We updated this article in November 2022 to add more information about each featured product, based on extensive testing done by the Good Housekeeping Institute. Our top-rated picks, selected by the Beauty Lab, include new additions from Olay, RoC and Mary Kay.
Consider hyaluronic acid serums the tall glass of water of skincare. Praised for its moisturizing benefits, hyaluronic acid (a.k.a. HA) comes in a variety of skincare products. Often listed as sodium hyaluronate on product ingredient lists, its effects prove both immediate and long-term. “The ingredient conditions skin and works as a humectant that draws moisture into skin,” says Good Housekeeping Institute Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann. “It helps combat dryness and [dull skin], and restores suppleness.”
Though a gold standard ingredient for hydrating dry skin, hyaluronic acid can work on all skin types, from oily skin to sensitive skin. In narrowing down the greatest options out there, we rounded up our Beauty, Health & Sustainability Lab’s top-tested picks, plus ones that GH staffers and dermatologists use in their own routines. Just a dropper away, give skin its first defense against dryness with the best hyaluronic acid serums, below.
Our top picks:
You can read more about how we evaluate hyaluronic acid formulas in our Lab and consumer tests — plus everything you need to know to shop for your perfect formula — at the end of this guide.
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Best Overall Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Smart Custom Repair Serum
Best Value Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
Best Replenishing Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Sensitive Skin
Floodgate Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Best Moisturizing Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Ingredients Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Best Drugstore Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum With Retinol
Derm Correxion Fill + Treat Advanced Retinol Serum with Hyaluronic Acid
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Oily Skin
Hydro Boost Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum Capsules
Multi Correxion Hydrate + Plump Night Serum Capsules
Best Anti-Aging Hyaluronic Acid Serum
Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum With Peptides
Clinical Solutions HA + Ceramide Hydrator
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Dewy Skin
Hyaluronic + Peptide 24 Serum
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Dry Skin
Mineral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum
Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum With Vitamin C
Truth Vitamin C Serum
Best Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum
HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator
How we chose the best hyaluronic acid serums
Like other face serums we’ve tested, our chemists evaluated hyaluronic acid formulas based on laboratory and consumer tests. We use technical instruments in our Beauty Lab to measure skin changes — such as moisturization, elasticity, wrinkles and pores — after product use. To see how it works on different skin types in real life, our consumer testers try products out and give feedback on their ease of use. Other top-tested picks above, like Seal holders, underwent rigorous evaluation by our scientists who verified product claims. We also included everyday favorites from our GH staffers who struggle with dry or sensitive skin and use hyaluronic acid regularly.
What to consider when shopping for the best hyaluronic acid serums
✔️Keep an eye on concentration: Most hyaluronic acid formulas offer a concentration of 2% or less. “Using concentrations greater than 2% can negatively impact the skin, pulling water out of the skin [and] creating dryness,” Dr. Mack says.
✔️Do double-duty: Pairing well with other skincare ingredients, hyaluronic acid can help reduce side effects such as irritation from ingredients like vitamin C and retinol, according to Dr. Mack.
✔️Cater to your skin type: If you have a drier skin type, Dr. Mack recommends using HA serums twice a day, prior to applying moisturizer — dry skin can benefit from that added boost of hydration. For normal to combination skin types, apply nightly following a retinoid to help soothe any sensitivity.
What do hyaluronic acid serums do for your skin?
Hyaluronic acid can also have anti-aging effects, thanks to its skin-plumping properties. “It acts like a sponge that absorbs water, adding volume to skin,” Dr. Gohara says. Serums, which are lighter weight in texture than face moisturizers like lotions or creams, deliver the hydrating benefits of hyaluronic acid without heaviness and can be layered underneath other leave-on skincare products morning, evening or both.
Why trust Good Housekeeping?
We tapped Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann for our Beauty Lab’s top-tested picks, included above. For almost a decade at GH, she’s researched, tested and evaluated thousands of products, while also verifying product claims based on her extensive knowledge of skincare ingredients. Collaborating closely with our Institute experts, Beauty Director April Franzino oversees all beauty content at GH. She spearheads our Beauty Awards and regularly writes science-backed roundups. Having dry skin herself, she wrote this original roundup of hyaluronic acid serums. Our Associate Product & Reviews Editor Jacqueline Saguin updated this story with our latest batch of expert-tested picks. She also interviewed dermatologists to answer the most searched questions about hyaluronic acid. Jacqueline also struggles with dry, sensitive skin and considers HA serums a crucial part of her skincare routine.
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