Known for hydrating and plumping skin to perfection, we explore what hyaluronic acid actually does, how to use it and the best hyaluronic acid serums

Hyaluronic acid may well be something that you’ve heard of already. After all, “over the last 10 years, it has become very popular in skincare,” says leading aesthetician and skin health expert Dija Ayodele. Of course, if you want to get the very best from it, there is no better form of hyaluronic acid than a hyaluronic acid serum. Here’s what you need to know about them.

What is hyaluronic acid serum?

To answer this properly, we must first explain what hyaluronic acid itself is (or allow Dija to). “It’s a large sugar molecule that is naturally produced in large quantities by the body,” Dija tells us. “It acts as a humectant, enabling the skin to retain water so it’s very good at helping the skin stay supple and hydrated,” she continues. Serums, as you might be aware, are products applied after cleansing, but before moisturising, that house high concentrations of active ingredients to target certain skin concerns you may have. So, there you have it! 

What does hyaluronic acid serum do?

“Ageing and hormonal changes such as the menopause naturally deplete hyaluronic acid in the body and this can lead to dry skin, wrinkles and loss of shape and volume underneath the skin,” Dija explains. By this logic, applying hyaluronic acid serum can help with these issues, making skin more hydrated and plumped while eliminating fine lines. Furthermore, with regards to darker skin in particular – which “has a tendency to appear dull and grey” when dehydrated – “hyaluronic acid is a great supporting ingredient for radiant looking skin,” she adds.

How to use hyaluronic acid serum?

So, we know that serum is always applied after cleanser but before moisturiser, but when it comes to hyaluronic acid serum, there is an additional reason for this: moisturisers help seal in the work of a hyaluronic acid serum by preventing this moisture from evaporating too quickly throughout the day. In terms of quantity, a pea-sized amount should generally suffice. 

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serums
The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum For Dry Skin

Try: CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£17)

The lowdown: If you’d like your hydrating and moisturising needs to be contained in a single product, look no further than CeraVe’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Aside from doing everything that any hyaluronic acid serum should do, it also contains three essential ceramides to help protect the skin barrier and a gel-cream formula to soothe.

The Best Anti-Ageing Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Try: Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Skin Refining Smoothing Serum with Hyaluronic Acid (£30)

The lowdown: With regards to its anti-ageing properties, it’s not just hyaluronic acid that makes the Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Skin Refining Smoothing Serum good. It also features glycolic and lactic acid to slough away dead skin cells, giving you that unmistakable glow that can only really be described as “youthful”. 

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum For Fine Lines And Wrinkles

Try: No7 Protect & Perfect Intense ADVANCED Serum (£33.95)

The lowdown: We could just say that the No7 Protect & Perfect Intense ADVANCED Serum has been clinically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and leave it at that, but it would be doing its stellar ingredients a disservice. As well as hyaluronic acid to replenish moisture, it also features pro-retinol (a milder and stabler version of retinol) to encourage skin renewal without irritation and Matrixyl 3000+™ to help give skin back its elasticity. 

The Best Value Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Try: Boots Ingredients Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£5)

The lowdown: Whatever your skin type, it’s unlikely that you’ll have an issue with a vegan hyaluronic acid serum that costs merely £5. (Although this can’t be guaranteed, so you might want to do a patch test if you have sensitive skin.) After all, this one by Boots Ingredients hydrates skin while making it look brighter and feel more moisturised. What more could you want?

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Serum For Sensitive Skin

Try: Vichy Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Booster Serum (£30)

The lowdown: Containing only 11 ingredients, Vichy Minéral 89 Hyaluronic Acid Hydration Booster Serum is especially suitable for sensitive skin types. But it doesn’t just mollycoddle sensitive skin, it also gives it the opportunity to improve with a strengthened skin barrier. 

The Cult Favourite Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Try: The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£5.99)

The lowdown: Hyaluronic acid and a Matrixyl 3000+™ peptide in a single serum for only £5.99? No wonder The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum has become a fast fan favourite. 

The Best Hyaluronic Acid And Vitamin C Serum

Try: The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% (£4.90)

The lowdown: You don’t need to fret about how to layer vitamin C and hyaluronic acid with this in your skincare arsenal. Plumping and brightening (among other things), it provides the best of both worlds in a single product. 

Hyaluronic Acid Products That Aren’t Serums

Given that hyaluronic acid is such a wonderful skin care ingredient, it makes sense that you would want it to be incorporated into your other skin care products. Here are the best.

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Facial Mist 

Try: Eucerin Hyaluron PH Balancing Facial Mist Spray with Hyaluronic Acid (£10.50)

The lowdown: When you’re all hot and bothered, a facial mist is a blessing. Better still? A facial mist with hyaluronic acid. Here’s to instant and cooling rehydration. 

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Moisturiser

Try: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser for Normal to Combination Skin (£12.99)

The lowdown: Wonderfully light and oil-free, the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser restores the skin’s hydration levels while fortifying the skin barrier. And, thanks to its Continuous Release System technology, it doesn’t just do this upon application but throughout the day. 

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser

Try: CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for Normal to Dry Skin (£9.50)

The lowdown: Offering hyaluronic acid to maintain moisture levels and ceramides to strengthen the skin barrier, this cleanser is a saviour for dry skin types especially.

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Face Mask

Try: L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler Hyaluronic Acid Replumping Tissue Mask (£4.99)

The lowdown: Whether you put this on to ready yourself for a night out or to recover from one the morning after, it will restore you to glory.

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Body Cream

Try: Boots Ingredients Hyaluronic Body Cream (£6)

The lowdown: Wouldn’t it be nice to feel the benefits of hyaluronic acid, well, everywhere? That’s exactly what Boots Ingredients Hyaluronic Body Cream is for. 

The Best Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream

Try: Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex (£48)

The lowdown: It will come as no surprise that the skin around the eyes can benefit from hyaluronic acid too. Indeed, it’s part of what makes this eye serum’s fight against fatigue and pollution so successful. 

Photography: Stocksy