Three best hyaluronic acid serums
Whether you're dealing with dry, dehydrated skin or fine lines and wrinkles that you want to smooth, a hyaluronic acid serum can help keep your skin hydrated and plump for a healthy, glowing complexion. Choosing the right serum means deciding on the percentage of hyaluronic acid you need, what other ingredients in the formula will most benefit your skin, and the ease of use of the packaging. With so many options, it can be difficult to find the right one, but our buying guide has all the tips you need to find the best serum for your skincare routine, including our top product picks. Our favorite hyaluronic acid serum is from Peter Thomas Roth. It manages to be lightweight while still providing a high hyaluronic acid concentration.
Considerations when choosing hyaluronic acid serums
If you want to be sure that the hyaluronic acid serum you choose is effective, it's important to consider its concentration. While some products may have an extremely high concentration of hyaluronic acid, the ideal amount is actually 1% to 2%. Serums with higher concentrations of hyaluronic acid may actually dry out your skin, so they're best avoided if you have extremely dry skin.
Hyaluronic acid serums typically have a thick consistency, so they require packaging that can easily dispense a thicker product. Some serums come in a bottle with a pump that pushes the product out through a nozzle. Other formulas come in a bottle with a medicine dropper in the top that dispenses the serum.
Both styles of packaging work well for dispensing the small amount of hyaluronic acid you usually need--one to two drops is typically all that's necessary to cover your whole face. But a medicine dropper can expose the serum to air because you remove the top completely from the bottle. Oxidation can occur as a result of air exposure, which can decrease the serum's effectiveness.
Some hyaluronic acid serums contain other ingredients that are beneficial for your skin. A formula with antioxidants can be especially effective if you want a serum that has anti-aging benefits. That's because antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin B5, and vitamin E protect your skin from free radical damage. Vitamin C helps brighten and even out your skin tone, vitamin B5 works well for retaining moisture, and vitamin E can repair damage from the sun's UV rays.
If you have sensitive skin, you may prefer a hyaluronic acid serum that contains green tea. Green tea works as an anti-inflammatory, so it can help soothe your skin and reduce redness. It also contains its own antioxidant, EGCG, which can help prevent skin cancer by stopping damage to the skin's DNA from UV exposure.
While hyaluronic acid serums are usually gentle enough for all skin types, it's best to choose a formula that's labeled as hypoallergenic if you have sensitive skin. These serums don't contain potentially irritating chemical ingredients like parabens and sulfates, so they're less likely to cause redness or itchiness.
Hyaluronic acid serums vary in price based on their concentration and the quality of their ingredients. Most range from $5 to $300. Budget-friendly formulas typically cost between $5 and $40, but if you want a serum with a concentration higher than 1% to 2%, you'll likely pay $50 to $70. Some luxury skincare brands offer hyaluronic acid serums that range from $70 to $300.
Q. How often should I apply hyaluronic acid?
A. To see benefits from the serum, you should use it at least once a day. Most people use it as the next step in their skincare routine after cleansing in the morning. However, if you prefer, you can apply it after washing at night. Because it's so gentle, though, hyaluronic acid can usually be applied twice a day, both in the morning and at night.
Q. Can hyaluronic acid serum replace my moisturizer?
A. While hyaluronic acid serum does hydrate the skin and help it retain moisture, it usually doesn't moisturize enough on its own. Pairing it with a moisturizer suited to your skin type is the best bet for properly moisturized skin. Be sure to apply the serum first, though, since it has a thinner consistency than a moisturizer lotion or cream.
Hyaluronic acid serums we recommend
Best of the best: Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Serum
Our take: Lightweight formula that helps hydrate, brighten, and soothe the skin with an intense 75% hyaluronic acid concentration.
What we like: Offers one of the highest concentrations of hyaluronic acid available. Easily absorbed so no residue is left behind. Gives skin a plump, glowing appearance. Helps smooth fine lines and prevent dehydrated, flaky skin.
What we dislike: Usually doesn't hydrate well enough for extremely dry skin.
Best bang for your buck: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Our take: A simple, vegan formula that's extremely effective and ideal for anyone on a budget.
What we like: Many users notice results immediately. Can be used both morning and night due to its gentle formula. Works well for sensitive skin that's irritated easily. A cruelty-free product that doesn't contain oil, alcohol, silicone, or gluten.
What we dislike: Can cause pilling when moisturizer or makeup is applied on top of it.
Our take: A high-quality, luxury hyaluronic acid serum that helps smooth the look of fine lines, rehydrate the skin, and provide important antioxidants.
What we like: Contains iris extract, which is full of powerful antioxidants. Can hydrate the skin and give anti-aging benefits. Some users experience an instant boost in skin plumpness. Free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.
What we dislike: Carries an extremely hefty price tag compared to other serums.
Jennifer Blair is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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