Hya-what now?! 🤔 Maybe you’ve heard about this buzzy skincare ingredient, but aren’t quite sure what it even is or why you should use it. After reading this post, you will know everything there is to know about hyaluronic acid! It’s truly an amazingly beneficial ingredient. And I’ll even share my own personal top picks (and reader favorites) for serums that you can try for yourself.
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Table of Contents:
- What is Hyaluronic Acid?
- Skin Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
- Is it Safe to Use Daily?
- When & How to Use Hyaluronic Acid in Your Skincare Routine
- The Best Natural Hyaluronic Acid Serums (For Every Budget!)
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
When you hear the word “acid” you likely think of harsh chemical peels. Although the name might sound intimidating or scary, hyaluronic acid is actually a very gentle and mild hydrating molecule. According to Harvard Health:
Hyaluronic acid is a humectant (a substance that retains moisture) and is capable of binding over one thousand times its weight in water.
Also, hyaluronic acid is found naturally within our bodies, including the skin, eyes, and joints. As we age, our skin typically produces less over time. This is why skin might not look as youthful or plump as it matures.
When it comes to topical skincare, you can rest assured that the most common way to produce hyaluronic acid is plant-based and extracted from microbial fermentation. It’s a viscous, gelly liquid that evaporates quickly and feels lightweight.
Hyaluronic Acid vs. Sodium Hyaluronate
Here’s where it gets tricky! You’ll probably see a product marketed as hyaluronic acid but then see “sodium hyaluronate” on the actual ingredient label. Sodium hyaluronate is the salt form of hyaluronic acid and is more stable, less likely to oxidize, and is a smaller molecular size which means it can penetrate the skin more effectively.
Before I bore you with more specifics and science-y jargon, I’ll keep it brief. But if you do want to read more about the different forms and weights of hyaluronic acid, Byrdie has a helpful article that explains more 🤓
Skin Benefits of Hyaluronic Acid
Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff! That’s why you’re here, right? I think it’s a no-brainer to include hyaluronic acid in your skincare regimen because it’s so beneficial.
- Retains and replenishes moisture. You can think of it like a magnet because it binds to moisture (attracts over one thousand times its weight in water) and pulls it down deep into your skin. This makes it especially awesome for dry skin types 💦 As you may know, it’s crucial to have properly hydrated and moisturized skin so that it doesn’t overproduce sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture. This leads to oily skin, clogged pores, and breakouts!
- Keeps skin looking youthful. Essentially, dehydrated skin is more susceptible to wrinkles and fine lines. Since hyaluronic acid is so hydrating, it helps keep skin looking plump, maintains elasticity, and enhances the natural barrier of protection against free radicals. I can totally tell that my skin seems more firm and plump when using it. It feels SO good!
- Speeds up wound healing. Cool, right? It plays a key role in tissue regeneration which makes it ideal for healing scars, inflammation, or burns.
Is it Safe to Use Daily?
Yes! Generally speaking, there are no side effects and hyaluronic acid is safe for all skin types. You can use it morning and evening in your skincare routine. I always recommend patch testing a new product on your skin first, especially if you have sensitive skin, to make sure you don’t experience any irritation.
When & How to Use Hyaluronic Acid in Your Skincare Routine
Okay, you definitely want to make sure you are correctly applying hyaluronic acid in your skincare routine. The best time to apply it is after using a toner on slightly damp (and clean) skin, then immediately followed by an oil-based product. It’s so important ⚠️ to follow up with an oil to ensure you are locking in the moisture. Without the oil, your skin will be left prone to getting dehydrated and your products will evaporate.
If you need suggestions for organic oil-based facial serums, don’t you worry, here is a list of some of my favorite oils that won’t make you break out!
The Best Natural Hyaluronic Acid Serums (For Every Budget!)
Now that you’re a hyaluronic acid pro, let’s talk about some of the best (natural) ones on the market. It’s important to note that not all hyaluronic acid serums are created equal. Remember our chemistry lesson at the beginning? The reason prices can vary so much is because different molecular weights, forms, and concentrations of hyaluronic acid are used. And you also have to factor in the quality of other ingredients used, packaging, etc. so keep that in mind! But, here are some that I have tested and love! (from brands that I trust)
Main Properties: Hydrating, Smoothing, Toning
This one is mostly clear and I really love the smell of it. It’s not strong, but it smells like a refreshing, sparkling summer drink or a ginger ale. It has sweet orange oil and neroli. Vitamin B5 (panthenol) is another gentle humectant so it pairs nicely with the hyaluronic acid in this formula. It also has willow bark extract (a gentler alternative for salicylic acid) to tone and exfoliate skin, and niacinamide and licorice extract to diminish blemishes and calm redness. It’s lovely.
(Note: the packaging has changed from the photo above, but the formula remains the same!)
You can use the coupon code ORGANICALLYBECCA15 for a discount at checkout!
Main Properties: Hydrating, Calming, Brightening
This is the most budget-friendly option, but still works well! How beautiful is this bright green color?! This serum doesn’t really have a smell. I would suggest this one if you want to target redness or inflammation. It’s antioxidant-rich and calming; made with ingredients like desert fruit quandong (twice the vitamin C of oranges), chlorophyll, spinach leaf, and raspberry. It blends and absorbs so beautifully into my skin and sits really well underneath oils. Definitely an awesome boost!
Main Properties: Hydrating, Soothing, Regenerating
If you’re a fan of roses, this is for you 🌹 Thankfully, the smell isn’t too strong or overpowering. Delicately mixed with neroli and it smells delightful. This serum is soothing and has regenerative properties; made with anti-inflammatory pomegranate juice, panthenol, and hibiscus. It has a slight pink hue and in my opinion, it feels the heaviest of the serums that I list here (not heavy in a bad way, it just feels slightly thicker). I love the white glass bottle and bamboo accent!
⭐️ Becca’s Top Pick & Reader Favorite ⭐️
Main Properties: Hydrating, Nourishing, Anti-Aging
This is one that everyone needs to try in my opinion. It’s just on another level! It contains both hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate. Also, three organic seaweeds (gigartina, macrocystis, and undaria). These algae are abundant in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids. This serum feels the most hydrating to me and I just love it SO much; it’s a staple in my routine. It doesn’t really have a smell.
You can use coupon code BECCA10 for a discount at checkout!
Related post: “8 Reasons to Love OSEA Skincare: My Top Picks!”
Popular Reader Favorites:
I polled my readers (YOU!) to see what your own personal favorite natural hyaluronic acid serums are. Here are some of the most popular answers:
- The OSEA serum linked above was your number one pick too!
- Earth Harbor Celestine Hydra-Plumping Peptide Serum (I haven’t tried this yet but it looks great!)
- Dime Beauty Hyaluronic Acid Serum (In full transparency, this is not one I would use myself as it contains phenoxyethanol)
- Countermatch Intense Moisture Serum
Thanks for reading, friends 💚 Drop any comments below if you have questions or suggestions for other serums to try. I sure hope you make this an addition to your routine because I KNOW you’ll see some awesome results and never look back!