexion will practically drink in this potent blend of H.A., plankton extract, and firming sweet iris. It'll provide lasting hydration without messing with your makeup.
For Dry Skin
You know that first, glorious sip of water you take in the morning after one too many glasses of cab? This calming serum provides the same quenched ahhh feeling, but for your skin. Aloe vera, cucumber, and chamomile extracts give the formula's H.A. a soothing kick.
For Dark Spot-Prone Skin
Lactic acid can be a game changer for melasma left over from blemishes, and this formula delivers a potent dose of it to exfoliate while it hydrates.
For Fine Lines
Plumping is the name of the game with this ceramide-infused formula. A layer of this will provide a smoother canvas for makeup.
For Mature Skin
This one's another editor fave. It's an investment, but Sturm's proprietary formulation of long and short chain hyaluronic molecules that plumps and hydrates skin makes it worth it.
For Stressed Skin
With hyaluronic acid, Manuka honey, and amino acids, this serum plumps and protects the skin. For anyone who's looking for an anti-aging serum that also boosts the skin's moisture, this product is the one for you.
For Uneven Skin
Along with hyaluronic acid, this serum contains niacinamide, a powerful ingredient helps even bumpy, textured skin. With these two ingredients in one product, you'll find that your skin is becoming hydrated and smoother with every use.
Best for a Glow
When your skin is dehydrated, you might notice some dullness. This serum allows the skin to keep its natural dehydration, while also giving you an enviable glow. Plus, this product has the slightest scent of cucumber, which only intensifies the fresh feeling.
Best for Cooling
If your skin is feeling irritated due to sun damage or dry winter air, this serum calms the skin while giving it extra moisture. Menthol instantly cools burning sensations, while hyaluronic acid protects the skin from future damage.
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Taylore Glynn is the Beauty and Health Editor at Marie Claire, covering skincare, makeup, fragrance, wellness, and more. If you need her, she’s probably roasting a chicken, flying solo at the movies, or drinking a bad Negroni at JFK.