The best hyaluronic acid serums of 2024 for bouncy, super-hydrated skin

The best hyaluronic acid serums will take your skin from parched to plump. Here, our beauty editor rounds up her favourites

three of the best hyaluronic acid serums
(Image credit: Future)

Using the best hyaluronic acid serum will have a positive impact on your complexion, no matter what your skin type is. 

HA is one of the best ingredients you can incorporate into your skincare routine, whatever your age. Knowing how to apply a hyaluronic acid serum is the secret to achieving plump, bouncy skin, and combined with one of the best face moisturisers, your skin will be hydrated in no time. Consultant dermatologist Dr Magnus Lynch explains, “Hyaluronic acid is a substance naturally present in our skin that holds water to keep it hydrated and plump. It can retain up to 1000 times its weight in water, giving a suppleness, and elasticity to the skin.” Levels of HA deplete as we get older, which is why topping up with a serum is a great idea. 

Dr Lynch explains why. “The best hyaluronic acid serum can provide a potent hydration boost compared to regular moisturisers," he says. "Regular use can help maintain a healthy skin barrier, preventing dryness, dullness, and flaking, and keeping skin looking youthful.” 

You don't have to have dehydrated skin to benefit from a daily dose of HA – every skin type will love its quenching, plumping benefits. Here, we round up the best buys at every price point. 

The 9 best hyaluronic acid serums, picked by our beauty editor

How we tested the best hyaluronic acid serums

A selection of beauty editor Rhiannon Derbyshire's best hylaluronic acid serum picks

(Image credit: Rhiannon Derbyshire)

As a Senior Beauty Editor with chronically thirsty skin, I was the ideal person to research this list of the best hyaluronic acid serums and lead the charge with testing (which the rest of the team were kind enough to help with). Even though HA is present in lots of products, from day creams, best body moisturisers and even haircare, I still think it's quite the underdog. In my opinion, there's no point using high-potency retinoids or thinking about getting Botox until you have a committed relationship with HA.  Its main job is hydration, sure – but this leads to plumper, bouncier skin and (admittedly temporarily) filled wrinkles. I'm firmly on the HA side of the hyaluronic acid vs retinol debate. 

So, as a HA serum superfan, most of my favourite, tried-and-tested, repeat buys are on this list. I know these products inside out – often using them for months if not years at a time. 

I'm very particular about serums – their texture matters, and they need to feel quenching on the skin, not sticky. The percentage of the ingredient is good to know too – while not wholly essential (some of the brands here haven't revealed their percentages), it's helpful to get an idea of how potent the concentration is – most experts recommend a percentage of between 0.5-2%. 

Hyaluronic acid FAQs

Dr Magnus Lynch
Dr Magnus Lynch

Dr Magnus Lynch is a Consultant Dermatologist based in London. He is currently leading a research team looking at the mechanisms of skin ageing. 

What percent of hyaluronic acid serum is best?

According to Dr Lynch, "HA serums have concentrations ranging from 0.5% to 2% with higher concentrations tending to be more effective," he explains. "HA also comes in different molecular weights with the larger molecules being better at hydration but unable to penetrate the surface of the skin and smaller molecular weights better at penetrating the skin surface."

Can hyaluronic acid be used with retinol?

"Absolutely", says Tine Hagelquist, a beauty therapist specialising in lymphatic drainage and facial muscle massage. "Hyaluronic acid and retinol are perfect partners. Hyaluronic acid increases skin permeability, allowing retinol to fully penetrate skin which helps to achieve the results of retinol more easily."

When should I use hyaluronic acid serum?

"Hyaluronic acid should be applied before your moisturiser, and always on moist skin," Tine told us. "If you apply hyaluronic acid on dry skin, you run the risk of drying the skin out. 

"After cleansing, apply your toner or essence, hyaluronic acid, followed by a moisturiser to lock in moisture. Hyaluronic acid can be applied in both the morning and evening to boost skin hydration."

Rhiannon Derbyshire
Senior Beauty Editor

Rhiannon Derbyshire is the Senior Beauty Editor for Woman & Home and other publications. 

She started interning for glossy magazines while working alongside her Fashion Journalism degree. There, she was lured to the beauty desk, seduced by matte lipsticks, posh shampoos, and every skincare product imaginable. 10+ years into her career, she can confidently tell you why the best mascaras are always high street, and why SPF is a non-negotiable all year round. Ask her about her curly hair routine, skincare minimalism, and how to find the exact right red lipstick

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